Evolution Thursday: Cindi Madsen

Cindi Madsen sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting, revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a new pretty pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music, dancing, and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children.

DEMONS OF THE SUN will be released Fall 2012. To learn more about Cindi Madsen, visit her website, or follow her on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

Cindi, thanks so much for coming today. What gave you the idea for Demons of the Sun?

I had an idea about a girl who had demon blood in her veins so that she could protect an ancient artifact, but the very thing that made her able to protect it, also made it hard to do the right thing. I wanted her to be struggling internally, always fighting that side of her. If she loses control then Hades Dagger, a blade Hades formed in the Underworld to turn Demons into daywalkers would be turned over to Hades and the world would be the way it was back during the Black Death, when the dagger had first been formed and demons weren’t restricted to night.

You had me at “Hades.” This is a really cool premise!

I’ve always loved Greek Mythology and wanted to write a book with those elements, but put them in modern day. I got the idea for The Order of Zeus, an order that used to be strong but has faded out over the years, as less and less people believe in the gods. I mixed in some demons and a cocky warrior, who has appointed himself Persephone’s protector, much to her dismay. Even though she’s clearly over her head, she doesn’t trust anyone and doesn’t think she needs anyone to protect her. When I was trying to figure out where it took place, my husband suggested New Orleans, and because of that, I mixed in a little voodoo, too.

So basically I had all those ideas going through my head and then I sat down got busy writing.

Do you recall the first scene you wrote?

The first scene I wrote is the first scene in my book. I pictured Persephone—the last Sentry in the Order of Zeus—whose sole job it is to protect the dagger, sensing and seeing signs that there was someone in her house. She’s always known demons will come for the dagger, and in theory she’s prepared, but now that it’s happening, she’s trying not to panic. Then she hears a creak behind her and dives for her sword. I wanted to have a fight scene at the very beginning, and it’s still one of my favorite fight scenes.

How about a scene that you loved but ended up cutting?

I had a scene with Persephone and Jax (the cocky Warrior who’s barged into her life) and Persephone’s friends playing Rock Band. She and Jax are just warming up to each other and he’s playing video games, something he’s never done before. She’s looking at him, feeling herself starting to warm up to him. I thought the scene was full of romantic tension, but in the end, it didn’t move the plot forward enough. It was just sort of a happy scene with friends and while I tried to work it in and add to it so that it would add to the plot, I ended up cutting it to keep the pacing faster.

They talk about “killing your darlings.” That’s a sweet one. You should post it on your site as a bonus scene!

I could probably fill a book full of longing looks & inner turmoil & kissing. Seriously, why can’t all scenes be kissing scenes? *grin* I might have to post it on my website–that is, if I can find it. I used to keep the scenes I cut and put them all in a document called (warning, it’s cheesy) Scenes I Loved & Lost. But I might have lost them forever when I transferred computers, because I can’t find the file. Of course, I could probably revive my darling with a voodoo spell and a quick re-write.

Start chanting and hope for generous spirits!

I usually have an a-ha moment, where an insignificant detail becomes something really important. Did you have a moment like that? Will it spoil the plot to tell me what it was?

Before I started writing, I dug into Greek Mythology stories, looking through monsters. I found one I really wanted to use. I just needed to figure out where. When I came up with the scene and what would happen, I was a little sad because of what it meant I had to do to some of the characters (I know, I’m being kind of vague here.)

Quite alright. Vague is just fine on this question. 

What I can say, without spoiling anything, is that it ended up being a cool scene and led me to add another element I hadn’t thought of using before. Basically Persephone has to make a hard choice for Jax that she worries might change who he is. But if she doesn’t do it, the outcome might be even worse.

Are you surprised where the story took you? Or if ended up where you planned, were you surprised how you got there?

I’m not a plotter. Usually I have an idea and start writing and I don’t know where the story will end up. This was one of the only books I’ve ever written where I had the end battle in my head before I even started writing. There were several unexpected twists and turns on the way, but I always had that end scene in my mind, and that kept me excited enough to write more and more every day.

Finally, what story idea is sitting in the class right now, raising his hand madly, begging you to call on him?

I have a class full of unruly ideas and it seems they’re all waving their hands, shoving each other out of the way. I’ve got to decide which one to go with and not let the others distract me. I wrote a book about a supernatural private investigator that was a blast to write. She’s snarky and funny but tough, and her relationship with her chauvinistic poltergeist partner cracks me up. I plan on turning it into a series and the second book is starting to form in my mind, so I’d say that’ll be the one I probably work on next.

Chauvinistic polter…do you have a beta reader? I totally want my hands on that book like five minutes ago!

Aww, thanks! I’m hoping to get a publisher for it soon. The supernatural PI world is a fun one to live in and I’d love for Verity and her often-invisible partner, Milt, to be investigating cases together for a long time.

Thank you so much for being here today, Cindi. And to you, lovely readers, I hope you’ve been enticed to pick up Demons of the Sun when it releases. I know I will be!

Be sure to come back around next Thursday. Aaron Michael Ritchey will be here talking about his recent release, The Never Prayer.

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