Author Q&A with Wendy McLeod MacKnight

Today I am truly honored to be able to host Wendy McLeod MacKnight debut middle grade author of It’s a Mystery, Pig Face! Her second book coming out and its called The Frame Up! is scheduled to be released in 2018.

About the author:

Wendy McLeod Macknight wrote her first novel when she was nine-years-old. Her entire life she wanted to be a children’s book author, but kept getting sidetracked by her work for the Government of New Brunswick, where she held various posts, including Director of Early Childhood Services, Assistant Deputy Minister responsible for children’s programs, senior’s programs, child welfare programs, housing and low income programs.

After serving as the Deputy Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development, she decided it was now or never. She left her position and began work on It’s a Mystery, Pig Face!, which is a love letter to the town where she grew up, St. Stephen, New Brunswick.

Married, she has a daughter and a son, a dog, three squirrels she has helped rescue who hang about, and a groundhog who lives under the gazebo. Besides writing and reading, Wendy loves cooking, Paris, New York City. gardening, New Brunswick, shoes, and most of all, her family. It’s a Mystery, Pig Face! Is her
debut novel.

Cindy: Hi Wendy, I was beyond thrilled when I discovered you were a Canadian author and excited to find out you were from New Brunswick. I am originally from Bathurst, NB and lived there for almost 23 years until making the move to Quebec. I have to admit that I had to google where Hanwell was because that’s a new to me location.

Wendy: YAY Bathurst!!! I love Bathurst!!!

Cindy: What inspired you to become a writer?

Wendy: I wanted to be a writer as soon as I knew a person could be a writer, but I suspect that when Anne Shirley starts trying to sell stories for publication in Anne of Avonlea, I was hooked on the idea. Of course, I took a LONG detour to get to my first book, but never say never!

Cindy: What was your favorite childhood book to read growing up?

Wendy: This is like asking me who’s my favourite child! I adored Anne of Green Gables, A Wrinkle in Time, All-of-A-Kind-Family, Harriet the Spy. Basically, anything I could get my hands on!

Cindy: That has to be one of my favorite questions to ask because everyone’s answer is always so different. I have never heard of All of a Kind Family and I have to say you peeked my interest. I will need to see if I can find them. Did you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Wendy: It’s a Mystery, Pig Face! is a love letter to the town I grew up in, St. Stephen, New Brunswick, and there are all kinds of mentions throughout the book of local places—new and old. And I had to throw in a character named Trixie after my beloved Trixie Belden!

Cindy: Who is your favorite author? What is one book they wrote that you would recommend?

Wendy: I’m picking a classic and a contemporary author to try and get around the rules!


L. Maud Montgomery  and of course Anne of Green Gables, but all of her books are wonderful and they make me so proud to be Canadian!


In middle grade, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley’s The War That Saved My Life is amazing.

In young adult, I bow down to Philip Pullman. Start with The Golden Compass and rejoice!







Cindy: I think one of the books all east coast girls read was the Anne of Green Gables series and I absolutely loved the books and to this day I still love Anne.  Thanks for your recommendations I have not read any of those books but definitely will in the new year. If your looking for more suggestions be sure to click on this  to see what else Wendy enjoyed reading. What was the inspiration behind It’s A Mystery Pig Face?

Wendy: I loved mysteries when I was a kid, and was always looking for one in my neighbourhood. Alas, we were mystery-free, but not for lack of trying! When I decided to write my first middle grade novel, I knew I wanted to start with a mystery, and have a very flawed main character (which is basically me!) and so It’s a Mystery, Pig Face! was born! And proudly set in New Brunswick!

Cindy: I am so happy that you decided to write with a New Brunswick setting. Since this is your debut book and I noticed you have a second one coming out will this become a series?

Wendy: My next book is completely different. It’s called The Frame-Up and is being published by Greenwillow Books in June, 2018.

It’s a fantasy set at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton, and many of the characters are from actual masterpieces the Gallery owns, including a Freud, a Dali, a Gainsborough. The premise is: what if every original piece of art is actually alive, living parallel lives to ours, only in the world behind the frames?

I love the book so much and can’t wait to share it with the world! And Greenwillow is making it a truly beautiful book, complete with full colour images.

