Spotlight On Cindy Gerard
Cindy is giving away two copies of her latest release to two lucky commenters. Winners will be chosen at random on May 7th and will be contacted via email. Please provide this info if you wish to be included in the drawing.
CINDY GERARD, Two time RITA winner
Whatâ€™s your story? As an author who has accomplished what you have, how did you get started and where do you see yourself going?
Many moons ago (grin) I was a reader â€“ of course Iâ€™m STILL a reader â€“ who decided I might be able to also write a book. Four rejected manuscripts later, I made that first sale.Â Thatâ€™s all I wanted at the time. To write and sell a book. But of course, one book led to another until I had written around 30 category romance novels â€“ which I LOVED writing. There came a time, however, when I realized I wanted to tell bigger stories so I ventured out onto that slippery slope of romantic suspense. That was in 2005 with the first of my Bodyguard books, TO THE EDGE. At that point, I just wanted to make a respectable showing but before long I realized I wanted what most authors want â€“ to hit the New York Times print list. It seemed like an unattainable goal, given the talent and prowess of all the writers out there but with the help of my amazing agent, Maria Carvainis and my publishers, and most of all my readers who spent their hard earned dollars buying my books, the NYT became a reality with my 6th single title, INTO THE DARK. Iâ€™m happy to report Iâ€™m now riding a winning streak of 5 NYT best sellers and keeping my fingers crossed that my new release â€“ RISK NO SECRETS â€“ coming out May 18th will be number 6.
My current plans are to continue to write romantic suspense stories and hopefully make ech one more exciting, more suspenseful, and more romantic than the last. I feel a real sense of obligation, not only to my professional partners in the business, but to my readers. The very last thing I want to happen is to not meet their expectations. Like I said earlier, they pay hard earned money when they buy a book. I want the reading experience to not just meet but exceed their hopes.
Youâ€™re a two time RITA winner, how does that feel and did winning help you get more recognition?
Are you kidding me? Itâ€™s a thrill of major proportions. Having the respect and validation of your peers is humbling. Iâ€™m very appreciative for the votes of confidence and yes, the RITA is a very prestigious award which both readers and publishers recognize.
Cindy, you have an impressive list of romantic suspense, do you fear this genre is getting overexposed? Do you see yourself writing in another genre besides this one?
Great question. Interestingly enough, I was at the RT conference this past week and had a long chat with Sue Grimshaw, the Romance Buyer for Borders Books. Sue reports that Romantic Suspense is going strong and when I asked her specifically about my concern that action adventure romance featuring Spec Ops/Covert warriors was over saturating the market, she assured me that it was not.Â Readers are hungry for those types of books, per Sue.Â So I was very happy to hear that!!
As for writing in another genre, at this time, Iâ€™m very happy to write romantic suspense. My readers are loyal and enthusiastic and I want to continue to write for them.
What other projects do you have in the works?
Iâ€™m currently working on Book 6 of the Black Ops, Inc. series, which is Luke â€“ Doc Holliday â€“ Colterâ€™s story.Â Iâ€™m very excited about this book because not only do I love Doc, but also my fans have been asking me for his story. Weâ€™re looking at a big summer release in 2011 for his book, tentatively titled WITH NO REMORSE. In the meantime, Iâ€™m also very excited about DEADLY PROMISES, an October 2010 release. DP is a romantic suspense anthology headlined by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Laura Griffin will also join us in this 3 novella collection. My novella, LEAVE NO TRACE, is â€“ you guessed it â€“ a Black Ops story with a surprise hero that I have a feeling everyone is going to be happy to see again.
Whatâ€™s the most adventurous thing youâ€™ve ever done and did you use it in one of your books?
I led a panel at the RT conference the end of April where we discussed this very question. Hands down, my most adventurous experience was a white water rafting/camping trip in the Grand Canyon. As if the white water wasnâ€™t enough, when our guide encouraged us to follow his lead and jump off a 40-foot cliff into the frigid Colorado River, I was one of 4 women who were brave enough (read â€˜stupidâ€™ enough) to take the plunge. One of the reasons I did it was to prove to myself that I could overcome two of my biggest fears â€“ water and heights. Another was because I wanted to write a scene where my heroine had to jump off a cliff. And yes, I did use it in DESERT HEAT, my novella in the Rescue Me collection.
What is the hardest part of being a writer? The easiest?
Hardest â€“ keeping disciplined and dealing with things that are beyond my control, such as where my books are placed in the stores, piracy on the web and NOT knowing if Iâ€™m striking the right chord with my readers. The easiest is getting to write at home in my jammies â€“ as Iâ€™m doing right now :o)
What is the biggest misconception about romance authors that youâ€™ve come across?
That weâ€™re a bunch of vapid, bored women playing at the writer game. The writers I encounter and count as friends are intelligent, charismatic, professional, funny and warm individuals who have important points of view and amazing stories to tell. The good news is, the writing community as a whole is becoming more and more aware of the strength of our genre and if not exactly embracing it and our writers, growing to respect our creativity and business acumen. I recently returned from the RT conference in Ohio and was thrilled to see a strong and healthy contingent of male thriller writers in attendance. I also captained two panels with both women romance novelists and men thriller writers and Iâ€™m here to tell you, the men respect not only what we do but our fans who are so loyal and enthusiastic about our work. Itâ€™s a nice trend to see happening.
Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?
Finish the book! I have stated this repeatedly from the beginning of my career and I stand by it as the single most critical part of the process.Â Itâ€™s fun and exciting and easy to START a book. The tough part comes when youâ€™ve been with the project for a while and it becomes work, not fun. Thatâ€™s when determination and discipline come into play.Â You have to stay with it and write through to the endâ€¦even if youâ€™re bored with it, certain itâ€™s the worst pile of sludge ever, or disenchanted with the process. All writers feel those things during the creative process. You have to trust in your original enthusiasm for the story and finish it. Once itâ€™s done, THEN you can revisit the story with an objective eye and sort the wheat from the chafe, but you MUST finish the book and not let that other shiny new story idea distract you. It has to wait.
Any last words for our readers?
Just many, many thanks for the support youâ€™ve all given me over my writing career.Â Without readers, we writers wouldnâ€™t have reason to write. Iâ€™m forever grateful that Iâ€™ve been able to sustain a lengthy published career and for the wonderful feedback I receive from my fans who seem to love and believe in my characters as much as I do.
New Times and USA Today Bestseller, Cindy Gerard, is a 6 time Rita finalist and is proud to display 2 RITAs in her office.Â Â Cindy writes fast, sexy, action-adventure romantic suspense featuring former Spec Ops warriors and is proud to count many military families among her readers.Â Here latest release, RISK NO SECRETS, Book 5 of her bestselling Black Ops, Inc. series will be released May 18.Â Catch up on Cindyâ€™s news at www.cindygerard.com.Interviewed by Jax Cassidy