Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Working Hard For Your Dreams—Cindy Gerard

Romantic suspense author, Cindy Gerard, is my guest today. She has six back to back NYT Bestsellers. Quite an accomplishment and proof dreams can come true if you're willing to work hard for it and not give up.

My first contact with Cindy was through her books many years ago when she wrote for Silhouette and I read a few of her books here and there. I’ve always liked the way she built her characters and her heroes were tough and a bit out of the norm. The first one was MARRIAGE, OUTLAW STYLE followed by THE OUTLAW JESSE JAMES.

I kinda lost track of her as I reading other things. I was on a business trip and forgot my book—aack! Nothing to read? Fate worse than death, so I looked at the limited books available and recognized her name and I picked up TAMING THE OUTLAW. Are we seeing a pattern here? Yeah, I like tough men who can take care of themselves and had a code of honor. Fast forward to 2006 and I found her name again only this time she was writing a totally different type of books, filled with danger and suspense--OVER THE LINE. I’ve just recently started her
Black Ops series.

When I found Cindy on Facebook, I was thinking, hmmm, I know that name, and then I discovered she was writing even more cool books. The thing I like about reading authors from their start to the present is seeing how their writing changes and grows—matures if you will. Sitting in on some panels at RT it was an eye opener as I listened to her talk about different aspects of writing suspense. Finding something, an idea, you love to write and following through on it. It’s about daring to dream but being willing to put in the hard work to make the dream a reality. Not giving up. I can respect that.

Please welcome, Cindy Gerard, to Over Coffee.

Hi guys. It’s great to be here but since some of you might not know me, how about a little intro?

I’ve been around the romance business since 1991 when my first Loveswept was published. After 7 books I moved to Silhouette Desire and wrote around 25 books for them before I stepped onto the slippery slope of single title romantic suspense in 2005 because while I actually loved writing category romance, I found myself gravitating toward bigger stories, bigger romance – bigger everything – and there just wasn’t room in category to write those stories.

Fortunately, I came up with a series, my agent shopped it around and it sold. The over arching concept for the Bodyguards came about after 9/11. I read so many stories about returning military veterans and I wondered what these super alpha males did when they came back home after living by their wits and being fueled by adrenaline. I found out, via researching the web and contacts with former Spec. Ops guys, that a lot of them go into securities work. From that, the Bodyguards were eventually born.

I loved writing that series and hated leaving my Garrett clan but Black Ops, Inc, has proven to be yet another love of my life and I’ve had a blast writing about those shadow warriors and their women.

On a personal level, my dh and I live in Iowa on a mini farm with our Brittany Spaniel, Margaret, our two cats, Buddy and Sly and Tom’s quarter horses – too many too name :o) We have one amazing son and an equally amazing daughter-in-law who, fortunately live within 2 hours of us so we get to see our 4 adorable, brilliant, huggable grandchildren on a pretty regular basis. (Yes, I’m biased) I write full time now and feel privileged to be making a living doing so.

I wasn’t always a writer, though. I’ve been a clerk in a county treasurer’s office, a bookkeeper in a lumberyard, a sales clerk/alterationist at a men’s clothing store and my longest career was with the Department of Human Services working with state and federal assistance programs. During the course of my years with DHS, I was a caseworker, a policy specialist and one of 8 trainers in the state. Needless to say, it was a busy, grueling, often rewarding career and many times frustrating career.

It wasn’t easy to make the decision to switch to full time writer, but I’ve been very blessed with good fortune and am so glad I made the move several years ago. Having said that, though, writing is still a tough job and one that takes much discipline and dedication if a writer is going to succeed – especially in today’s economic climate and shifting publishing perimeters.

There’s always room for wonderful books, though, so to anyone out there who is trying to get published, my advice is to stick with it. Yes, it’s hard sometimes. I know. Been there. Done that. Have the stack of rejection letters to prove it. It took a long time for me to make my first sale. And it’s a struggle to keep selling because the competition is tough. But, I’m living proof that someone with no college degree and no writing credentials can not only sell, but can make a living loving what they do. And if you’ll indulge me for just a second here – I’m also proof that that same high school educated writer can hold her own. Case in point: I’ve got a string of 6, back to back NYT best-sellers going. Still have to pinch myself over that. Talk about dreams coming true :o)

  • What about you all? What are your dreams? Are you readers? Writers? Both?
  • If you have any questions you’d like to ask me about writing in general, about my books – whatever, I’d love to hear from you.