As for whether there will be more Pig Face books – I would sure love that! We’ll see!

Cindy: If we were to look at your desk what would we be surprised to find or discover?

Wendy: Well besides the fact that it’s a mess right now because I’m editing my next book? They might be surprised that I have a little figurine of Wendy from Peter Pan, which is there to remind me to soar!

Cindy: What are you currently reading?

Wendy: I just finished The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage, which made my jaw drop continually, and am about to read Lindsay Eagar’s new middle grade novel, Race to the Bottom of the Sea. I think she is wonderful!


Cindy: Wonderful suggestions. I just added both books to my chapters wishlist. How important is it for you to write your books with a local setting?

Wendy: So important. When I realized Anne of Green Gables was set only four hours from where I lived as a kid, I remember being gobsmacked. When I do school visits, especially in New Brunswick, I spend a lot of time talking about how important it is to tell your stories and not be afraid to set them where you live. I have a book in a drawer set in England in the 1800s which may yet see the light of day, but I love writing and talking about New Brunswick; who I am is very much shaped from being a Maritimer!

Cindy: Even though I have been in Quebec 19+ years I still consider myself a proud Maritimer. What is the hidden jewel that one should visit when they go to Hanwell/Fredericton?

Wendy: Well, I’d say I’m the hidden jewel in Hanwell, but go to the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, which isn’t really a hidden jewel, but not enough people know about what a world class gallery it is. Of course, they’re about to read all about it in my next book…

Cindy: Wendy thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions. I truly appreciate it and loved having you on my blog today. Please come back and I hope everyone will pick up It’s a Mystery Pig Face! to read and support this fantastic Canadian author.

Wendy: Thank you! I loved your questions!

Ways to connect with the author:






Thank you to YA Reads Book Reviews for making this interview possible.

Q & A with Catherine McKenzie

Today I am so happy to have Catherine McKenzie on my blog for a third time doing a Q&A with me.

Catherine is promoting her US release of Forgotten.

My review is following this post, I hope you will check it out and let me know if you read this or are planning on reading this.

Now onto my interview with Catherine. Please help me welcome Catherine to the blog today.

Cindy: I noticed that the cover of Forgotten has a Canadian cover and a US cover, why is that? Which one do you prefer more?

Catherine McKenzie: The publishers choose the cover and they choose the cover that they think will work best in their market. I like both of them!

Cindy: I’m not sure which one I like more since they both fit the book very well. If you had the chance to go back and do something over again would you? Or would you leave it alone?

Catherine McKenzie: I think it’s best to look forwards, but everyone has regrets.

Cindy: I agree that we all have regrets, although thre is a few things I wish I could do over again. How did you come up with this storyline? Its so different from your previous books.

Catherine McKenzie: I heard a story about a woman who had been stuck in Africa for six months and when she returned someone was living in her apartment. I don’t know anymore about her but I thought it was an intriguing premise.

Cindy: That sounds so interesting and I am sure its happened to people that we just never heard about before. Are you currently working on anything? If so when do you think it will be out?

Catherine McKenzie: I have written my fourth book and it will be out next summer in Canada.

Cindy: I am so excited I can’t wait for your next book to come out. Are you currently reading anything? If so, what?

Catherine McKenzie: I just read Marisa de los Santos’ Falling Together, which was great, and Tyler Hamilton’s autobiography The Secret Race which I also really enjoyed.


Catherine they both sound like great reads and I feel so bad that I have yet to read a Marisa de los Santos book. One day soon.

Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this Q&A with me. You know I truly appreciate it and I love having you on the blog please feel free to stop by anytime.

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

(Q & A) With Author Kristine Grayson

Two of my favorite things about book blogging is:

  1. Discovering new books
  2. Discovering new authors and being able to interview them (well I guess that wold count as three right?)

When I first heard about Kristine Grayson’s book Wickedly Charming, I knew I wanted to read it:

He’s given up on happily-ever-after…

Cinderella’s Prince Charming is divorced and at a dead end. The new owner of a bookstore, Charming has given up on women, royalty, and anything that smacks of a future.

