Hello Cindy! Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me. Why don’t you start off by telling the readers a little about All the Good Men?
Thanks so much for having me! All the Good Men is my first full-length romantic novel. It centers around Dahlia Foster who is on the verge of forty and hasn't dated in over five years. She shoulders a lot of family responsibility that gets in the way of her personal life. Though the beginning of the novel revolves around the comedic results of a dare, the seriousness of her situation becomes apparent when she meets Jackson—our hero. She's lonely, frustrated and feels trapped by her father's drinking problem. Luckily, the more she tries to push Jackson away, the more he digs in and works to break down her defenses.
Let me start off by saying that Jackson comes off as quite a hottie. Did you know from the start that he was going to be a firefighter?
Actually, I didn't. I had the idea for the novel about a year ago and Jackson was originally a retired Marine. As a Marine brat myself, I feel comfortable writing about military men. But I'm in a committed relationship with a firefighter so I thought, why not model Jackson after the love of my life? I mean, I really enjoy watching the BF workout while I'm writing. I love seeing him in his gear. And the few times I've gotten to witness what's known as 'a training burn'--where the company puts out a fire set for training purposes—it was so exciting. Jackson evolved from these personal experiences.
Dahlia is so strong, as she has to be. Were you always planning on having alcoholism be a huge part of the storyline?
I'll admit, in the first draft, the alcoholism was a much smaller part of the storyline. But since addiction and alcoholism runs in my family, I know it can have a devastating effect on personal relationships. I realized that I hadn't treated the topic with the seriousness it deserved. Sure, from the outside, sometimes a heavy drinker seems like 'the fun relative,' but for the people closer to that relative, it's not all fun and games. I went back and retooled Dahlia's reaction to her father and considered how his behavior is part of the reason she feels trapped. It gives the book a heavier emotional content, but I think the story is better and more realistic for the added drama.
I love the idea of the bet. How did you come up with this idea?
It evolved from stream-of-consciousness. I do that a lot, one idea leads to another, which leads to another. I was working on another story and the phrase “All the good men are either married or gay,” had come up in a dialogue. Dahlia entered my brain and introduced herself. And I started thinking about my divorce a few years ago and how hard it is to be a middle-aged person in the land of Singletons. I thought, “I wouldn't go through the nightmare of dating again even if you dared me to.” And that was it. The dare that thrust Dahlia into several blind dates was born.
Reading about the Truth or Dare episode really got me remembering my own teenage years. Did you ever play the game? Can you share what your most memorable moment was?
Oh I loved Truth or Dare. I'm more Fiona in the book. I was always a dare kind of gal. My most memorable moment is touched on when Fiona dares one of the sisters to jog around the house naked. At the age of thirteen, my best friend, Eva, dared me to get naked and run around the house. Everyone was asleep so I didn't hesitate to strip down on the patio and head out. Unfortunately, as I rounded the first corner, I discovered the teenage boys who lived next door were camping out in their backyard. Mortified I fled to the back porch, only to find my clothes gone, the door locked, and Eva inside giggling. She finally let me back in after I made her understand I had an audience. Yeah, the Dismore boys never looked at me again without blushing. Hmmm...why are Eva and I still friends? Kidding, kidding, but it was terribly embarrassing at the time.
Some of Dahlia’s dates are quite…err…unique. Did you always know how these dates were going to turn out?
Yep. Unfortunately, I've actually been on all the disastrous dates at some point in my life. Even the Jerry Seinfeld impression. Newman. Yeah, it's all true. Luckily they were separated by years, even decades of good relationships or I might have given up on men myself!
When I was checking out your website I saw a tagline underneath your name stating fiction for the bad girl in every woman. I love it! Do you consider yourself a bad girl? Why or why not?
I do, but I consider 'bad girl' a compliment. Lauren Thatcher-Ulrich said, “Well-behaved women rarely make history.” That phrase stuck with me growing up so now I see it as my responsibility to question the precepts of being a 'good girl' and embrace my inner 'bad girl.' By traditional definitions, a 'bad girl' is in reality an empowered woman. I thoroughly enjoy being a bad girl.
Under your book page you have many different types of genre. Which genres have you wrote? Are there any you have not wrote that you would like to? Any genres that you would not touch with a ten-foot pole?
Writing as Cindy Jacks and CJ Elliott, I've worked on romance, erotica, horror, paranormal, and mystery/thriller. I would love to tackle an historical romance, but I'm a bit intimidated by all the research. The only genre I can't imagine myself writing is sci-fi. Again, the research required to make the sci part of sci-fi believable is daunting, but also, it's not a genre I often read or watch. I don't know why, I'm just not drawn to it.
You also have a WIP (Works-In-Progress) page on your site. Would you like to tell us a little about each of the books listed?
Hey, thanks for asking! It's funny as an author, by the time we get to talk about most books, we've finished all the writing and edits and it's a bit like bragging about our grown-up children. WIPs are fun to discuss because they're still young, still growing.
The book I'm most focused on at the moment is Desire. It's a tale about the god Bacchus. He's been cast out of the heavens because his 'gifts' to humankind—namely intoxication and ecstasy—are more trouble than they're worth. Now, he has to find a way to prove his worth, not only to the Council of Deities, but also to the mortal, Arianna, he's destined to marry. I have 55,000 so far and the manuscript is about three quarters finished. I anticipate its completion by the end of April.
