Friday, February 1, 2013

Blog Tour: Playing for Keeps by Cynthia Owens (Interview + Giveaway)

Today Love Saves the World welcomes Cynthia Owens who is currently on a book tour for her book, Playing for Keeps.

Cynthia will be awarding a sterling silver Claddagh pendant (US/Canada only) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a second randomly drawn winner will receive winner's choice of an autographed copy of either Cynthia's first or second book (In Sunshine or in Shadow, Book 1, or Coming Home, Book 2)(US/Canada only)

To visit her other stops, click here.

For this stop, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cynthia Owens:

LStW: Hi, Cynthia!  Playing for Keeps is the third book in your series.  Can you tell us more about the O'Brien family?

Cynthia: In Sunshine or in Shadow, the first book of the Claddagh Series was born from an idea of a small, wind-swept west-of-Ireland village. I’d pictured the village in my mind for a long time – the wild seas, the lush green and brown of field and bog and wood, the ever-changing skies, and I named it Ballycashel (town of the castle). I “knew” Rory O’Brien, my hero, too, knew his secrets, the deep pain he kept locked within him, and his driving need to protect his little daughter and fashion a good, decent life for her. I just had to find a heroine worthy of him, and I found her in Siobhán (pronounced “Shivaun”) Desmond. Siobhán is a valiant survivor of famine and tyranny who will risk everything to keep her family alive – even if it means working for Rory, who’s set himself up as the landlord of Ballycashel House. Gambler and survivor. Landlord and tenant. Their love couldn’t be denied.

In Coming Home, Book II, Siobhán’s daughter, Ashleen, returns to Ballycashel after a year in America, eager to see her family again and embrace her old life in Ballycashel. On the voyage home, she meets Cavan Callaghan, an Irish-American war hero in search of the family he’s never known. But the memories of that savage war and the loss of his young brother on the battlefield continue to haunt him. It’s up to Ashleen to show him that you can find a home and a family in the most unlikely place.

Playing For Keeps marks a turning point for the series. With this story, I’ve taken Rory’s daughter, Katie, away from the cozy, comfortable Irish home she’s known since she was a child. I’ve sent her to Baltimore, and thrust her into the genteel world of her mother’s family. She’s totally alone with people who might not be as anxious to meet her as she was to get to know them, and it was interesting to see her reactions to her aunt and uncle, and her two cousins.

LStW: Do you plan to write more stories about the family?

Cynthia: I plan to write several! I’m already working on Shannon Flynn’s story. She’s a close friend of the O’Brien family, and cousin to Cavan Callaghan. A reader recently asked if I was going to write a story for Sean O’Brien and his journey in America, so I’ve been thinking about that, too. My editor expressed an interest in a story for Katie’s young cousin, Lissa Thornhill, and despite her handicap, I think there’s a love story in her future, too. Another reader wants to know what happened to Deirdre O’Brien when she grew up, and then there’s Thomas O’Brien, and Fiona Flynn. I love the people of Ballycashel!

LStW: What attracted you most to writing historical romances in the Irish setting?

Cynthia: I’ve always been an armchair traveller, and I love the way a good historical romance can not only transport me to another place, but another time. Whether it’s a Medieval Scottish castle, the drawing rooms of the ton, or a chateau in France on the eve of the Revolution, I love a story that can draw you into another world.

As for my Irish setting, well, I’ve been in love with Ireland, and all things Irish, since I was a child. I love the music, the myths and legends, the people … everything about Ireland. And of course, Ireland’s history, so filled with tragedy and perseverance. Few people have endured so much, and emerged stronger for their grief. On a side note, a few years ago I was positively thrilled to learn that I had an Irish ancestor on my late father’s side. I’m proud to claim even that one small drop of Irish blood!

LStW: Any upcoming projects that you would like to share with our readers?

Cynthia: I have a few new manuscripts on my laptop. One of them, the first in a new series, is on my editor’s desk right now. The series revolves around the lives of five Irish-American friends who met on a coffin ship as boys, grew up in New York’s Five Points, and fought together in the American Civil War with Thomas Francis Meagher’s Irish Brigade.

I’m also working on Book IV of the Claddagh Series. Shannon Flynn At the moment, I’m working on Shannon Flynn’s story. Since Shannon’s shy, tentative romance with Mike Donavan in Coming Home, she’s had a lot of heartache. Can a mysterious stranger with burnt-cinnamon hair and sea-mist eyes bring her the joy and fulfillment she deserves?

Congratulations on the release of Book III and Good luck with Book IV, Cynthia!

* * *

About the book:


He fled life in the shadows for a life in the limelight

Never as dutiful as his older brother, Lucas Davenport was a thinker, a dreamer of dreams. When tragedy overtook his family, he fled to the bright lights of the stage. Can he make the Shannon Theatre Troupe a success – or is he doomed to once again be “the other son?”

