Friday, October 17, 2008

Interview with Loucinda McCary

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Loucinda McGary, also known as Aunty Cindy of the Romance Bandits. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called The Wild Sight. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

The Wild Sight is a sensual contemporary romantic suspense tale set in Ireland with a hero who is psychic. The front cover actually says: The Wild Sight an Irish tale of deadly deeds and forbidden love.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

He was cursed with a “gift”
Born with the clairvoyance known to the Irish as “The Sight,” Donovan O’Shea fled to America to escape his visions. On a return trip to Ireland to see his ailing father, staggering family secrets threaten to turn his world upside down. And then beautiful, sensual Rylie Powell shows up, claiming to be his half-sister . . .

She’s just looking for the family she never knew . . .
After her mother’s death, Rylie finds tantalizing clues that send her off to Ireland to find the man listed on her birth certificate as her father. She needs the truth—but how can she and Donovan be brother and sister when the chemistry between them is nearly irresistible?

Uncovering the past leads them dangerously close to madness . . .

Donovan’s visions lead them into mystery and murder, and only by going deep into the fens can they defeat an ancient enemy and bring the truth to light . . . but will they ever be able to get out?

The Wild Sight is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Actually, my publisher’s marketing department came up with that title. My original title was Death In The Fens but apparently nobody in marketing knew what a fen was. For awhile, the book was called Secrets In The Irish Mist, but that title didn’t stick either. Eventually someone decided on The Wild Sight, and my book’s identity crisis was over.

Would you describe your book as a cozy, mystery, suspense, or thriller?

I call The Wild Sight a romantic suspense with paranormal elements. Basically, it has all the ingredients I like to read.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I grew up reading and loving the great gothic romances of Victoria Holt, Phyllis A. Whitney and Mary Stewart, and they strongly influenced both my reading and writing preferences. (me, too-KW)

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

My two previous manuscripts were romantic suspense stories both set in Italy, and since neither of them had sold, I decided I would set my next story in Ireland. I had always been fascinated with the concept of the Irish “Second Sight,” but in most stories a female possesses this ability. I started thinking, “What if a man had it?” And that’s when my hero, Donovan O’Shea was born.

Do you have all the key suspense/mystery elements thought out before you begin writing?

I wish! I’m much more of a seat-of-the-pants writer than that, I’m afraid. When I sat down to write my first draft of The Wild Sight, I tried to mend my ways and do more up front work. I actually wrote an eleven page rough outline of key plot points and character arcs before I started writing, but that pretty much went by the wayside after about three chapters.

I did know that I wanted my hero to have “the sight” but I wasn’t exactly sure about all the ways that ability would manifest itself until I got into the story. I also knew I wanted at least two murders, one recent and one not, that needed to be solved. Plus, there was the whole “mystery” of the heroine’s parentage to be solved, again, I wasn’t sure of the details until I started writing.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book? What are your favorite research books or sites?

Yes, I did do quite a bit of research. I have been to Ireland but not for several years. In fact, my DH has family in Northern Ireland, which is why I set The Wild Sight there, instead of in the Republic. I pulled out old photos and maps from our previous trips, and checked out every book on Ireland that my local library branch would allow me to take. For about three weeks, I surrounded myself with all things Irish including history, geography, folklore, I even had a book on Celtic jewelry. I also did research on the net and found some fascinating things like census data broken down by county that helped me with authentic surnames, and a gender specific genetic trait, the Niall Marker that provided me with a key element in the story.

One of the things I wanted to be sure and convey was the distinctive speech patterns of the Irish. I wanted my Irish characters to “sound” Irish with the lilting syntax and unique colloquialisms. A couple of great websites I found were one with Irish curses, blessings, and proverbs, and another of modern Irish slang. Reading blogs by Irish men and women helped too.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

Most definitely my hero! I’m always a little in love with my heroes. I think it’s a necessity. If I don’t love them then neither will my readers.

Donovan was a bit of the strong and silent type. In fact, for an Irishman, he was quite taciturn. Since he was a young child, he’d been burdened with this ability to see and hear things other people did not. All his life he had to deny who and what he really was. It was fun to have my sassy little heroine force him to come to grips with his feelings and learn to trust her and others.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?

It’s nothing so formal as character sheets or interviews. My characters reveal themselves to me. They usually (but not always) arrive in my creative consciousness with their names--first, middle and last--and they start “talking” to me. Yes, they each have a distinctive voice, and they talk about their families, their background, their professions, stuff like that. Sometimes I write down these basics, sometimes I don’t. I generally know far more about my characters than I ever put into the story.

