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Sunday, 3 March 2013

Old Age Ain't for Sissies!

An interview with Cindy McDonald

Vic Deveaux’s glory days as a winning jockey have ended, but he refuses to accept that pile of horse hockey!

When the West family asks Vic to take an easier position at their Thoroughbred farm, Westwood, he becomes enraged and teams up with two greedy stable hands in a scheme to kidnap the youngest son, Shane. 

Things turn ugly when Vic discovers that his new-found friends have murder on their minds. Suddenly Vic finds himself between a rock and a hard place. He has betrayed his good friend, Eric West, but will he participate in his son’s murder as well?

Not content to sit at home and wait for her men to bring her brother home, Kate West convinces homicide detective, Carl Lugowski, to check out a hunch at an old abandoned mansion. Soon they’re trapped in a hornet’s nest of a notorious biker gang.

Oh yeah, Vic’s deception has placed the West family in more danger than they know what to do with!

Who is the protagonist; their background? What makes them them?
There are quite a few protagonists in the Unbridled Series, that said let’s just focus on one: Mike West. Mike is the oldest son of Eric West, the imposing patriarch of the successful Thoroughbred farm, Westwood. Mike grew up at the sprawling farm caring for the horses with his two siblings, Kate and Shane.

Mike tends to be on the OCD side. He has a “must win” attitude, and he takes being the eldest of the West children very seriously. He was married to Ava—Unbridle’s resident antagonist—for five years. But her wandering eye and vagina destroyed the marriage.  Regardless, she still owns a piece of Mike’s soul, and no matter how he tries not to, he still has feelings for Ava.

Mike deals with his loneliness by caring for the horses and the stable that he loves.

What are their likes/dislikes? Why do they hate/love character A or B?
Mike has a healthy dislike for Lieutenant Carl Lugowski. Why? Because he is the man Ava sleeps with. Much to Mike’s disgust he finds himself having to tolerate Lugowski more often than not. It seems the two men are thrown together when bad situations arise, and in the Unbridled Series those situations are always a heartbeat away.

What would the protagonist change about her/himself if they could wave a magic wand? If they have a magic wand what’s stopping them from waving it?
If Mike could change just one thing I believe it would be his marriage with Ava. He loved Ava and I think he would have loved to have children, perhaps a little girl to spoil rotten. She would easily have her father wrapped around her tiny pinky finger. Mike would have been thrilled with a son to cheer on the Steelers with, and of course to teach the horseracing business to. But it was all for not. I’m afraid Mike will have to wait to see if this author writes in a pretty little character to seduce him, and possibly heal his broken heart. On that note, I guarantee that Ava would be simply furious!

The protagonist is in a lift with their favourite TV movie star, how would they react?
Ha! If Mike were to catch a ski lift with Angelina Jolie (although I don’t know why Mike would be skiing—but I’m going with it) I think he may peek at her askance, and then half way up the hill he may dare a smile at her. By the time they reached the top it very well may be Angelina who speaks, as Mike is very handsome—dark thick hair, hazel bedroom eyes, a bold square jaw line, broad shoulders that ease into lean hips. Poor Brad might very well be forgotten by the time the ride was over.

Is your protagonist happy now their story has been told? Is there more to come?
I don’t think Mike cares one way or the other if his story is told. Mike is a rather private person. But yes indeed there is more to come. Mike West and his fellow cast of characters have three books thus far: Deadly.Com, Hot Coco, and Dangerous Deception. The forth book from the Unbridled Series will release in June, Against the Ropes. This book will feature Punch McMinn, the West’s soft hearted stable manager, but you can be sure that I won’t leave out Mike or the other Unbridled characters in the story. I work with a large cast—and I’ve had some complaints about that, but there’s not a character that I would eliminate—they all have their up and downs, loves, hates, and quirks.

How many unpublished books/stories do you have lurking under your bed?
My Unbridled Series started out as a TV series. I had written nineteen telescripts in all—an entire season for the show. So I have nineteen fabulous outlines for my series. Okay, that said at this time I only have six books planned. We’ll see. I also wrote three MOWs (movies of the week). Will I ever turn them into novels? Jeepers, I just don’t know—I’m taking it two books at a time right now. I’m always a book ahead with the Unbridled Series, and I’ve decided to write a romantic suspense series this year as well. So that means that instead of publishing two books per year, I’ll be publishing three. Yikes, we’ll see how I survive that.

How did you find your publisher? How do they treat you? Would you recommend them?
As I said, I wrote telescripts for four years—dealing with the Hollywood crowd—impossible! Anyway, I decided to ditch that and turn my telescripts into manuscripts. I didn’t know any authors or who to reach out to for guidance. One Sunday in church a friend told me about a local indie author. I emailed her.  She encouraged me and after I published my first book, Deadly.Com, she contacted me again. Lauren Carr was starting up Acorn Book Services, and I was the first author to sign up. I’m still with Acorn. I love their services, and Lauren and I have become very close friends. We swap ideas and I even look at her manuscripts now before she sends them her editor. She is excellent with new authors. She has very good insights and is willing to share her experiences as an indie. Yes, I would recommend Acorn Book Services.

What's the best/worst part of being a writer?
The worst part of being a writer, for me, is that I used to be a professional dancer. Writing is sedentary. I’m used to jumping, turning, and stretching for hours on end. It has been a hard transition for me, and I have to work out on a daily basis to get through it. I’m also used to excitement: applause and audiences. My life is very quiet now—I’m adjusting.

The best part of being a writer is the creating. Watching my characters grow. Moreover, I love when people come to me and say: I just read one of your books and I loved it!

I also enjoy book tours. I enjoy writing guest posts and look forward to waking in the morning to see what is waiting for me at whatever blog I’m visiting. The applause that I get nowadays is in a more quiet form: the review. But when I get a good review it is like a standing ovation! A bad review: eh, not so much. It’s more like being booed.  As a dancer I was never booed, as a writer I’ve received my fair share. Hey, you can’t please everyone. 

Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
Every bit of my writing is done on my computers. I have a PC downstairs in my office and a laptop upstairs in the living room that I use when I am sitting in my comfy chaise lounge. I have found that since I started using computers as the single source of writing, my handwriting has become an absolute mess. Sometimes when I’m holding a pen in my hand it feels very foreign. I’m not so sure that’s a good thing.

 How do you deal with bad reviews?
Hey, bad reviews happen—to everyone. But when I receive one, I will read it carefully to see if the reviewer has a justified complaint. Sometimes if we read these reviews with an open mind we can learn for them. That said I have no use or respect for a scathing review. It is completely unnecessary to rip an author’s work apart—it accomplishes nothing.

Author Cindy McDonald
For the past twenty years Cindy McDonald has helped her husband raise, train, and race Thoroughbreds at their forty-five acre farm known as Fly-By-Night Stables near Pittsburgh.

During those years Cindy has paid close attention to the characters that hang-out at the back-side of the track.  She found the situations and life style most intriguing. In 2005 she sat down at her computer and began a journey into writing about this life that few understand.

Cindy has recently retired from making her living as a professional choreographer. She owned and operated Cindy McDonald’s School of Dance since 1985.  She studied at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and with the Pittsburgh Dance Alloy at Carnegie Mellon University to name a few.  She has choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards.

See more of Cindy's posts on WWBB: 
When writing romantic scenes where does one stop. 
When reviews count for nothing.
Never judge a book by its cover.
Memories of Presque Isle


  1. Hey Louise, thanks so much for hosting me today--great questions! They were different from most that I've been asked.

  2. You're welcome, Cindy. As for the questions, well, I don't see why the characters can't have their say!