Author Spotlight with Cindy Dawson
Get to know Cindy Dawson in this exclusive interview.
Cindy Dawson. A new indie author that writes all things contemporary romance. Her debut novel, which is a friends to lovers, sweet emotional high school romance. Published in Feb 2022. Currently working on a WIP which is opposite in tone and more in line with her current reading preference, combining a dark, taboo stalker romance. Cindy lives in Central Texas with her husband of nine years and four dogs, one of which is her Frenchie Remington, who is the real love of her life. When Cindy isn't writing, she's reading, if she's not doing either of those she is working her day job as a marketing professional from the comfort of her own home, allowing Cindy to have the flexibility to indulge in her true passions. She runs on caffeine (I can't disagree with this!), smutty books, and puppy cuddles.
Cindy! Welcome to my blog, hope you are doing okay? First of all, your book 'That Night' WHAT WERE YOU THINKING making me sob my heart out?! Then have happy tears, then question everything, and then sob again! How did you come up with the inspiration for writing such a beautiful heart-warming novel?
Hey Aimee, thanks so much for reading That Night! It wasn’t my intention and didn’t really dawn on me how emotional That Night really was until I started getting feedback from readers. When I first started writing it I had zero plans for the whole story line and plot. I am a panster when it comes to writing, so I never know where the book is going to go next until I sit down with my characters and my fingers hit the keyboard.
However, the beginning stemmed from an audiobook I had been listening to on my way to work one morning. It sparked the idea based on what I would have done differently from the storyline in the book I was listening to. Once the idea started to form in my head, I turned off the audiobook and sat in silence on the rest of the drive to work. By the time I arrived the whole first chapter had played out like a movie, and I typed it all out into my phones note section. That’s how That Night was born. For your first debut novel, I feel as though 'That Night' was plotted perfectly, and heavy themes and topics were handled with pure grace. How long did it take you to write this novel? Thank you. Actual writing time was probably close to 2.5 years. I never had any intention of publishing this book, I just wanted to write it. So, I’d sit down every now and then and write a little bit here and there. It wasn’t until I mentioned it to a good friend of mine—who was also my alpha reader and a huge reason why this book is published—and shared the first few chapters, that I developed a drive to finish the story based on her feedback. Thanks to Covid and not working for a few months I had the time to finish the rough draft after 2 years of trying to get it down. I took the next half of a year to work on rewrites and getting it ready for an editor, which was much needed. What made you decide to independently publish, do you think it's easier this way for writers nowadays or is it something you just fell into, and decided to go for it? Since I never intended to publish, when the time came around I knew self-publishing was for me. Because of my bookstagram I had already built a lot of great relationships with other indie authors, it just seemed like the most logical step. Plus, I love that everything was on my timeline, and I have all control of my book. That was important for me. I think it’s an amazing option for writers these days, because honestly a majority of the books I read would never come to be published if it wasn’t for self-publishing.
In terms of your writing career, what do you wish to achieve, what would you say your all time goal is?
This one is hard, I never set out to be an author, but it’s something I’m enjoying immensely. I think it would be amazing to be a full-time author someday, but I don’t see that happening any time soon for a couple of reason. I love my day job, I work for an amazing small business with incredible bosses and co-workers, even though I work from home. I’m a realist and being an indie author at this point isn’t bringing in the big bucks. Plus, if I can balance both having a residual income is a great financial opportunity. So, I’ll continue to work and write when I have the time, publishing at a slower rate. Your novel to me, would be a great inspiration to young women and men, even the older generations who are going through the same thing as the MC's do. Was your intention to highlight such important topics? Honestly, it wasn’t. That’s just where my story started off and progressed into. However, after I finished That Night and was able to read through it in its entirety, I knew that it would have to be handled with care because of the hard topics and themes that are portrayed. I know Natalie’s story isn’t everyone’s and I’ll even admit it’s romanticized, but it did become a healing stone for myself and helped me work through some of my own trauma. If it helps others in the same way, then I’ll be honoured.
I also feel like her parents have a very real reaction to her situation and respond how you would expect real parents to act. Especially since they don’t have the full story. I love when Natalie and her dad finally have their talk. I think it brings some much need perspective to his reaction and feelings. I could definitely see this on Netflix, is going into TV something you'd like in the end game? Who would you pick? Be VERY careful with who you choose for Damien because he's my new book boyfriend, so you need to pick wisely!
Oh god no, lol. I’m a very simple introverted person, becoming Netflix famous would be way too much for me. However, looks wise in my head Damion is Samuel Larsen. Longer messy dark hair, dresses in a mix between a biker and a rocker, always in black. But one of my favourite things is hearing from readers who their character picks would be. It’s so fun. You say if you aren't writing you are reading, what are you reading right now?
I’m currently having a full Colleen Hoover month. She is an amazing author, who writes emotional roller coasters like I’ve never read before. I just finished Regretting You which is now a favourite and am moving on to Heart Bones. My goal is to eventually get through her entire catalogue. Typically, though, I’m reading something in the dark romance category with a lot of smut and a side of kink. What has made you go from a sweet childhood romance story to your current WIP? The complete opposite? Do you feel like you could write whatever genre you see fit at the time? When I started writing That Night, I was only reading YA/NA romance and fantasy, that was my reading game. Toward the middle I found myself thrown into adult romance and eventually dark romance. I think because my reading preferences changed, my idea for what I wanted to write next was also influenced.
My current WIP is a dark dual stalker romance. The thought of which came to me while I was out shopping with my husband one day, I quickly jotted the plot idea down and sent it to a friend who was all for it. It’s been really fun changing from a YA romance into something spicier, but I don’t think everything I write from now on will fit in the same category.
I’ve actually got a sweet small town country romance on the docket for when I’m done with my current WIP. I don’t know that I could write in even genre, I’d love to do fantasy but it’s extremely intimidating because of all of the world building, but never say never. I’ll let my ideas drive me and I’ll end up where I’m meant to be. What's something that nobody knows about you? Oh, man what a question. Nobody knowing is a hard one, since I’m ridiculously open with my close friends, but most people probably don’t know I’m an extremely lazy person with an inability to relax. This means I rarely take down time and veg out, I feel like I always have to be working on something whether that’s reading, writing, cleaning, working out, or entertaining my dogs…it drives me absolutely nuts, but it is what it is. Who has been your biggest supporter in terms of your writing? My husband, while he doesn’t understand my love for reading and he’s never read my book anytime I had self-doubts during the publishing process he was there to remind me that it’s not about anyone else. And as an author you’re saying to yourself but the readers…I’m doing this for the readers. Which is true to an extent, but really when we put our heart and soul into the books we write it’s for ourselves, what we want to see in a story. And then we share it with others in hopes that they feel the same way. I also have an extremely supportive group of friends that are the biggest cheerleaders and early readers to give me feedback when I need it. I couldn’t do this without them. Out of all the scenes in 'That Night' which one bit was the hardest to write?
It was without a doubt Natalie’s assault. Writing a scene like that has to be done carefully, in my opinion. I’ve read some dark romance where it’s done in a very vulgar shocking way, which makes sense for that genre. But I knew my book was going to stay in the YA category, so that left me two options, mention it in the past tense without watching the character go through it or show it in a way that you were put into Natalie’s shoes to an extent. It was one of the biggest things about That Night that I wanted honest feedback on from my beta and ARC readers. And I feel like it was important to show her experience for her character growth and the continuation of the story.
What has been your most valuable piece of advice in terms of writing? I’ve gotten some really great advice from some pretty big authors in the indie world, but I think it all comes back to JUST STARTING. Nothing else really matters until you put pen to paper…of tap the keys of your keyboard in all reality. Once you’ve done that then you can start worrying about everything else. I waited until I was almost ready to publish to really start putting my book out there and it was nice because I didn’t have any sort of pressure on me. The flip side to that is for my second book I already have a platform, so it’s been fun to tease what’s coming up for the readers that are already anxiously waiting. Name an underappreciated novel that you absolutely love? Oh man, I don’t pick favourites and I read a lot of “popular” books. (Goes to look through bookshelves & Goodreads). The ones I always come back to are The Stoneview Stories by Lola King, they’re a dark bully romance trilogy that I just fell in love with and devoured every time she sent me a new one. Lola is also just an amazing human. What's next for you Cindy? What can we expect to see from you in the future? What’s next…more writing of course. My next WIP is underway and currently at about 25,000 words. I have another that I brushed off to the side that’s at about 10,000. I’m planning a small town country romance that will incorporate a lot of mine and my husband’s story…and after that I’ve got about 10 other note ideas chillin’ in my phone. The one thing I know for sure is that I won’t be sticking to one genre or trope. I’ll be dipping my toes in a little bit of everything that I feel called to.
Thank you so much for inviting me to chat, it was so fun to answer your questions and like I always tell my readers my DMs are always open! Thank you so much for taking part in this interview, I'm sure my readers and your followers are going to love seeing a different side of you with these questions, I for sure am looking forward to reading your next novel. Thank again, and take care!
To Follow Cindy on social media: Instagram: @author_cindydawson