Monday, October 14, 2013

Cindy A. Christiansen, Hazardous Hideaway

AUTHOR: Cindy A. Christiansen           
BOOK TITLE: Hazardous Hideaway
GENRE: Sweet Romantic Suspense
PUBLISHER: Secret Cravings Publishing

Please tell us about yourself.
I am a wife, mother of two autistic children, sweet romance author, author of one non-fiction writing book, wildlife artist, antique clock restorer, scrap booker, antique collector, and adoptive mom to two dogs—one Jack Russell terrier named Callie and a recue Schnauzer named Sprite.

When and why did you begin writing?
Can you image what it’s like to go from a full-time job, remodeling your whole new house, a new marriage, and being an artist and then wind up bedridden with an unknown illness for months and months?  Life gets extremely unbearable! That’s when I made two changes in my life:  I started writing and I adopted a dog. These two things saved my life and continue to enrich it every day.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
With over thirty health issues and two autistic children, writing full-time or part-time can be a challenge. (lol)  When you love writing as I do, no matter what is going on in your life, you will find time to write.  Somehow I do it.  Not on a daily basis but minute by minute.

What are your current projects?
I am working on my first series called A Merchant Street Mystery. The first book – Time Will Tell – will be released in September.  I also have another novella due out in July, and I am in the beginning stages of putting together another nonfiction writing help book. 

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?
Sweet Cravings Publishing:
Barnes and Noble:

Any other news you’d like to share?
My dogs have helped me through some very difficult times in my life.  As you might notice, all of my books feature dogs on the covers and I include them in the story.  I do this because I can’t imagine my life without the love and companionship of these wonderful animals, and therefore I donate a portion of my proceeds to help abused and abandoned dogs. 

What gave you the idea for this particular book?
After seeing a number of women friends not take a stand against being verbally or physically abused, I wanted to write a book where I could take that stand for them.

Is this a work of fiction or non-fiction? Why did you choose to write it this way?
Hazardous Hideaway is fiction and a romantic suspense.  I wanted the freedom to create my own resolution to the subject.  Someone who has been through abuse may say my resolution is just not that easy or even impossible.  I believe them.  This was my way of somehow having closure over situations I couldn’t control.

What do you hope readers will take away from your book?
Hazardous Hideaway is not about domestic violence per se.  The book is about a woman who is on the run from an abusive husband and ends up stranded on a remote dairy farm.  The majority of the book revolves around an old town murder.  In the end, the heroine must face her husband in order to move forward with her life.

As fans have emailed me while reading the book, they all hope that the hero, Tom, takes care of the abusive husband.  And although Tom levels the playing field, he knows that the heroine, Dallas, must face her husband or always be running from life, from the truth, from herself.  I wanted women to feel empowered and not dependent on someone else to resolve their problems.

What is the toughest part about writing about this subject, and how did you get past it?
Having Dallas break down and finally tell Tom about the abuse was the most difficult thing for me to write. It’s an issue that exists but we don’t want to face.  I took from emotions shared to with me by friends and even some of my own emotions of being bullied through the years and forced myself to write the scene.  The only saving grace was knowing how the book would end.  Most women don’t have that luxury.

Are experiences based on someone you know or events in your own life?
My book is a total work of fiction.  However, just like the issue of animal abuse used in a number of my books, I drew from the emotions I’ve experienced or that have been shared with me by friends.

What about your book makes it special?
I think the fact that I didn’t have the hero resolve the issue for the heroine makes it unique—no Knight in Shining Armor.  Although difficult for the hero to watch her struggling with her husband, he steps back and makes her face the situation.  Some may hate him, some may admire him.

Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you?  Why or why not?
Yes to both.  I am extremely disturbed by violence and do not like to write about it.  If I have a murder in my book, I always give the antagonist a reason for the deed.  I can’t stand senseless killing and don’t find it entertaining.  I would never write the gory details of a crime scene.  Life is too precious.
I also do not like writing highly sexual scenes.  I find this subject extremely private—one that should not be shared casually.  On the same note, I also find a person’s relationship with God very private and find I don’t enjoy reading or writing inspirational romance.