That is, until he meets up with Mellie…

But she may be the key to happily-right-now…

Mellie is sick and tired of stepmothers being misunderstood. Vampires have redeemed their reputation, why shouldn’t stepmothers do the same? Then she runs into the handsomest, most charming man she’s ever met and discovers she’s going about her mission all wrong…

It’s only natural that sparks fly and magic ensues when these two fairy tale refugees put their heads-and vulnerable hearts-together…

I read it and loved it and was so happy because I found more books to love. Since then I have been quick to jump at requests when I see Kristine’s books on the list and as of today I have read: Wickedly Charming, Utterly Charming, Throughly Kissed and Charming Blue (watch for my review this week).

If you enjoy a modern spin on fairy tales I highly recommend these books. You won’t be disappointed.

When I found out from Sourcebooks that Kristine was going on a virtual book tour I had to have her on my blog again. I loved interviewing her the first time and this time around  had a whole bunch of other questions to ask Kristine. I hope you enjoy it and please help me welcome Kristine to Cindy’s Love of Books once again.

Cindy: Hi Kristine,
I am such a huge fan of your books and so happy that Sourcebooks introduced me to them.
Thanks for taking the time out to answer some of my questions. I look forward to having you on the blog again.

Kristine: Thanks for asking me again!

Cindy:Having written a few fairy tale stories is there one you dying to write about?

Kristine: I can’t wait to tell Cinderella’s story. What went wrong? Why is she so mean? But I don’t think she’ll be the heroine. I suspect that will be Gussie, one of the stepsisters. That book is bubbling, so I’ll probably write it in the next year or two.

Cindy: Who is your favorite author? What is one book they wrote that you would recommend?

Kristine: I have so many favorites. In mystery, I like Michael Connelly and Ian Rankin. With Rankin, start with The Complaints. Any of Connelly’s will do. As for romance, I buy everything Mary Balogh writes. Love her work. I’m reading Julia Quinn right now. Her Smythe-Smith series is wonderful and funny! I’m also reading a lot of P.N. Elrod. I know that she’s urban fantasy, but I think of her work as closer to mystery. And in sf, I can’t get enough of Jack McDevitt. Wide open vistas, lots of space stories.Seeker is a good place to start.  I suspect, though, if you ask me tomorrow, I’ll give you a different list.

Cindy: If we were too look at your desk what would we be surprised to find or discover?

Kristine: Besides how messy it is? You’d probably be surprised to discover just how much really technical/text-booky nonfiction I have there. And the little stuffed alien in the corner that my cat keeps finding and knocking down.

Cindy:  What are you currently reading? (If you are) What are you currently listening to?

Kristine: This is a tougher question than it should be! I’m currently reading a biography of James Tiptree Jr. (the female sf writer), another nonfictionToo Big To Fail by Andrew Ross Sorkin, Mystery Writers of America Presents Vengeance edited by Lee Child, andGeneration Loss  by the marvelous Elizabeth Hand. Next up is Mary Balogh’s newest, but I’m saving it until I’m done writing the current book.

Cindy: Are you working on anything new? If so anything you can share?

Kristine: I’m finishing my next Kris DeLake novel for Sourcebooks. Then I focus on a series featuring the Interim Fates. If you’ve read the other Grayson series,Simply Irresistible, Absolutely Captivated, and Totally Spellbound, you’ll discover the inept Interim Fates whose father, Zeus, installed to keep an eye on true love. They end up in a difficult place at the end of that series, so they need their own stories. The first,Tiffany Tumbles, will be out from WMG Publishing next spring. If you want to see the series, it’s out in trade and ebook from WMG. There’s also an ebook edition calledThe Fates Trilogy that has all three books in it. You can always find out more about my work on my overall website or on the Kristine Grayson website,

Thanks so much for inviting me back to the blog!!!


Kristine I want to thank you once again for stopping by and taking the time out of your busy schedule to sit down and do this with me. I love forward to reading your other books. No matter what they are.

Thanks to Beth at Sourcebooks for arranging this interview for me.

If your looking for something fun and exciting to read then I highly recommend this author and her books.

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

(Q&A) Devan Sipher

Title: The Wedding Beat
Author: Devan Sipher
Publisher: New American Library (Penguin)
Pub Date: April 2012

About the book:
Sometimes the best man isn”t even in the wedding party…

Gavin Greene is a hopeless romantic. He”s also a professional one: he writes the wedding column for a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper, covering spectacular parties from coast to coast. But there”s a thin line between being a hotshot reporter on assignment…and being a single guy alone on a Saturday night at someone else”s wedding.

