Saturday, April 5, 2014

Want to write historicals like Little House on the Prairie? Interview with novelist Cynthia Hickey

What event triggered your interest in history and historical fiction? I grew up loving Little House on the Prairie, Gunsmoke, pretty much anything from that time period. I find it fascinating how people seemed to thrive despite the lack of modern conveniences.
What do you do with the historical society? Does your research there spill over into your novels? Do other members help with your research?
I post a monthly blog post. This year I’m posting on certain holidays. Sometimes the research crosses over into my own writing, but rarely. Yes, I read the other posts and save the ones I think may help in my own writing.
What era is your new Heartsong Presents book, An Unconventional Lady? This book takes place at the Grand Canyon in 1910.
Is it a romance? Yes. I love romance
How did you meet your lead character? The secondary character? I met Annie while looking for a spunky heroine who wanted to be modern. Her mother had other ideas and signed her on as a Harvey Girl hoping Annie would learn decorum. The hero is hired by Annie’s mother, actually taking away the job that Annie craved.
Is this part of a series? Yes, this is book two of four centering around the famous Harvey Girls who served along the Santa Fe railroad. The third book releases in July, the fourth one in November. I’ve had fun with these ladies and hope my readers love them as much as I do.
Tell me about your other series, and especially about the award-winning books. I have two, and have started a third, cozy mystery series. The first series, The Summer Meadows series, centers around a candy-shop owner who finds a bag of diamonds and is intrigued enough to find out where they came from. This lands her in loads of trouble and led to four books of adventures. The second series, The River Valley Series, came about because a mother needed to clear her daughter of a crime. The third series, The Nosey Neighbor series is about a reclusive writer who is told to mingle with society more. This causes her to stumble across a dead body. Solving the murder is research for her next book.
How many published books do you have? If you count my indie published ebooks, I have thirty-four. I am very prolific.
What makes your books Christian? All of my books deal with real life issues and the characters realizing that following God’s leading is the best path.
What is the most important thing you've learned as a writer about creating a story? To know why your characters do what they do. They need a purpose. You can’t have them going after something without a good reason.
Was success difficult, or did you sell your first book quickly? My first book was written as a dare. I had no idea what a cozy mystery was, and a friend dared me to write one for a publisher’s new line. I wrote the book, entered it into a contest, won first place, acquired an agent, and got published, all within six months. I haven’t slowed down since.
What advice to give to novice writers? To follow that dream. To follow your heart. To follow God’s leading. If you do these things, the rest will fall into place. And never stop learning to improve your craft.
What would you like to tell veteran authors? Can I be like you when I grow up?

Book Blurb:
But her strict mother keeps her close to home, working as a Harvey Girl waitress. Until Dallas Baker shows up in town and takes the job Annie really wants—leading tours through the Grand Canyon. Annie's frustrated, but finds it impossible to ignore the handsome outdoorsman. 
With her split skirts and modern hairdo, Annie challenges Dallas's old-fashioned notions of what makes a lady. To his surprise, he finds her delightful, until he learns she has no interest in settling down. Dallas is ready to win her heart, but is Annie willing to fall in love?

Meet Cynthia Hickey, award-winning author who has 34 published books.

Multi-published and Best-Selling author Cynthia Hickey had three cozy mysteries and two novellas published through Barbour Publishing. Her first mystery, Fudge-Laced Felonies, won first place in the inspirational category of the Great Expectations contest in 2007. Her third cozy, Chocolate-Covered Crime, received a four-star review from Romantic Times. All three cozies have been re-released as ebooks through the MacGregor Literary Agency, along with a new cozy series, all of which stay in the top 50 of Amazon’s ebooks for their genre. She has several historical romances releasing in 2013 and 2014 through Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents. She is active on FB, twitter, and Goodreads. She lives in Arizona with her husband, one of their seven children, two dogs and two cats. She has five grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”. Visit her website at