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L.T. Suzuki

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Cyndi Tefft Interview
12/3/2011 10:38:36 PM
YA Author Cyndi Tefft discusses her debut novel and the writing life!
Had your fill of vampires and werewolves for now? Then youíll want to meet todayís guest blogger! Iíd like to introduce you to Cyndi Tefft, YA author of Between, a paranormal romance that features one very cool Grim Reaper! Iíd like to begin by having you share a little information about yourself with our readers, Cyndi. What do you enjoy doing when youíre not writing?

CT: Thanks for having me on the blog, Lorna! Itís a treat to be here. When Iím not writing, I love to read. Anything with a good love story is fair game, be it contemporary, historical or paranormal. If thereís romance (and a happy ending), Iíll read it!

Has writing stories always been a part of your life and becoming a published author a life long dream?

CT: I used to write (really bad) poetry in high school about This Guy or That Guy who didnít know I was alive. Writing was a way to exorcise the demons of self-doubt and insecurities that would have otherwise eaten me whole. It was a way to scream out loud on paper the words Iíd never let slip past my lips.
But it wasnít until I became an adult that I decided to try my hand at writing a novel. I was watching a video interview of Stephenie Meyer and thought she sounded like a pretty normal person. I figured if she could do it, why couldnít I? I know, delusions of grandeur have always been my downfall. LOL Still, that was the catalyst that made me sit down and start writing!

Your debut novel Between has been getting some great reviews! What was the inspiration behind this story and can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist, Lindsey Waters?

CT: I wanted to write a good-versus-evil story, but felt that angels and demons had been done enough before, so I decided to create a realm between earth and heaven where I could add in fun time-travel elements.
Lindsey is a modern-day American girl who is reeling from her parentsí divorce when she starts college. Sheís kind-hearted and outgoing, with something of a wild streak in her. She sees the best in people, but is too hard on herself. And before you ask: yes, sheís a lot like me. J

Without giving away too much, can you reveal whatís in store for the readers when they crack open Between?

CT: Lindsey dies in a car accident within the first few pages of the book. She awakens to find herself in a meadow with the gorgeous Aiden MacRae, an 18th century Scottish Highlander who has come to transport her from earth to heaven. Lindsey isnít ready to move on to heaven right away, so Aiden introduces her to the realm in between where heís lived for the last 300 years. The more time she spends with Aiden, the more reluctant she is to leave him, but heavenís siren song gets louder and louder, drawing her away.

The road to publication is difficult at the best of times. What made you decide to self-publish your novel?

CT: After over a year of riding the emotional rollercoaster of hope and rejection that came from querying agents, I decided to forget the whole thing and leave the book in the proverbial nightstand drawer forever. I tried to walk away, but I couldnít. The story burned inside me and I needed to finish what Iíd started.
Self-publishing appealed to me because I didnít want anyoneís livelihood to depend on my productivity. I abhor deadlines, particularly for creative endeavors, so having an agent and editor pressuring me to pound out the next book was not what I wanted. I wasnít looking to be a career author; I just needed to tell the story. In the end, I did receive an offer from an independent publisher, but I decided to go it on my own and Iím glad I did.

What is the most important lesson youíve learned on the road to publication?

CT: Donít lose sight of your goals. Know what you want and why you want it. If you want a career as an author where your royalties pay the bills, then let that guide the decisions you make. If, like me, you just want to get the story out there so you can say you did it, then donít get compare yourself to others whose books are NY Times bestsellers. Always strive to improve, but remember why youíre running the race to start with.

Iím curious about your writing style. Are you one of those disciplined writers who must dedicate a certain time each day to producing so many words, or are you more relaxed and tend to write when it strikes your fancy?
CT: Iíd love to be disciplined with my writing, but I rarely have time to dedicate to writing. Between the day job, family and church, I struggle to carve out time for getting the words down! It really is a balancing act. Besides, I write better when Iím in the mood for it.

Still on the subject of writing styles, are you a plotter or pantser? The readers would like to know if you tend to plot out your story line in great detail or if your writing is more organic with the characters and events unfolding as you write.

CT: Definitely a panster! I like to have an idea of where Iím headed, but I like to be surprised along the way. I once plotted out an entire book and by the time I got done, I didnít want to write it anymore!

Some authors meditate, others need to fuel up on coffee or listen to music. Do you have any rituals, ones that can be shared with the readers, that you must do before you hunker down for a writing session?

CT: On Saturday mornings, I like to take my laptop to the bookstore and write. I put on my headphones to block out the world, listen to instrumental Scottish folk music, and sip my espresso while I work on the manuscript. Thatís how I write best, but I do sometimes write on my lunch break at work if the urge is there. J

At one time or another, most writers hit the wall and their work stalls because of the dreaded writerís block. What do you do to get around or over this mental wall to resume writing?

CT: When I hit the wall, I step away and read instead. I keep a notebook with me when Iím reading so I can jot down vivid words. Then, when my well is running dry, I look over the entries to be reminded of the power of words. It helps!

Who is your favourite author and how has he/she inspired you to write or influenced your writing style or choice of genre?

CT: Diana Gabaldon is my favorite author. Her Outlander series inspired my love of Scotland and was the reason I had to create a Highlander of my very own! Our writing styles are very different, but Iíve been told that Between has a similar feel. I canít think of a higher compliment!

What is the most profound discovery youíve made in terms of your writing and how it has touched the lives of others?

CT: Reviewers of Between often note that they cried or went through a box of tissues while reading. I love that. The only time a book makes you cry is if youíre invested in what happens to the characters, if you really care about them. And to hear that from readers brings me such joy, since it means I did my job well, that they were swept away by the story.

What are you reading now, and how did this particular book make it onto your to-read list?

CT: I just finished reading the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. While hanging out on Twitter one night (as I often do), I noticed some women tweeting about someone named Jericho Barrons. The way they were swooning, I figured he was a sexy movie star, so I went to check him out. When I learned he was a character from a book, I knew I needed to read that series!

What do you foresee in your future over the next five years and do you hope to branch out from YA into other genres? Can your fans expect a sequel to Between in the near future?

CT: Yes, there is a sequel to Between, which will be released in the spring of 2012. Itís called Hell Transporter and is about Aidenís counterpart, the one who takes people from earth to hell. The book is already up on Goodreads, if youíd like to mark it as ďto readĒ now!
Once Iím finished with Hell Transporter, Iím not sure whatís next for me. I enjoy writing love scenes so I will most likely write adult romance. Between started out as an adult title but I changed it to YA during the editing process. Iíve shared the deleted sex scenes with fans on Twitter, which was more fun than a squirt gun fight on a hot summer day! J

Thank you so much for taking the time to share in your works and your writing experience, Cyndi! For more information about this author and her novel, check out:
Website: http://cynditefft.com
Follow Cyndi on Twitter: .cynditefft
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorCyndiTefft
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/CyndiTefft

Where to buy the book:
Ebook only: Smashwords, Apple, Kobo
Print only: Createspace, My website (signed copy)
Print and ebook: Amazon, Barnes & Noble




Comments (1)

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