Everything changes on New Year”s when Gavin meets Melinda, a travel writer with enchanting dimples. A moonlit stroll across a Manhattan rooftop seals the deal. Until an Aussie with attitude swoops in and whisks her away before Gavin gets her number.

Gavin crisscrosses New York City to find her again. And he learns that there”s something worse than losing the woman of his dreams: Having to write an article about her wedding.

I am excited to share this amazing book and author with you. I got asked to review this book and I loved the description given about the book that I quickly accepted it (please note my review will be posted later this morning) and I was lucky enough to do a Q&A with Devan Sipher which I was excited about. So please let me introduce you to Devan Sipher the author of The Wedding Beat.

Cindy: If The Wedding Beat was to be made into a movie, who could you see playing Gavin and Melinda?

In my mind, I see Paul Rudd or Jason Segel as Gavin. Melinda’s harder. As I wrote the book, I pictured Sarah Jessica Parker, but that’s because I’ve had a crush on her since I was about 12. If Emmy Rossum was older, she’d be ideal. And Anne Hathaway can do no wrong in my eyes – plus she’s got Melinda’s smile.

Cindy: Oh those are great choices. Although I could see Paul Rudd and Anne Hatheway being them. Having written about weddings for the New York Times, what was one of your absolute favorite weddings that you covered?

Weddings are like children. I try not to choose favorites. But one that stands out a bit from the rest took place in a candy store. The bride walked down an aisle lined with lollipop trees and wore a dress made of chocolate wrappers designed for Project Runway (

Cindy: That must have been an amazing wedding. You must see all kinds of weddings? How long was the writing process for The Wedding Beat?

I wrote the book in over the course of a year and a half, writing six days a week, 12 to 15 hours a day. I didn’t think it was possible to work more hours than I did at The New York Times, but I was wrong.

Cindy: What would be the one spot you would recommend a person see in NYC that is a hidden gem?

I recommend taking the Roosevelt Island tram. It’s a Swiss gondola that carries commuters from Manhattan to a small adjacent island. It also offers one of the most romantic views of the city, especially at night.

Cindy: I will have to look into that as it looks like a great way to see some of the city. What is the next writing project you’re working on?

I’m working on another romantic comedy for my publisher. I’m not supposed to say a lot about it, but I can say that it’s about a couple who make a lot of wrong turns on the way to finding each other. The tagline is “Sometimes love at first sight can take a lifetime.”

Cindy: Oh it sounds really good. I will have to keep my eye out for that.  If you were to give Gavin a theme song what would it be and why?

There’s a song by the group Angels & Airwaves called “Everything’s Magic” that really was Gavin’s theme song as I wrote the book. The song has a strong, driving beat with lyrics that are life-affirming and hopeful. And that’s what I consider the essence of Gavin. The other song that comes to mind is much better known (and a bit corny). But I’d say Gavin’s theme song could also be “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Because he never does.

Cindy: I have never heard of Angels and Airwaves. They sound amazing and I love that song. As for Journey its not corny. Its one of my favorite songs of all time and this is where I have to admit that I had a little crush on Steve Perry. What inspired you to write The Wedding Beat?

For five years, I was a single guy writing the Vows wedding column for The New York Times. “Always a wedding columnist, never a groom” was how The New York Observer put it. I could either look at that as being depressing or the basis of a romantic comedy. I chose the latter. Or maybe it chose me.

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

(Q&A) Lisa De Nikolits

Last week I was given the chance to do a book spotlight on West of Wawa  and the chance to read and review the book. When I first read the blurb of the book I knew I wanted to read it. Not only is the author Canadian but its a book that takes place in Canada. So whats not to love about that?

My review of West of Wawa is schedule to appear later this morning but for now I have a Q&A with Lisa. I was super excited after reading the book that I would be able to interview her. I had a few questions that I was dying to ask her and Lisa was fantastic and I am so excited to read her previous book and any of her upcoming books.

