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Sunday, May 1, 2011

AUTHOR CYNTHIA MACGREGOR

It's author Wednesday and Cynthia MacGregor is here. Welcome to BRB Cynthia! Chia Tea Latte - check! Comfy chair check! So let's get this party started...

Who is, Cynthia MacGregor? Tell us about yourself.

Formerly a long-time NYC resident, I’ve lived in South Florida since 1984 and have put down long roots here. My years in New York included a two-year stint as a theatre editor, during which I reviewed many shows myself, a wonderful thing, especially when the shows were musicals. I’ve been a total show tune freak most of my life. In sixth grade or thereabouts I got hooked on cast albums and never looked back. (I never did learn to like rock, even as a teen.)

My hobbies include cooking and…what else…writing? My writing-for-fun includes…what else?...plays (though not musicals—I can’t write music or even read music, or play an instrument, or sing well). I have written all of the plays produced thus far by the Palm Springs Players (that’s Palm Springs, Florida, not its more famous namesake in California), the theatre group I’m involved with. And I never made a dime out of writing them…though I did have a play (this one was a children’s play) produced in New York (after I moved down to Florida) and made a little money from that. But I love writing so much that I not only do it for a living, I do it for fun, too.

Professionally I’m a full-time freelance writer/editor, writing and/or editing just about anything remunerative. I’ve written website copy, catalog copy, print ads and commercials, and much more, besides, of course, books and some articles. I’ve edited books, magazines, business documents, short stories, articles, and more. I also ghostwrite for others.

I’m a workaholic, at it seven days a week. I get up before 5 every morning, though I almost never do any work after dinner. I’ve had it by then! My Significant Other doesn’t object to my working all the time. He does his own thing and I do mine. We’re definitely two individuals, even though we’re a couple.

Then there’s my TV show, Solo Parenting, which airs in South Florida on Saturday mornings. I’m both host and producer. So far I haven’t made any money off it, but it hasn’t cost me anything but time, either. WHDT (the station that broadcasts it) underwrites the production costs…though it’s definitely a low-budget production. LOL. We don’t even have a TelePrompTer. I work off cue cards. But I enjoy it immensely.

When did you know you wanted to become a writer?

Well, actually, even though I always loved writing from the time I learned to spell C-A-T, my childhood ambition was to be an actress. A health issue, however, got in the way, and in my junior year of high school, I knew I had to drop that dream. My second love was writing, so my ambitions gradually morphed.

Who and/or what prompted you to write your first novel?

Gee, I really don’t know. I guess it is kinda strange to write all those nonfiction books and then suddenly turn around and write a novel, so that’s a fair question, but I really don’t have an answer. As far as I can remember, the idea for the plot just kinda presented itself in my head and, gee, when you have a good idea, you can’t just let it sit there. You have to do something with it, you know? So even though I never had thought of myself as a novelist, I wrote it.

Where and/or how do you find the greatest inspiration?

I guess I just look around me to see what subjects interest people, or what people need help with, and then, if I know enough on the subject, I write a book about it. Not all my books are self-help, but a bunch of them would definitely fall into that category.

What made you chose to write erotic literature in particular? And is there any other genre you’d like to write? And if so, why?

I don’t write erotic literature. I did try my hand at writing a few romances—which is odd because I don’t read romances, but I’m always trying to stretch my wings and try new things—but they weren’t erotic. It’s not that I’m a prude. LOL. I’ve worked in “Adult” publishing, as both a writer and an editor. I dunno. Maybe I overdosed on four-letter words and blatant sexual situations in “lecherature” during my years working for X-rated magazines. Whatever.

As far as any other genre I’d like to write…well, I’ve written tons of nonfiction books, a handful of novels, children’s books (both fiction and nonfiction), and I ghostwrote a textbook. I’m not sure what’s left! But if there is something left, I’ll probably get around to trying it.

Which appears first when contemplating a new project: A character, the plot and/or the title?

