Thank you for joining us at BOOKTALK WITH EILEEN. It’s always special when I’m able to have a debut novelist on my blog. Cyndi Lord’s book titled They Call Me Murdered has just been released. Of course she is doing a happy dance.
So tell us Cyndi, how do you feel? Was the struggle worth the joy?
Thrilled, of course. I must confess, many days of writing this book, I felt as if the characters were using my fingers and I simply went along for the ride. My joy is heightened with each new step from reviewing the jacket photos with the model, to holding the first hardcover in my hand.
What was the hardest part of getting a story from concept to completion, that is, published?
Editing, by far, is the hardest part. As the author, you know exactly what you meant, but it must be crystal clear to the reader. By the time it was ready to be submitted to the publishers, the feedback I received encouraged me. They remarked it was the cleanest and crispest they’d seen, and both offered contract. Regardless of the pay-off, I still dislike editing.
I was amazed that you had your own private investigator agency. I have never met someone who owned one! How long did you do P.I. work? I understand that you had 11 employees, too. Can you give us a little inside story on what kinds of investigations you did?
For twenty-eight years, I had my own agency and it rapidly grew from two employees to eleven. In my earlier years, when I still felt invincible and bounced better, I enjoyed bounty hunting and fugitive recovery. Insurance fraud, civil investigation, along with legal support to law firms produced the largest volume of work for the agency. Anything Sandra does, I’ve done, and my pleasure as a writer is to live vicariously through her most often winning in a battle. That wasn’t always the case for me.
Are you still involved in any investigatory work or are you spending most of your time writing now?
I spend most of my time writing. I have another book in a different genre coming out the end of next month, and that will be a trilogy. Of course, there is the Sandra Derringer Chronicles, and we’re planning to put two more books in the series out this year. That’s a lot of writing. Yet, I still handle some cases for long time clients, and all of my work now is done from home and on the computer. I love locating missing people, I don’t think I’ll ever stop.
I understand from our conversations earlier that you’ve actually been writing since 1984, publishing in magazines and articles for websites. Tell us about your first attempts at novel writing.
My first novel, Chicky, is about my teen-age, troubled years, after the death of my brother in Viet Nam in 1968. It needs full editing, I knew nothing about writing back then.
A literary agent contracted with me in 1996 for a psychological thriller, An Act of Termination. After landing a contract and advance from a large house, they merged with another publishing company resulting in the genre being eliminated from their list. It took the wind out of my sails for a decade, but I have recovered nicely.
So now that you’ve finished They Call Me Murdered, what is next?
Book Two of this series, They Call Me Missing will be released in the summer.
I’ve also started another series, The Plain Wish Series, a young adult, Amish theme, and trilogy. Book one, A Plain Wish releases in the spring of 2014, followed by two more books in the series, A Plain Adventure and A Plain Love.
I have also written a young readers books which releases in late spring, titled Nick the Owlet’s Adventure. This book I wrote for my granddaughter who is one of the triplets, age nine.
Since you have gone through the process, as it were, what is your advice to new writers?
Keep writing – never stop. Write your story out in a first draft, then edit it until you have no grammar errors. Edit it again, and get rid of the ‘was,’ ‘there,’ and all the pesky ‘ly’ words possible by restructuring your sentences.
If you’re not excellent in line editing, find a partner who is or pay someone to do it for you. I realize self-publishing is popular, and that’s great, but please, don’t put rubbish out there and call it a novel just because you can.
I’ve heard that everyone has at least one story in them. What are your thoughts about that?
Every story is a good story, not all stories are told well, and all they need is great editing.
Boy, I’m hearing that editing then is a major part of writing. Is it the one that takes the most time?
I can’t say that it takes longer than actually writing the story, but it certainly consumes an equal amount of time. If it doesn’t, you’ve probably missed a lot and it will get rejected anywhere you submit. That sounds harsh, I know, but truth is sometimes harsh, and in the world of publishing novels, the competition is phenomenal. You must stand out and grab the agent or publisher.
What else? I’m gearing up to edit and revise my own story so all the advice is sorely appreciated.
Never get advice from someone who critiques your story line or style. That has nothing to do with critiquing or editing.
Work with those people who support your work and offer stern and concise editing without making a personal issue with you, and don’t you take it personal. Be sure that they know what they’re talking about, too, for I’ve learned many speak with authority and know little about writing to publish.
My last bit of advice is this is your work, and you can keep or toss whatever advice you’re given. Polish your work, then submit it, anything less diminishes the great writer you can become. Being a notable writer is a lot of hard work so be prepared for the journey.
Some of our readers may enjoy contacting you. Where are you found on social media?
https://www.facebook.com/sandra.derringerchronicles This page is an interactive page where fans can friend Sandra Derringer, the protagonist in They Call Me Murdered. They will be able to follow the series and post questions or comments.
http://cyndilord.wordpress.com/ – The Plain Wish series page and meet the author.
For a chance to win a Kindle or Nook copy of Cyndi’s book she would like to have you answer these two questions. Comments will be counted between January 29 – February 5, 2014
What do you think about female Private Investigators? Would you like to be one or are you too afraid?
Thanks to one and all for stopping by. Here’s the link which will take you to Amazon if you want to purchase the book.