Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Interview with Cyndi Tefft, author of Between

Cyndi Tefft, the author of Between (my review) has very kindly accepted to answer a few questions.

You can find the first part of this interview translated in French on my French blog here and the second part on the one of my friend Kittens there. (Pour la traduction de cette interview en français c'est sur mon blog français ici et celui de Kittens ici)

Could you tell us a few words about you and about Between?

Between is a love story between a modern American girl who dies in a car accident and the 18th century Scottish Highlander who comes to take her to heaven.

The book incorporates several places that are dear to me: Seattle, Washington (USA- where I live now), Paris and Versailles (since I studied French in school) and Scotland (because I have a thing for men in kilts)!

What motivated and inspired you to write a book about Paradise, In-Between and a Scottish in kilt?

I wanted to write a good-versus-evil story but I felt that angels and demons had already been done quite a bit. The grim reaper is a well-known concept, but hasn’t shown up much in romance novels. I figured that I could do whatever I wanted in the afterlife, since there are no set rules. The hero is Scottish because I was reading Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series at the time and was completely enamored with Scotland. Still am!

Why do you write for young adults? Do you wish to write adult books?

I didn’t plan on writing a teen book, to be honest. When I finished the first draft and started getting feedback from other writers, they noted that the tone was more in line with a young adult novel. Some reviewers have commented that Between has a more adult tone than other YA books, and I agree. At 18, Lindsey is an older teen, which I thought worked well because not only is she in between heaven and earth, but she’s in between a child and an adult as well.

I will probably write both teen and adult books in the future. It just depends upon the story!

What sorts of books do you read?

I mentioned Outlander already (my all-time fave). I love historical fiction and romance. Nora Roberts’ Born in Fire trilogy is stellar. Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl is a fascinating read. In the YA category, Twilight, the Vampire Academy series (particularly Spirit Bound) and Anna & The French Kiss top my list of faves.

Are you afraid that some people will react badly to the religious moments in Between?

I wouldn’t say I was afraid, but I did wonder how that would go over. So far, I have been extremely pleased by the response. Reviewers have definitely commented on it, but everyone has noted that the spiritual aspects are not preachy in any way, but central to the characters and their story.

I think faith is something that authors often shy away from, since it’s easier to avoid the topic altogether than to take a chance that someone might be offended. However, how your characters feel about God—whatever their feelings may be—can add real depth and substance, in my opinion.

Which place is most likely to inspire you when you're writing? Do you rather write outside or at home? Do you plan a lot?

I take walks along the waterfront during my lunch break at work, and often use that time to think about the scenes I’m writing. I love the beauty of the water and the mountains, and no one bats an eye at the crazy lady talking to herself on the walking trail! They probably think I’m talking on a Bluetooth headset. Ha!

But when it comes to writing, I need focus and solitude to do that. I can’t write in a crowded, busy place like a coffee shop. If I get interrupted or distracted, it’s hard for me to get back in the zone again.

I wouldn’t say I’m a planner, but that I work out the scenes as I go along. Part of the fun of writing is figuring out what comes next!

Have you ever been to Scotland? Because we really feel your love for this country in this book.

Aw, yay! :) Actually, I have been to Scotland, but I’d written the book before I had the chance to go. I finished the first draft of Between in November 2009 and went to Scotland in May 2010. My visit to Eilean Donan Castle (Aiden’s childhood home) was surreal. In the book, Aiden’s uncle William addresses a crowd of warriors from a balcony overlooking the great hall. When I finally got the chance to stand in that spot (as I imagined he did), tears of joy streamed down my face.

Which of the characters is your favourite and why?

Aiden, hands down. I think any romance writer falls in love (at least a little bit) with the hero while writing and I am no exception. I loved writing his character, researching 18th century Scotland, and speaking the dialogue in my horrible attempt at a Scottish accent! I still love reading the scenes with Aiden because—I’ll admit it—he makes me swoon. (I totally agree with that!)

Are the characters based on the people you know?

I put all the people I’ve ever known into a personality blender and created new characters out of them so there is no one person in the book who is based on someone in real life. However, Lindsey is very much like me. I intentionally gave her traits I don’t have (like the fact that she can cook and I could burn water). Still, the way she thinks and reacts is often how I would, under the circumstances.

I was very surprised (but happy) at the end to see that there'll be a sequel. Could you tell us a bit more?

Well, I can’t say much since I don’t want to give away any plot points from the first book, but I can tell you that it’s called Hell Transporter. Aiden’s job is to transport souls from earth to heaven, and the second book has to do with his counterpart. I’ve got a cover in mind that is similar to Between’s, but with a red flame instead of blue smoke. I think it’s going to complement the first book beautifully.

I am about one-third of the way through the first draft of Hell Transporter. Now that Between has been launched, I will turn my attention to getting the sequel finished. But let me just say, the ending… oh, you’ll like that!

Are you currently working on a new book beside the sequel of Between? Can you tell us a little bit about it?

I have started and stopped writing a handful of others, so I’m not really sure where my writing will take me after the sequel is finished. No matter what, there will be a love story in there somewhere!

Thanks so much for having me on the blog. I had a great time!

Once again, thank you so much Cyndi.

You can fin Cyndi online there :

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Thanks for stopping by and leaving your mark :D I'm so sorry I really don't have time to answer to everyone right now but I read them all :D