Again, since most of my books have been nonfiction, I’m not sure how to answer this. There is no character or plot. But the subject comes to me before the title.

What’s the hardest part of a novel for you to write: Beginning, middle and/or end? Why?

I guess the end. You need to make sure you’ve wrapped up all loose ends, come to a satisfying conclusion, and then finished with a bang and not let the ending drag on or peter out. But then, any part of a novel is hard for me to write. I’m much more comfortable (and proficient) at writing nonfiction.

Has your own life influenced your novels? And if so, how?

No. I would say it has not.

Writing sex/romantic scenes can be a challenge for some authors. Do you find it difficult? If yes, how do you compensate? If no, where do you draw your inspiration?

I haven’t written sex scenes since I stopped writing for the porn mags. Writing romantic scenes isn’t easy for me…but maybe that’s because I don’t read romances. How do I compensate? By just doing the best damn job I can. I’m a professional and take pride in my work. But honestly, I don’t expect to ever write a romance novel again. There would be more chance of my getting back into writing porn. But all the free porn on the web killed off most of the magazines that were around in the ’80s and ’90s, so there isn’t that much of a market now...so that isn’t likely either.

Are your characters based on people you know? Or are they completely fictitious?

Well, the characters in my novels have all been fictitious, but real people inspired a lot of my nonfiction. My books about divorce—sheesh, I have known a lot of people going through that. (Been there myself.) My book about making friends (coming out later this year) is something I wrote after a client and a friend both complained to me, within a short time of each other, that they were having trouble making friends…and these were both intelligent, outgoing, capacitated people who were not emotional cripples or anything. So I wrote a book. SynergEbooks is releasing it later this year, but I don’t have a pub date yet. My first book of children’s activities resulted from my then best friend complaining that she didn’t know how she would keep her kids occupied over the Christmas break from school.

Some of my books have scenarios in them that illustrate the point I’m making—you know, like if I’m talking about things divorced parents should not do, and then I insert a case history kind of thing like, “Sheila is a divorced mother of three who…” and “Sheila” is in most of these cases either a real person with her name changed or a composite of several real people. So that sort of thing is definitely based on people I know…most of the time.

Who is your favorite character, which you’ve created? And why?

I really don’t have one.

Can you tell us about your latest release? Give a synopsis.

Well, gee…I’m doing this interview in March, but it’s to be published in May, and by then I’ll have about eight more books coming out. Let me see. I think on the date this goes up on your website, my latest release will be Betcha Didn’t Know, which is subtitled A Com-pun-dium of Mis-Inflammation. It’s a book of wordplay humor that SynergEbooks is releasing. I’m an inveterate punster. I belong to an online punsters’ group called PUNY (Punsters United Nearly Yearly), and the years that I can both afford the money and spare the time, I go to Austin TX in mid-May to attend the annual O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships. I’ve attended as both a contestant and a judge. Anyhow, with that kind of level of interest, it should be no surprise that I’ve written a funny book that’s pun-based.

As I write this (March 10), my latest release is But Nana Always Lets Me, a helpful book for grandmas. Coming out between that one and Betcha Didn’t Know, that will have been released by the time you post this interview, are Nuts to Martha (the “Martha” of the title is Stewart), By the Light of the Moon (lullabies, prayers, and poems for settle-down time), Happily Single Ever After (you can be happy living alone; love is wonderful but you don’t have to have a man in your life to be happy, and the book shows you how to make the most of your singlehood), Home Again, Home Again (another novel—this one’s about the aftermath of a kidnapping), Those Tough Questions (a “crib sheet” for parents that helps them answer tough questions like, “What does the Tooth Fairy do with all those teeth?” and “I’m just as good as my friend MaryBeth, so why does Santa bring her so many more presents?”), and Family Ceremonies for Life’s Occasions (I think the title is self-explanatory). I do have others scheduled on beyond those, but you asked about “latest.” These are all with the Living & Learning imprint of Secret Cravings Publishing. And let’s not forget Dust Bunnies Ate My Socks, a “bachelor’s guide to housekeeping” that was written with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Uncial released that one recently. I co-wrote it with George Moyer. Once upon a time, George and I were an item, and I firmly believe that if someone is worth having for a boyfriend, he’s worth keeping as a friend after the romantic/sexual relationship ends. So George and I are still good friends. The book grew out of a series of hysterically funny emails George sent me. I told him, “We have the kernel of a book here.” And we wrote it.

