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The Secret Writers' Creed and Other Tall Tales

posted by Aunty Cindy aka Loucinda McGary

Not long ago, Aunty Cindy and Marie were sharing a cyber-cup of tea and discussing The Wild Sight (Marie enthusiastically holds two thumbs up in endorsement). Just about the time the discussion got lively, a couple of the characters from TWS also happened by. Thought you might like to listen in:

Marie: In The Wild Sight, you have two things you don't often see in a romance: a hero and heroine who, for a while, think they might be brother and sister, and a man with "the Sight." Tell me how you decided to take these risks with your story and if you think they made the book easier or more difficult to sell.

AC: Well, technically the hero never believes she's his sister since he is instantly attracted to her. She suffers some real angst for awhile, however. (evil grin) I knew this possible siblings angle would be a make or break issue for the book. Luckily my critique partners were very supportive and told me, "Can't wait to see how you get around this obstacle."

Giving a male character "the Sight" was the concept that started the whole story! I couldn't recall seeing any books or stories with a male character who was clairvoyant and I thought the idea intriguing enough to write an entire book with that character. Did it make the book easier or more difficult to sell? I honestly don't know.

Marie: You said that your critique partners said of the possible sibling conflict in TWS: "Can't wait to see how you get around this obstacle." I love those challenges presented to us as writers! Is there anything more fun than a big, hairy pickle with no way out? Ahem, realizing there's any number of ways you could answer that question (evil grin) and knowing how my Aunty's evil, twisted mind works, we will move on from big, hairy pickles...

(Aunty snaps her riding crop and frowns imperiously) AC: DECORUM PLEASE! Obviously Aunty only likes big hairy pickles when they happen to her characters. As for Aunty's evil, twisted mind, need I remind you of my sub-genre? I dare say, evil and twisted are requirements for romantic suspense.

Marie: Okay Aunty, your character, Donovan O'Shea (a YUMMY name for a YUMMY guy) has a few questions for you, so I hope you don't mind putting down that intimidating crop and giving the lad a few minutes of your time.

Donovan: Hello, Loucinda. I hear our book is out for everyone to read. Rylie and I are looking forward to hearing what people think of our story. So here's a question for you. I love being a swashbuckling Irishman taking on the evil lurking in the fens. That's definitely "me." What I can't picture is my life as an accountant in New Jersey. (Marie interjects to say: That career made me snort a little snort as our fearless Donovan tried to convince Rylie that accounting is in fact sexy) So I ask you, dear Loucinda, how did you decide to make me an accountant?

AC: Need I remind you of Irish guilt, m'dear? When you moved to America at the ripe old age of 17, you didn't have so much as a punt to your name. Remember? And remember who took you in, gave you a bed to sleep in, and food to eat? Your Aunt Fiona and her husband Uncle Isadore. (Donovan looks thoughtful and squirms a little.)

You were a struggling college student who was studying art, of all the guaranteed to result in a "Do you want fries with that?" career! Then along about the end of your second year, when your uncle gave you a summer job in his accounting firm, you got smart. That plus your uncle telling you that you were the closest to a son he would ever have led to a change in your major. (Donovan squirms a bit more.)

Aunty can understand how being twitter-pated with a beautiful girl might lead to memory loss, but is any of this starting to sound familiar to you? Besides, I happen to think accountants can be very sexy! Don't you agree, Rylie?

Rylie chimes in... Yes, Aunty, I agree that some accountants can be very sexy! Whenever Donovan gets out his calculator and spreadsheets, I get all, um, hot and bothered. And he has these glasses....sigh.... (Aunty and Marie's eyes start to glaze over.)
Anyway, I have to say, Aunty, I was a little worried when you taunted me with the possibility that Donovan might be my brother. I was reallllly relieved when I could jump him guilt-free! (She gives Donovan The Look.)

When you were writing our story, what came first for you, the plot or the characters?

AC: Plot? There was a plot? Sorry, but Aunty tends not to notice such superficial things when there's a hunk with a brogue on the scene.

Marie (fans self): Did someone mention hot and bothered?

Donovan: Yes, Aunty, Rylie and I spent a lot of time HOT and BOTHERED in The Wild Sight. That was a pretty hot scene in the car the night we spent broken down by the side of the road... although I was seriously frustrated after that near miss. (He gives Rylie The Look.) Why do you writers feel so compelled to torture your characters the way you do?

AC: Donovan, dear boy, it is all part of the Secret Writers' Creed, Thou Shalt Torture Thy Characters at every available opportunity. At least in a romance you know (as does the reader) that you will eventually get your happily ever after. Feel free to thank me for that at any time!

D&R in unison: Thank you, Aunty!

AC: Ah, it’s nice to know they appreciate some of the things I do for them.

What about you? Do you have any questions for Aunty, Donovan or Rylie?

And be sure to check in tomorrow at Jennifer’s Random Musings, when Jennifer interviews Donovan’s sister Doreen.


  1. Question for Donovan

    With the sight you have can you tell me when I am going to get this book LOL because I am dying to read it I really am hoping my order arrives this week.