As I mentioned, my research led me to include a genetic trait called the Niall Marker in my hero. I also used research about the ancient Celts to create secondary characters, and census data to name others. I purposely named one minor character after my son, who does have an Irish first name. When I told him, he thought it was “cool.”

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Besides the three mentioned above, I was definitely inspired by Terry Brooks and his Sword of Shannara fantasy series, and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books. In both cases, when I read the first book in each of these series, I was completely awe-struck by the diverse characters, the complex world each author created, and the great action-adventure plots. They made me want to write my own stories.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

It’s rather early to tell, but I hope all these guest blog appearances will start some buzz. By being involved in a couple of group blogs myself, I’ve been amazed at the large number of people all over the world who visit blogs and websites.

Everything I’ve heard and read points to word-of-mouth as the best way to sell books. By putting myself out here in cyber-space, I can reach far more potential readers than I can by print advertising, and I get the wonderful bonus of being able to interact with readers. I really love to hear from readers! I won’t know for sure until my publisher receives sales figures, but I’m convinced that online promotion is worthwhile.

What do we have to look forward next?

Another Irish tale or two, with a hunky Irish hero and an Irish-American heroine. Or maybe a hunky Irish-American hero and a spunky Irish lass…

I’d love to hear from my readers what they would like! Is there a character you’d like to see more of? A setting you’d like to read about? Please let me and/or my publisher know. In fact, if you’ve already read The Wild Sight, or have an opinion about characters and settings, please share with me in the comments.

Thanks, Aunty Cindy!

To celebrate her book release, Loucinda is offering a free copy of The Wild Sight to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Bio.

A life-long avid reader and writer, Loucinda McGary left her civil service managerial career in 2003 to fully pursue her twin passions of travel and writing. She sets her novels of romance and suspense in some of the fascinating places she has visited. The Wild Sight is her first published novel.

Check out author’s website at http://www.loucindamcgary.com/

Buy The Wild Sight at your local bookstore or order it from Amazon or the Sourcebooks website: http://www.sourcebooks.com/

28 comments:

Kim Watters said...

Good Morning Loucinda,
Thanks for joining us today. Were there any scenes you had to take out during the editing process? What were they? Thanks again.

Rebekah E. said...

Thanks for coming Loucinda. Wilds sights sounds like a great book. Thanks for the great interview.

Carol Webb said...

Hi, Loucinda. Your book sounds wonderful. I love dark paranormal romance. This is a book I'm going to have to get!

Anonymous said...

Loucinda,
You're book sounds great! Especially the Irish part. Good luck with it. Barnes and Noble- here I come!
Donna Del Grosso

Donna Delgr at yahoo dot com

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Kim,
Thanx for inviting me! Please pass the cyber choccie! :-)

I didn't take out any whole scenes, but I did tighten up a few. Can't tell you because they would be BIG SPOILERS.

Ever tried Tim Tams? They are an Australian chocolate treat and very addictive!

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Rebekah E,

Big Thanx to Kim for asking interesting questions! Hope you enjoy THE WILD SIGHT.

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Carol,
This is definitely the darkest book I've written so far. I'm happy to say that so far (two weeks after release) most reviewers and readers are responding positively. Having readers "get" my writing is truly a dream come true for me!

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Donna,
Thanx for stopping by! In all my stories, I try really hard to make my setting as much a character as the hero or heroine. I want readers to have a real sense of the place.

Ireland is truly beautiful, with some of the charming, most friendly people in the world so it was easy to write about it.

AC

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, this is a cool site! And what a great interview. AC, I really enjoyed finding out more about the background to the Wild Sight and how you put together your story and your characters. I really hope the Italian books find a home one day - they've always sounded really interesting! And you're right - I think we all fall in love with our heroes. It's part of the process!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey Loucinda!

I can't wait to read The Wild Sight. I've got a considerable bit of Irish in my gene pool that's demanding I make it to a book store to hunt the book down.

I knew you were a stickler for setting (and am jealous of your many research trips) but it was fun learning how you derive your characters as well.

Great interview, Kim!

Kate Carlisle said...

Ooh, there's chocolate here! I love this blog!

Hi everyone, hi Aunty! Good interview! This book is so intriguing to me -- and not just for its cover, which is sooo hot! I love the idea of romantic suspense combined with the magic of Ireland and a touch of paranormal intrigue. Throw in your Mary Stewart influence and I'm hooked!

