Warning – possible spoilers! (Tiny ones, though, and I’ll try to avoid even those; I swear I’ll give my best not to ruin it for you… :-))
If you are a romance lover and haven’t read anything by Cindy Steel yet, you are missing out on a lot. Her wintery novella A Christmas Spark came as such a beautiful surprise to me at the very beginning of 2022. It was a perfect way to start a year – with an angsty but swoony romance, great writing and characters I could truly relate to.
I am living for that sweet empty spot in my overwhelming TBR where I get to squeeze in another of her books. I can practicably hear That Fine Line calling from my kindle, fingers crossed I get to it soon.
In the meantime, I am trying out a new thing on the blog. I always want to know more about my favorite authors. The moment I put down a book I enjoyed, I want to know all about the person behind it. Just who they are, what they like or don’t like, and what life as an author looks like from their perspective.
I’m sure many of you feel the same. Which is why I decided to start a new section on NovelOnMyMind – Meet the Author.
Basically, I’m raising my fangirling to another level by molesting as many of them as I can into answering some bookish (and not so bookish) questions.
Today, I asked Steel to tell me more about her writing process, how she deals with bad reviews and most importantly – what she is working on right now. Here are her answers…
Author Q&A with Cindy Steel
Your romances are both angsty and sweet. How do you manage to strike the balance?
That’s so nice of you to say! It can definitely be tricky to find a balance. There always has to be some sort of a push and a pull in a book. Some sort of tension has to be on every page whether the main characters are fighting, teasing, flirting, fighting attraction, fighting a kiss…all of it. I’ve found that the power of good dialogue is key for me.
What do you think makes a good story?
For me, I love the power of subtlety. People rarely say exactly what they really mean and I love that dynamic with writing characters. Good character dynamics whether through flirting or teasing in some way always keep me turning the pages.
How has writing and publishing a book changed the way you see yourself?
For most of my life, I’ve always wanted to be an author. At any given time, I would have a dozen “book starts” on my computer. Where I would get ideas of a book and start writing but never finish. Now with each book I finish, it builds a bit more confidence in me that I can do it again. It’s a very empowering feeling for me to actually finish something I started.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I do. For better or worse, haha.
For the most part, my reviews have been very kind. Every book is not for everybody. And that’s the same with an author. But it has been fascinating to see how personal a story can be to someone. Good and bad.
My favorite is when readers feel inspired to send a message telling me how a character of mine had similar characteristics to themselves that they hadn’t seen represented in quite the same way before. Those interactions with readers help me feel a great sense of purpose in what I do.
At the end of the day, people want to feel seen and understood. And if I can do that for someone with my characters while providing them with a fun, lighthearted escape, it’s the best feeling in the world.
As for the bad reviews…I usually give myself a day to get over the sucker punch feeling, haha, and then I move on. Sometimes the informational critiques can give me helpful feedback. And sometimes, my book was simply not for that reader. And that’s totally okay. But you definitely grow a thick skin being an author.
If you could co-write a book with any author, who would it be?
My writing process is so impulsive in a way that would not be easy for me to collaborate with someone. But that being said… If I could go back in time and watch Georgette Heyer craft and write The Grand Sophy, where I could ask her all of my questions about how she wrote a book that amazing, that would make my day.
What is your favorite under-appreciated novel?
The Grand Sophy. I have listened to that book countless times on audible. At this point it is a comfortable old pair of jeans, but I swear that book has taught me more about writing than anything else. Heyer’s art of crafting dynamic characters that leap off the page along with a fun and intricate plot is so inspiring to me. I just really love that book, if you can’t tell.
What is your guilty pleasure?
A hot bath and a book!
Who is your celebrity crush?
Chris Hemsworth, haha. He seems so down-to-earth and hilarious. That face and those abs doesn’t hurt him any either.
What is your favorite thing in the world?
Bedtime. I love my kiddos but it’s always nice to put the day away and relax with my husband.
What are you currently working on?
Currently, I’m working on a fun standalone novella which will hopefully release sometime this summer/fall. And I have another project I’m working on due to release later this year that will be announced soon. And Jake’s story, the final book in the Pride and Pranks series will be out next year! So basically I have way too many projects taking up way too much space in my head. Haha!
#MyFavoriteBookish Tag with Cindy Steel
Favorite trope: Forced Proximity
Favorite character: So many favorites but, Blue, from A Different Blue by Amy Harmon stands out to me.
Favorite movie adaptation: I loved The Help.
Favorite book cover: I love all of Julie Christensen’s Apple Valley Love book covers!
Favorite book ending: Obsidio from the Illuminae Files trilogy. Those three books were absolute bonkers.
Favorite time of the day to read/write: It used to be night time, but I have started to become a morning writer. I’m less tired and my head is much clearer in the morning. Haha!
Favorite place to read/write: Couch or bed.
Favorite snacks while reading/writing: Lately, my favorite has been a little bowl of almonds with a few chocolate chips.
Favorite bookish drink: Just water for me!
Hardcovers or paperbacks? Paperbacks
Buying or borrowing books? Borrowing unless I absolutely love it.
Bookmarks or dog-ears? Dog-ears or random scraps of paper within reach.
Audiobooks – yay or nay? YAY
TBR or mood reading? I’m a HUGE mood reader. This is why I don’t do well in book clubs. Haha!
I’m currently reading: The Bluff by Emma St. Clair and loving it.