Today we are interviewing Cynthia Racette, who writes women's fiction with romantic elements. She is giving away two copies of her book WINDSWEPT.
Alexis: Hi Cynthia, thank you for visiting Happily Ever After Thoughts :-) Why did you decide to write women's fiction?
Cynthia: A woman's life consists of her entire family, kids and all and I think they should all be part of her story. Also, there are many dramatic romances that emerge after the wedding that make for great fiction. There are deaths, divorces, infidelities, emotional ennui and all kinds of things.
Alexis: Very true. I understand your debut novel, WINDSWEPT, just came out. Can you tell us a little about it?
Cynthia: WINDSWEPT is about a sailboat and the family that owns it. The boat has been part of their lives since the wedding and has been the scene of many happy family events and glorious sunny days. When the husband is unfaithful, the family is thrown into turmoil, with our heroine having to learn independence and the hero trying to come to grips with what he did. Other people and events conspire to impede their progress towards repairing their family but Mother Nature might have the final say.
Alexis: Oh, I like that :-) Where did you get the idea for this story?
Cynthia: My husband and I love sailing and I got the idea to create what is essentially an allegory around a sailboat. I wanted, too, to show that when something like unfaithfulness happens, both parties are at fault and both suffer. There's no good guy or bad guy.
Alexis: Really? Interesting. What are your favorite character traits of Caroline and David?
Cynthia: Caroline is very loving and very loyal to her family and that's why David's betrayal hurts her so much. David is very passionate and intelligent with strong scruples and that makes it difficult for him to reconcile his actions.
Alexis: They sound like a very realistic couple.
Do you have a particular writing schedule you stay with or do you write when the muse strikes?
Cynthia: I generally write in the mornings and early afternoon but, if the muse taps me on the shoulder, I'll work through supper and bedtime.
Alexis: So what can we expect next from you? Do you have any new releases coming or a work in progress?
Cynthia: I have a WIP about a young family devastated when the father is killed in an accident. The young boy believes it's his fault the father is killed and his teenage sister acts out with shoplifting and drugs. The detective who arrests her becomes attracted to the young widow, which makes for conflict between her and her daughter.
Daughter: "I can't believe you're going out with him. It's his fault I got arrested."
Mother: "It wasn't his fault. It was your fault."
Alexis: Yes, that is good conflict. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It's a pleasure having you visit.
Cynthia: I enjoyed it Alexis. Thank you for having me. Kisses!
Alexis: For a chance to win WINDSWEPT, be sure to leave a comment for her. If I have contact information, I will let you know when you win, otherwise, check the side column for your name on Wednesday under WINNERS :-)
For more information on Cynthia’s books go to http://cynthiaracette.com/Home.php
Alexis: Check out this excerpt from WINDSWEPT.
Windswept’s mainsail was up, and the jib was a clean, crisp white against the clear blue sky. Wind filled the canvas with a snap as the sails billowed. The boat immediately heeled over with the force of the wind and surged forward through the waves with barely-leashed power.
Reaching down to kill the engine, Caroline stood to savor her favorite moment in sailing- the first instant with only the sound of the wind and the waves and the feel of the boat under her feet, driven solely by the power of nature. She grinned at David and he smiled back, akin in the joy of that marvelous feeling of anticipation and accomplishment-- ready, more than ready, to spend another summer season sailing up and down the bay.
Caroline handed the wheel over to David and wrapped her arms around the mast to savor the warm sun and deep blue sea. She loved Windswept more than she thought it was proper to love a possession. It was nearly indecent, her passion for it.
The boat had been part of the family for their entire married lives. The sailing bug had hit both of them unexpectedly after an excursion aboard a sailboat in the Caribbean. They’d decided immediately to buy the boat, and it seemed the perfect present to give each other for the wedding. It had taken every penny they had at the time, but it had been worth it. Over the years they’d spent every available minute of the summer on the boat, and it never seemed to get old.
