Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A conversation with Cynthia Owens, author of 'Deceptive Hearts (Wild Geese Series)'

Good morning, everyone, and Andi, thank you so much for hosting me today! I’m so happy to be able to talk about Deceptive Hearts. I fell in love with Shane, Lydia, and all the Wild Geese, and I was so grateful they allowed me to visit their world, if only for a short while. I hope you’ll all love their story as much as I loved writing it!

What was the inspiration behind 'Deceptive Hearts'?
I was inspired by the Irish people who fled famished Ireland on the coffin ships. The opening scene of Deceptive Hearts takes place on a coffin ship, and I hope I’ve captured the horrors of the Atlantic crossings of 1847, a year known to the Irish as “Black ’47.” I wanted this story to be about a man who had overcome hunger and deprivation, who had thrived in America. I wanted it to be about an honorable man who went to war to defend his adopted country, and who came home to find his family decimated. And I wanted him to struggle back to life and love.
Which character spoke to you the most during the writing process?
Oh, definitely my hero, Shane. In fact, he and I have had many long heart-to-hearts over the course of writing his story. I saw in him my favorite kind of hero, tortured, honorable, determined to succeed no matter what the obstacles. Shane’s not your typical strong and silent type. He knows how to laugh, how to tell a story—though not as well as his friend, Cathal Donnelly. He’s intelligent, too, and knows instinctively when someone is trying to pull the wool over his eyes. And he’s compassionate, too. A former boxer, he’ll still go out of his way to avoid hurting people. And he’s not above bending the law—just a little, mind you—when need be.
But you’ll have to read Deceptive Hearts to find out more about that
Which scene is your favorite?
I think there are two: One, in which my hero, Shane MacDermott, is approached by a fourteen-year-old prostitute in the Five Points district of New York City. I thought the girl’s reaction to being turned down was rather amusing, but I think I also managed to inject a little pathos into the scene as I highlighted the plight of the young 19th Century orphan girl cast out onto the streets by fate.
The second scene is near the end of the book, when Lydia is granted her first real Christmas with all five of the Wild Geese and their families. There’s something so special about families at Christmas, and for Lydia especially, the family she cobbled together after years of unhappiness. As you might guess, Christmas is my favorite time of year, and it features in several of my books.
This is the first book in the Wild Geese series. How many books do you anticipate being in it? When can we expect the next installment?
Well, there are five “Wild Geese,” so naturally I’m hoping for five stories. Shane MacDermott, hero of Deceptive Hearts, is the protector. His best friend, Kieran Donnelly, is the artist, and Kieran’s twin brother, Cathal, is the rebel. Then there’s Declan Morrissey, the healer, and finally Dary Greely, everyone’s friend.
Book II of the series, Keeper of the Light, is Cathal Donnelly’s story, and I’m thrilled to announce it’s just been contracted by Highland Press! This handsome, mercurial storyteller has…shall we say…well, let’s call them Fenian leanings, to use an Irish expression. There’s something big coming up in the Fenian community, and you can bet Cathal is eager to be a part of it.
But…something goes wrong, and he finds himself on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, with no memory of who he is, where he came from, or why he was in a boat that capsized in a wild Atlantic sea storm. The only thing he knows is that he’s desperately attracted to his beautiful rescuer…even though she’s as English as the British soldiers who drove Cathal and his family from Ireland’s green shores during the famine.
I’m really excited about Keeper of the Light because it allowed me to combine some of my favorite things: Irish history, Irish mythology, and a very important, but little-known piece of Canadian history. You might say I’m showing my Canadian pride with this book, and I’m really pleased at the way it turned out.
Book III of the series, My Dark Rose, is on my editor’s desk now.
Please tell us about your other published works. 
The Claddagh Series started with Rory O’Brien and Siobhán Desmond of In Sunshine or in Shadow. Gambler and survivor. Landlord and tenant. A love that couldn’t be denied. It continued with Coming Home, when Ashleen O’Brien showed an Irish-American war hero that you can find a home and a family in the most unlikely place. And in Playing For Keeps, a half-Irish beauty returns to Baltimore to visit the family she barely remembers, and fall head-over-heels with a mysterious Shakespearean actor.
On what projects are you currently working?
I’m currently working on the fourth book of both the Claddagh Series and the Wild Geese Series. Hmm, is that a coincidence? Perhaps I tend to write in threes without realizing it!
Anyway, the fourth book of the Claddagh Series is tentatively entitled “Everlasting.” It’s Shannon Flynn’s story. Shannon appears briefly in Book II, Coming Home.  Since her shy, tentative romance with Mike Donavan, she’s had a lot of heartache. Can a mysterious stranger with burnt-cinnamon hair and sea-mist eyes bring her the joy and fulfillment she deserves?
I’m also plotting Kieran Donnelly’s story, but Kieran’s a bit shy about telling it to me. Something tells me I’m going to have to be a bit patient with this artist, who’s lost his will to capture beauty on canvas since the war.
The romance genre is very competitive. How do you make yourself stand out?
I don’t know that I do anything special. Oh, I do the guest post on various writing- and romance-related blogs. I hold contests, and I try to come up with unique give-aways that tie in with my stories. And I try to keep up a presence on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. But in my opinion, the best way I can make myself stand out is to write the best book I’m capable of writing, and just hope it finds an audience.
What is it about an Irish man that is so appealing?
Everything, at least as far as I’m concerned! After all, what’s not to like? His sense of mysticism, his sense of humor, his stubborn loyalty, his pride. He’s never predictable, that’s for sure. He can tell a story or sing a song, laugh one moment and cry the next. He’s practical and emotional, quick tempered and tender. Oh, and the accent—always the accent. The musical lilt that can lure a woman into total enchantment.
You have interesting ancestors. Have you ever thought about researching and writing about them?
I have! When I found out that one of my ancestors was a King’s Girl, my imagination went to work! What experiences she must have had! And when I learned that one of my forebears may have sailed to Canada years before Jacques Cartier (who got credit for the discovery) I wondered how I might make that into a story. Perhaps one day I’ll write about them—or maybe I should say, one day they’ll allow me to write their stories—but for now, I’m enjoying my mercurial Irish heroes.
What is something readers may be surprised to learn about you?
I hated history when I was younger. And by “younger,” I mean when I was in high school, when it was a course required for graduation. I studied the history of Quebec in Canada, and it seemed all we ever discussed was the fur trade. Granted, that was an important part of what made Canada the great country it is now, but other things happened too!
I think a large part of the problem with history classes in general is the way in which it’s taught. I’m not a teacher, but I believe there are ways of bringing history to life that could be used in the classroom. Here in Montreal, there are several historical museums we might have visited—museums I’ve since visited—that would have taught us more about the fur trade, Confederation, and the founding of Ville Marie (now Montreal) than an entire year’s worth of studying text books.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I love hearing from my readers! It’s always a thrill to find a message in my inbox from someone who’s read my book, enjoyed it, and has taken the time to let me know. I love to connect with them on Facebook too. And if anyone makes the effort to contact me, they can be sure they’ll get an answer.
Thank you so much for your time!

