Introductions are hard…sometimes because I wear so many hats.
One of the things I do when I’m not writing is that I fight rapier. I try and study and apply historical techniques and skill in such a way as to gently kill my friends. I do this through the Society for Creative Anachronism, which is a worldwide medieval re-enactment society. Part of the idea is to try and re-create, or at least understand, what life would be like for someone in a particular culture back then, which means that you have to have another name. If you don’t you might end up with anything. Like if you said “Just Cindy” you might end up being called Cynthia the Just. Silliness is universal, after all. Mine is Gabrielle Winter, or Gabby de Winter, in case you are curious. So, you have a morning where you’re at work being Cindy Speer, amazing and illustrious super hero (read: secretary) for a university department. But you are writing emails to do with taking a bunch of the college’s students to a medieval re-enactment, where people know you as Gabby.
And then you go to a secretary’s meeting, where you introduce yourself as…yep. Gabby. And then you have to explain the whole thing quickly in a venue where people aren’t willing to cut you slack because you are also Cindy Lynn Speer, fantasy and mystery author, and so people expect a little quirkiness from you.
Thus, that’s me. Misusing thus, probably, because I didn’t want to start a sentence with the words “And so.” My book, which is much more grammatically correct because it’s been through the editing process three times might be familiar to some of you. It is a second edition of The Chocolatier’s Wife, with a spiffy new cover. It’s about Tasmin Bey (who, unlike me, would probably much rather have a blunt object with which to defend herself than a pointy one) and William of Almsley (who is perfectly comfortable with swords) who have known all their lives that they would someday marry. In the kingdom where they live, everyone is tested by a spell, which mates them to someone else. William wrote his intended letters (which is unusual) and they got to know each other over the years…lucky, too, because when William is accused of murder she is willing to risk everything she could have in order to go and sort things out.
Sometimes I can pin point the “Aha!” moment when the story is born, and this is one of them. I was walking around the house, thinking of an obscure British Actor that I’d enjoyed watching, and wondering what I’d like to see him in. My boss had bought me this really awesome tower of chocolate (it was around the Holidays) so I opened the top box. Inside was these little chocolate squares dusted with cocoa powder. I tasted one and I was like, “Oh.” I knew the title of the book, I knew the first line. By the time I got back upstairs and in front of my computer, the words were clamoring to come out. I kept writing until I was called to dinner, then I went back to writing.
About then there was a First Chapters novel contest through the Gather community, where…I think it was Barnes and Noble? Would publish the book that the community voted on. But you had to have your book done by a certain date. So I wrote, and second, then third, drafted, a book in something like 8 weeks. I wrote every spare moment, because I believed in the story. I knew it was special, that it was doubtless the best thing I’d ever written.
Well, I didn’t win the contest (obviously) but the comments I got, the interest, was amazing.
A second publisher and many years later, here we are. People ask me, once in awhile, if there will be a sequel. I have some other books in the world planned, because the mating spell in itself asks those nice what if questions story tellers love. (What if your intended dies? What if someone tries to go against the spell?) so I know you will hear more from those quarters. I would also like the explore the evil Pandroth Empire. I think about a direct sequel to The Chocolatier’s Wife (I even have it tentatively called The Chocolatier’s Mistress…don’t worry, I don’t mean that William will cheat on his beloved wife…but that the mistress is the sea) because I want to answer a question I was not really able to answer in the first book…what happened to make William so afraid of the sea? And what happens if he is forced to return to it?
Thank you for reading. If you would like to ask me any questions, feel free to below, or check out my webpage. www.apenandfire.com.
THE CHOCOLATIER’S WIFE is being released tomorrow by Dragonwell Publishing. Sign up to follow our blog and check back for updates and to enter our monthly giveaway to win a brand new copy of Cindy’s amazing book.
And, while you are at it, check back on our main site to find the answer to our trivia question of the week:
WHAT KIND OF MAGICAL CREATURES FOLLOWED TASMIN EVERYWHERE SHE WENT?…
Reply to this post with an answer to become an early entrant into our giveaway.