Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: April 19th 2016
Genres: Historical, Young Adult
Buy it: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo
Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.
Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.
Could you tell us why you wanted to write about London in the nineteenth century? Did you always know that Love, Lies and Spies was going to be set there?
Cindy: I am fascinated by the 19th century; in England it opened as a rural based society where travel involved long (uncomfortable) coach rides and it closed as an urban centered society, zipping from one part of the country to the other via the train. It was an amazing transformation.
I knew the type and tone of the book I wished to write before the plot waved and did a little dance to get my attention (the quadrille). I like exploring the contradiction between a character’s thoughts and his or her behavior; the traditional Regency romance —the comedy of manners type—is a perfect vehicle to do just that.
What kind of research did you have to do for Love, Lies and Spies?
Cindy: I bought countless books and spent many hours in the library concentrating on social and cultural history of the Regency period. I also read the fiction of the time—Jane Austen, of course, but also Ann Radcliffe etal. Touring various country manors and museums in the UK was also extremely helpful. Only a fraction of what I have learned made into the book.
What material possession could you not live without?
Cindy: When you move across oceans, everything you possess is placed in a container to be shipped; you say goodbye… hoping to see it on the other side. As a result, I have come to realize that I can replace or do without almost everything I own—except photos; they are irreplaceable.
Which of your characters do you most identify with, and why?
Cindy: Probably Juliana. I was quite accident prone when I was her age; I didn’t actively write her that way, it just… well, happened.
Are any of your characters based on real people?
Cindy: No, not really. Though I have instilled my characters with a lot of what I have observed and experienced—and not always intentionally.
What is your favorite non-spoilery line from your book?
Cindy: “I shall be considered completely beyond the pale if I am dashed upon the rocks. Aunt will be so uncomfortable. Most inconsiderate of me.”
Were there any scenes cut from your book during the editing process that you wish had made it to the final product?
Cindy: There was one scene in which Juliana fainted. I had fun writing in a completely incoherent manner… but since the lead up was changed and Juliana no longer fainted, I had to paste that scene into my ‘obsolete’ file.
Do you have any habits or rituals that you have or need to do when you’re writing? (Such as always needing chocolate on hand, or needing to listen to music, etc...)
Cindy: I would love to say something truly odd. Perhaps, I have to turn around twice before sitting, or place my coffee perfectly in line with my mouse or pens, or listen jazz for 30 minutes and then switch to classical. Sigh. No rituals…unless the need to have a coffee before I sit down counts.
What would make you automatically stop reading a book?
Cindy: There are a few things that would do the trick: inaccurate language (modern idioms in a historical novel) and inconsistencies but my ultimate bug is the overuse of coincidences. Bam! I’ll pitch the book across the room.
A lot of aspiring authors have trouble telling others they have to write at that moment (instead of later) when friends or family want them to do other activities. Have you ever had this problem? If so, could you tell us how you protect your writing time, or maybe give some advice to writers on the topic?
Cindy: I am very fortunate; I have always had a separate space in which to write. Merely closing the door usually did/does the trick. I work set hours—taking breaks to check in with everyone. Naturally, I have to allow for occasional interruptions but then I refocus and get back to work. Family dynamics are complicated and unique—I would not like to offer advice blindly.
She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.
Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester. Love, Lies and Spies is her debut novel.
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