Author Spotlight: Cynthia P. O’Neill
August 6, 2019 • News
CJC: How did you get started as an author and what made you want to pursue that field?
CO: Being an author was the last thing I ever thought I’d be. Sure, I’ve always spun stories in my head, but trying to get it down on paper seemed impossible, until I married my husband. Everyone kept telling us how the story of how we met sounded more like fiction than reality, so I kept thinking about it for nearly eight years, adding some fantasy to our tale, until I had the overwhelming desire to try and write it. My family said go for it, so I did. I started with a tame romance, largely based on “our story”, and evolved from there into some steamier romances, all because someone didn’t think I could pull it off. Who knew? Since then, I’ve been addicted to writing.
CJC: What hurdles have your overcome while striving towards your goals?
CO: The biggest hurdle I’ve had to deal with is the naysayers. I’ve heard, “What makes you think you can write? Why even bother? You’re crazy to try and write in an oversaturated market. Why are you wasting your time?” I could continue with more comments but will leave it at that. My response was simple – If I try and fail, at least I’ll know I’ve done my best. But if I do nothing – I get nothing and will always wonder “What if?”.
Other hurdles include bad advice and given wrong information.
I’m a full-time mom, wife, homeschooler, and caregiver first, the writing is not a full-time deal, sometimes I wouldn’t even classify it as a part-time ordeal, more like a hobby of when I have time to write. So I’m not on a schedule unless I lock in specific dates to get things done.
CJC: Which novel has been your favorite to write and why?
CO: Honestly, I don’t know. I’d like to say my first one, I Remember, because a good portion of the book is reality and not fantasy, with actual emails and phone calls that transpired between my husband and I while we were dating. But, then again…the last book I put out, Makenna’s Trust, #3 in the Titan Security Series, has a special place because I went against convention where the male usually watches over and protects the female and instead I had the female as the lead, protecting her former friend, boyfriend, lover, and dominant. There’s a lot of hate and tension there, with a woman who can hold her own against pretty much anything, yet she can still be soft and loving, when needed.
CJC: For those looking to become an author, what advice would you give them?
CO: Go for it! But use your voice, your ideas, what you want to see in a book. Don’t try to imitate someone else. You may use other authors or their style of writing for inspiration, but let your thoughts be the ones that come out on the paper. Also, verify everything, shop around if you need to for editors, formatters, cover artists, photographers, etc. You’ll know when you’ve found the person/people that work best with you.
CJC: Favorite motto?
CO: A quote from Yoda in the Empire Strikes Back, “Do or do not, there is no try.” The other is, “The greatest success is the ability to rise from failure.” These are great words to live by.
CJC: In one word, how would you describe your writing style?
CO: Mysterious. Why, you may ask? While I like a good romance, I stay away from perfection because life isn’t that way. I love to add tons of mystery and angst to direct my readers in a variety of different ways, never letting on where the book is going next. I greatly dislike predictability. I’d rather have you on the edge of your seat.
CJC: Which author inspires you the most and why?
CO: There are multiple authors, not just one. If I had to pick just one – Tina Folsom. She writes vampire erotica, but the suspense, nail biting drama behind it all…love it!
CJC: What is your writing process like?
CO: What writing process? Lol. Actually, I don’t have a plan – instead I’m a write when time allows and the ideas are flowing. I’ve tried allotting time each day to writing, but it never works. Deadlines are my inspiration.
CJC: What new projects are you currently working on and what are your goals for the remainder of the year?
CO: I’m currently working on a standalone – a Romantic Suspense. As for the rest of the year…I don’t know. I have about sixteen ideas on the shelf, a couple of them being series options. I’d like to start working on a steamy cowboy series, which focuses on four siblings and their struggles with love and finding balance in their lives. I actually had a dream about the first book in the series maybe five or six years ago, but had to get through my other projects first – so I’m anxious to see if I can get that one started.
CJC: Any final thoughts you would like to share with the CJC Photography readers?
I know most readers are hesitant to try new authors, but the saying goes, “don’t judge a book by the cover”, well it also applies to the brief descriptions of the books too. The authors are limited in what they’re able to state regarding the books. I’ve often found some covers and synopsis drew me in, only to want to put it down a short ways into the story, while others I didn’t give much hope to liking and ended up loving it.
As for me and my books, If you like: Alpha Men, Strong Women, stories that are driven by plot lines with the steamier scenes being the icing on the cake (only where appropriate and when needed to help cement the relationship of the characters), a sense of mystery/suspense/action that will keep you on the edge of your seat and guessing what will happen next, along with a happily ever after ending…then you should check me out. Most of my books are standalones or standalones within a series which deal with real-life situations or potential happenings. Life is what inspires my writing.
Stay up to date with Cynthia’s latest releases by following her on Facebook here.