About the book:

Emotionally battered and bruised, 29-year-old Australian immigrant Benny is looking for escape, not redemption. Escape from herself and the dismal failures of her life: her first solo art exhibition is panned by critics and her husband left her for an Andy Warhol look-alike. Isolated from her family, her career as an abstract artist in ruins, she comes to Canada and finds solace working eighteen hours a day as a graphic designer in a disreputable agency. Numbing her pain with hard work, she self-medicates with prescription meds, and becomes involved in a series of increasingly dubious relationships with ill-suited unreliable men who lead her into danger. Cutting off all ties with normalized daily routines, Benny leaves her job and sets off on a road trip adventure across Canada, hoping she will discover who she wants to be and where she wants to be it.

During the bus trip she discovers junk food, cigarettes, hash and drinks a lot of alcohol. She confuses sexual attraction with love in a series of relationships with loser bad boys and continues to put herself in destructive, potentially dangerous situations. Hardcore, she travels for the most part by Greyhound bus, sinking deeper into the underbelly of a world that offers her the anonymity she seeks. Funny, aggressive, fearless and vulnerable, Benny is a road-warrior with a backpack of opiates, a map and a guileless sense of naiveté. In seventy-two days, she travels nearly ten thousand miles overland and more by flight and train; she’s a determined modern-day pioneer.

This coming-of-age novel is narrated with wry humour and filled with a cast of engaging characters. A tale of sexual adventure and feminist learning, Benny looks for escape but emerges a heroine instead; with mistakes, epiphanies and friendships helping forge her a home and a sense of identity in the true North.

Please help me welcome Lisa De Nikolits to Cindy’s Love of Books. Thanks so very much Lisa for taking the time out of your busy schedule to sit down and do this for me. I truly appreciate it.

Cindy: How did you come up with the cover?

My publisher asked me if I had any ideas for the front cover – and did I! Of course I did! My husband (Bradford Dunlop) is a fine art photographer and he had been contacted by a publisher in the States who wanted to use one of his images for a book of theirs (In This Light, new and selected stories by Melanie Rae Thon). And ever since that moment, I’d been tracking his work with a beady eye.

I was excited when Luciana Ricciutelli (my publisher and editor at Inanna) asked me for cover suggestions; excited to the point where I wanted to get Brad up at midnight to look through his images(which is the time when I recalled the West of Wawa cover image, the one with the birds). He was definitely less than enthused at that hour – which baffled me! But the next morning I got hold of this image (along with a few others) and sent them along to Luciana who worked with her very talented artist Val Fullard and this cover is the end result. I love this cover art very much; it’s so fragile and beautiful, so strong and clean.

Cindy: What about the title?

Actually, the original title was West of Wawa and Why Eve Ate The Apple… I’d been struggling to find a title, struggling mightily, and I’d been trying out different ones for what seemed like months.

When I work on a title, I become obsessed. I’m quite awful really. I wander around badgering colleagues, friends and family, and uttering strange things like The Velveteen Bus Heads West and other such ridiculous things completely apropos of nothing… Anyway,I was at a guitar lesson, bemoaning my title-less fate and my teacher said “take it from the book,” (he knew that each chapter had its own title) and one was West of Wawa and Why Eve Ate The Apple, and that one popped into my head. So there it was, but I later shortened it to just West of Wawa. The ‘Why Eve Ate The Apple’ bit is still in the book and I invite (and hopefully entice) readers to discover that bit for themselves!

Cindy: How long did it take you to write West of Wawa?

I wrote the first draft of West of Wawa in July of 2005 and it was published in September 2011. So that’s six years. Six long, continuous, tough years.

Here’s a bit of background to the story:

Shortly after the first draft was written, the book was accepted for ebook publication by a small publishing company on the east coast. We spent a year working on edits and revisions and proofs and galleys and the like, and we even finished the cover artwork (completely different cover artwork and I also loved that artwork) and it was all going really well. Then, two weeks before launch date, the company ran out of funds and closed up shop. Talk about crushed and devastated.

