Award-wining author Cindy Erwin Huff is the founding member of the Aurora, Illinois, chapter of Word Weavers and a member of the ACFW. Over the past forty years her by-line has appeared in numerous publications.Her blog Jubilee Writer offers writing encouragement to all newbies.
This week, Cindy will give us a preview of her newest Novell and book, New Duet. So please welcome Cindy Ervin Huff!
Cindy, can you tell us a little about your books?
You’ve read Secrets & Charades, my historical romance about a female doctor who goes west as a mail-order bride. It won the Editor’s Choice Award and placed third in the Maxwell Awards. It will soon be available in audiobook.
There will be sequels in the future.
Jake Marcum’s busy ranch leaves him no time for courting, and his wounded heart has no place for love. When battlefield nightmares disturb his peace and his tomboy niece, Juliet, needs taming, somehow a mail-order bride seems like a logical solution.
Dr. Evangeline Olson has no idea her niece is writing to a rancher on her behalf, and she sure isn’t interested in abandoning her medical practice for a stranger. But when an inheritance threatens to reveal a long-buried secret, she travels west to become Jake’s wife.
Jake soon realizes Evangeline is more than he bargained for, especially when her arrival causes a stir in the community. As the two try to find their way in a marriage of convenience, their fragile relationship is further tested by cattle rustling and kidnapping. Can their hearts overcome past hurts to create a real marriage?
My latest release is a contemporary romance, New Duet.
Isabella Melinda Wilson has been squeezed into the music ministry model of her controlling husband’s making. Before she can leave him, he leaves her a guilt-ridden widow. Her mother-in-law is no comfort and presses the guilt button at every turn. Isabella flees to her sister’s home in search of her own identity and a new beginning.
Dan Sweeney has one goal. Be as normal as possible. After losing a leg, some fingers and his self-worth, he needs his service dog Brutus to help keep his PTSD at bay. Career-less and clueless about the future, he struggles to put his life back together.
Isabella isn’t looking for a new relationship and Dan feels unworthy of one. Can these two broken people heal into one whole love?
My newest WIP is a novella (currently untitled) for my Smitten Imprint for Historical Romance. The collection is entitled “The Cowboys.” Linda Yezak, Jennifer Hough Uhlark and Sandra Melville Hart. Three awesome authors in their own right. Such a privilege to work with them. Each of us must create a romance for a cowboy. My novella has twins who’ve inherited a ranch in Kansas from their uncle. The Civil War ended the year before and the two want to rebuild their lives in a new place. When they arrive at the ranch they find a woman there. And a blizzard traps them while they sort out what’s going on, whose who and of course the love connection for one of the twins. It is slated to release in August 2019.
What inspired you to write?
Other than voices in my head creating stories, it was a writing contest in junior high. My seventh-grade teacher entered my short fiction in a contest. I didn’t win or even place, but the die was cast. I continued writing in a variety of areas from journalism, to scripts to short stories for children. Then life happened, children to raise and many other things sidetracked me, but I persevered writing what I could whenever I had time. Then I suffered burnout and I put writing aside for over a decade. At 50 while on a mission trip in the Philippines, God spoke to my heart to pick up my pen again. I laid a fleece before the Lord and he answered it by providing the funds to take a writing course I felt I needed after my ten-year absents from publishing. While taking that course I wrote the first draft of Secrets & Charades. Then I spent the next decade rewriting and honing my writing skills. During that time S & C was rejected about twenty times. Then it won the Editor’s Choice Award and then was contracted by LC publishing. Then I kept on writing. First New Duet, which was picked up by Clean Reads, now the novella for LPC.
Do you find it a challenge to write your new novella, after writing an 85k+ novel?
Absolutely. A novella only has one storyline. There are no subplots and the characters need to be completed and compelling in a fourth of the words. It is quite the challenge. I’m a panster, so I need to complete the first draft before I can do any serious rewrites. I don’t do charts or detailed outlines. My characters evolve with each rewrite until I am sure they’re telling me all I should know about them. Lots harder in fewer words.
Your wonderful novel, Secrets & Charades is coming out as an audio soon. What does the process entail?
I had fun auditioning narrators. I heard five different people read from my novel for about two minutes. I chose Meghan Kelly. She did a wonderful job. As you know S & C has lots of characters from different ethnic groups. Meghan had to change her voice as she read. Definitely met the challenge. Once she was done I had to listen and send a correction sheet for any do-overs. Not everything needs to be corrected. The listener doesn’t know the difference. Sometimes a narrator will rearrange a sentence or change things slightly for clarity. She used the word library for collection of books. It didn’t change the story at all. She’d graciously referred me to two helpful blog posts that explained what an author should expect from a narrator. Next came the cover and then LPC has it slated to release in June (maybe sooner).
Who has inspired your writing most?
Great writers. I read a lot and when I find a gem of a book I often turn to my husband and say I want to write like that. I learn more about writing from reading than any craft book.
Why did you decide to write historical romance?
I love history. I’d rather see a museum on vacation rather than the beach. Unless of course, the beach had historical significance. I love reading westerns and historical fiction. The characters introduced themselves and the more research I did the more I knew their story. The same is true with the other historical romances I have completed and are not contracted yet.
I wrote out of genre with New Duet because the idea hit me in a what if moment and it begged to be written. The characters cooperated nicely too, even the dog obeyed. I may write more contemporary romance in the future.
What have you learned through your journey that you could pass along to other writers?
Don’t be afraid to show others your work. I don’t mean your mom. Go to conferences and find other writers to connect with. Join a critique group and get better at the writing craft. Knowing other writes doesn’t make you feel so weird.
And what would you have done differently?
Taken classes and started writing novels earlier.
Where do you see your next writing adventure?
I’m 62 so I plan on writing novels as long as I can. I have ideas waiting in line to be brought to life. I’d like them all to be in audio format and who knows maybe one will be a movie.
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About Cindy Ervin Huff
Her latest release, a contemporary romance titled New Duet, is set in Aurora, Illinois. Healing Hearts, part of The Cowboys novella collection is slated for release in August 2019.
Cindy’s blog Jubilee Writer offers writing encouragement to all newbies, especially those starting later in life. http://www.jubileewriter.wordpress.com
Visit Cindy on her Facebook http://www.facebook.com/cindyehuff or follow her on twitter @CindyErvinHuff.
By commenting below, you’ll be entered into a drawing for Cindy’s newest novel, New Duet (Ebook if out of country).
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