Author Cynthia Woolf was kind enough to stop by and share some of her process. She’s giving away a copy of her book and a $5 Starbucks giftcard. Leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway — winner announced on Friday.
Devon Ellington: What was the seed of inspiration for the Gregara books? And then, what, specifically, drew you to telling Honora’s story?
Cynthia Woolf: The Gregara books grew out of my Centauri series. The third book in the Centauri series, Centauri Midnight, takes place mostly on Gregara.
Honora’s story grew out of the third Centauri book. In it, we learn that the heroine, Kiti, has lost her younger brother in battle. In Honor’s story we find out that he wasn’t annihilated, but was captured and sold into slavery. I knew I wanted to have a female gladiator,and I thought Joridan was the perfect hero for her. After that, the story just grows.
I’m a pantser not a plotter, so I never know for sure what is going to happen next. I start with the premise, like the one above, and just start writing.
DE: Will your characters ever interact from book to book? IE, will Jenala, Riza, and Honora ever meet, or do you keep them distinctly separate, although they are in the same created world?
CW: They are distinct, stand alone books. Jenala and Riza meet but very briefly in book 2, Riza’s book. Riza’s book then takes you to another part of the planet.
Honora never meets the other two, but she does meet characters from Centauri Midnight.
DE: What freedom does this genre give you?
CW: Writing in the scifi romance genre lets me create my own world with my own rules. Hence the planet that chooses to use swords even though greater technology is available.
DE: How do you set up your writing schedule? Do you focus entirely on one project at a time, or do you move between projects?
CW: I write full time and yet I don’t have a “writing schedule”. I write, promote and write some more. I work about 18 hours a day doing something related to my writing. I have severe insomnia, which is why I can devote so much time to my career.
I have to work on more than one project at a time and, in some ways, prefer it. When I get tired or stuck on one project, I can move over to the other one. Sometimes, it will help me get unstuck on the first story.
DE: How many other Gregara books do you envision? What else is in the pipeline for you?
CW: I’m done with the Gregara books for now. I’m currently working on a historical western series called Matchmaker & Co. The first book in the series, Capital Bride, is already out and the second, Heiress Bride, is in the works. I hope to have it finished, edited, and out for sale by the end of March.
I also have a contemporary series in mind where the heroes are actually part of the Guard from the Swords of Gregara series. They chase villains to various cities in the United States.
Actually, I guess that means I’m not done with the Gregara series yet doesn’t it?
Cynthia Woolf was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in the mountains west of Golden. She spent her early years running wild around the mountain side with her friends.
Their closest neighbor was one quarter of a mile away, so her little brother was her playmate and her best friend. That fierce friendship lasted until his death in 2006.
Cynthia was and is an avid reader. Her mother was a librarian and brought new books home each week. This is where young Cynthia first got the storytelling bug. She wrote her first story at the age of ten. A romance about a little boy she liked at the time.
She worked her way through college and went to work full time straight after graduation and there was little time to write. Then in 1990 she and two friends started a round robin writing a story about pirates. She found that she missed the writing and kept on with other stories. In 1992 she joined Colorado Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America. Unfortunately, the loss of her job demanded she not renew her memberships and her writing stagnated for many years.
In 2001, she saw an ad in the paper for a writers conference being put on by CRW and decided she’d attend. One of her favorite authors, Catherine Coulter, was the keynote speaker. Cynthia was lucky enough to have a seat at Ms. Coulter’s table at the luncheon and after talking with her, decided she needed to get back to her writing. She rejoined both CRW and RWA that day and hasn’t looked back.
Cynthia credits her wonderfully supportive husband Jim and the great friends she’s made at CRW for saving her sanity and allowing her to explore her creativity.
OTHER TITLES AVAILABLE
TAME A WILD HEART
TAME A WILD WIND
TAME A WILD BRIDE
THE SWORDS OF GREGARA – JENALA
THE SWORDS OF GREGARA – RIZA
Excerpt from Swords of Gregara – Honora
“Oww” a woman’s voice awash with pain reached his ears.
“You disappoint me, Honora. You continue to try to escape me. When will you learn?” asked a whiney voiced man.
The whip struck flesh. Again the woman moaned but didn’t scream. She didn’t scream.
When he woke again he was not alone but the man with the whip was gone. Chained across the room from him, hung by her wrists, was a woman. He could see the lash marks on her back. Lash upon lash, new over old. They obstructed the beautiful tattoo of a dragon on her back. The blood hard to see within the red of the dragon.
Crawling to her he released her hands from the chains holding her up. She collapsed in a heap on the floor. He crawled back to his side of the room as darkness overtook him once more.
The dried blood on her back cracked with each movement, but she worked through the pain as she stretched. Breathed deep and accepted the pain. Her sword weighed heavier in her hand than usual. More evidence of the lashing two nights ago. She looked down at the unconscious man at her feet. A new recruit. A Zolthor, like herself. Another reason Perdor punished her for her attempted escape, her sixth try in as many months.
This last punishment was the worst. Five lashes. Not enough to incapacitate her but enough to make her remember. Perdor wanted her to be able to train the new slave. He wanted them to be a team, good enough to take on all contenders. He’d be the only owner with two Zolthor fighting for him. Not just one, but a team. He was practically wetting himself in anticipation of the beras that he’ll win with a team of Zolthor fighters
Again she looked down on the naked man. Long brown lashes lay against his cheek. A nice contrast to his golden blond hair. What color eyes did they hide? Blue? Green? Brown perhaps. She’d find out soon enough.
He was a beautiful man. Well formed. Broad shoulders. Trim waist. Long muscular legs. He looked like a warrior. Would be a good fighter. Maybe even a good lover as he appeared well endowed there as well.
He’d awakened from the drug induced sleep long enough to crawl over and release her from the chains. For that she was grateful. Her wrists didn’t hurt as much as usual because of him. Using her blades was easier than it had been after her previous punishments.
Time to wake up the sleeping man and get him trained. Time was short and she intended to make the most of it. He would learn or he would die.
Find it here: www.cynthiawoolf.com