Guest interview: Cindy Spencer Pape + Free Book for Everyone!

Cindy Spencer Pape is an avid reader of romance, fantasy, mystery, and even more romance who firmly believes in happily-ever-after. Married for more than twenty-five years to her own, sometimes-kilted hero, she lives in southern Michigan with him and two grown sons, along with an ever-changing menagerie of pets.  Cindy has been, among other things, a banker, a teacher, and an elected politician, but mostly an environmental educator, though now she is lucky enough to write full-time. Her degrees in zoology and animal behavior almost help her comprehend the three male humans who share her household.

Q: Welcome Cindy! Please tell us about your latest release.

A: Phantoms & Photographs is a 20,000 word free read in my Gaslight Chronicles series for Carina Press. The world combines steampunk, fantasy, and of course, romance.

Q: Free read! Yay! Needless to say, I've already downloaded my copy. I loved your Steam & Sorcery so I can't wait to read this story, too. Why do you write romance?

A: Because I LIKE romance. It makes me smile, and for me, that’s the whole point of reading fiction. I like the ability to escape mundane reality for a while in the pages of a book. I do write a wide variety of subgenres, for the same reason. It makes me happy and keeps me from getting bored with my work.

Q: I can totally relate. How did your story’s setting impact your plot or characters?

A: Because steampunk is an alternate history, the women in my Gaslight books aren’t confined exclusively to the traditional feminine roles in Victorian society, though most of them still follow those ways. I’ve also opened university up to women in this world before they really were, so my heroines can be more educated and independent that was often true of women in the Victorian era. Adding magic also makes my heroes even tougher and stronger, as well as my heroines spunkier, in some cases.

Q: Why did you choose your setting and why was it perfect for your book?

A: I’ve been wanting to try my hand at a steampunk romance, and it really came together for Steam & Sorcery, the first Gaslight book. Actually, I’d intended an erotic romance, but when five street kids joined the party, it just didn’t play out as erotic. Phantoms & Photographs came about when my publisher asked me to write a novella that would be given away free during Carina’s Steampunk Week (This Week!) I was honored to be asked. I’d planned to write stories for the children, and this one is set about halfway between the two decades, helping me bridge the gap.

Q: How do you choose names for your characters?

A: For this one I actually used a lot of old family names—great grandparents, great aunts, etc. for the women, and also just random Victorian names that suited the characters.

Q: Which element of story creation is your favorite?

A: Characters, easily. I love figuring out what makes them tick.

Q: Which element of this story was the hardest for you?

A: Keeping it to 20,000 words!

Q: LOL I can imagine! What is your writing process or method?

A: It varies horribly from book to book. I write often and quickly, but other than that, there’s no real method to my madness.

Q: Do you have any advice for unpublished authors?

A: Keep writing, keep submitting. One regret I have is not being aggressive enough in getting my stuff out there. I could have been doing this much, much sooner. And don’t let the rejections stop you. Just submit it “one more time,” and meanwhile, write another great book, and submit that one too.

Q: Great advice! What’s next for you?

A: I have an Ellora’s Cave novella coming out sometime soon called Midsummer Dreams, that’s the fourth of my Holiday Hearts series, and the third Urban Arcana book, Motor City Werewolf, from Carina Press releases in August. I just turned in a Christmas steampunk story, and am working on the outline for the fourth Urban Arcana book. Other than that? Who knows? Sometimes I surprise myself.

In honor of Steampunk week, there is a contest for a piece of steampunk jewelry, running all week at the Carina paranormal authors’ blog, Here be Magic. Thanks so much for inviting me today. Everyone have a great spring, and Happy Reading!

Wow, you are busy! Congratulations on all the new releases! Thanks for being our special guest today, Cindy!

Everyone, please visit Cindy's websites and be sure to download your FREE copy of Phantoms & Photographs at Carina Press. Or click here to read an excerpt.

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Adrienne Giordano said...

Great interview, Cindy! I'm with you on figuring out what makes characters tick. It's just so fun figuring out why they do certain things!

Renee Vincent said...

What a great interview, Cindy! you are one amazing (and busy) author! Wishing you the best!

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Adrienne and Renee, thanks so much for the nice comments. And thanks to Nicole for having me here!

Nicole North said...

Thanks for being our guest today, Cindy!!

Janni Nell said...

I just finished reading "Steam and Sorcery". So enjoyed it. Looking forward to the next installment.

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Glad to be here, Nicole, and thank you, Janni!

Carly Carson said...

You sound very prolific! I never really understood what steampunk was before. It sounds interesting. Good luck with all your books!

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Thanks, Carly!