This month we’re talking to author Cynthia D. Witherspoon about her new book Deception, which was just released at the beginning of the month, her next book The Fanatic, due out in December, productivity and writing with a partner. But before we share the interview with you let’s look at the books.
I found the shower room, turned the water on and stepped beneath its stinging spray. I wanted to wash away the dark anger and pain left behind by the hatred of those poor, murdered women in my dreams—women who seemed, somehow, to be me. My very bones throbbed from the cruel impact I had suffered against the stone. My skin felt bruised from falling beams, the smoke of the burning pyre seemed to still be in my lungs.
The water didn't help. I slid down the slick tile wall and shuddered, closed my eyes as I wrapped my arms around my knees.
I focused on Tommy.
He's not Matthew Hopkins. He's not either of those men. Tommy wouldn't hurt me…he couldn't ever, ever hurt me…
I sat there until the water turned cold. When I finally made it back to the temporary cot assigned to me, I knew what I was going to do. What I would have to do, not just to save myself, but to save Tommy as well.
Tommy would never hurt me like those women in my dreams had been hurt.
But the Witchfinders would. And Tommy was close, so close to WFG. I had to get back to Manning—not just to be with him, but to save him. I had to get back there to stop the Witchfinders before they changed him into someone he wasn't meant to be, someone I could hate. Someone who could hurt me.
I had no other option.
I sat on my cot; the sleeping forms had ignored my screaming earlier and now ignored the tears falling in silence down my face.
These women...these unlucky few...they have no idea what it is like to truly lose someone they love....
Even I knew how selfish that sounded. The women I now lived with had come from homes where the men were more concerned with breaking them than loving them. My rational side said I was the lucky one. I'd never had to suffer at the hands of anyone I loved.
But the selfish part of me, the childish part, didn't care.
I leaned my forehead against the cold glass of the window reflecting the nightlife of downtown Raleigh as my heart tried to piece itself back together.
We are all looking for someone to save us. Fairy tales promised us white knights on gleaming horses who would ride in, slay our demons, and sweep us away to our happily ever after. But nobody ever told me what would happen if the white knight didn't show up. And there are no fairy tales that talk about what happens once the demons take over.
But I know. I had learned real quick to rely on the one hero who had been here all along. The one person I'd always been afraid to believe in.
I was going to create my own happily ever after, and my enemies would be damned for it.
I lit the final candle before I stepped back to inspect my deathbed. I had set everything up in the center of my living room. Three red candles flickered on the headboard. Two black ones gleamed at the foot. The sheets had been soaked with as much kerosene as I could legally buy here in Los Angeles. Perhaps it was the fumes affecting me, or perhaps I had finally gone over the proverbial edge, but I smiled. Within the hour, all of my problems would disappear. If my work here was successful, the one person responsible for my life falling apart would be damned along with me.
I wanted to die. I wasn’t afraid. I had spent my life trying to discover all I could about what lay on the other side of the Veil. After all, death was my business. Spirits were my passion. I’d been obsessed with the grave for as long as I could remember. When I was little, my momma tried to replace my obsession with the grandeur of heaven. If only I would give my soul to Jesus, then I would be alright.
I wasn’t alright. I never would be again. Besides, Heaven wasn’t meant for the likes of me. I was going to hell.
And I was going to make damn sure my enemies would join me there.
Yes, tonight was my night. I had been preparing for this moment since I had been fired three months earlier. See, I had been one of the lucky ones. I was once a presenter on the highest rated show on television. I traveled the world, studying the paranormal with a passion unmatched by anyone else. I had money. Fame. Fans.
Until the ratings started to fall. I glared at the photographs scattered among past due notices and the eviction letter received just this afternoon on the floor around my bed. Once again, I muttered curses at the face staring back up at me. I had been replaced by a stupid girl who claimed to have abilities no one could actually possess. Eva McRayne's Grave Messages hit the airwaves and shoved me out of the job which had been my calling. Now my show was nothing more than a DVD box set. All of my hard work forgotten thanks to a blonde idiot who would prance around, call out to Apollo, then pretend to pass on the last words of the dead.
I hated her. I hated everything about her.
It was true that Grave Messages hadn't been her idea. In the interviews I had seen, she would laugh at the idea of being on television. McRayne would give the credit to her co-host, Elliot Lancaster, but he was nothing. He was worthless.
