Guest: Cynthia Owens + Giveaway!
Welcome, Cynthia! I'm glad you've joined us today. Please tell us about yourself.
Hello, everyone! It’s absolutely wonderful to be a guest on your lovely blog. I’m so excited to share my new release with all of you!
I believe I was destined to be interested in history. One of my distant ancestors, Thomas Aubert, reportedly sailed up the St. Lawrence River to discover Canada some 26 years before Jacques Cartier’s 1534 voyage. Another relative was a 17thCentury “King’s Girl,” one of a group of young unmarried girls sent to New France (now the province of Quebec) as brides for the habitants (settlers) there.
My passion for reading made me long to write books like the ones I enjoyed, and I tried penning sequels to my favorite Nancy Drew mysteries. Later, fancying myself a female version of Andrew Lloyd Weber, I drafted a musical set in Paris during WWII.
A former journalist and lifelong Celtophile, I enjoyed a previous career as a reporter/editor for a small chain of community newspapers before returning to my first love, romantic fiction. My stories usually include an Irish setting, hero or heroine, and sometimes all three.
I’m the author of The Claddagh Series, historical romances set in Ireland and beyond, and The Wild Geese Series, in which five Irish heroes return from the American Civil War to find love and adventure.
I’m a member of the Romance Writers of America, Hearts Through History Romance Writers, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. A lifelong resident of Montreal, Canada, I still live there with my own Celtic hero and our two teenaged children.
Q: We're so glad to have you here with us today. Please tell us about your new release.
A: Reluctant Betrayer is the fifth book in my Claddagh Series, historical romances set in Ireland and beyond.
Sweet deception and hidden passion…
Trasnavan…a west-of-Ireland village bursting with charm, intrigue and treachery.
Aidan Collins grew up in the shadow of his heroic older brother. The steady one, the responsible one, he burns with anger against the landlord and vows to change the desperate straits of the village folk.
Raised in a family of rebels, Maura Riordan is horrified when she learns the man she loves has committed the ultimate act of treason.
But Aidan has his own reasons for taking the position of landlord’s agent. Will those reasons destroy him? Will Maura’s deception tear them apart?
Can their love survive the lies they’ve both told?
Q: Sounds wonderful! What do you enjoy most about writing historical romance?
A: Well, everything, really, but I suppose if I had to make a choice, it would be the research, and the necessity (not to mention fun) of immersing myself into that otherworld of whatever era I’m writing about. From the setting to the clothes to the values of the past, it’s a bit like time-travel. And I love tracking down those tiny, elusive details, whether it’s dialect, customs and traditions, foods, or any of the myriad fun and fascinating elements that go into making a well-researched book.
Q: How do you choose names for your characters?
A: I love to browse through books and websites devoted to names. Since the majority of my characters are Irish, there’s a particular website I’ve found to be wonderfully useful, Baby Names of Ireland (http://www.babynamesofireland.com/). Not only does it have the meaning of the name and the history, it also has Frank McCourt pronouncing each name. Irish spelling can be a little bit confusing, so this little extra is invaluable!
Q: Sounds like a great site. Thanks for sharing it with us. Where is your favorite place in the world?
A: No question about it, Ireland. The wild seas, the soft mists, the pearlescent sunlight, the changing skies. Oh, and of course, the many and varied shades of lush green. And did I mention the legends that seem to live in the mist-drenched air? The people are friendly and welcoming, and the history is embedded in the soft, spongy turf.
One of the highlights of my first visit to Ireland was visiting Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara, Co. Galway, the same castle that features on the cover of my first novel, In Sunshine or in Shadow. As I walked the castle grounds and wandered through the various rooms, I could almost feel my Claddagh Series characters moving around with me, like benign ghosts welcoming me to their home. It was a very emotional experience.
I’m looking forward to a return research/pleasure trip in the very near future.
Q: Please tell us about your favorite character in the book.
A: Well, I loved Aidan and Maura, of course. And Maura’s brother Neil was a joy to write. But I fell irrevocably in love with Grace Bennington. She’s the young, innocent, idealistic daughter of Lord Bennington, the landlord who rules Trasnavan with an iron fist and a blind eye.
Initially Grace was meant to be a very minor character who would help me move the plot along. But she burst from the page and demanded story rights of her own. And although she’s only sixteen, she has very definite ideas of the changes that need to take place on Trasnavan. She even developed a huge crush on Maura’s rebel brother, Neil. So don’t be surprised if, when she grows up, she gets her own happily-ever-after!
Q: How wonderful! Please tell us about your other books.
A: At the moment, I have two series “in progress.” The first is the Claddagh Series, of which Betrayer is the fifth. The series tag line is “Historical romances set in Ireland and beyond.” The first story began in post-famine Ireland, and the series continues from there. The theme of the Claddagh (friendship, loyalty and love) resonates through all the books of the series. Each book is a stand-alone story, so you can read them out of order, but it’s always fun to read a series from the very beginning, isn’t it?
The Wild Geese Series features five friends who met on a coffin ship fleeing famished Ireland in 1847. They grew up together on the mean streets of New York’s Five Points, and eventually fought together in the American Civil War under Thomas Francis Meagher’s Irish Brigade.
They fought for America under Ireland's green flag. Now they've come home to claim their happily-ever-after.
Q: When did you know you wanted to be an author?
A: Probably the very first time I strung a few words together into a sentence. I think I was in the first grade. Our teacher had told us to write a sentence about Dick, Jane, and their dog, Spot. Well, instead of writing one sentence, I think I wrote about three paragraphs. My teacher scolded me for writing too much—talk about stifling creativity! But I had the last laugh when my first novel was published!
Q: Wow! I'm glad you didn't let her influence you too much. What’s next for you?
A: I like to keep busy, so there are always several projects on my computer screen. First up is Christmas Rainbows, part of an anthology of Christmas stories published by Highland Press. The story is part of the Claddagh Series and features Lissa Thornhill, who appeared in Playing For Keeps ( Claddagh Series, Book 3).
I’m also hard at work on the fourth book of the Wild Geese Series, Yesterday’s Promise. It’s Declan’s story, in which he’s reunited with the beautiful battlefield nurse who served beside him during the American Civil War.
Then there’s Wishes of the Heart, another Claddagh story. The hero is Tom, second son of Rory O’Brien, the Master of Ballycashel. It’s Cinderella-with-an-Irish-twist. The heroine is Neave Devereux, the beautiful, if misunderstood village healer. It also features my first non-human character, an intrepid and very loving magpie named Bron (Irish for sorrow).
Q: These sound like wonderful stories! Would you like to ask readers a question?
A: Yes, I’d like to know if any of your readers have faced the situation Maura did, being forced to betray someone they loved, and if so, what did they do about it? Just my twisted curiosity at work! J
I’ll be giving away a signed print copy of “In Sunshine or in Shadow, Book I of the Claddagh Series, as well as a signed cover flat from Reluctant Betrayer. Please comment to enter!
Visit Cynthia online at:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Owens/e/B003DQ1V2E
Reluctant Betrayer is available at:
Thank you, Cynthia, for being our special guest today!!