Ready to Wed by Cindi Madsen-Review and Interview with the Author
Ready To Wed
by Cindi Madsen
Release Date: July 22, 2014
Genre: adult, contemporary, romance
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 22, 2014
Is there anything worse than getting jilted at the altar? How about being a wedding planner getting jilted at the altar for your own wedding…on a cruise already out at sea? When Las Vegas resident Dakota Halifax loses her fiance, she swears she’s given up on love altogether. She pours her heart into her weekly wedding advice column and fills her days planning events to celebrate others’ forever love. When her childhood best friend Brendan moves to Las Vegas and they reconnect, she starts to wonder if maybe love could find her again. But then her ex reappears, begging for another chance. Can someone once-burned and twice-shy ever find her way down the aisle again?
REVIEW: READY TO WED is a contemporary, adult stand alone romantic storyline by Cindi Madsen. The focus of the story is on wedding planner and columnist Dakota Halifax and the mess that is her life. From planning other people’s weddings to writing about the do’s and don’t’s of wedding etiquette, Dakota will find herself on the receiving end of a destination wedding and her fiance refuses to show. Humiliated and heartbroken Dakota returns home to Vegas where she discovers there is more than one person waiting in the wings to take her down.
Told from first person POV (Dakota) the premise follows Dakota in the weeks and days following her non-wedding. From discovering the truth behind her groom’s no-show to a vindictive co-worker at the local paper where she works, Dakota struggles with a place to stay and getting on with her life. Enter Brendan West –Dakota’s former childhood friend and sweetheart, and the man with whom she will fall in love. Dakota and Brendan’s reconnection sparks something deep within each of their souls, but Dakota is a little gun shy when it comes to putting her heart on the line-one again. The relationship is slow to build; there are no sex scenes; but the love story is sure to please.
Cindi Madsen pulls the reader into a charming, sweet and romantic storyline about two people who belong together. Once best friends in every possible way, Brendan’s family moved away from Vegas years before and his return may be just what Dakota needs.
The secondary characters include Dakota’s friend and wedding caterer Jillian; Dakota’s ex fiancé Grant; and a mixture of brides, bridezillas, co-workers and friends.
READY TO WED is a breath of fresh air. No major complications; no erotic sex; no confusing scenarios or bitter exes. Sometimes things happen for a reason, and in this case, not getting married set into motion a string of events that resulted in Dakota reconnecting with the first love of her life.
Copy supplied by the publisher.
Reviewed by Sandy
TRC: Hi Cindi and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the release of READY TO WED
Cindi: Thanks so much!
TRC: We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?
Cindi: I’m obsessed with music and shoes, love to dance, drink a lot of Mountain Dew, and of course love books!
TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?
Cindi: Thanks to a teacher named Shelley Russell, who got me hooked on reading the Anne of Green Gables series, I was always looking for more books to read. As I decided to give writing a shot, I was lucky enough to meet with a fabulous group of writers and we formed a critique group. Even though we’re all crazy busy now, we still cheer each other on.
TRC: When not writing, what do you do to relax?
Cindi: TV & movies. I especially love when I discover a new TV series on Netflix and can plow through several episodes at a time.
TRC: READY TO WED is your latest contemporary romance release. Would you please tell us something about the premise?
Cindi: I went on a cruise with two of my girlfriends and as we were disembarking in Jamaica, I saw this bride standing all alone & I thought what if her groom doesn’t show up. That’d make one awkward boat ride home. So of course I decided to write a book where that happened, and in order to make it even worse for poor Dakota, I made her a well-known Las Vegas wedding planner.
TRC: Are any of the characters or the premise based in reality or a combination of reality and fiction?
Cindi: Dakota has some similarities to my sister, who was a tomboy as a kid and is now an organizational perfectionist (ie, control freak) I’ve teased her a bit about the control freak part and she’ll admit it, so I figure that makes it fair game. Let that be a lesson. Everyone I care about will eventually be used for inspiration in my books. Lol.
TRC: If you could virtually cast the leading characters –Dakota and Brendan-which actors or models would best represent your ideal image?
Cindi: Dakota would be Rachel Bilson & Brendan would be Justin Hartley. I’ve got a whole Pinterest board with their images & tons of wedding pictures on it if anyone’s interested. (You should be, because Justin Hartley is shirtless in some. Hehe) http://www.pinterest.com/cindimadsen/ready-to-wed/
TRC: Is this a stand alone storyline or a part of a series? If it is a part of a series, how many books do you have planned ?