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

I believe I was destined to be interested in history. One of my distant ancestors, Thomas Aubert, reportedly sailed up the St. Lawrence River to discover Canada some 26 years before Jacques Cartier’s 1534 voyage. Another relative was a 17thCentury “King’s Girl,” one of a group of young unmarried girls sent to New France (now the province of Quebec) as brides for the habitants (settlers) there.

My passion for reading made me long to write books like the ones I enjoyed, and I tried penning sequels to my favorite Nancy Drew mysteries. Later, fancying myself a female version of Andrew Lloyd Weber, I drafted a musical set in Paris during WWII.

A former journalist and lifelong Celtophile, I enjoyed a previous career as a reporter/editor for a small chain of community newspapers before returning to my first love, romantic fiction. My stories usually include an Irish setting, hero or heroine, and sometimes all three. My novels, In Sunshine or in Shadow and Coming Home, set in post-Famine Ireland, are available from Highland Press. Playing For Keeps, the third book in the Claddagh series, is now available from Highland Press.

I am a member of the Romance Writers of America, Hearts Through History Romance Writers, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. A lifelong resident of Montreal, Canada, I still live there with my own Celtic hero and our two school-aged children.

Website: http://authorcynthiaowens.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCynthiaOwens

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Cynwrites1

  Deceptive Hearts
by Cynthia Owens



…Like the Wild Geese of Old Ireland, five boys grew to manhood despite hunger, war, and the mean streets of New York…

He survived war, and returned to devastation

A hero of the Irish Brigade, Shane MacDermott returned home to New York to find his family decimated and his world shattered.

She risks her life to save the people she loves

Lydia Daniels will risk anything to protect the women she shelters beneath the roof of her elegant Gramercy Park mansion—even if she has to trust the one man who can destroy her.

Shane and Lydia both hide secrets that could destroy them – and put their lives in jeopardy. Can their love overcome their carefully guarded deceptive hearts?

Tag line from front cover: He’d vowed to protect those he loved – but can he protect the woman who came to mean everything to him?

Something wasn’t right.

Shane strode through the dark, damp autumn night, memories of the woman he’d seen near Nan Daly’s room still niggling at him. Her story about bringing food to one of the neighbors didn’t ring true.

Hugh had once told him, “If something feels wrong, lad, sure there must be a reason for it. Listen to your instincts.”

Shane’s instincts screamed out that something wasn’t right.

