Cynthia Thomason’s romance with romance novels began more than twenty years ago. This former English teacher turned auctioneer was looking for something more stimulating to do with her time, so when her son started school, she started writing. Her first novel, a historical romance titled River Song, took her almost three years to complete. Published in 1998, this tale of a beautiful con artist and a gambling plantation owner won Thomason a Romantic Times K.I.S.S. award. Since then, she has penned twenty novels including historical romances, contemporary romances, historical mysteries, and a time travel anthology. But romance remains her favorite genre. “I enjoy writing books and stories for and about women. I love historical romance because I enjoy doing the research. Contemporary romance is shorter but more fun.”
For Thomason, writing romances presents its own unique challenges. “Characters and ideas don’t come easily to me. I have to work at it. The most difficult thing is coming up with something fresh and new, taking the tried and true plot line and finding a hook to make it uniquely mine.” For example, one of her mystery novels features an auctioneer as an amateur sleuth. The idea for the character came from Thomason’s years as the owner of an auction company, and identifying with her characters is something Thomason really enjoys. “The thing I like most about writing is getting into the characters’ heads. It’s like being an actor and getting to play all the parts.” She hopes her readers will take from her characters a sense of common humanity. “I’d like readers to come away from my books with the understanding that we all have failings, but we can overcome them.”
An avid traveler, Thomason finds inspiration for her stories in the places she’s been. “I’ll be somewhere, and an idea will come. One thread that seems to run through her books is the small town setting. She and her husband, Walter (also a writer) have traveled extensively throughout the United States. “I can honestly say that I have found something to admire about every locale,” she says, “but I am always drawn back to America's small towns like the one where I grew up. For example, my husband and I went ot Cedar Key on a pleasure trip. It was such an interesting, artsy little town that I thought, ‘Wow, I could set a book here.’” The idea eventually evolved into a three-book series. One of Thomason’s historical mysteries, Stagestruck, is set on a Mississippi riverboat. Two other novels, Gabriel’s Angel (Maggie Award Finalist) and Return of the Wild Son, (HOLT Medallion Winner and National Readers Choice Award Finalist) were inspired by lighthouses. “Lighthouses are a common setting for me – I just like them,” she explains. She even gets ideas for characters from places she’s visited. “My main characters are often an outgrowth of a setting. They come from my imagination, but they’re usually more exciting than I am.”
This South Florida writer calls the Sunshine State “a very rich place for a writer looking for settings.” Her latest novel, Christmas in Key West, tells the story of a young Key West native who returns home to care for her father and rekindles a romance with her high school sweetheart. Windswept, a historical romance set in pre-Civil War Key West, was praised by the Detroit Free Press as “A fresh Caribbean breeze of a romance.” But whether it’s a lighthouse in Michigan, an artist colony on the Nature Coast, or the Florida Keys at Christmas, Cynthia Thomason’s readers know they’re in the right place for romance.
For more about Cynthia Thomason, visit her website at http://www.cynthiathomason.com/
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