Cindi: It’s a stand alone. Cinderella Screwed Me Over and Ready to Wed both have the romantic comedy aspect and hopefully fans of one will also like the other.
TRC: What challenges or difficulties (research, logistics, background) did you encounter writing this particular story?
Cindi: I watched a lot of wedding planning shows and I’ve been to Vegas a few times, so that helped me pull those aspects together. I think the hardest part was casino security, and finding out enough to work in Brendan’s job. Other than that, I just felt kinda bad for putting Dakota through being stood up at the altar. Just not bad enough to not do it.
TRC: You also write the YA paranormal –Cipher Series. Would you please tell us something about the series and what plans do you have for the future for your heroine Summer Davis?
Cindi: The third book, Resolution, came out in February, and that’s the last book in the series. Basically it’s about Summer, who finds out she’s a Cipher—which means she’s supposed to help people resolve issues with their loved ones before one of them passes on. Of course accomplishing that isn’t easy and can be emotionally & physically draining & she has a hard time not getting attached to the people she helps. It’s one of my favorite series, and I have a special place in my heart for Summer and Troy.
TRC: What are your thoughts on writing a series and ending an installment with a major cliff hanger?
Cindi: Patience isn’t a virtue I have, so I usually scream at those books. I think it works for some authors, and I’ll admit I set aside days to read what happens next when the next book comes out if I’m really into the series, but I like to have at least some closure with a heavy side of kissing at the endings of my books.
TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?
Cindi: I’d say it’s about 50-50 with most characters. Once I get to know them, I kinda know where they need to go, but they also surprise me sometimes. Then there are some characters *cough* Connor Maguire from Resisting the Hero *cough* who refuse to do what I tell them to do.
TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writer’s fail in this endeavor?
Cindi: I feel like we need to experience things that are happening to them like they’re happening to us. I want my readers to sigh, laugh, cry, and fall in love along with my characters. I think part of that is just adding layers to your characters & then showing us the emotion instead of telling it. As writers we sometimes experience so much of our story in our heads that we forget to get it on the page. Good critique partners & editors will help you fix that, though.
TRC: Writer’s Block is a very real phenomenon. How do you handle the pressures and anxiety of writer’s block?
Cindi: Music, walks, & TV. Sometimes I’ll get so close to a project or so frustrated, and all it takes is the right song to spark inspiration. Sometimes I need to go for a walk, get away from the pressure of staring at a screen and think with a side of fresh air. And sometimes I need to relax and watch a few hours of TV or a movie, where I don’t have to be responsible for the story. I use a combination of all three when I’m writing & editing.
TRC: Many authors bounce ideas and information with other authors or friends and family. With whom do you bounce ideas?
Cindi: You should see the conversations I have with Rachel Harris-FB, email, text. We mix it up. And actually, no one should see those because they’re madness & inside jokes & people would question our sanity, but she’s saved me so many times! I also have a few local author friends who I regularly meet up with to chat or talk story. And my husband hears a ton of ideas, most of which he responds to with either 1) have aliens come or 2) add ninjas. I’m not sure why I keep asking him. Haha.
TRC: What three things would you like to accomplish in the next five years?
Cindi: Make all my deadlines, learn to balance time with my family & work better, and travel out of the country
TRC: What is something that few, if any people, know about you?
Cindi: I used to be crazy shy and quiet as a kid. I don’t think anyone would call me either now. Definitely not quiet anyway.
TRC: On what are you currently working?
Cindi: I’m starting edits on Second Chance Ranch, the first book in my new Bliss Second Chances series.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
Cindi: Jazz hands? Happy dancing? I guess that I like to jam out to music & dance.
Favorite Food – Pizza
Favorite Dessert – Ice cream
Favorite TV Show – Veronica Mars or Friday Night Lights. Please don’t make me choose between the two.
Last Movie You Saw – Rush. Loved it!
Favorite Musical Group – Paramore & Three Days Grace. Again, choosing would hurt my soul. (I’m not dramatic or anything.)
Dark or Milk Chocolate – Milk chocolate for sure!
Secret Celebrity Crush – Jai Courtney. Guess it’s not so secret now 😉
Last Vacation Destination – New Orleans. Well, it was sorta for work, too, but it was so much fun!
Pet Peeve – Wet socks. I HATE them!
TRC: Thank you Cindi for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on all of your success. We wish you all the best.
Cindi: Thanks so much!