    In the meantime, thanks for having me and please know that I love to hear from my readers. I’m receiving buckets of mail these days and sometimes I’m a little slow answering but I do answer all of my mail.

Let's give away a copy of Risk No Secrets to someone who comments.

RISK NO SECRETS, is on sale May 18th from Pocket Books.

Twelve years of chasing bad guys didn’t erase beautiful Sophie Baylor from Wyatt Savage’s memory. If he had another chance, he’d never let her leave. So when she tracks him down from El Salvador and begs for help, he doesn’t ask questions—he just goes.

Sophie is grateful her daughter survived a kidnapping attempt, but she won’t forgive herself until the girl who was mistakenly abducted is safe. Wyatt is the only man brave enough to take on the mysterious terrorists behind the crime—and the one irresistible man she wishes she had never let go.

Sophie knows Central America’s steamy jungles and sticky politics better than anyone. Yet she refuses to hide in fear. Then she becomes the enemy’s number one target. Wyatt lost her once, and he won’t lose her again—even if he has to fight, kill, or die to save her.

Booktrailer and Video Interview about Risk No Secrets
Buy this book: B& Simon and Schuster

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

New York Times and USA Today Bestseller Cindy Gerard has forty plus titles in print. In addition to 6 RITA nominations and 2 Rita wins, Cindy has numerous RT nominations and various awards to her credit. Each book of her single title romantic suspense series, Black Ops Inc, has appeared on the New York Times Bestseller top 20 list. Cindy writes sexy, heart-pounding romantic suspense and has had her work twice featured in COSMOPOLITAN Magazine as Red Hot Reads.

For more information about Cindy and her books (including her back list) , you can visit her website at or her blog at, or her facebook page at!/pages/Cindy-Gerard-New-York-Times-Best.


~Sia McKye~ said...

Welcome to OVER COFFEE, Cindy! Good coffee, goodies to munch on, comfortable chair to sit in. I even have snacks for dogs and kitties. Sorry, the horses lose. Mine ate all the apple treats, lolol!

tonya kappes said...

Hi Cindy!
I didn't always want to be a writer either, but with the gentle nudge of my husband I'm now four novels and knee deep into it. He might be regretting that now *wink*.

I think dreams change as you mature. Or maybe they get tweaked a little bit.

Cindy Gerard said...

Hi Sia
Thanks for the welcome and the goodies. The horses are already too fat so don't worry about running out of apples :o)

Cindy Gerard said...

Hi Tonya. Congrats on your 4 novels. Each one is a major accomplishment and a milestone. I know so many writers who never 'finish the book'. It's very sad really because their work is excellent.
I do understand, though. Self-doubt can be crippling. Even after all the books I've sold, I struggle with doubt. Just gotta work through it!

Wildcat78 said...

Hi Cindy,
SO excited for Wyatt's book! I love your Black Ops series and have reread them many times, can't wait to read about Papa Bear ;-)


Cindy Gerard said...

Hi Jess. Thanks, sweetie. I love hearing that you've read the books more than once. Makes me all squishy inside - and in a good way :o)
You're gonna love Papa Bear ...

Judi Fennell said...

only 6 Cindy? ;)

And each one is worth its place on that NYT list. I LOOOOOOOVE your books!!!

*waves hi from across the signing aisle.

Cindy Gerard said...

Hey Judi - thanks. And I love that you love the books.
Didn't we grin at each other from far, far away at RT a couple of weeks ago? Kept thinking I'd get a chance to say hello but ... well, all those fangs and furries and faeries oh ny!!

patterson1219 said...

Oh! Simply can NOT wait for this book... I truly do love reading anything you write! Originally started with your Black Ops series (only books at the library) and then, due to withdrawl, ordered your Bodyguards series. What can I possibly say? You're by far one of the BEST romantic suspense writers my mother and I have read... quite amazing considering we've read close to 800 books between the two of us! Thank you so very much for writing these wonderful books :)

Cindy Gerard said...

Wow! thanks for that great endorsement! So appreciate reading that. And man, you ladies are hard core readers! 800 books? A MA ZING!!
You go girls!!

Anonymous said...

Ooh, I love the Black Ops books and am just now starting the Bodyguard series. I love the alpha males you write about and the strong women!!

Cindy Gerard said...

