Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Meet Debut Author Cynthia Racette!

Hiya, readers! So, this week marks a debut author's first release ... er, releasing into the world at large! Cynthia Racette's "Windswept" (isn't that a GORGEOUS cover?) releases this week...and if you love sailing or just think sailboats are pretty, this is a book for you. On with the interview!

Kristina: Do you have (or do you aspire to have!) a writing process?

Cynthia: I'm not a pantser. It would drive me nuts trying to write a book without a plan. I usually start out with an idea I've been letting incubate in my head for some time. I like to have a fairly complex idea fir the book before anything goes on paper. The first thing I put down is character sketches in this order: heroine, antagonist, closest person to heroine, closest to hero. Then an outline and a few whole sentences to guide me and I'm off. Then I spend a loooong time on the first sentence, paragraph and chapter.

Kristina: When the writing gets tough, where do you get going?

Cynthia: Sometimes I just get  up and go do something or play a computer game but that's dangerous because I'm addicted to free cell. My daughter and I (Cassandra Carr) go write every Friday at a cafe or Panera. That, too, is dangerous because I loooove Panera's cinnamon crisp bagels and pecan buns. We both find that the habit of writing there helps us to sit down and be immediately ready to write.

Kristina: What are you listening to right now and does your listening choice influence your writing?

Cynthia: I just finished listening to the Sabres hockey game while I did final revisions on my book. I prefer quiet when I write. I don't like to listen to music because it's distracting. Oftentimes I write to the tippy tap of my hubby typing across the room. He is sooo addicted to FB and spends hours on it going back and forth with his buddies over politics. Gag me with a spoon!

Kristina: Coffee, tea, soda, hot cocoa w/ extra marshmallows  – what's your beverage of choice?

Cynthia: I'm a soda person-- diet Coke, and I have a pet peeve. So many people drink diet sodas, why oh why do they only serve diet Coke or Diet Pepsi in restaurants or fast food places? Look at your demographics people. Add diet root beer or diet ginger ale. Something!

Kristina: Tell us something interesting about this book or its characters that didn't make in 'between the covers'?

Cynthia: This book is about a sailboat and the family that loves it. Their happiest family moments take place on it, sailing the Chesapeake. So what didn't make it in? A whole passel of sailing descriptions, terms, etc. Each time I edited it, I took out more. All that's left is what is absolutely needed to move the story forward. It's okay, you can say whew and I won't be offended. Much. *Sniff*

**No chance, I'm a sucker for sailing. I'm not good at the actual work, but I make a great passenger... ;)

Buy The Book:

Read the Blurb:

Windswept is a romantic novel of redemption and family values and fighting for what is important. Sailing Windswept has always been a family affair and many of Caroline and David Hartford’s fondest memories have taken place on Chesapeake Bay sailing in all kinds of conditions and exploring the bay.
When husband David is unfaithful and commits the ultimate betrayal by bringing his mistress aboard Windswept, Caroline’s world is shattered. He leaves her and she is forced to rely solely on herself for the first time in her life. She has to be a single parent to her daughter, Lily, and to decide if she can forgive David for tearing her family apart.

As David and Caroline work to put their marriage back together, events and other people conspire against them, over and over.  As their relationship begins to heal, the couple is caught in a horrific storm and waterspout on the bay, heading straight for Windswept. They want a chance to love again but Mother Nature might have other ideas.

Excerpt:
    David, his white windbreaker tied now around his waist in the late afternoon sun, puttered around the cockpit. He was tall, and his light brown hair was windblown after the spirited beat upwind. But he seemed to be trying to keep from looking at Caroline. 
   Caroline tried to catch his eye but his tinkering today seemed distracted. He was uncharacteristically silent. Whenever she was not at the helm when they sailed, she relaxed and watched the water and the sky and the sails. David, however, kept up a never-ending ritual of adjusting sails and halyards.  He was a perfectionist with the details on the boat. Today, though, it was more than that. He wasn’t being a perfectionist. He was avoiding her.
    “Want to put up the spinnaker?” He asked, as he stood, hands on hips staring up at the mast.
    “It’s pretty windy for it.”
    “Yeah, I know. I just wanted-”
    “I know. Long winter.”
    He caught her eyes and immediately his gaze slid away. “Yeah.”
    “Okay,” she said with a smile, anxious to please him and make this last run home just right. “Go for it. We can handle it.”
After they put up the spinnaker their speed picked up some. It was nerve-wracking, keeping it under control - the light sail was so huge. It was gorgeous, though - hundreds of square feet of blue and green nylon in a huge billow of color that undulated and swayed with each subtle change in wind direction.
    “It’s good to be back out on the water, isn’t it?” said Caroline, staring skyward and enjoying the ripple of color.
    “It’s fantastic.” answered David wistfully. “Want a soda? I’m going down for a beer.”
    “Sure! Lily! Want a soda?”
    “Yes, please,” Lily called back, scrambling back from her perch at the bow. She plopped down on a bench in the cockpit and put her feet up on the opposite bench. 
    David fetched the drinks out of a cooler below and turned to head topside. His heart stopped. It was dark in the cabin so behind the wheel Caroline stood out like an angel in the sun. There was a shimmer around her body as she stood behind the wheel concentrating on controlling the spinnaker. What in the world had he done?
Topside, Lily asked her mother, “Think we’ll be back by five? I told Debbie she could come over to help me with some of the data I recorded the other day. She’s way better at statistics than I am.”
    “We should be back in time. But I think Dad has some more work to do on the boat before we head home.”
    “Aw, Mom, please. I’ve got stuff to do!”
    “You made the decision to come on this trip. We have to clean up some things when we get back. We didn’t have time to do much cleaning down here after the marine upholstery company got done making our new cushions.” She ran her hand over the fine, soft material on the settee. It was a color halfway between the blue of the sky and the green of the bay. It had cost the earth to do the entire interior of the cabin and cockpit cushions.  She’d spent hours scouring fabric catalogues, but she was delighted with how it turned out.
She pulled herself away from admiring the new upholstery and turned to Lily. “You know your father won’t leave it until it’s perfect.”
    “Don’t I know it! He’s a stickler about everything. Especially this boat!”
    Her mother raised her eyebrow at her, letting her know she was on the verge of disrespect. “Resign yourself. If you help, we’ll get home sooner.” She smiled at Lily’s huge sigh of acquiescence. When they got close to their slip, David took the spinnaker down.