Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cynthia Owens, a passion for Ireland

Welcome Cynthia. Please get comfortable and tell us something about your adventure.
Hi everyone, and thank you so much, Jean, for having me on Adventures in Authorland. I’m so happy to be here to promote Playing For Keeps, Book III of the Claddagh Series, historical romances set in Ireland and beyond.
When did you first consider yourself a writer? Well, I’ve always written down stories, ever since I learned to string a few words together into a (hopefully) coherent sentence, so in that respect, I’ve always considered myself a writer. But on the day I held my first book, In Sunshine or in Shadow, in my hands, smelled that wonderful “new book” smell, saw MY NAME on the cover – that was when I really believed it.

In which genre do you prefer to write and why? I write historical romances because I love to delve into the past of a place and its people. I love the research, love to imagine how people might have reacted to circumstances. Besides, love, real love, is the same, whether in the 19th Century or the present day.
Can you give us some details about Playing For Keeps? I’d love to! Playing For Keeps is the third story in the Claddagh Series. It started with Rory O’Brien and Siobhán Desmond of In Sunshine or in Shadow. Gambler and survivor. Landlord and tenant. A love that couldn’t be denied. It continued with Coming Home, when Ashleen O’Brien showed an Irish-American war hero that you can find a home and a family in the most unlikely place. And now there’s Playing For Keeps, Katie’s story. This half-Irish beauty has finally returned to Baltimore to visit the family she barely remembers…
He fled life in the shadows for a life in the limelight
Never as dutiful as his older brother, Lucas was a thinker, and a dreamer of dreams. When tragedy overtook his family, he fled to the bright lights of the stage. Can he make the Shannon Theatre Troupe a success – or is he doomed to once again be “the other son?”
She sought the past she barely remembered.
Mary Kathryn O’Brien returns to the genteel world her mother left behind – but can Irish Katie ever truly hope to belong? Or will old wounds and new rivalries destroy the threads of family forever?
Lucas and Katie must battle prejudice and buried secrets before they can learn to trust each other. Is their love just a brief intermission, or are they Playing For Keeps?

Do you hear from readers much? What kinds of things do they say? I love to hear from my readers, and connect with them on Facebook whenever I can. I think the nicest thing a reader has ever told me was that she loved my characters. It’s the characters that make the story. You can have the best storyline in the world, but without memorable characters, it’s just that – a storyline. It’s the characters that make the story.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? Writing, or something else? As a child, I loved to read mystery stories, and my favorite character was Trixie, of the Trixie Belden Mystery Stories. For a while I desperately wanted to be a “girl detective.” Once I even used up a whole week’s allowance to buy a “detective kit,” complete with magnifying glass and Sherlock Holmes cap. I guess I was about 10 at the time.
What place inspires you the most? Ireland! I’ve been in love with Ireland and all things Irish forever! The myths and legends, the tragic history and fierce determination to survive despite all the odds. The music, so hauntingly sad, yet with an undercurrent of joy. The magical Irish mist which hovers over the country like a protective, comforting blanket. And the people – the best, most open-hearted folk I’ve ever been privileged to know!
Have you ever cried during a movie? If yes, which one and why? I cried during Titanic. It was during the scene when the Irish mother, knowing she and her family were going to die in steerage, tenderly tucks her children into their bunk and tells them the story of Tir na Nog, the Land of the Ever Young. It’s always been one of my favorite Irish legends, and I found the scene heartbreakingly sad.

Playing for Keeps 

Philadelphia, 1850
Luke stared in silent horror as glowing red flames devoured the warehouse.
What have you done this time?
The words resounded through Luke’s brain, condemning and inevitable, in his father’s disapproving tones.
What had he done? He’d secured the warehouses. He had, he was sure of it. He’d made certain all the forges were out.
Hadn’t he? Or had his head been too full of the play he’d been studying in secret, the characters he was determined to flesh out, the pages he’d obsessively filled with his own dreams and interpretations?
Clanging bells and pounding hooves hammered in his ears.
Thank you, God.
But as quickly as relief flared, terror chased close on its heels.
Dear God, was anyone still inside? Tobias, his father’s most trusted clerk—surely he’d left long ago. And the two young men Matt hired last month—hadn’t they spoken of going to The Dancing Horse to spend their first pay packets?
He struggled for breath, the acrid smell of burning wood and molten steel tearing at his throat.
Bleak realization swept through him. It was his fault. It had to be. But it was an accident
Matthew. Matt would take care of everything. Matt always cleaned up his little brother’s messes, covered up Luke’s many shortcomings.
“Mr. Lucas? Mr. Lucas!”
Dazed, Luke stared in disbelief at the normally impeccable clerk. Tobias had lost his coat, his once pristine white linen shirt was torn and covered with soot. Luke’s gut clenched as he took in the other man’s wild hair, the bloody gash slashed cruelly across one cheek.
“Mr. Lucas!”
Luke grabbed Tobias’s arm, his head thudding, his fingers gripping convulsively. Fear struck ice cold in his heart. His entire body shaking, he ran his dry tongue over his ash-covered lips.
“Tobias, where’s Matt?”
The clerk gazed at Luke, pity darkening his eyes. Tears trailed slowly down his soot-blackened face.
“Mr. Matthew’s dead, sir.”


  1. Great excerpt! You know how to leave a reader wanting more. Excellent!

  2. Thanks, Sandy, glad you enjoyed the excerpt! I hope I've sufficiently intrigued you! ;) Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Jean, thanks so much for having me as your guest this weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed my Adventures in Authorland!

    1. Cynthia,

      My pleasure. You had the highest number of views for the year.

  4. Philadelphia, 1850 caught my eye. I live in Philadelphia. Good luck with "Playing for Keeps" and Happy New Year!

  5. Congratulations on your book!! The 1850 in Philidelphia also interested me. Most of the Irish side of my family landed in Philidelphia. Tweeted.