Welcome, Cynthia Owens!
In Sunshine or in Shadow
by Cynthia Owens
A Gambler With a Thirst for Revenge
The stakes are high for one-time gambler Rory O'Brien as he returns to the
A Valiant Survivor of Famine and Tyranny
Siobhán Desmond will do anything to keep the tattered remains of her family alive, even if it means working for the new landlord – a darkly handsome stranger with secrets in his eyes and pain in his smile. But as she watches her village return to life and begin to thrive under Rory’s care, she comes to understand his true nature and soon finds herself falling under his dangerously sensual spell.
As danger ignites all around them, Rory and Siobhán fight to right the wrongs of the past – and protect their newfound love.
A classic romance told in a sweetly old fashioned way.
-Coffee Time Romance
This was a truly enchanting tale of love lost and gained, revenge and a town saved. Bravo, Ms. Owens, for a wonderful read!
IN SUNSHINE OR IN SHADOW is set in Victorian Ireland, and has a very Gothic feel to it. How did you become interested in this time period? What do you love about it?
I’ve always had a deep love fore
As I delved into the history of the country, I began to realize just how cruel the tenant/landlord system was, particularly during the Famine. A landlord could just toss a family off his land on the whim of grazing a few more cattle, and there was nothing they could do about it. And yet, through it all, the Irish remained stubbornly determined to hang on to what was most important: family and heritage. Even after they fled their homeland, they clung to their Irishness in the face of deep prejudice.
What do you like least about this period? Anything that constrained you or that you had to plot carefully around?
Nothing in particular comes to mind. I had to be careful, though, in naming certain groups of rebels. From the Young Irelanders to the Provisional wing of the Irish Republican Army, each group was active in its own time, and I had to beware of naming a group that was out of favor, or hadn’t been formed in 1850.
What sparked this book? Was it a character? An historical event? A scene you just couldn’t get out of your head?
All three and more! My heroine, Siobhán Desmond, came into my mind as a valiant survivor of the Famine, a widow struggling to keep the tattered remnants of her family together after devastating losses and betrayal. She’d been battered by circumstances, yet remained strong, as witnessed when, at the beginning of the book, she begs for food from the landlord, yet retains enough of her pride to refuse to bed the man.
My hero, Rory O’Brien, was also clear in my mind when I started writing IN SUNSHINE OR IN SHADOW. A gambler returning to
Did you have to do any major research for his book? Did you stumble across anything really intersting that you didn’t already know?
I feel like I’ve been researching historical
Any historical mea culpas to fess up?
None that I know of.
What/Who do you like to read?
For historical romance, you can’t beat a story by Mary Jo Putney and Teresa Medeiros. I love Mary Jo’s skillful way of working odd historical facts into her stories, as well as her “tortured heros.” And Teresa has a way of writing poignant yet humorous stories that keep me either laughing or on the verge of tears. I think it takes a very special talent to achieve that reaction from readers.
I also enjoyed Edward Rutherfurd’s Princes of Ireland/Rebels of
How did your writing carreer take off? Was it a Zero-to-Published kind of thing? Or did you have ten finsihed books under the bed before you sold?
SUNSHINE is my first book, so I’m not sure if my writing career has really “taken off”yet! But it’s not the first book I’ve written. I wrote another Irish book set against the 1916 Easter Rebellion (past-1900 – not a popular time period!). Then I wrote a story set in Victorian-era
After I finished SUNSHINE, I decided that for my New Year’s resolution, I would either submit to one publisher or one contest each month. Highland Press was the third publisher I submitted to, and the only one to request a full manuscript. Less than six months later, I got an e-mail offering me a contract. And I’ve been walking on air ever since!
Care to share a bit about your writing process? Are you a pantser or a plotter? Do you write multiple drafts or clean up as you go?
I think I’m a little bit of both, with a sprinkle of intuition thrown in. I usually start with a character – in this case, Rory O’Brien, a man with too many secrets and too much emotional baggage, who fled
Enter Siobhán Desmond, a widow whose husband and adored younger brother were hanged by the local landlord. Their crime? Robbing a wagon of food that was being transported to
This story was so real to me, there were times I actually dreamed about it! One morning I awakened with a picture in my head so clear that I had to rush into my office and write it down. That picture became the pivotal scene in which Rory returns to the tiny cottage where he and his mother spent the first ten years of his life with his abusive stepfather.
I usually write the first draft, then clean it up once the storyline is complete, adding and/or deleting scenes as needed.
What are you planning to work on next?
Well, I have two sequels planned for SUNSHINE. The first, which is in its final draft, involves Siobhán’s headstrong daughter, Ashleen. Fresh from a year in
After that, I have a series of novels planned that will all be loosely connected. The heros met on a “coffin ship” bound from