Cool!! Glad you're going back and picking up the Bodyguards! i love those guys :o) thanks!

Dawn said...

I am a hard-core Cindy fan! Love everything you've written- and re-read them all on a regular basis. Sometime in order, sometimes just because I miss one hero or heroine in particular.
Thanks for the great reads!!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Cindy, as I mentioned, I'm just starting book one of Black Ops, Inc. You do have a way of putting your reader right there an with not a lot of words. I didn't even know these guys when I started this series and I wasn't in very far and you touched my emotions with the loss of Bry.

Of course the writer in me had to analyze it. I cared because your guys cared and showed a heartfelt response true to the way military men react. Because with a few words you invoked an atmosphere so clearly I could picture it, feel it and their weariness.

But I'm enjoying the book immensely.

Cindy Gerard said...

Awe Dawn. You're a doll. thanks for that. The true test of a good book for me is whether i want to read it again. So for you to tell me you reread my stories really makes me happy.

Cindy Gerard said...

Sia - thanks so much for that. Means a lot coming from a fellow writer.
My goal is make these guys real, with real reactions, real feelings, and to do that, I have to be as honest as I can be when I get inside their heads. how would they react to a certain situation? How would they feel? What would they say? What would they do? It's difficult, sometimes and when I'm writing and I'm having trouble with a scene, I generally take a step back and ask myself - are you being honest with the emotions? Often, that's the problem. I was writing the scene not FEELING it.

~Sia McKye~ said...

"...I generally take a step back and ask myself - are you being honest with the emotions?"

That's a good way to put it Cindy and I agree, the author has to FEEL it before they can make the reader feel it. As a reader, I can tell the difference.

Will there be another Black Ops, Inc story?

Cindy Gerard said...

Sia - one of the things I often tell writers in my workshops is to: Put yourself in the boat that's sinking. One the edge of the cliff with the bad guys at your back.
Ask yourself what would you do? Probably your first reaction would be the same as a lot of people's. You'd pee your pants! LOL. Well, maybe not, but you might feel like you could.
That's what makes the writing honest.

As for another Black Ops, story, yes indeedy. In October, the DEADLY PROMISES anthology will be released. The 3 novella collection is headlined by Sherrilyn Kenyon so I'm really excited. Laura Griffin, another wonderful RS author is also contributing. My story - LEAVE NO TRACE - is a BOI story. The hero - David Cavanaugh - in not a officially a BOI but readers have been asking about him ever since he showed up in Jakarta in WHISPER NO LIES where he helped the guys and Johnny and Crystal get out of Indonesia. I think it's an exciting story.
After that, Doc (Luke Colter) is going to get his story. As a matter of fact, I'm working on it right now. Working title: WITH NO REMORSE.
Thanks for asking.

flchen1 said...

Hi, Cindy! Hi, Sia! I started reading Cindy's books when I stumbled across her category titles--The Librarian's Passionate Knight is still a fave :) I'm just a reader, but I'm thrilled that Cindy's living her dream, and I'm working on collecting all of her backlist (one of my dreams ;))

Modokker said...

Hi Cindy! This sounds like a awesome book to read as a first of Cindy Gerard book! I've heard alot about you but have not had the opportunity to read anything by you! I love the action romances too!


Cindy Gerard said...

Hey flchen. Thanks, woman! Let me know how that back list thing works out :o0

Cindy Gerard said...

Lisa - I appreciate that you're thinking about giving me a try. So you know, even though this is a series, each book stand alone. you don't have to read them in order. And if you like action, you're gonna love Risk NO Secrets :o) Hope you enjoy it!!

Kat Sheridan said...

Oh, I do love romantic suspense, and these books sound wonderful! I'm ashamed to say I've never read any of them, but I've absolutely added this name to my to-be-read pile! Wishing you continued success!

Melissa said...

Ooh, great blog, Cindy!! And I love your Black Ops series ~ and I love the bigger stories, the bigger romance and the action!! I can't wait to read Risk No Secrets!!

Cindy Gerard said...

Hey Kat. It's never too late to start :o) Each book stands alone so no worries. You can jump in at any stage of the game.
Thanks for the well wishes.

and thanks, Melissa for the props. I so appreciate it.

flchen1 said...

LOL! I'm getting there, Cindy! A few books at a time :) One of these days, I may be crushed by my collection, but until then, I press onward :) And excellent that there will be more in the Black Ops series to anticipate! :)