Thanks for taking the time to come over and answer a few of my questions. The readers have briefly met you on my blog not too long ago, but this is their chance to really get to know you. In order to allow that to happen, I’d like to start with a few ‘personal’ questions, if that’s okay?
I know you are originally a journalist, but do you ever long to get back to writing news stories, or are you perfectly happy writing fiction?
Occasionally, if there’s a big story happening, I wish I was back in news. It’s quite an adrenalin rush to be right there in the middle of things – to know about it before anybody else does, and then to be the one to tell people about it. But I don’t miss the daily grind. Or the noisy police scanners. Or the phone calls from listeners when it snows, wanting to know if their school is closed. Hmm, I guess I’m happier writing fiction.
What was the best non-fiction piece you’ve ever written?
I don’t know if it’s the best piece I ever wrote – but while I was working for a radio station in Norfolk, Virginia, I wrote a story for our Sunday magazine-style show about how the local housing authority had financed a bunch of repairs to a woman’s house. Virginia Beach is fairly upscale, but the city still has pockets of poverty (or it did, back in the ‘80s when I lived there), and this woman was just so grateful to have a kitchen with appliances that worked. I won an award from the Virginia Associated Press Broadcasters Association for the story.
What made you decide to get your fiction published?
One of the long-standing items on my bucket list was to write a novel and get it published. When Joy Calderwood, who I knew from a message board, started up an e-book publishing house, she offered to publish some of my work, but I didn’t have anything in the hopper right then. She came back to me later and offered to publish a couple of short stories that I’d written for an anthology project that we’d both been involved with. At that point, I said yes. Then I actually made a couple of bucks from them, which is more than I could say for the nonfiction book I’d co-authored. So when I finished The Maidens’ War, I sent it to Joy and she agreed to publish it. And the rest is history….
Given the choice where would you rather live? Mountains, or seaside?
Mountains, without a doubt. I grew up within walking distance of Lake Michigan, so big bodies of water have their appeal for me. But Colorado has always felt like my spiritual home. I fully intend to move back there one of these days.
Do you enjoy the great outdoors, or do you rather recline on a sunbed to read a book?
I was much more of an outdoorsy person when I was younger. These days, I prefer to stay inside to read or knit – or write!
There, that wasn’t too bad, was it? But it’s not why you are here. You want to tell the world about your work, right? So, what is the title of the book you would like to talk about, and can you give us a small taster of it?
The book is called Crosswind: Land, Sea, Sky Book 1.
It’s an urban fantasy, and the first in a trilogy that’s set ten years after my 5-book series, The Pipe Woman Chronicles. Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter. The main characters meet for the first time when Darrell answers Sue and Tess’s Craigslist ad for a new roommate. Tess is working overnights in TV and has just gotten home:
Read the excerpt below to get a feel of how this plays out.
“Let me show you around,” Sue said to Darrell. “Tess, you don’t need to come along.”
Tess levered herself out of the chair. “No, I’d better. Otherwise I’ll be asleep in a minute.” She trailed them up the stairs.
Sue was motioning through the door of Ginger’s former room like the eye candy on a game show. “This would be your room,” she said. “It’s small, but it might suit you better than it would suit one of us – guys usually have less stuff, don’t they?” She was smiling hopefully at Darrell as he ducked his head through the doorway. Tess hung back near the door to her own room.
“Did you say you have a basement?” he asked as he stepped back out.
“I did,” Sue said.
“I’d like to take a look at it.”
They all trooped through the townhouse and down the basement stairs. Tess stopped about halfway down and sank to a seat, leaning against the cinder block wall, while Darrell prowled around the gloomy space, dodging boxes, castoff furniture, and their makeshift closet for winter clothing.
Finally, he said, “I can make this work.”
Tess blinked and sat up straight. Sue said, “Wait a minute. You want to sleep down here?”
“But it’s gross,” she said. “It’s damp, and there are spider crickets and Goddess knows what else. And the windows leak when we get a lot of rain.”
Darrell had cracked a tiny smile – the first one Tess had seen on his face, she realized. “‘Goddess’?” he asked.
“Yes. I’m Wiccan. Is that a problem?” Sue said mildly, but Tess heard the edge.
“Not at all,” Darrell responded. “Would it be okay if I moved all of your stuff to the bottom of the stairs? Then I could put up a partition with a regular door in it. I’d make sure to leave common access to the hot water heater and electrical box in the back.”
“You’d have a huge space,” Tess said, thinking aloud. “Like a studio apartment, except you wouldn’t have a kitchen or a bathroom.”
“Exactly,” Darrell said. “I can shower at the gym at work, no problem. So all we would really be sharing is the kitchen and the half bath.”
Sue and Tess looked at each other. “Sounds like a great deal for all of us,” Sue said. “Welcome home, roomie.” She and Darrell shook hands, and they trooped back up to the kitchen.
There, Tess held out her hand to Darrell. As he took it, she had another of those weird visions. This time, it was a giant rabbit’s head superimposed over Darrell’s. It grinned and winked at her, just as Senator Holt’s apparition had. Tess blinked rapidly.
“Are you okay?” the rabbit asked.