Next in line is the sequel to my mystery/thriller Clean, that I wrote under the name CJ Elliott. Della Jordan is one of my favorite characters. I'm exploring the idea of the anti-heroine through her.
Hold on while I catch my drool. Holy cow! I just checked out the hot pick list on your site. I love it! I also think it is great how you have a way for reader’s to suggest someone you may have missed. You had almost all of my hotties plus a few I did not know about. Except maybe Taylor Lautner (yes I know he is young. I feel like a total cougar lol.) Is there anyone else you have thought of since you posted March’s hot pick?
Ha! It's so funny you mention Taylor Lautner. I really wanted to post him as April's hot pick, but didn't have the courage. I mean, I've got almost twenty years on the young man. That being said, he is amazingly gorgeous and his musculature in New Moon is really impressive for an eighteen-year-old. I felt ashamed of myself, but I drooled through that whole movie. Then my son rented Shark Boy and Lava Girl and I felt like an even bigger perv, lol.
Your bio mentions you graduated from the University of Hawaii. Now you reside in Washington, D.C. Have you traveled to any other state or country?
My father was a Marine for over thirty years so we moved every two or three years. I've lived in North Carolina, Alabama, Hawaii (three times), Texas, South Carolina, Virginia and Florida. My dad's last tour of duty was as the defense attache to Jamaica. Nice work if you can get it!
I've driven coast-to-coast four times, flown all over the country. I love to travel. Europe's next on my list—after I make it big as an author of course, so I can travel in style. Again, kidding...sort of.
Do you have any social networks? (Examples would be MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc)
I do! I have a Facebook personal page, a FB fan page, a Twitter account and a blog. I've provided the links below and invite everyone to add me. I love social networking. It's amazing how many people you can connect with online.
Facebook fan page | Facebook personal page | Twitter | Blog | Yahoo Group
Can you tell the readers something quirky about yourself, maybe something no one else knows?
Hmmm...I'm always thrown by questions like this. It's like, I want to come up with something interesting, but that won't scare anyone, LOL. Okay, how about this? I'm a compulsive car-singer. By that I mean, for some reason, when I'm listening to music I turn into a contestant on American Idol. I feel the need to sing along with every song. Especially Beyonce and Lady Gaga. It's crazy. Drives the BF nuts, but my son sings along with me. He's only five so I'm not embarrassing yet.
The first memorable book for me was a Johanna Lindsey novel. Do you remember the first romance book you ever read? Who are some of your favorite authors?
I love Johanna Lindsey! In junior high I purloined one of my mother's Johanna Lindsey novels titled, A Pirate's Love. It was instructional and confusing all at the same time. I wondered why the heroine yielded to the hero if she hated him. And how could hate turn to lust and then love? But I found the roguishness of Tristan very appealing in my pubescent hormonal haze so I kept reading. Prior to that, the spiciest thing I'd ever read was Francine Pascal's Sweet Valley High series so you can imagine Lindsey's love scenes were...shall we say, interesting, LOL.
Now that I've entered the world of e-publishing, I've gotten to sample the works of some very talented authors. Some of my favorites include Aubrey Leatherwood, Viv Arend, Mari Carr, Trent Kinsey, Tabitha Shay, Kayden McLeod, Zinnia Hope, ME Ellis, Jaime Samms, Ericka Scott. Gosh, so many others. That's one of the great things about e-publishers. The variety of voices is endless.
You studied art and then later worked in the corporate world. When did you first think about being a writer?
I've written short stories as long as I can remember and entered college with the intention of majoring in Creative Writing, but I'd always loved art, too. An art professor, upon whom I had to biggest crush, told me I was too talented an artist to major in writing. None of my English professors made the same argument so I threw myself into the world of visual arts. It was a nice diversion, but I didn't have the stomach for all the rejection that comes along with being an artist. Yes, I know. That sounds nuts, because there's just as much rejection that comes along with being a writer. But I'm older now and more mature, plus I think I have more confidence in my storytelling abilities than my painting and sculpting skills.
If All the Good Men were to be turned into a movie, which actor would play Jackson? Which actress would play Dahlia?
I think Grey's Anatomy's Eric Dane would make a fantastic Jackson. He does cocky very well, but also has a vulnerable side. For Dahlia, I think Ashley Judd would do a great job. Or possibly Elizabeth Reaser.
If you were to choose a career as a city employee (ex: firefighter, cop, etc) what would you choose and why?
That's a toughie. While I have the utmost respect for firefighters, police officers, and EMTs, I'm not sure I'm cut out for hands on emergency management. However, I think I'd do well as a 911 dispatcher. I'm pretty clutch in a crisis and good at sorting out who needs to do what.
And one last question. In keeping with the Coffee Time Romance theme, if you were to be described as a flavor of coffee, what would you be and why?
I think I'd be a caramel latte. Could be because that's my favorite coffee drink, but I also think it fits my personality—Frothy at first, but also strong, sweet and capable of keeping you up all night. Hee hee. On that note, I suppose I should be going, lol.
Thank you so much! I had such a great time looking over your website, getting to know you, and reading All the Good Men.
And thank you, Danielle. I'm honored that Coffee Time Romance has given me this opportunity and that you enjoyed my novel so much!