    Question for Rylie

    Does the car break down on page 157 because from what I have heard about this page I might have to it read first.

    Great interview Aunty Cindy and Marie I loved hearing from Donovan and Rylie

    Have Fun

  2. Question for everyone--what are you all up to now that the books are in stores and we all know your story? Are you a little more cautious in your actions, in case AC decides to write a sequel? lol

    :) thanks for the great interview!

  3. Questiion for the characters: Is it embarrassing to have your love life written out in such vivid detail for everyone to read? (Of course, tough luck if it is, you know, cause it's all part of the Torture creedo . . .heh heh.)

  4. Hey Danielle,
    I've been a little bit afraid of Aunty Cindy ever since she traipsed me through the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant in San Francisco's Chinatown this summer! I can only imagine how Donovan and Rylie feel when she comes at them brandishing the riding crop!

  5. Aunt Cindy!

    I never thought of taking a riding crop to my characters when they get whiny and uncooperative--what a good idea. I'm thinking something in black velvet?

    But I have thought of the brother-sister pickle, and discarded it as too hard to work with. I can't wait to see how you solve it.

  6. Oh Aunty! This is just not fair! I was unable to find your book at the stupid Borders in the 'Big City' nearby! Waaa! I don't have the time to drive to Fresno so will have to place that order to Amazon and get all the ones I want in one fell swoop. I am really looking forward to reading this and will try my best not to flip through to the juicy parts...hehee...but the suspense and tension may just kill this avowed angst-wimp.

    Great article. Thanks for helping out, Marie. A much needed voice of sanity amongst the craziness. :)

  7. Helen,
    Donovan says, "I wish my Sight worked so reliably dear lady. As I told a certain archeology professor, if it did, I'd have won the Irish Sweepstakes long ago!"

    Rylie says, "Helen, you skamp! The car breaks down long before page 157. (blushes) Donovan wasn't kidding. We spend waay too much time in this story hot and bothered."

    Aunty here, Thanx for some fun questions Helen, and glad you liked our little interview. Hope you get the book soon!


  8. No such thing as TOO much time HOT & BOTHERED, Aunty, IMHO. :--)

  9. Hey Danielle,
    Rylie here (blushes furiously), Donovan and I are keeping ourselves occupied, but I won't say what we're doing.

    Donovan: It may interest you to know, Ms Jackson, that I was always very cautious in my actions... until I met Rylie!

    And as for Aunty, I would LURVE to write a sequel, and did in fact start it. Now if you could help me convince a certain editor that there is a market for it.....


  10. Christina,
    Donovan here and I must say I find this Writer' Creed rather disturbing. It is a wee bit off-putting to have ones love life paraded about for all and sundry, but since I do come off looking rather well, I'm not complaining.

    Rylie mutters, "Typical man!"

  11. Marie,
    Your olde Aunty is very judicious about applying the crop. SOME people (or should I say Banditas?) happen to LIKE it...

    D&R: NOT US!


  12. MM,
    The crop was actually given to me (or maybe I snatched it away) by certain Regency writers when we were forming the Bandit Lair. SOMEONE needed to keep discipline and of course, yours truly felt compelled to step up to the plate. :-)

    It hasn't proven particularly effective on most of my characters, I'm afraid. They go off in their own directions no matter what I do!

    Rylie & Donovan snicker behind their hands.

    Hope you enjoy the twists I throw in about the brother/sister device.


  13. Sharon said: "Great article. Thanks for helping out, Marie. A much needed voice of sanity amongst the craziness. :)"

    Okay, when MARIE is the voice of sanity, I get VERY WORRIED! LOL! :-P

    Sharon, Amazon seems to be the most reliable way to get a copy of TWS (unless you live in Oz, like Helen). Both my local Borders didn't have any copies on the shelf . :-( One said they had ONE copy on order and the other said they had TWO. Not very support of local authors, obviously!

    Hope you enjoy the story, juicy parts and all!


  14. LOL! I happen to agree, Marie!

    No such thing as too much HOT & BOTHERED! Esp. when it's happening to our characters. ;-)


  15. Well now.....Guess what just came in the mail....couldn't be AC's book...could it? Muwahahaha!!
    Great post!

  16. Yay Cheryl!

    Glad it finally arrived and glad you liked our interview.


  17. Such a fun post. And torture is definitely good.

  18. I like the idea of a male character having the "sight" interesting

  19. Hi Michele,
    Yes, torture is good as long as WE WRITERS are doing it to our characters. NOT when they torture us! :-P Which they most definitely do. (Aunty gives Donovan and Rylie a severe look.)


  20. Bethre,
    I'd never seen another story with a male who had The Sight and that's why I decided to go with the concept.

    Hope you like how it turned out.


  21. Very cool interview, everyone! Definitely heading over to Jennifer's tomorrow :)

  22. Thanx Fedora!
    And there will be TWO chances to win a copy of TWS, not that you need to worry, since YOU already won one!



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