I'm pleased to have Cindy Jack here at The Life and Lies! Cindy is touring with Goddess Fish for her new book All The Good Men.
Thank you for having me as your guest! I'm thrilled to be here :)
I've been interested in writing as long as I can remember, but I didn't make an attempt to write fiction professionally until a few years ago. A friend encouraged me to submit a short story to an e-publisher. I really didn't expect the story to be accepted, but it was and ever since then I've felt like I found a home.
2. What inspired you to write All the Good Men?
A random thought inspired the book while I was working on another novel. The phrase, “All the good men are either married or gay,” came up in dialogue and I thought, “Hey, that would make a funny premise for a book. A woman who sets out to prove this cliché is true and winds up falling in love along the way. I jotted down the idea and tucked it away until I was ready to work on it.
3. How did you come up with the title?
The title was originally, “Married or Gay.” But then I thought, that's not the sexiest part of the phrase that inspired the book and since this is a romance, the title should be sexy. I decided to change it to “All the Good Men,” about half way through writing it.
4. What books or people influenced your writing? Was it positive influence, or negative?
I'm a big fan of the chick lit genre so authors like Marian Keyes, Candace Bushnell, and Helen Fielding. But even farther back than these writers, I loved the works of Margaret Atwood, Sheri Tepper, and Agatha Christie. Strong women shaped my literary background and I'm grateful to them for their work.
5. How do you go about researching for your books?
I use a variety of sources. Sometimes I use Google if I need just a very surface understanding of a topic. In the case of the firefighter training scene in All the Good Men, I was fortunate enough to witness what's called a 'training burn' which is a fire set in a controlled situation for the express purpose of giving probational firefighters hands on experience. I've always had respect for folks involved with fire and rescue, but after witnessing the reality of what they face, I'm even more in awe.
6. Did you base any of your characters on real people?
Often I do and All the Good Men is no exception. The two main characters are based on people very close to me. The heroine is modeled after my best friend in the whole world, Eva Elliott. And the hero is based on my boyfriend who is a firefighter. Though the characters definitely evolved into their own people, it was great to start with two people I know inside and out.
7. What’s the most exciting part about being a published author? What is the hardest part?
The most exciting part is the wonderful opportunity to share my work with the public. I think of myself more as a storyteller than a writer, but to be a true storyteller, one must have an audience.
The hardest part has been trying to learn the art of self-promotion. Again, there's no audience unless people know my book's out there for them to read, lol. Luckily, I found the wonderful ladies at Goddess Fish Promotions and they've made the process of promoting All the Good Men easy and painless!
8. Do you have any other books planned in the future?
Oh I do! I do! I have a short paranormal erotic romance coming out May 28th with Cobblestone Press under the pen name CJ Elliott. Also by CJ Elliott, I have a mystery/suspense novel titled Clean coming soon to Moongypsy Press. Recently, I finished a fantasy romance titled Desire starring the Greek/Roman god Bacchus. And finally, I'm working on another romantic comedy novel titled, Modern Love. So yeah, I keep myself busy, lol.
9. Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?
My favorite character is Todd Velvetine, the heroine's best friend, housekeeper, voice of reason, and at times, co-conspirator. He's based on a dear friend of mine who passed away a few years ago. I miss him so much, but it's nice to go back to the collection of short stories and feel like I'm visiting with him.
I don't know that I dislike any of my characters. Maybe Amy in All the Good Men, but it's not Amy's fault. She was created to be obnoxious. What's that Jessica Rabbit says? “I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way.” That's Amy's problem too, lol.
10. What advice can you give to young writers who want to publish their books?
First and foremost—write everyday. Professional athletes and musicians practice every day and so must a writer. And if you can, surround yourself with people who know more about the writing business than you do and learn as much as you can.
Be flexible in your vision of your work. Yes, every word you wrote in your first draft was perfect...at least to you it was. But you're going to have to collaborate with an editor and make changes. Edits are part of getting published so make your peace with them.
Don't take rejection to heart, but learn from it. And don't give up. With all the avenues open to authors today, if you stick with writing and hone your craft, you can be successful.
Just for fun:
1. What are your ten most favorite things?
A good mystery novel
High thread-count sheets
My little red dress
2. What do you do when you’re not writing?
Most of my free time is devoted to my family. But when I'm not chasing after my son, I love to take dance classes (all styles). I also make beaded jewelry, sketch, paint, and crochet.
3. Do you have any pets?
Just a betta fish named Speedy. He's the largest pet allowed in the apartment.
4. What are your favorite (and least favorite) foods?
My favorite is pizza. I could eat it all day, everyday if it wouldn't send my cholesterol through the roof. And I love to make pizza from scratch. Yeah, I know I'm a nut. [Haleyknitz: haha you're not a nut, you're sane. We make our own pizza too!]
My least favorite food would have to be vegetables. Yes, all vegetables. I know they're good for me and I eat them to stay healthy and set a good example for my son, but if somehow I could never eat another veggie again, I wouldn't.
5. Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?
Usually on the couch. I like to be in the center of things while I'm working. At times, I've barricaded myself in the bedroom and I'm more productive that way (especially if I turn off my internet connect, lol) but then I feel left out of the action.
6. Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?
Some kind of finger foods like pretzels or cheese and crackers. Strawberries are good too. Anything I can pick at that isn't greasy or sticky.
7. If you could go anywhere in the whole world, either for a vacation or to live there, where would you go?
I would love to retire to Hawaii. I spent six years there as a child and went to college there. Part of me still thinks of the islands at home. And if I had to pick an island it'd be either Kauai because it's beautiful or the Big Island because it has a small town feel, but more room than Oahu.
8. What was your favorite and least favorite subject in school?
My favorite subject was always art, English a close second. My least favorite was math. I was terrible at math because I found it too boring to concentrate on.
9. What book are you reading right now?
I have two books I'm reading: Deep Water by Kayden McLeod and Turn It On by Vivian Arend.
10. Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.
I'm a closet science geek. When I have writer's block, I love watching science and nature documentaries. I find them soothing.
Thank you again for having me here today!
Thanks so much Cindy.
Check out my review of All The Good Men here.
This concludes the tour for All the Good Men. Cindy is giving away a signed copy of the book! To enter, leave a comment with your e-mail address. Goddess Fish will pick the winner.