“No,” Tess said. “No, I am definitely not okay. It’s been great to meet you and I’m glad this is going to work out for all of us. But I am so tired that I’m starting to hallucinate. If you’ll both excuse me, I’m going to bed.”
She could have sworn she heard the rabbit chuckling as she headed up the stairs. But what chilled her was the crow that cawed right along with him.
Want to read more? Why not hop on over to Amazon and get your copy?
Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?
It was sort of a chain reaction, actually. I knew the Morrigan would be one of the deities in this series, and since the Celts’ three sacred realms are Land, Sea, and Sky, that seemed like the perfect framework. Once I determined I would write a trilogy – one book for each realm, if you will – then the titles were easy. Crosswind is the Sky book. The next book, Undertow, is the Sea book. The final book will be Scorched Earth.
This was a far different experience than I had with naming the Pipe Woman Chronicles books. The title of the first book, Seized, was relatively easy, but I spent a lot of quality time with a thesaurus to come up with the rest!
If you would have to change the genre in order to be able to publish it, what would it be then? i.e. would you conform your work to suit the market?
This is a very interesting question. Not long ago, someone suggested to me that I could sell a lot more copies of The Pipe Woman Chronicles if I toned down the criticism of Christianity. But for me, part of the joy of being an indie author is that I can tell my story my way, without regard to whether it will sell a billion copies. I’ve known all along that The Pipe Woman Chronicles – and now Land, Sea, Sky – aren’t going to be for everybody, but I do think there’s a market out there. And I think almost every Christian has questioned his or her beliefs at one time or another.
Can you tell me how you celebrate finally getting that tricky chapter (or para) right?
Usually by wiping my brow and plunging onward. Well – I might get another Diet Coke with Lime. 😉
Is there anything you don’t like about being an author?
Marketing is not my favorite thing to do. I had a real problem with it at first. What finally worked was to think of Lynne Cantwell as a brand, and my books as products under that brand. Only then could I stand to look at my author picture without cringing. 😀
What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?
I’ve participated in several blog tours, which are great for getting your name out there. I’ve also paid for some ads. Free days on Amazon used to yield good results, but the post-free bounce is gone now – and the Countdown feature is probably too new to get a read on (I’ll be doing one for the Pipe Woman Chronicles Omnibus later this month – we’ll see how it goes). The best result I’ve had so far, in terms of sales, was the book blast the Finishing Fairies arranged for the release of Annealed. Kriss and Kai rock the house, in my humble opinion.
Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?
Now that you mention it, there seems to be a lot of coffee drinking in Crosswind. The three main characters share a townhouse, so they congregate in the kitchen a lot. I don’t drink as much coffee as they do, but I drank a lot more of it when I kept Tess’s crazy work hours.
What is your favourite dish and can you give me the recipe?
I’m not much of a cook, but I do like to bake – and it’s nearly Christmas, which means Christmas cookies! My Czech-American mother used to make almond crescents, among others, at Christmastime, but I never tried making them myself until a few years ago. Here’s the recipe I use:
2 sticks of butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup ground blanched almonds
Between 1 3/4 and 2 cups of all-purpose flour
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in egg yolk and vanilla, mixing well. Add almonds and flour, thoroughly incorporating.
Break off walnut-sized pieces of dough, shape each into a crescent and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 15-20 min., or until slightly brown on the edges.
Roll in confectioners’ sugar while still hot. When cool, roll them again. Store tightly covered. Makes about 3 dozen.
They sound and look delicious!
Next stage, would you be able to come up with a credible excuse why you haven’t written a whole day? Remember, I have to believe it!
Well, take today, for example. I have a perfectly good excuse for not writing today. I’m writing this on the day after the last day of NaNoWriMo. I had to clean out the cat box, put away the laundry, and attend to all the other chores I didn’t get done over the past four weeks. So I didn’t get any writing done (other than answering these questions – does that count?).
Okay now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want the blab about. But please no cats, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something none has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂
Dirty little secrets, huh? But no cats. So I can’t tell you about the state of the cat box….
But seriously, folks, I’m pretty sure I haven’t told this story before: When I was about three years old, I nearly drowned. My mother and I had gone to the beach with some relatives while we were visiting them in Maine, and at one point I decided to follow my teenaged cousin out into the ocean. I must have gotten swamped by a wave, but I don’t remember it. What I do recall is seeing my cousin way ahead of me and trying to catch up to her, and then waking up on my back on the beach. No idea who rescued me. But in any case, I survived – for good or ill.
* * * * *
AMAZON | KOBO | iTUNES | SMASHWORDS
Life on Earth is much improved since the pagan gods’ return. As conflict eases around the world, attention — and money — has turned to more humanitarian goals: improving the lives of the First Nations peoples and others who were repressed for thousands of years.
But the former ruling class – the military, religious, and corporate leaders who profited under the old system — are about to stage a last-ditch effort to bring their good times back.
The gods refuse to start a new war against those men, because that would make them no better than Their opponents. Instead, They have drafted three humans to help Them. Together, Tess, Sue and Darrell must find a way past their own flaws to ensure the gods’ peace will not be destroyed.
Thank you for stopping by Lynne and sharing all of the personal tid bits as well as your book with us. All that’s left for me is to tell the readers they can follow you online at:
Amazon, Calderwood Books, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, and her blog