It seems aspiring authors are spoiled for choice these days. Well, not really, but there are more decisions to make than ever before. As someone steeped in traditional publishing I’m also interested in the not-as-traditional publishing options. Cynthia Racette is published by Soul Mate Publishing, an ebook and paperback romance and women’s fiction publisher.
Please welcome Cynthia Racette to Women’s Fiction Writers!
How Author Cynthia Racette Sailed Into Her Career As A Published Author
Amy: Can you tell us a little about Windswept and your journey to publication, including how you found Soul Mate Publishing (or how they found you)?
Cynthia: I really do owe the fact that I am published to RWA. I started attending local chapter meetings here in western NY about a year before I sold Windswept and I learned so much about what’s out there, how to hone your writing, etc. at those meetings. I also received support and encouragement from the ladies in the group. At one of the meetings, I found out that Soul Mate was growing and accepting new authors and subbed my mss and heard from them in two weeks that they wanted to publish it. I was astounded!
Windswept is a romantic novel of redemption and family values and fighting for what is important. Sailing Windswept has always been a family affair and many of Caroline and David Hartford’s fondest memories have taken place on Chesapeake Bay sailing in all kinds of conditions and exploring the bay.
When husband David is unfaithful and commits the ultimate betrayal by bringing his mistress aboard Windswept, Caroline’s world is shattered. He leaves her and she is forced to rely solely on herself for the first time in her life. She has to be a single parent to her daughter, Lily, and to decide if she can forgive David for tearing her family apart.
As David and Caroline work to put their marriage back together, events and other people conspire against them, over and over. As their relationship begins to heal, the couple is caught in a horrific storm and waterspout on the bay, heading straight for Windswept. They want a chance to love again but Mother Nature might have other ideas.
Amy: I have to sit by a window when I write (I’m there right now!) Do you have any writing rituals? A talisman? Do you stick to a schedule or write when the mood strikes?
Cynthia: I write when the mood strikes, which is terrible. I know I should write every day and adhere to a schedule but I can’t seem to manage it. I write on my laptop, which is situated on a laptop stand. I would like to type at a desk or table in our study but my husband took it over with his consulting business. (He makes more money than I do so he gets the desk.)
Amy: Do you outline or are you a pantser — meaning that you write by the seat of your pants?
Cynthia: I’m an outliner. I can’t just sit and write and have any of it make sense. I have character studies, a crude outline and a few partially filled out important scenes. I think the character sketch is most important because it gives me a good feel for the characters. Character is the be-all and end-all for all good fiction.
Amy: How did you come up with the idea for Windswept?
Cynthia: My husband and I have been sailboaters for years and I always wanted to write a book about sailing. I adored our 30 ft. sloop and I wanted to write something where the boat itself is nearly a character– kind of like an allegory built around the boat. People have told me I succeeded in that. Readers are the ultimate judges, when you get past the editors…
Amy: What is your definition of women’s fiction and how does it differ from romance?
Cynthia: I think of women’s fiction as romance on steroids. Many books of the genre have an element of romance in them, but women’s fiction also includes very character-driven heroines who have a lot going on in their lives but a hot man with great pecs. Not that there isn’t a lot to be said for that. Ask my daughter. W.F. heroines have families, jobs, relatives, and something happening that has set their entire universes into chaos. That’s where the character comes in. Many of my books start with dependent, sheltered women who learn to become independent and able to set their world aright at the end. The woman at the end of my books is far from the one who started out being blown by the vagaries of life.
Here’s an example from my next book, Inside Out, being subbed to publishers within a week or two. A woman whose husband is suddenly killed in a car accident must learn to deal with a life turned inside out. She’s alone with her teenage daughter who takes her grief out on her mother and a younger son who is convinced his father’s accident is his fault. Throw in a newly divorced detective, his teenage son, a hostage situation downtown, and his determination to help our heroine through her troubles when all she wants is to start doing things herself. Chaos.
Amy: What’s your best advice for burgeoning women’s fiction authors?
Cynthia: I think writing women’s fiction is the same as writing anything else except WF authors tend to be more savvy people watchers and is often the person everyone in their lives comes to with their problems. I usually tell new writers, read books about writing and attend seminars about different aspects of it; to read anything you can get your hands on in as many genres as you can, write as much as you can, and become involved with a critique group or RWA.
Cynthia and her husband are newly retired, and have moved to a suburb of Buffalo in order to be closer to their children and grandchildren. Cynthia has been writing most of her life. You can find out more about Cynthia Racette on her website.