Saturday, November 2, 2013

Cynthia Owens: Keeper of the Light

Prolific romance writer Cynthia Owens returns to The Plain with her latest release, and it looks like another winner. I’ll let her tell you all about it. Welcome back, Cynthia!

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Hello again, Pat, thanks so much for having me back at The Plain again. I’m so thrilled to tell the world about my newest release, Keeper of the Light. It’s the second book of the Wild Geese Series, and I call it my Irish-Canadian-paranormal-historical-romance!

I had a wonderful time writing Keeper of the Light!

I’m not sure I should admit that. After all, aren’t writers supposed to agonize over every plot point, every bit of dialogue, every single word? Aren’t they supposed to write, re-write, discard, and write again before they’re satisfied with the story?

It wasn’t that way with this, the second book of the Wild Geese Series.

Of course, it wasn’t the book I’d planned to write at the time. I’d planned to write Kieran Donnelly’s story, rather than his brother, Cathal’s book. But one day, as happens so often with me, a vision came to my mind. A boy, sad and confused, on a harbor filled with tall, white-sailed ships. Crowds of people all around him, some wailing loudly, some silent in their grief. Sea gulls wheeling and screaming over angry gray seas. And over it, above it, and all around it, a priest, kneeling before the boy, explaining to him just why he must leave his country, why he and his family had to seek a better life in the new world.

Once I had that scene in my head, Cathal took a firm grip on my heart, and I just had to write his story.

And it just got more and more fun!...

I decided to take my hero to an island, and I had a wonderful time creating that island. Since Turtle Island was just off New Brunswick, I had to find out the Mi’kmaq word for "turtle." And that was just the beginning. I was able to design the island exactly as I wanted it to be, with tide pools filled with crabs, a cave where cheese was aged, and of course, the Spirit Lighthouse, which dominates the high cliff on the east side of the island.

It was just like creating a new world.

Of course no world, rich or fictional, is complete without people. There’s dairy farmer Gil Forbes, who ages his cheese in the caves on the west side of Turtle Island, and his fiancĂ©e, doctor’s daughter Cally Clayton. There’s fiddler Harvey Atkins, and the widow Margaret Kinkaid. I even decided to include Helena Bodewell, the island’s ghost, who walks the island on stormy nights when the winds blow in off the Atlantic.

Of course, there was some editing and re-writing after I’d finished the first draft. In fact, I had to write an entire scene that I lost when my computer-at-the-time crashed—a timely reminder to always back up your work. I won’t tell you exactly which scene it was, but happily, I think it turned out better the second time than the way I’d originally written it!

But that’s just the way Keeper of the Light worked. The story practically wrote itself. I like to think I was channeling Cathal and Laura’s story. Or who knows, perhaps I knew them in another life. Whatever it was, I’m so thrilled to see this story in print! Cathal Donnelly is one of the most endearing characters I’ve ever written, and I hope everyone will love him as much as I do!

Here’s a little bit about Keeper of the Light:

…Like the Wild Geese of Old Ireland, five boys grew to manhood despite hunger, war, and the mean streets of New York…


She was everything he despised…but he didn’t know it

Cathal Donnelly washed up on the shores of an Atlantic island one stormy night, with no memory of who he was or why he was there. But is his lovely rescuer his salvation…or his doom?

She dreamed of a very different life

Laura Bainbridge has spent her entire life on tiny Turtle Island, but she dreams of a Season in London and a presentation to the Queen. Can a handsome Irish stranger with a golden tongue and a disturbing past change her heart and convince her to stay?

As Cathal’s memory slowly returns, both he and Laura must come to grips with his painful past…and fight for a future free of hatred and loss.

And here’s an excerpt:
He moaned again, but made no further response. A cloud skimmed across the moon and away again, leaving her with an unimpeded view of his sleeping face. She caught her breath.

He was beautiful.

His skin was fair but for the nasty gash at his temple. A livid scrape slashed across one high cheekbone. His long black curls flopped wetly over his forehead, and Laura fought the urge to brush them back…

His brows were long, dark slashes against the pallor of his high forehead, the two vertical lines between them the only sign of his conflict. A soft moan spilled from his full lips, making her wonder what it might be like to be kissed by that oh-so-masculine mouth.

Her fascinated gaze roved over the freckles sprinkled across his long straight nose, the tiny dent in his chin that surely must deepen into a cleft when he smiled. He shifted restlessly, drawing her gaze to the broad shoulders encased in white wool, down the long body and along his well-muscled legs. His hands were large and square, calloused and bleeding. One of them clutched a canvas bag in a death grip.

"They’re coming for us." His deep voice vibrated with raw anguish. "We’ve got to…get out of here. Now!" He tried to rise, but fell back with a helpless half-groan.
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About Cynthia:
I believe I was destined to be interested in history. One of my distant ancestors, Thomas Aubert, reportedly sailed up the St. Lawrence River to discover Canada some 26 years before Jacques Cartier’s 1534 voyage. Another relative was a 17th Century "King’s Girl," one of a group of young unmarried girls sent to New France (now the province of Quebec)as brides for the habitants (settlers) there.

My passion for reading made me long to write books like the ones I enjoyed, and I tried penning sequels to my favorite Nancy Drew mysteries. Later, fancying myself a female version of Andrew Lloyd Weber, I drafted a musical set in Paris during WWII.

A former journalist and lifelong Celtophile, I enjoyed a previous career as a reporter/editor for a small chain of community newspapers before returning to my first love, romantic fiction. My stories usually include an Irish setting, hero or heroine, and sometimes all three. I’m the author of The Claddagh Series, historical romances set in Ireland and beyond. The first three books in The Claddagh Series, In Sunshine or in Shadow, Coming Home, and Playing For Keeps, are all available from Highland Press. Deceptive Hearts and Keeper of the Light, the first two book in The Wild Geese Series, are also available now, and I have many more stories to tell!

I am a member of the Romance Writers of America, Hearts Through History Romance Writers, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. A lifelong resident of Montreal, Canada, I still live there with my own Celtic hero and our two teenaged children.
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Keeper of the Light / eBook Available from

Available in Print from

6 comments:

  1. Pat, thanks so much for having me today! I always love a visit to The Plain!

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    1. I always love having you, Cynthia. Congrats on the new release!

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  2. Your story sounds great, Cynthia. Love the cover - lighthouses always intrigue me. Fun hearing about your story. :)

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    1. Thanks, Paisley, I adore lighthouses! And this story is a bit special to me, as it's set in Canada and reveals a bit of little-known, but very important Canadian history. You might say I'm showing a bit of my Canadian pride with this story, and I hope everyone enjoys it at much as I enjoyed writing it! Thanks for visiting with me here at The Plain!

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  3. Isn't it funny how characters take a grip on us and won't let go until their story is told? Love the excerpt and the blurb. Putting it on my to read list.

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  4. Hi Firetulip, my characters are VERY persistent when they want me to tell their stories, but I must admit I love it! ;) Glad you enjoyed the excerpt and blurb, and hope when you do read Keeper of the Light that you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thanks for visiting me here at The Plain!

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