What is your favorite song?
I have so many—mostly classic country.  One that inspired me the most was mentioned in Hazardous Hideaway which is Again by Brooks and Dunn.

What is your favorite quote? 
“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations.  I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.” ~ Louisa May Alcott 

Hazardous Hideaway by Cindy A. Christiansen
Dallas Mae Jenkins darted another frantic look into her truck’s side mirror for what seemed like the millionth time in the last fifteen hours. Each time, she expected to see her husband’s white Corvette speeding up behind her. She touched her split lip and then reached for her painfully bruised ribs. Smoke from the fire still lingered in her braided, chestnut hair. She grimaced.
The potholed Utah highway sped beneath her truck, and she could feel her horse shifting his weight in the trailer behind her. Dallas increased her speed, hoping to find a place to stay before nightfall. She wiped the sweat from her palms onto her blue jeans. She had managed to get away, but for how long? How easy would it be for Ray to track her from Apple Valley, California, to Cokeville, Wyoming? Maybe she should’ve headed farther east. Maybe she should go back to Trimble, Colorado, where she’d grown up on a small farm. No, she definitely couldn’t go there. Ray would find her for sure. But would Cokeville be any safer?
Heavens. She didn’t know what to do or where to go. Her thoughts came like mixed-up jigsaw puzzle pieces, and she couldn’t seem to make any concrete decisions. Clearly, she had to keep moving. She’d never been able to keep a level head. Anxiety rose in her no matter how many deep breaths she drew.
She tried not to look into her side mirror again, but the compulsion got the better of her. Nothing but open road lay behind her. Relieved, she released her breath and looked at the highway. A wide-eyed doe stepped into her lane. Without thinking, she tromped on the brakes. The horse trailer swayed. She jerked off the brake.
Please, don’t jack-knife!
The deer thudded against the grill, came over the hood and then smashed the windshield into a thousand spider-web designs. The right front tire jolted into a succession of deep potholes and burst, jerking the steering wheel from her hand. She swerved into the oncoming lane in front of a blue Dodge pickup. The man blared his horn in warning. She swung her truck off the highway into the brush. She tried to bring her rig to a slow stop but didn’t see the fence suddenly before her. She crashed through the barbed-wire, which ripped at her tires like claws, and then smashed into a large juniper tree and high-centered on the broken remains.
The wind hurled from her lungs as her head crashed against the door window. Something warm trickled down her cheek. She gazed into the rearview mirror to see blood oozing from a fresh cut across her forehead. Sunken coffee-brown eyes peered back at her under swollen purplish lids, her old bruises still distorting her features. Ray had really done a job on her this time. She reached up and touched a painful new bump appearing near her left temple. Her head reeled from the pain.
A man’s reflection caught her attention in the truck mirror. Panic gripped her. But, no, thankfully, he wasn’t Ray. The man looked to be in his mid-twenties, tall and lean. He had the long muscular strides of a horse and the wildness of a stallion about him as he marched toward her.
He threw open the truck door, his icy-teal eyes boring holes into her. “What in tarnation were ya doing back there?”
“The—” she began to say in a daze.
“So ya swerved into my lane?” he questioned, in a unique central Utah drawl.
“The tire...” A wave of nausea rippled through her.
“Typical female driver.”
Her horse, Yuletide, snorted and kicked at the confining innards of the horse trailer. Dallas gasped, realizing he might be hurt. She undid her seatbelt and sunk her cowboy boots down into the hot clay soil. Pain ripped through her, and she reached for her ribs. The ground swayed, her vision blurred. Her knees buckled like a folding chair, but the man caught her before she fell.
“Whoa, wait a minute. Are ya all right?” He kept a firm grasp on her arm.
“My horse,” she said, struggling free. “I’ve got to get to my horse.”

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