Joan said...

Hi AC {waving madly from the Lair}

Add me to the list of anticipatory readers of The Wild Sight! The excerpt on your website whetted my appetite MONTHS ago! Like Donna, I hope to make it to a bookstore (way across town...:-( That's the ONLY reason I haven't gotten it before now)this weekend.

I WILL get it because you know I love me some Ireland.

Helen said...

Aunty Cindy I love hearing more about The Wild Sight it makes me even more eager to read it.
I love stories set in different parts of the world I hope your Italian stories get published as well I love visiting countries through authors eyes it opens up the world for me.
I will be glad to pass some Tim Tams to you through cyber space enjoy.

Have Fun
Helen

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

HOORAY! Great to see my Banditas Fo, Kate, Donna and Joanie T. here, AND our intrepid Bandita Buddy Helen!

Thanx a TON for being here everyone!

Fo, I'm definitely in love with YOUR heroes, esp. Matthew in Untouched. Can't wait to read your latest (Tempt the Devil) only a couple more months to go!

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Donna,
I loved your great eye for historical detail in Mrs. Brimley and TWMoonlight too!

I'm about to go off on another "research" trip in about a month, but I'm afraid if editors don't want Italy, there's no way they'll take a story set in Turkey. :-P

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Kate!

I think I already told you this, but I loved Mary Stewart novels so much that I named my son after a character in "The Moonspinners."

Hope you enjoy TWS!

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Joanie,
I hope the bookstores in your area have TWS on the shelf. I have YET to see a single copy in my area. :-( Be sure to take a picture if you do see it!

HUGS and thanx for popping by,
AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Helen!
So glad to see you here, and you know me, I'll take Tim Tams ANY WAY I can get them! Cyber, real, something in between, LURVE ME some Tim Tams.

Please keep your fingers xxed on the Italian books. I know I am. ;-)

AC

Pat Cochran said...

Hello, Aunty Cindy,

Good to see you here today! I haven't had a chance to get to the
bookstore as yet, but I have a trip
out scheduled for tomorrow! I just
have to get this book! Every time
I read more about it, my interest
in the book is reinforced even more!

Pat Cochran

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Pat!
Lovely to have you join us! Considering what you've been through with the hurricane, I can definitely forgive you for not making it to the bookstore yet!

Hope you enjoy The Wild Sight and thanx again for your support,
AC

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Cindy!! and hello Cheaper Than Therapy ladies! A Romance Bandit saying hello!

I love the concept behind Cindy's Wild Sight. And anything with a bit of an accent really intrigues me. Cindy knows this, but I actually "hear" the stories as I read them, so I've been haunting my book stores for my copy.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Suz!
Thanx a bunch for stopping by!

You know I "hear" my Irish characters too, and try to duplicate their speech patterns.

Did you see Colin Farrell on Leno last night? Leno complimented him on his flawless American accent in his latest film and Colin replied in his perfectly lovely brogue, "Ah, you've not seen the film then, if ya thought it was flawless." LURVE those men with brogues!

AC

Suzanne Welsh said...

Oh Cindy, the man has a darlin accent, doesn't he though? Enough to set the hairs on yer neck doin a bit of a jig!

Joan said...

LOL, Cindy,

I've told the story of the young man soliciting (jeep rides, people!) on the Aran Islands during my Ireland trip in April.

I'd said no to the old guy who wanted to take us on a tour. As I walked up to Aiden he said "Ah, darlin. I've been waiting all day for ye"

I hopped right into his van :-) It worked for him, LOL

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Joanie and Suz,
My sisters of the heart! So nice to know I'm not the only total push over for a cute accent. Even from a wee nasty bit like Colin Farrell! ;-)

AC

Fencreative said...

I live in the Cambridgeshire Fens and write about the area in my various blogs from Fen Creative. I too am surprised when the word Fen seems only to be associated with eastern energy - though I suppose that might not be a bad thing! Your book sounds great.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey FenCreative!

Really appreciate you popping by! Ain't cyberspace grand? You never know what you will learn or who you might meet.

Just remember when you read THE WILD SIGHT that 1) I used a lot of creative license in describing the fens, and 2) there's no such thing as BAD publicity so long as the word gets out. :-)

AC

Sharon Lathan said...

I am DYING to read this book! If only there were more hours in a day!! Thanks for the great blog, Auntie!!