Name Cindy Spencer Pape
Age old enough to know better
Where are you from southeastern Michigan
A little about your self `ie your education Family life
I have degrees in zoology and taught environmental education before writing full time, along with a wide variety of other jobs. I’ve been married for 30 years, have 2 grown sons and an adorable grandspawn, plus there’s always a wide variety of pets at my house.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
This fall is all about anthologies or “boxed sets” as Amazon likes to call them. INTO THE FLAMES released Sept. 29, and is all about firemen. My story, WHERE THERE’S SMOKE is set in the 1920s. The next set, ENTICE ME, has all kinds of romance, and mine is a medieval paranormal called BELTANE LION (yes, it does involve a lion shifter.) ENTICE ME is up now for preorder and will release October 10. Finally, HERE BE MAGIC will be a mix of fantasy and paranormal romance (mine, THE DEVIL OF BOURBON STREET, is romance, with magic) and will release November 13.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I fiddled with it all through childhood. When I was older, I’d get grumpy if I thought a book was badly written. So eventually, I decided to see if I could do any better. I had a job with a desk, were I often had to look busy but really had nothing to do, so I spent that time writing my first book.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
After my first few books were sold. Once the first was actually out, I think that was the moment that did it.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I hated the movie Starship Troopers. So I wrote a story about a space fighter pilot and an infantryman that had a happy ending. The book was terrible, but it did prove to myself that I could write a complete story.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I write a lot of different genres, but the style is probably similar across the board. Smart characters, subtle but often snarky humor, lots of character interaction and a little bit of danger.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
For Where there’s Smoke, it was to do with the anthology title of INTO THE FLAMES. It’s a play on the heat of their feelings for one another, even though both try not to show them.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I have a couple of messages that manage to sneak into most of my books. One is that family is important, but that family can include people who weren’t born related. Another is that love can prevail but sometimes you have to work for it. Finally, I’d say one of my themes is that life is short, and we should enjoy each day as much as we can.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Most of it. I researched the period very thoroughly, and there is no element of paranormal in it.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The only part that is based on my family is the heroine’s name. You never hear it now, but Nettie was common in the 1920s, as a nickname for Annette, Linette, and other names. My mother had an aunt Arnetta and my father had an aunt Annetta, and both went by Nettie. So I thought that would be a fun name to use.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I think every book you read leaves a mark. The first time I read Elizabeth Peters, I learned about voice, and found one similar to my own. Mark Twain who could put humor into serious situations, The Trixie Belden books hooked me on series when I was a kid, and reading Sherlock Holmes taught me to make my characters smart.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
A book called Shakespeare’s Local, that looks at the history of England from the point of view of one tavern in Southwark, (London south of the Thames.)
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I don’t think you can find a better group of up-and-coming authors than the group in INTO THE FLAMES.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m finishing up the story for HERE BE MAGIC (edits, mainly) then I have another novella committed to a publisher. After that, I’m not sure.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
The Detroit Chapter of the Romance Writers of America, early on, and now the Untitled Writers’ Group.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, I’m a full-time writer now.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Probably. J the editor inside my head almost never shuts up.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Not really. I’ve been writing in one form or another all my life.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
This is from WHERE THERE’S SMOKE, an novella in INTO THE FLAMES
At every other shop in town, the clerks looked at Eli as if he were nothing more than his wallet or his position on the city council, always trying to sell him something more, something he didn’t need, or hoping to influence his opinion on this or that. Nettie saw the man beneath, and spoke to him like a person, and damn if every book she suggested wasn’t a good one. Best of all, he’d watched her with other customers. She was thoughtful to everyone who entered the shop, rich or poor. She was even polite to the ones who spoke rudely about her drunken father.
It was on that thought that Eli entered the shop so he’d momentarily lost his cheerful mood. It disintegrated completely when he got a look at Nettie’s face. Her left cheek was a mass of bruising, the eye swollen nearly shut.
And still she smiled. “I wondered where you were today. I’ve saved you a Washington Post.” Her bright tone never wavered.
Eli lost all pretense of civility and stalked to the counter. “Your father?” He pitched his voice low, so it wouldn’t carry through the open door.
“I tripped.” She winced as she tried to smile again. “Fell down a couple of stairs into a wall.” Her fingers clenched on the counter, wrinkling his copy of the local paper.
Not that he gave a damn about that. He laid his hand over his. “You’re not a very good liar, Miss Nettie. Why’d he hit you this time?”
She shrugged. “I forgot to pick up his medicine on my way home last night.”
“Medicine, my Aunt Gertrude. You mean his booze.” Everyone knew Murphy the pharmacist sold bootleg liquor out of his shop, and gave a cut of the profit to Doc Rollins, the disreputable quack who prescribed it for a wide variety of ills.
Nettie pulled her hand away. “It doesn’t matter, Mr. Lawson. I won’t forget it again.”
“Why do you stay with him? You’re of age. You have a good job here. There are several boarding houses in town that would be happy to have you, especially with a reference from the Websters.” Hell, he’d get her a letter of reference from the city council if it got her to leave her home.
“I can’t do that, sir. My father needs me.” She moved to the cash register and rang in the price of the two papers. “But thank you for your concern.”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Sometimes it’s getting enough conflict between the hero and heroine. It’s too easy to make them like each other right from the start.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I’d have to say Elizabeth Peters, aka Barbara Michaels. In either persona, she wrote books with smart, witty characters, complex plots, humor, danger, and used a voice that really spoke to me.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I haven’t yet—all my research has been online. I’d love to someday, though.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
On INTO THE FLAMES, Syneca of Original Syn Designs did the main cover. The cover for my particular story was done by author/artist Angela Campbell.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Trying to sound like it was in the 1920s without sounding silly.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Tons of stuff about Prohibition and firefighting.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just keep trying. Don’t give up.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you with all my heart!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
It was an old bedtime story-book, it didn’t even have a cover. My parents would read me one story every night and soon I knew them by heart and could read along.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I cry when I’m angry, which is really weird and also aggravating, but I can’t help it. My son is the same way, and it’s even more embarrassing for a man. I love to laugh, so that doesn’t take much at all.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
I had to answer that at a dinner party not long ago and I decided I’d like to have a chat with Queen Elizabeth. I think there’s a fascinating woman under all that protocol.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
I don’t really want to be buried—but if there was a memorial, I think I’d like it to say “She was Loved.”
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I love costuming and going to steampunk events, Victorian festivals and Renaissance fairs. I also play a lot of board games. And read, of course.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Romances, comedies, mysteries! Dr. Who, The Muppets, Miss Fisher Mysteries, Murdoch Mysteries. At Midnight.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food: salted caramels. Color. Any. All. Music—mostly updated Celtic.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Well, I’ve been a politician, a secretary, a banker, and an educator, so I think I’d have figured something out.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Amazon Authors Page http://www.amazon.com/Cindy-Spencer-Pape/e/B0036LREE0
Thanks for having me!