What’s your newest WIP? And when we can expect a publication date?

Again, I am writing this on March 10, and right at the moment I am working on a ghostwriting project, so of course I can’t talk about it. By May 2, when this goes up on your site, heaven only knows what I’ll be working on! My life is just a series of surprises!

How many novels do you have, that are currently published? Please list all the publishers, so the readers can locate you.

Currently I have What Child Is This? with the Living & Learning imprint of Secret Cravings Publishing, and those four romances with BookStrand. By the time you post this interview I’ll have Home Again, Home Again, also with Living & Learning. (A novella, Finding Zoe, also with Living & Learning, releases June 8.) And that’s it for adult (I don’t mean “Adult”—LOL—I just mean not for kids!) fiction. All my other books are either nonfiction or for kids (or both: nonfiction for kids). No other novels. Sorry, but I’m really basically a nonfiction publisher.

Where do you see your writing career in the next five to ten years?

Well, first of all, I don’t ever plan to retire. Writing is my life! It’s my reason for being! But like I said earlier, I’m always stretching my wings, so I’m sure I’ll be trying something new…though I don’t know what. New challenges come my way all the time, though—if not in book-writing, then in the writing I do for clients. One of my recurring clients asked me three weeks ago about my writing a business plan for her in the near future. I’ve never written a business plan before, so that would be a stretch. Also probably very boring, but I still welcome the challenge.

Now, until last year, I had never had an e-book published. My first 54 books were all conventional (print) books. These days, I’m all about e-books. In the five-to-ten-year timeframe you ask about, some whole new form of publishing that we can’t even imagine right now may pop up, and I may be writing for a whole ’nother medium.

Watching my life unfold is like reading a novel or watching a play. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next chapter of the book, or the next scene of the play. I wake up each morning excited to see what the day will bring. An idea for a new book? A phone call from a new client…or an old one with a new project? A check in the mail? I never know! So for me to guess where my writing career will be in five or ten years…sheesh, I have no idea! I’m pretty sure I’ll still be writing books and I’m pretty sure I’ll still be doing other kinds of writing, but beyond that, I couldn’t begin to say. It sure is a fun ride, though!

Purchase links:
http://synergebooks.com (for Betcha Didn’t Know, coming out sometime in April, and about five more books this year after that)
Dust Bunnies Ate My Socks (for Dust Bunnies Ate My Socks)
http://secretcravingspublishing.com/CynthiaMacGregor.html (for most of my other e-books, including the three novels)

Thanks so much for stopping by BRB today, Cynthia. I wish you the best with all your endeavors. On May 4 (can you believe we're into May already?) author Jude Mason will be here! May 6 Edward is back and May 7 BL Morticia will be posting. On May 6 I'm posting @ RLJ and giving my farewell of sorts because by May 9 I'm gone. If the prescheduling works, I shall be posting while I'm away!!! Let's hope it does!

Happy Yaoi Hunting ^_^!!
Blak Rayne

3 comments:

  1. I love your attitude that writers don't retire- If I didn't have my writing, well, I don't know what I'd do
    Dawne P

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  2. Thank you so much for stopping by, Dawne! Yes she does seem to have a great attitude.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Interesting interview. You are certainly a busy woman. I love musicals also. Give me the choice between a musical on stage or one on TV, I'm in the theater. I love the title Dust Bunnies Ate My Socks, makes me want to get it. Actually it isn't only men with those housekeeping problems.

    ReplyDelete