A picture of the woman floated before him. She was the loveliest thing he’d ever seen, with her honey-blonde hair piled carefully atop her head, her mysterious gray eyes shrouded by that little wisp of a veil on the pretty hat she wore. Had he caught a whiff of roses emanating from her delicate peaches-and-cream skin? Her hands, long-fingered, elegant hands, a lady’s hands, had been encased in white lace gloves that would feed a family hereabouts for a month. And her gown… Shane knew nothing about fashion, but that silk and lace confection must have cost someone a pretty penny.

And the figure that gown concealed was enough to send a man’s wits astray.

But an angel of mercy? Shane doubted it. She’d seemed too jumpy, too eager to get away from him. Why? True, he’d been wearing his uniform, but a woman like that had to be wealthy and well-connected. Sure, she’d have nothing to fear from the law.

He shook his head, dismissing the woman from his mind, and turned to race up the steps to his flat.

Buy links
 Also available at Books-a-Million \ The Book Depository

Cynthia will be awarding a Grand Prize of a wooden trinket box with the Trinity Knot applique on the lid - US/Canada only, and a handmade ribbon bookmark to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. A second prize of a Reader's Choice of The Claddagh Series books (In Sunshine or In Shadow, Coming Home, or Playing For Keeps), and a handmade ribbon bookmark will be awarded to another randomly drawn commenter. Follow the tour for more chances to win.



  1. Good morning, Andi, and thank you so much for having me as a guest on your blog today!

  2. Very interesting article. My grandmother's family came over to America during the Great Famine and my husband's family has four Filles du Roi in his geneology. Can't wait to read your novels.

  3. Very thoughtful interview! Loved the excerpt. Tweeted.

  4. Cynthia, unlike you, I had several wonderful history teachers who brought history alive. (I did have a couple of duds, too.)I also love Celts and look forward to reading DECEPTIVE HEARTS. I also enjoy your posts on Facebook. Thanks for sharing. P.S. You're always welcome on my blog. I didn't book you on this tour because of date conflicts.

  5. So Cynthia, you have an ancestor who is a "King's Girl". Now I have to research that, lol, since I've never heard the term.
    Enjoyed this blog.

  6. I love historical fiction, and Shane sounds like a character I could really love! Thanks so much for sharing your interview with us :)

    andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com

  7. What a wonderful excerpt :D

    hense1kk (at) cmich (dot) edu

  8. Sophia, sounds like you and I have a lot in common! I hope you do read my books, and enjoy them.

    Ella, glad you enjoyed the interview, and thanks for the Tweet!

    Caroline, I really think a teacher - especially a history teacher - can make all the difference in whether a student enjoys history. I'm glad you enjoy my Irish-inspired books, and perhaps I can do a guest post on your blog when my next book, "Keeper of the Light," is released. Hope you enjoy "Deceptive Hearts."

    Mairi, I guarantee you'll find the "Kings Girls" were a fascinating bunch! Glad you enjoyed the post. :)

    Andra, thanks for reading the interview. Yes, Shane is a very intriguing guy!

    Kate, glad you enjoyed the excerpt.

    And thanks, everyone, for stopping by to visit me today! :)

  9. I enjoyed the interview, thank you. It's nice to learn more about the author.


  10. Hi Kit, glad you liked the interview. As an avid reader, I love to learn all about my favorite authors. Thanks for visiting me here! :)

  11. Oh, Cynthia, your books sound like such a joy to read! I'm going to Amazon right now!

  12. "Coffin ships"? I've not heard of them. It doesn't sound like my usual summer fluff reading!
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

  13. Andi, thanks again for having me today, I enjoyed interacting with your readers! Thanks again for stopping by, everyone! :)

  14. Lani, I hope you enjoy my stories! :)

    Catherine, "Deceptive Hearts" is a little darker than my other stories, but it was a joy to write!

    Thanks so much for visiting me, ladies!

  15. I agree that history could be taught differently. Make it come alive for the kids, not just memorize people, places, and dates. It has to MEAN something. I, too, am now fascinated by history and love nothing better than delving into reference books and making connections between time periods and countries.

    Great excerpt, btw.

  16. Hi Julie, exactly, the people, places and dates are important, but it's what it means that counts. Glad you enjoyed the excerpt, and thanks for stopping by! :)

  17. Terrific interview and very appealing excerpt!

  18. Interesting info about the inspiration

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  19. I've chosen the winners of my giveaways! Reader's choice of any book in the Claddagh Series and a handmade ribbon bookmark goes to Andra Lyn!

    The beautiful wooden trinket box with the Trinity Knot applique on the lid pictured here and a handmade ribbon bookmark goes to Shelley S.

    Ladies, please e-mail me at authorcynthiaowens@gmail.com with your snail mail addresses, and I'll sen off your prize.

    Congratulations to you both, and thank you to everyone who visited me during this awesome tour!


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