Thursday, October 15, 2009

Spotlight on Cynthia Toliver

Cynthia Toliver, author of Crown's Jewel, IUniverse 2008

Bio: Ms. Toliver is an author, teacher and engineer. She writes historical and contemporary fiction. Crown's Jewel is her first published novel. She is currently completing a family saga.

What do you want readers to take away from your book?

I want readers to be transported to a different place and time. I want them to be emotionally invested in the characters. I want readers to care what happens. Crown's Jewel does just that.

Crown McGee comes to Colwin County, Texas to claim his estranged father's estate, a thriving rice farm, dilapidated mansion and cemetery. Smitten by tenant Carrie Giddings, Crown vows to have Carrie just as he has claimed his father's land. Crown offers complicity in a murder in exchange for Carrie, but the Giddings flee Colwin County, leaving Carrie's daft sister Jewel in Carrie's place. On the road to love and redemption, Crown faces hard lessons, a daughter Sela, born with his deformity and a wayward brother Jackson bent on claiming the estate.

Readers tell me they have a love/hate relationship with Crown McGee that parallels Crown's discovery of his own self-worth. When Crown learns to love himself, he can extend that love to others. That is a universal lesson.

Are you a believer in outlines, or do you write spontaneously?

I have done both. Characters have a backstory - a history that motivates them to act the way they do. I find it helps me to develop a profile for my major characters and a timeline for key events, including events that occurred before the story begins.There are times however when a story just takes off without an itinerary. A great story can develop either way.

What do you think it is about your book that will keep readers turning the pages?

Readers love these characters. Short chapters and good writing propel the story and the reader to a climatic end.

How can readers learn more and get in contact with you?

Visit to learn more and contact me.

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