Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Secrets and Charades: Meet Author Cindy Huff
I'm pleased to introduce Cindy Huff to you today. I first met Cindy at a writing conference in Illinois. We made an immediate connection. Cindy has supported me as I published my first book, established my blog, and started writing groups. You will see her name in my new Writing to Publish series. (Who else would gently tell me I needed something other than a selfie for my headshot?) Cindy’s first novel is a wonderful work of historical fiction. I was honored when she asked me to read an advance copy. Join me as I interview Cindy.
Me: Welcome, Cindy Huff!
Cindy: Becky, it is a privilege to be with you today. I’m excited about sharing my writing journey with you.
Me: I love the title. How did you come up with the title Secrets and Charades for your newest release?
Cindy: The title tells the reader exactly what the story is about. The main characters and most of the secondary characters have something they are hiding. I hope the title will draw readers to open the pages to discover what those secrets are. I was surprised when my editor didn’t change the title. Often the publisher does.
Me: No need to change it. I think it does exactly what you wanted. So, what led you to become an author?
Cindy: I evolved. My writing focus parallels my life. I started in high school writing for the school paper, skits for Thespians and my church youth group. As a mom, I started submitting children’s short stories and radio scripts to Christian publications. I wrote a series of stories for a Christian school to use as a supplemental reader for their second grade. Because we were a homeschool family I wrote plays and presentations for a drama class I taught for our support group. I became a columnist for our local paper.
I set writing aside once I went back to work and my younger kids were in private and public school. I’d quit my newspaper column and pulled back. My creative writing bucket was empty and full of doubting- my-ability holes.
When I turned 50 my writing was reignited. My husband and I were teaching at a pastor’s conference in the Philippians. While there, God impressed me to take up my pen again. My vivid imagination was a gift. I asked Him for a sign. I felt rusty and out of touch with the modern writing market. I needed God to provide the tuition to take an online writing course.
He made it very clear when a check for the amount I needed came in the mail from a class action suit I forgot I was part of. My reemergence into writing and my journey to novel publication began. That was nearly 12 years ago.
Me: I love that. And I particularly love the visual of the “creative bucket …empty and full of doubting-my-ability holes.” I think we all go through that from time-to-time. Your bucket is obviously in good repair now! Where did you get your story idea?
Cindy: I have a vivid imagination. Characters and story lines march through my head on a regular basis. Most don’t stay long and are easily forgotten. But Evangeline introduced herself to me and lingered for quite awhile. She shared her secret and told me her backstory. It was so relatable, even for the modern reader. Jake took a little more work. Typical man—short on words. Ecclesiastes tells us there is nothing new under the sun. So, their secrets are relevant for the modern reader but the time frame gives a little distance to allow the truths to hit home in a non-threatening way.
Me: I’ve read it. A most excellent book! What is one takeaway from your book you hope readers will identify with?
Cindy: God forgives completely. He doesn’t hold our past against us. We need to forgive ourselves and trust God as we live the new life he has given to us.
Me: Would you share the book blurb with us?
Cindy: Of course. Here you go:
Jake Marcum’s busy ranch leaves him no time for courting, and his wounded heart has no place for love. When battlefield nightmares disturb his peace and his tomboy niece, Juliet, needs taming, somehow a mail-order bride seems like a logical solution.
Dr. Evangeline Olson has no idea her own niece is writing to a rancher on her behalf, and she sure isn’t interested in abandoning her medical practice for a stranger. But when an inheritance threatens to reveal a long-buried secret, she travels west to become Jake’s wife.
Jake soon realizes Evangeline is more than he bargained for, especially when her arrival causes a stir in the community. As the two try to find their way in a marriage of convenience, their fragile relationship is further tested by cattle rustling and kidnapping. Can their hearts overcome past hurts to create a real marriage?
Me: It will be released this spring, correct?
Cindy: The scheduled release date is scheduled for March 15, 2017.
Me: And I trust you are already working on a sequel. Can you share a bit about your current project?
Cindy: You're right! I’m writing the sequel to Secrets and Charades. One of my secondary characters, Isabel, begged to tell her story. She sets out to solve a problem on her own, only find herself in a bigger pickle. Evangeline and Jake have minor roles in this book. Rather than pick up where the other book leaves off Bride in Disguise starts a few months before Evangeline comes to Jake’s ranch and then a few scenes intersect Secrets and Charades while the reader follows Isabel’s story to the end. It’s a challenge to weave the two parts together and only repeat a few scenes from Secrets and Charades.
I also finished a contemporary romance set in my city, Aurora, Illinois. A wounded warrior and a broken widow find healing and hope in New Duet. Why did I write a contemporary when my first novel was Historical? The characters came to visit and convinced me their stories needed to be told.
Me: You’ve been busy, my friend! Thank you so much for sharing. I am excited about your release and trust you find a great audience. I’m already looking forward to Book 2!
Cindy: Thank you so much for letting me visit your readers and talk about my new book and projects close to my heart.
Cindy Ervin Huff is a multi-published writer and winner of the Editor’s Choice Award from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas at the 2014 Write-To-Publish Conference. She is a contributor to Splickety Publishing Group’s anthology and has been featured in numerous periodicals over the last thirty years. Cindy is a past member of the Christian Writer’s Guild and President of the Aurora, Illinois, chapter of Word Weavers. Although she has been creating stories in her head since childhood it wasn’t until high school those imaginary characters began appearing on paper. After raising her family, she began her novel writing adventures. Cindy loves to encourage new writers on their journey. She and her husband make their home in Aurora, Illinois. They have five children and six grandchildren. Visit Cindy on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cindyehuff, follow her on twitter @CindyErvinHuff, or check out her blog at www.jubileewriter.wordpress.com
tenacious writer...a woman pursuing her dreams!