But, I told myself, look on the bright side, at the very least, I had a polished manuscript that I could shop around. And I did just that, submitting it a publishing house in Toronto that I had wanted to work with for ages. I waited on tenterhooks for the long six months it took them to read it(they’re also a small house and had quite a backlog so it took a little longer than usual for me to get feedback.) I wasn’t too worried though – the book had already been previously accepted and so I was 80 percent sure that the news was going to be good. But then, another crushing blow was delivered – feedback told me that while the scenery was great, the protagonist was vacuous. She professed to learn and grow on her journey but her actions didn’t support this. Once again, a crushing blow.

I gathered my energy, swallowed my pride and took my story back to the drawing board. (Hmm, three clichés in a row there but that’s pretty much what happened!)

I kept the scenery of the original story but ditched all the rest.

In the meantime, while West of Wawa had been traversing this treacherous road, I’d been working with my current, wonderful publisher (Inanna) on my first novel, The Hungry Mirror, and so of course, as soon I was finished reworking West of Wawa, I sent the book to them. Three months later I got the good news: “the book’s a terrific read!”

So, it all turned out well in the end. West of Wawa emerged, a print book, and I am proud to say that it’sa much better story.

Cindy: Its almost like things had to happen first to make this happen. Where can readers find you?

Here’s my Twitter link:


Reading on YouTube:

Trailer on YouTube:

Visit my website: for reviews,comments, photographs and more.

Cindy: When writing West of Wawa, why did you pick those particular cities? (I loved how you mentioned my little home town, Bathurst in the book)

I did the actual trip! I had been in Canada for about a year and a half, having come from Australia where I had lived for nearly two years. I was just overwhelmed by this need, this hunger, to travel across Canada. I can’t even explain it. It was something I couldn’t not do! I think I also realised that I was at a point in my life when I could do such a thing; I didn’t have any family responsibilities, I wasn’t tied to my job (I knew I could get something else when I’d finished the trip) and it just made so much sense to do it then. And I’m so very glad that I did.

The blue arrow indicates my home town, Bathurst, NB and I marked off Churchill, Manitoba as well (you can click on the map to enlarge it).

I’ve also been to a lot of cities that aren’t mentioned in the story they’ regret, but they just didn’t fit; Iqaluit is one of them and I was quite sad that I couldn’t get that into the book. And in terms of Bathurst, I did art direct a magazine after Hurricane Juan hit (Transcontinental put out a publication but before anyone mistakenly thinks that I was Benny or she was me,and that my colleagues were the cast from West of Wawa, I must rush in and say that all the characters are fictitious! As was the situation under which the magazine was produced.)

I also travelled to a lot of those places in a different sequence to Benny – for example, I went to Newfoundland long after my trip across Canada. I love the east coast very much; there and the far north – I do share Benny’s love for Churchill, Manitoba!

Cindy: How did West of Wawa come about?

Well, as I mentioned, I did the journey across Canada, on a bus. And along the way, I wrote a travel journal – I love keeping travel journals. When I am writing them, I have no idea if I’ll ever use them or even what I might use them for but it doesn’t matter. Being alone with my thoughts and a pen and paper is a very joyous experience for me. So I wrote my way across Canada (and none of it except the route and scenery was ever used.)

How did Benny’s story come about? After I ditched her vacuous predecessor, I thought long and hard and I can’t even tell you exactly where Benny came from. Because (in real life) I’ve never met anyone like her, with her background, with her experiences. I worked so hard to understand her, I really grappled with her, I asked her questions, I dressed her in all sorts of different clothes, I discovered her relationship with junk food and unearthed the story of her and Kenny. I loved discovering Benny; she’s like a friend tome. I don’t really know where she came from but I love her.

Cindy: I have to ask this, If West of Wawa was optioned for a movie who would play Benny?

An interesting question! And one that Chatelaine magazine can answer! They did a casting call for West of Wawa and I thoroughly concur with their choices.

Readers,I invite you to take a look and see if you agree:

Chatelaine was very kind to Benny and West of Wawa. Laurie Grassi (the book editor) chose West of Wawa as one her editor’s picks in the September 2011 issue and they interviewed me for a Q+A and their book club held a discussion over three weeks as they all read West of Wawa together. Their endorsement was such a great honour. I can’t tell you the joy I feel when readers tell me they like the book – and even when they tell me things like there were moments when they wanted to throttle Benny or when they got frustrated with her or then they were so happy for her and with her – well, it’s an amazing feeling of gratitude (for the gift of the book having come my way) and joy.