She sighed happily. She was happier out here than anywhere else in the world. And today, the first sailing day of a new season, was extra special. She stood by the mast for a while watching the water fly up from the bow of the boat and sweep past the side. They’d spent hours getting her fiberglass glowing. The boat was aging now, though aging gracefully like a grand old damme.
When their fourteen-year-old daughter Lily raised her head briefly from her position sunbathing, Caroline winked at her and crept along the railing to join her. Caroline noticed that Lily’s figure in the bikini was getting almost voluptuous. In the winter, with thick sweaters and coats to hide her curves, Caroline hadn’t noticed the drastic changes.
Lily scooted over to give her some room. The breeze felt great brushing back her hair and the sun was hotter than it had been all spring. Caroline was beginning to feel over-warm in her Georgetown sweatshirt. Caroline and Lily stared at the white spray without speaking for a long time, then Caroline nudged her daughter with her shoulder. “Long winter, huh?” Lily had, in many ways, been raised on the boat and she could sail it with the best of them. Caroline had many fond memories of Lily as a toddler on her father’s lap, already learning about how to read the wind. There were images in her head of her as a eight or nine year old, running along the top of the deck and leaping off onto the dock without a thought of danger. She could remember Lily as an eleven year old begging to be allowed to keep the helm as the wind rose higher and higher. It often reached a point that made Caroline’s heart hammer with alarm at letting the whisper-thin preteen to steer through a five foot waves. Lily had done it though, albeit with her father close by.
“Oh yeah,” said Lily. “I’m glad I decided to go today. I can write up results tomorrow.”
“You’ve got lots of time before the Science Fair.”
“Yeah, but there’s still a lot to do.”
“You’ll get it done.”
“And how many days like this will we have to go out on the Chesapeake before it gets too hot? I’ve been chomping at the bit for weeks.”
“You’re telling me,” said Lily, rolling her eyes. “You guys have been at the marina since St. Patty’s Day polishing everything. I’m just glad I got out of it this year. I mean, I love this tub and all, but I have a lot of things going on now at school with Science Club and orchestra and all.”
Caroline let the sarcastic reference go because she knew Lily loved Windswept too and there was a tiny grin at the corner of her lips when she said it. “It was worth it, wasn’t it? Today?”
Caroline felt Lily nod against her arm, with a murmured “Oh, yeah.”
She put her arm around Lily and they leaned together, gazing raptly at the water as it hypnotized their senses- rushing, always rushing in a sheet of white foam past the bow.
Caroline ran her fingers through her daughter’s long, silky hair. “Needs cutting.”
“No, please,” Lily pleaded. “I like it this way.”
“Last time I knew, you thought long hair was too much of a bother. When did you change your mind?”
“Guys like long hair.”
“No! It’s not like that. There’s no one special.” Lily reddened. “The only stuff I’m interested in at the moment is finishing my science project. But it doesn’t hurt to... well... you know.”
Caroline laughed. “Sure. I know. Keep all your options open. Be ready just in case?”
“Sort of. “
“OK, you can leave it long. But we’ll get you a trim-- just for the split ends.”
“OK, Mom. You’d better get on back. Dad’s looking impatient.”
David, his white windbreaker tied now around his waist in the late afternoon sun, puttered around the cockpit. He was tall, and his light brown hair was windblown after the spirited beat upwind. But he seemed to be trying to keep from looking at Caroline.
Caroline tried to catch his eye but his tinkering today seemed distracted. He was uncharacteristically silent. Whenever she was not at the helm when they sailed, she relaxed and watched the water and the sky and the sails. David, however, kept up a never-ending ritual of adjusting sails and halyards. He was a perfectionist with the details on the boat. Today, though, it was more than that. He wasn’t being a perfectionist. He was avoiding her.
Alexis: Don't forget, for a chance to win a copy of this book, be sure to leave Cynthia a comment :-)