Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sweet Romance to Celebrate Valentine's Week

Cindy Christiansen was referred to me by our great supporter, The Book Breeze.  I can't say I know her personally, but after reading her bio, I can see we have plenty in common with each other.  First, she must have some geek girl in her, like me, because she was a Computer major (though you'd never tell by her beautiful picture).  I've spent a lot of time in the computer industry, so I always appreciate a logical mind.  Second, she raises special needs children, which takes a very special and patient mother.  When I was at Utah State University (way back in the time machine 70's) I worked with special needs children and their families. It gave me a deep appreciation for parents who continuously work to help their children overcome challenges.

Finally, and most importantly for this blog, Cindy is a romance writer. She believes in good triumphing over evil. She believes in love conquering all.  She believes in putting her own challenges behind her to bring happiness to all her readers.  Now, that's my kind of woman. Please welcome Cindy A. Christiansen to Behind the Book.  For all you sweet romance readers, I think she'll be just your cup of tea.

What was the initial spark that put this story in your head?

When my husband and I bought our first home, we ended up buying a “money pit”.  The previous owners had put posters and paintings over the fist-holes in the walls.  They put up a shower curtain to make it look like there was a shower.  Every drawer in the house had been busted.  They used tons of air freshener to cover up the smell of dead mice.  The house was so infested with mice that they had eaten all the insulation off the wiring inside the stove.  The list goes on.  We practically had to gut the house and start over.  Mind you, the house wasn’t sold at a low price and we even paid over the appraisal price. So naturally that led to a book about house restoration—Household Repairs. 

Building houses or fixing old houses is something many people undertake at some time in their lives. Common wisdom seems to say: If you can live through remodeling together, you can live through anything.  Do your characters clash a lot during this remodeling project?

Having gone through the remodel we did and an addition to our house at a later time, I whole-heartedly agree with that statement. ((smiles))  It definitely opened up avenues for some comedic situations.  So did the fact that the heroine (Tatum), having escaped her over-protective father, wants to do a little dating in her new home and the hero (Ryan) is not only a little protective himself but also jealous.  He works vigorously at sabotaging her dates.

It seems that most authors use something from their own lives, or the lives of people they know as an integral part of the story.  Is there anything in this story like that? What?

This is positively true for me as an author.  I use little experiences from my life to give my character’s depth, and so I can more fully explain their emotions.  I am a wildlife artist like Tatum and have been a computer programmer/analyst with my own business.

Ryan is an intelligent home restoration specialist who happens to have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), a condition extremely prevalent in our society today.  Not only my husband but my two children have this disorder, and although the situation provides for many comedic scenes in the book, I also hoped to convey the frustration and self-esteem issues caused by the disorder as well as dispelling the idea that people with ADD are not intelligent.   

Does this story background or characters relate to previous or future books you've written? In what way?

Each of my books and their characters are distinctive.  I’ve been told by my readers that they can’t imagine how I can continue to make each character so unique.  They’ve complained about authors who seem to only change the characters’ names and the location and write the same book.

I like to give my characters definite character flaws—after all, they’re human too.  Whether it’s ADD, pyrophobia, anxiety disorder, fear of confrontations, or whatever, my characters are real people to which the reader can relate.  I know I don’t enjoy reading total fantasy where the hero is perfect in looks, a millionaire who doesn’t have to work for a living, and already completely devoted to the heroine.  I find it way more intriguing to see what the hero will overcome to be devoted to her.

Is there a particular scene in Household Repairs that you really loved when you finished it? 

It’s so hard to pick just one because there are different emotional aspects:
  • Romance-wise, I loved the scene where Tatum and Ryan are picking out bathroom fixtures together and her imagination gets the better of her.
  • Comedy-wise, I love the scene in the Governor’s Mansion where the two of them and the professor are tossing an expensive, gold-trimmed saucer back-and-forth because they didn’t want to have to be the one to take action.
  • Suspense-wise, I love when Tatum’s date turns out to be an imposter and Ryan defends her.
  • Character-wise, I love when Ryan confronts his father about the way his dad has treated him all his life because of his ADD.
If someone wants to check out your backlist based on loving this story, where would you suggest they start? Or which books would be in a similar vein?

Household Repairs is my first light contemporary sweet romance with suspense elements. My previous books, Legacy of Lies and The Royal Pain are both sweet romantic suspense with stronger more serious story lines but with a little humor sprinkled throughout.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?  

Household Repairs seems to be my readers’ favorite book.  I believe it’s because it has a broader range of emotions including laughter, excitement, sorrow, joy, love and caring emotions between the characters.  With the world the way it is today, I also believe people are looking for something more light-hearted.

I have another light contemporary, Caskets and Corruption, completed which is more along the same lines, but it is not yet published.  I’m currently looking for a different publisher.

Lizzie Cantrell finds herself exclusively painting portraits of deceased loved ones and decides she needs a new career out amongst the living.  Unfortunately, she ends up with Phillip Van Dyke, an uptight funeral director with issues, and smack in the middle of a drug smuggling operation involving caskets and dead soldiers.

The Cleansing Fire is another completed romantic suspense of mine.

Afraid of jeopardizing his future, a summer wildfire volunteer is reluctant to get involved with the pyrophobic woman assigned to him, especially when things start heating up between them…and someone’s out to kill her.

Right now, I’m working on another light contemporary sweet romance so look for these titles in the future.

Being an author with multiple health issues, I’m not as prolific as other writers.  I hope my fans will be patient and look forward to each book as they come out.

Cindy, Thank you so much for joining us!  Please be sure to come back again when you sell your next book. I'm definitely buying a copy of Household Repairs right now, and as usual I will give away a free copy to one lucky person who posts to this weeks blog.

Reader's you can pick up a copy of Cindy's book at these fine retailers. Click on the logo to purchase.


Cindy A Christiansen said...

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Maggie Jaimeson said...

Happy Valentine's to you, Cindy, and thank you for interviewing with me. I suspect as the week gets along, we will have more commenters.

stanalei said...

Great interview ladies. Wonderful questions and answers. Good luck with the book, Cindy.

TedR said...

I loved the book! I loved the humor, it was light and sweet.

Clancy said...

Nice interview and the book sounds terrific... Your four favorite scenes tempt me :)

Donna / The Book Breeze said...

Hey Cindy, I didn't realize you were a fellow Kiss of Death member:) I enjoyed the interview and look forward to reading Household Repairs.

Cindy A Christiansen said...

Ryan Bulldarren isn't your typical romance hero...but what a great guy!!

Cindy A Christiansen said...

You might want to check out my book trailer for Household Repairs. It was extremely fun to make:

Maggie Jaimeson said...

Congratulations, Clancy! You have won a copy of Cindy's book. Please contact me at maggie at maggiejaimeson dot com and let me know how I can deliver your copy to you.