Readers you really should go and check out who Chatelaine picked for the characters. I think some of the pics were dead on and I could see that now after reading the book.

I have to say that there was moments I wanted to reach in and throttle Benny because of her decisions and her actions.

Thanks so much Lisa once again. I really enjoyed the book and being able to speak with you and ask you some of my questions.

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

(Author Q&A) Lisa Mondello

Today I am super excited to be on a blog tour for the book The Marriage Contract by Lisa Mondello. Not only was I able to review this fantastic book but I also got the chance to ask Lisa a few questions.

I really enjoyed the book as you will see in my review which will be posted following this interview.

About The Book:
What would you do to get a second chance at love? Sometimes fate needs a little helping hand…

When Ruthie Carvalho finds an old birthday card with a marriage proposal scribbled on the back, she figures she’s hit pay dirt and is destined to get her 35 year old daughter married.

The trouble is, Ruthie can’t stand Cara’s boyfriend and Cara is just stubborn enough to push in the opposite direction of what her mother wants.

When Devin Michaels gets a phone call from his old friend’s mom, he knows Ruthie is up to something. But he’s at a crossroad. It’s been 17 years since he’s seen Cara and memories of their soulful talks and walks on the beach make him long to reconnect.

Going back to the seaside town of Westport Massachusetts to reconnect with Cara seems like just the thing to do. One look at Cara and the years seem to melt away. With a little help and “creative” planning from Ruthie, can these old friends become lovers and have a second chance at happiness?

I have to thank Lisa for taking the time out of her very busy achedule to answer my questions. I really have to thank her for answering them as quickly as she did because I was late in getting them to her so thank you Lisa.

Please help me welcome Lisa Mondello to Cindy’s Love of Books.

Cindy: How did you come up with the idea for The Marriage Contract?

When I was in college I had a male friend who I was very close to. Our relationship was completely platonic, but after a night of talking about the future we jokingly said that if we were both single by the time we were 30, we’d marry each other. I was married at 27, so we were never in danger of revisiting that marriage pact. On April 6th my husband and I will be married 21 years!

Cindy: Happy Anniversary to you and your husband Lisa. How long did it take you to write The marriage Contract?

I wrote The Marriage Contract in 1999 so I don’t know exactly how long it took me to write it, but I think it was about 4 months. The Marriage Contract was originally published by a small press in 2000 in trade paperback and ebook. But ebooks were still so new back then so there was only a limited audience. I am glad that the story is reaching so many new readers today.

Cindy: What inspired you to become a writer?

I honestly don’t know. I just have always written since the time I was very little. I always say that writing chose me, not the other way around.

Cindy: If The Marriage Contract was optioned for a movie, who would you want to play Cara and Devin? I loved Cara and Devin together.

I had a reader email me and tell me that she thought Matthew McConaughey would be perfect for Devin. But I’m thinking Gerard Butler! There are so many fantastic comedic actresses that it’s hard for me to picture who would be the right one for Cara.

Cindy: That would be a tough roll to cast on both parts. Do you have any future books coming out?

Oh, yes. This year I’m releasing at least 5 books, possibly six. Two have already been released. They are the first two in my Texas Hearts series; Her Heart for the Asking and His Heart for the Trusting. Book 3, The More I See, was scheduled for last month but it’s been moved to April. Then I have a Young Adult story called No Strings Attached that I wrote with my oldest daughter and then my first single title romantic suspense under my pen name L. A. Mondello called Material Witness.

Cindy: Wow! Lisa you have been busy and I see there is a few that I will have to check out. What is a typical day like for you?

LOL There is no typical day. I have 4 children. One has already moved out. The next is in college and the youngest two are seniors in high school this year. So there is a lot of running around with them. But I usually take time while everyone is in school or work to write. I write every day. Next year they’ll all be at college and my husband and I will be empty nesters. It’ll be very different for me without all the normal activity in my house!

About The Author:
Lisa Mondello is the best selling author of 13 published books. Her first published book, the award winning ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU, was recently reissued as an ebook and has had over 226,000 downloads worldwide. In addition to publishing her Fate with a Helping Hand series, which includes THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT and THE KNIGHT AND MAGGIE’S BABY, she is releasing her popular Texas Hearts Romance series as ebooks in early 2012. She currently writes for Harlequin Love Inspired Romance and is collaborating with a film producer/screenwriter on a screenplay.