I had studied the tabloids which carried the pictures of them together. There were headlines boasting the two of them were in love. It was unprofessional and sickening. But the knowledge I had gained from those articles would come in handy tonight.
McRayne and Lancaster had met at the University of Georgia some five years before. When Lancaster had graduated, his daddy gave him a television show and of course, the blonde tagged along after him. The facts got hazy from there. McRayne's bio online said she had been forced into her role as the Sibyl during a conference. It was a good story, but I had once been a headliner for those conferences. No one in their right minds with any sort of power would give it all up to a stranger. Not when there was money to be made. Why give up your livelihood to a stranger who didn't appreciate it? No, her story didn't make any sense. She was the lie. She was the fraud.
But I wasn't. And I would make damned sure she knew it.
They look interesting and now on with the interview:
1.) You have a new book out on November 1st and another in December, what will you tell us about them?
Deception: The Witchfinder Wars (November 1) is a continuation of The Witchfinder Wars, which is my collaboration with the great K.G. McAbee. The bloodline of the Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins had been cursed back in the 17th century, and it carries on into modern day. This second book in the series explores the darker side of that curse.
The Fanatic (December 1st) is the second book in my solo project The Oracle Series. In book one, The Sibyl, we see Eva McRayne accept a job as a reality show host for a ghost hunting show. But before filming starts, she is turned into the Sibyl, the messenger of the dead. The Fanatic sees Eva further testing the waters in her new role as she is threatened because of it.
2.) What themes do you explore in these books?
In both books, I explore the themes of how far will you go for a love that is lost? What is worth saving? Memories or the future?
3.) What themes are you most passionate about and which of your works explore them?
Loss and resurrection. There is something powerful about someone who can rise from the ashes.
4.) What other projects are on your radar for the near future?
My steampunk collaboration with K.G. McAbee Gilded Cages begs for a sequel, so after National Novel Writing Month is over, we are going to focus on that. Then I hope to finish the third book in The Oracle Series and have the final book in The Witchfinder Wars out.
5.) You will have published three books in roughly three months, what is the secret to that kind of productivity?
A good partnership with a supportive co-author. K.G. McAbee and I have always worked well together, so speed has never been a problem for us. As for The Oracle Series, I don’t sleep much. I daydream. I write where ever and whenever I can. Ten minutes every hour can turn into a manuscript in no time.
6.) Which authors do you feel have had the most influence on you and on your work?
Isabel Allende is the first because her work, The House of Spirits, introduced me to what I call mystic realism when I was in high school. I loved how she wove superstitions and the magick beliefs of her culture into a story based in a realistic setting.
I would say that K.G. McAbee has had the largest influence on my writing. Not just because she puts up with me and edits all the crap out, but she gave me the knowledge and the courage to get my work out in the first place.
7.) What is your favorite book written by yourself and by someone else and why?
Gilded Cages is my favorite book written by myself (with K.G. McAbee) because I absolutely fell in love with the characters. I can read it repeatedly and still get that excitement – that thrill – of reading a great scene every time.
Memoirs of a Geisha is my favorite book written by someone else. This is because Arthur Goldman was able to transport me into a world long disappeared and made me want to stay there. I had a major emotional response to that story, and it has stuck with me.
8.) Is there any question that you dislike answering and why?
No. I enjoy interviews because they make me think – and reexamine – myself.
9.) Is there a question that you wish someone had asked you and what is your answer to it?
Q: What’s the best way to write?
A: One word at a time. If you don’t get the words down, you’ll never get it finished.
10.) What is the hardest part of being a writer?
I can’t say there is a hard part, because I love the work so much. Yes, rejections and critics could be considered a ‘hard part’, but they aren’t hard because I take them in stride. Even my stories never sold, and no one ever read them, I would still write them because they are stories I want to read, but no one else has written yet.
11.) What do you want your legacy to be?
My love for the art of writing.
12.) Where can readers find you on the internet?
Cynthia D. Witherspoon is an award winning writer of Southern Gothic, Paranormal Romance, and Urban Fantasy. She currently resides in South Carolina, but spent three years in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Always an avid reader, she began writing short stories in college. She graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in History from Converse College, and earned a Masters in Forensic Science at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences.