Yes, the pen is mightier than the sword. We agree... our favorite books agree... everyone agrees. But we're also not going to lie -- we're pretty thrilled that Cindy has both going for her. Part time fencer, full time storyteller -- it is a pleasure to introduce to you an author with a passion for all things fantasy, both on and off the page.
Cindy Lynn Speer's five novels and a short story collection span everything from mysteries and adventures to fairy and folk retellings, always with a spritz of fantasy and romance on the side. She told us she enjoys doing retold stories to explore different points of views. If mixing genres happens on the page, it happens in life as well; reader, crafter, fencer, day dreamer, traveler, nature enthusiast: Cindy has it covered. Please visit www.cindylynnspeer.com for more information.
WFC2020: Cindy, we're delighted to have you with us today! We like to make our first question about firsts. It just makes sense! So, what would you say first sparked your journey into writing?
My first "not-my-parent" bit of encouragement came from the substitute French teacher at my Middle School. She had lunch monitor duty (she was there for the semester), and she would often see me scribbling away in my notebook during my lunch. She would come talk to me in the lunch line and ask me about my stories…even though they were not always original (at the time I was doing a story inspired by Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steel Rat series), and even though when you are that young your ideas are…shall we say…quite simple? She always acted like she thought I was brilliant. She gave me a postcard of a Mary Cassat painting when she left. I always secretly hoped she would know I’d kept at it, so she knew her attention to a silly 14-year-old was worthwhile.
WFC2020: Worthwhile is right; what a treasured gift! Imagine if you could return a postcard to that teacher right now to let her know of your success, or to any new readers who may not be familiar with your work, which of your books would you feature on it as a recommendation?
The Chocolatier’s Wife, actually, because it is my most popular work and it is the first book of two…but it stands alone completely. It’s a gentle story, for all the murder in it.
WFC2020: Not to mention it would make a gorgeous postcard! But really, any of your books would be an amazing choice. We love gentle stories with murder. Tell us about your latest book. What’s it about? What was the inspiration for this story?
The Key to All Things was a story I’d tried to write a few times. Like I mentioned earlier, I like to look at established stuff from different perspectives. And I kept playing with the idea of the Great Love Story…you know, like Ladyhawke where the hero and heroine go to great lengths, though a tragic and beautiful love story, to be together. And we just assume that they live (as they say) happily ever after. (And of course, that’s what I want.) But what happens if they don’t?
My main character, Edward, is the hero from one of those great stories, whose wife destroyed him, and one of the things he wants to do is recover and be something like the man he used to be. It’s a background thing that informs the whole of the book, and I play with the idea in a way that I hope (hope, I tell you!) is clever.
WFC2020: If only Edward and I didn't have so many things in common. I'm looking forward to reading it! What are you working on now?
I’ve been wanting to play with fairy Godmothers in a non-twee sort of fashion, so I’ve been working on a story where a fairy Godmother, Sally, had a hard time during WW2, so she went to sleep, meaning to sleep out that century and start over again…but she is awoken early, and ends up setting up in a town where someone is trying to murder the town folk.
It’s rough right now…she is living in a house where the main staircase is partly built out of the body of a murdered dryad who will slowly, I think, develop from a mourning victim, to a being with a rather snarky sense of humor, which suits my cigarette-smoking (her cigarette holder is her wand) snark girl. I like the idea of the house taking the micky out of my bitter, tired (but well-meaning and fairly good) Sally.
WFC2020: Sounds thrilling! Is the writing of it going well?
Hopefully, now that I’ve spoken about it, I’ll finish it. You never know, with me, though, I know who the killer is, so that’s half the battle. Now I just need to guide us down the path of why and how.
WFC2020: Speaking of battles, could you tell us about that sharp-pointed hobby of yours? Does it ever show up in your writing?
I’ve been a sword-fighter (Western martial arts…I love Italian Rapier, but I do some long sword fighting, too) and most of my friends love and read fantasy and sf, so I’ve been terrified to write about sword fighting! I’ve sat in on too many discussions of: “Can Drizzt really do that?” (for example) to not be a little nervous about my friends reading my work and being like, "Honey. Oh, honey."
But, finally, I have written a book with quite a few scenes in it, and I feel fairly good about it. But, since we are under restrictions right now because of the pandemic (in July, as I write this) I’ve not had to face my contemporaries as much. I love them being safe, but man. I miss the practicing the fine arte of defense.
WFC2020: We hear you there! We're glad you're taking a different style of defenses during this pandemic though, by practicing safe social distancing. But since we still do want to connect socially via media, where can our readers find you on the Internet?
You can find me here:
Buy links: The Key to All Things