Thursday, March 09, 2006

Girlfriends Cyber Circuit Presents Cindy Cruciger

I've learned that my agent will be reading the Monstrosity in the next couple of days. That means I'm back to work next week, which then means I have about four days to attempt to get my house in order. Fortunately, I've got a Girlfriends Cyber Circuit guest today so I won't have to think of anything clever to write.

Cindy Cruciger is the author of Revenge Gifts, which she describes as "a romance novel for the lunatic fringe."

Tara Cole specializes in revenge. In fact, she's an expert. Lace pillows filled with cat hair-for your least-favorite, most allergic relative; boxer shorts that set off metal detectors-for your cheating spouse; and her best seller at chocolates for your worst enemy, so you can watch gleefully as she packs on the pounds.

Tara's best friend warns her that all this revenge is damaging her karma, but Tara doesn't care about her next life-she wants to enjoy this one. Besides, her kitchen is full of cranky ghosts. Tara figures she'll be the same one day, when she leaves the mortal plane.

That might happen sooner than she thought, because someone has put a curse on her. A black cat, a black dog, even a black goat, appear, each followed by bizarre, almost-disastrous events. And it all started around the time Howard showed up. Howard says he wants to go into business with Tara, but it seems like he wants to go to bed with her. Unless he's the one who cursed her . . . .

Is this karma coming full circle-or destiny knocking on Tara's door?

Now, the interview:

What inspired you to write this book?
My mother was complaining about how much a funeral cost and she was telling me to just cremate her. I told her I would not only cremate her, I would design the urns. I said since she never visits for holidays I would create Seasonal Urns and divide her ashes into Easter Eggs, Christmas Tree ornaments and a Halloween Jack O Lantern. I told her she was going to be a fire cracker for the 4th of July if she did not let go of the funeral talk. Thus was born.

Describe your creative process.
I am a computer engineer. I have it completely plotted out before I ever write a paragraph. I have a list of "threads" and I lay in those references and clean up loose ends as I edit. Basically I create a skeleton and build a story from there out to the skin and then dress it up for dinner out. That's when I write a novel. When writing an article I take a thought and twist it. I posted an example showing an original draft of an article I wrote for the local newspaper, the edited version and then the final copy that hit the front porches. Very fun. They are two completely different kinds of writing.

Do you have any writing habits or rituals?
I usually write in the car. I use Via Voice (I am updating to Dragon soon) to dictate when driving and type when sitting and waiting for my son to finish soccer practice. Every now and then I will wake up at 4 am with a compulsion to write. About once a month I have an evening of quiet with a glass of wine to write by candle light. I have moods for different scenes and different writing.

How much, if anything, do you have in common with your heroine?
She and I both believe ghosts are real. Her computer programming and bartending are from my real life. Other than that? Not much.

What revenge gift would you recommend for a guy who acted like he was really into you, talked about things you could do on your next date together, and then fell off the face of the earth? (Not that this is for me. Just curious, of course.)
The beauty of cell phones -- and it's a fabulous feature -- is you can assign any name you want to a number. A guy like that would be named "Pernicious Squid" and given a ring tone like "I'm too sexy". Trust me, when he finally calls you will be laughing too hard to bother answering.

(Alas, the problem is the not calling. I'd never get to see "Pernicious Squid" pop up on my cell phone display. I mean, hypothetically, since this wasn't about me.)

Tara would say he's definitely a candidate for the Metallic Boxers; which are made of heavy silk with stainless steel mesh lining the inseams. There's no logical reason for pants to set off a metal detector. Strip search would be a given.

(Now, that I love. Can I buy them in bulk?)

Chocolate: dark or milk?
Both. Dark with Port and to drop into coffee. Milk with everything else.

What are you working on now?
The sequel to Revenge Gifts -- Envy.exe.

Is there anything else you'd like to say about this book or the process of writing it?
Only that I hate it when a book ends. I go through writing withdrawals if I'm not already into the next one immediately.

For more info, visit Cindy's web site.

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