She loves to hear from readers. You can email her at, find her on her blog talking about writing, movies and music at or chat on Twitter at @LisaMondello.

Thanks again Lisa, it was so much fun reading your book and being able to talk with you. Wishing you all the best.

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

(Guest Post) Jessica Shirvington

Title: Embrace
Author: Jessica Shirvington
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 400
Pub Date: March 2012

About the book
It starts with a whisper: “It’s time for you to know who you are…”

On her 17th birthday, everything will change for Violet Eden. The boy she loves will betray her. Her enemy will save her. She will have to decide just how much she’s willing to sacrifice.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, EMBRACE is a compelling novel of good and evil, seductive desires and impossible choices. A centuries old war between fallen angels and the protectors of humanity chooses a new fighter. It’s a battle Violet doesn’t want, but she lives her life by two rules: don’t run and don’t quit. If angels seek vengeance and humans are the warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden.

LINCOLN: He’s been Violet’s one anchor, her running partner and kickboxing trainer. Only he never told her he’s Grigori—part human, part angel—and that he was training her for an ancient battle between Angels and Exiles.

PHOENIX: No one knows where his loyalties lie, yet he’s the only one there to pick up the pieces and protect her after Lincoln’s lies. In a world of dark and light, he is all shades of gray.

Two sides: Angel or Exile.
Two guys: Lincoln or Phoenix.
The wrong choice could cost not only her life, but her eternity…

I am super excited to have been give the chance to have a guest post from Jessica. So please help me welcome Jessica Shirvington to Cindy’s Love of Books.

Falling in love is easy. Staying in love … more complicated.

At 17, life is about new experiences. It is about self-discovery, friends, adventure, mistakes, career and university choices. And let’s be honest, there are not many 17 year olds out there that aren’t interested in falling in love.

But how many are truly interested in falling in love with THE ONE at 17?

I’m not sure I was. In fact, I probably wasn’t. I was planning to take the world by storm – solo. So when I met Matt, well, actually … it was pretty darn amazing. But it was a little frightening too.

When we first got together, it was sweet and young and … perfect. I was head over heels. But things became complicated quickly. He was an up and coming athletic star and I was working in hospitality. So basically he worked hard in the day, and I worked hard at night. His lifestyle demanded routine and healthy living, mine … not so much. But we were determined to make it work.

Falling in love so deeply at a young age made it difficult to be as reckless as our friends. We watched them coast in and out of short, fun, but meaningless relationships and it just seemed so different to what we had.

Writing the Embrace series has been an opportunity for me to pour some of the incredibly intense emotions of young love into Violet’s story. It has been important for me as a writer, and a person, to recognize that it’s completely realistic for someone at her young age to experience the full effect and heartbreak of love. Violet is one hundred percent invested with her heart. She makes bad choices, but we have to. She regrets many of her decisions, because we all do. And she fights for what she loves, because she is compelled to. Violet’s story is unique to her, I don’t pull on parallel scenarios from my own life, but I do pull on the emotion of intense love. Love that I think adults sometimes forget that 17 and 18 years-olds are very capable of feeling.

I often find one question helps a lot of adults, who maybe disagree with this view, to be more open minded: Do you remember you first true love? Do you ever wonder what your life would’ve been like if you had stayed together? For some, the answer is a resounding NOT INTERESTED, but for others … the pause says it all.

Matt and I celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary in March – I believe jewelry is in order 😉

About the Author
Jessica Shirvington is the author of the internationally acclaimed Embrace series.
She and her husband of ten years, FOXTEL presenter and former Olympic
sprinter Matt Shirvington, fell in love when they were 17.

A finalist for Cosmopolitan’s Fun, Fearless Female Award, Jessica lives in Sydney,
Australia and is a full-time mom of two adorable girls, author and co-director in the
company MPS Investments Pty Ltd.

Embrace is her first U.S. release.

Check out the Embrace blog.

Look for the sequels ENTICED in September 2012 and EMBLAZE in March 2013!

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.