Today we have two guest authors, who write under the pen name Cynthia Gael. They've cleverly given their pen name a life, personality and chance to tell her stories in the young adult series The Balefire Chronicles. Let's give a Cynthia D. Witherspoon and K.G. McAbee aka Cynthia Gael a warm welcome!
Cynthia Gael lives in South Carolina in a small log cabin built in 1817. She writes in a loft described to her, years before she saw it, by a psychic, thus influencing her already vast interest in psychic phenomena. Her other interests include: all forms of paranormal phenomena, history, literature, the literature of history, the history of literature, and dogs. She is a firm believer in magic in all its forms, thus she believes she’s lived many times before. Cynthia often draws inspiration from these past lives, where she existed in ancient Egypt, medieval France and Victorian England, among other places and times.
You’ve taken a pen name to a new level, creating an alter ego who writes for a living. What inspired you to do this?
CDW: In all honesty, because our names together are quite a mouthful. And there’s something mysterious about using a pseudonym, don’t you think? So very…1940s...
Tell us about your new series, The Balefire Chronicles. How many books are in the series so far? Please list the titles for the readers. How many do you have planned? Do you need to read them in order?
CDW: Oh, this is a great series! Mystery and magic, witches and the men who fall madly in love with them thanks to a deadly curse…what’s not to love? So far, we’ve gotten two books completed with the first one, Balefire and Moonstone available through the Gypsy Shadow Publishing website, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.com. The second in the series, Balefire and Lodestone, is coming out this next week, and we’re currently writing the third, Balefire and Bloodstone for National Novel Writing Month.
As far as how many we have planned, we don’t have a set number. It all depends on our ideas, and our characters, and what they tell us to write. I would say you definitely need to read them in order. After all, you can’t start a love story in the middle now, can you?
In Balefire and Moonstone, we meet Tommy Hopkins. Tell us a little about this character. Personality and what he looks like.
CDW: Tommy is our example of the classic hero. Torn between his love for Anya and his dedication to his family, he finds that the choice has already been made for him thanks to the curse placed on his ancestors. Personality wise? He’s a sweetie. He’s funny. And he’s devoted to those he loves. Looks wise? Tommy embodies the classic Witchfinder General look passed down throughout the generations. Tall, blonde, blue eyes. He’s a cutie!
Tell us about Anya Blanchett. What is her first impression after meeting Tommy? What is Tommy’s first impression of Anya?
CDW: Anya’s a Chosen One, a witch, who discovers her power is fire around the same time she meets Tommy. Sure, she grew up in a small Southern town, but due to the prejudices and fears of people, our girl is pretty isolated when she meets Tommy.
Her first impression of him isn’t about his looks. Or the money which his family has thanks to WFG. Instead, she’s afraid she will end up causing him to be isolated too. And that she’ll hurt him somehow. That said, Anya is drawn to him and does a binding spell to make him her own. Little does she know there is a much deeper magic working to force them together.
Tommy’s immediate reaction is to ignore Anya when he sees her during his first day of class at her high school because everyone else does. But then (without giving too much away) he meets her and when he gets a good look at her eyes, he is drawn towards her too.
How much research went into your series?
CDW: We research as we go. Most of the magic in the books (and the Chosen Ones) are based off pagan spells and beliefs. And there really was a Matthew Hopkins who proclaimed himself England’s Witchfinder General. We did research on him too.
As the story continues to unfold throughout the series, we do research where it is needed. Places, history, science. You name it, we’ve probably looked it up.
Do you have a favorite research book or website you’d like to share?
CDW: Google and Wikipedia are my mainstays. I don’t think I’d know anything without those two websites!
Do you cast your characters using pictures or actors to help inspire your writing?
CDW: We didn’t at first, but now that the world is growing larger by the second, we do. Check out our Character Studies page on www.cynthiagael.com and you’ll see what we mean. We’ve put up pictures to help our readers visualize the characters; to make the world a little more real for them.
What are your current projects and works in progress?
CDW: Right now, we’re working on the third book of The Balefire Chronicles: Balefire and Bloodstone. But we have a steampunk series of novellas we’re working on based out of the Balefire universe, and short stories, and…and…You know, there’s just too many ideas between the two of us. But we’ll get them all down someday!
Tell the readers where they can find you: (website, facebook, twitter, blogs)
CDW: Our website is http://www.cynthiagael.com, of course. But we are also on Facebook (visit our website and click on the ‘befriend us’ button at the very bottom of the homepage) and Twitter…and we have a blog, too. Its at http://cynthiagael.blogspot.com.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell the readers?
CDW: We’d like to thank all of our readers, and especially our friends in the UK! They helped Balefire and Moonstone reach #65 on Amazon.uk’s Bestseller list for Young Adult Romances this week, and we’re so thankful to them!
Don’t forget to add the ‘to buy links’.
We’re also on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com! I didn’t add the links here simply because they are so long.
CDW: We’d love to hear more from our fans. Currently, if you have read Balefire and Moonstone, and will be kind enough to leave us a comment on either Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com, send us a note to say you’ve done so. We’ll send you a personalized thank you card (a real one if you give us your address!) signed by Cynthia Gael herself!
Very cool indeed.
Thanks so much for coming by and chatting with us today! It’s been a real pleasure.