She sought the past she barely remembered.

Mary Kathryn O’Brien returns to the genteel world her mother left behind – but can Irish Katie ever truly hope to belong? Or will old wounds and new rivalries destroy the threads of family forever?

Lucas and Katie must battle prejudice and buried secrets before they can learn to trust each other. Is their love just a brief intermission, or are they Playing For Keeps?


“The Theatre Royale is obviously the place to be tonight.”

Lights dimmed; thunder cracked and rumbled through the theatre. Katie blinked as bright flashes of lightning illuminated the house. Then her breath suspended in her throat as the red velvet curtain slowly rose and, accompanied by eerie music, three bearded witches slunk onstage.

When shall we three meet again?

In thunder, lightning or in rain?…

The magic had begun.

Lost in Shakespeare’s mystical otherworld, Katie drank in the lyricism of the Weird Sisters’ chants. A trumpet sounded off stage, and suddenly the words registered not only in her ears, but in her

This is the sergeant, Who like a good and hardy soldier fought ’gainst my captivity.

That voice! As smooth as her father’s best Irish whiskey, it shot through Katie’s veins like a liquid flame. It was he. The height, the golden hair, his very presence screamed to her that it was he, Apollo. Oh, how very fitting that he should play the role of Malcolm, the bright young prince destined to be king…

He was magnificent in medieval plaid, his strong legs encased in woolen hose, his sword glittering at his side. His broad shoulders wore the plaid with pride, and when he turned to face the audience, she felt his smile like a blow to her heart.

The instant the house lights came up and she could see properly, she glanced quickly through the program.

Malcolm.………………………Lucas Howard

Lucas Howard. A fine, strong name, and somehow appropriate. Those golden eyes could pierce right through to a woman’s soul and strip it bare. Oh, if only she could see him again, hear his whiskey-smooth voice, see his dazzling smile aimed only at her.

But of course, that was silly. Lucas Howard was probably as unaware of her as she was conscious of him. She was nothing to him but a potential member of a prospective audience, a ticket sale
to add to the theatre’s coffers.

With that depressing thought, she pasted on a smile as the first guests arrived at their box.

…Let us seek out some desolate shade, and there Weep our sad bosoms empty.

The voice, filled with such powerful grief and longing, sent shivers dancing along Katie’s spine. She stared hard through her mother-of-pearl opera glasses, cool against her heated fingertips. His presence on the stage was compelling, his attraction undeniable. As she let her gaze wander for a fleeting second, she saw many pairs of opera glasses pointed in the same direction.

She’d be willing to bet all her winnings at last year’s Galway Races that most of them were pointed at Mr. Howard.

She soon became absorbed in the play once again. And it wasn’t only because of Lucas Howard. The entire cast was superb, particularly the lovely blonde actress who portrayed Lady Macbeth, and the older actor—it was he who had swept into the White Rose with Lucas—in the role of Macbeth.

But in truth, Katie only saw Lucas.

Buy the book!
Barnes & Noble

* * *

About the author:

I believe I was destined to be interested in history. One of my distant ancestors, Thomas Aubert, reportedly sailed up the St. Lawrence River to discover Canada some 26 years before Jacques Cartier’s 1534 voyage. Another relative was a 17thCentury “King’s Girl,” one of a group of young unmarried girls sent to New France (now the province of Quebec) as brides for the habitants (settlers) there.

My passion for reading made me long to write books like the ones I enjoyed, and I tried penning sequels to my favorite Nancy Drew mysteries. Later, fancying myself a female version of Andrew Lloyd Weber, I drafted a musical set in Paris during WWII.

A former journalist and lifelong Celtophile, I enjoyed a previous career as a reporter/editor for a small chain of community newspapers before returning to my first love, romantic fiction. My stories usually include an Irish setting, hero or heroine, and sometimes all three. My novels, In Sunshine or in Shadow and Coming Home, set in post-Famine Ireland, are available from Highland Press. Playing For Keeps, the third book in the Claddagh series, will also be published by Highland Press.

I am a member of the Romance Writers of America, Hearts Through History Romance Writers, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. A lifelong resident of Montreal, Canada, I still live there with my own Celtic hero and our two school-aged children.


The Claddagh Series:


* * *


Cynthia will be awarding a sterling silver Claddagh pendant (US/Canada only) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a second randomly drawn winner will receive winner's choice of an autographed copy of either Cynthia's first or second book (In Sunshine or in Shadow, Book 1, or Coming Home, Book 2)(US/Canada only)

To visit her other stops, click here.


  1. Thanks, Tin, for hosting me today! I enjoyed answering your very thoughtful questions, and I hope to "meet" lots of your readers here today! :)

  2. Great interview and excerpt. thank you.


  3. Hi, Cynthia!

    Welcome to my blog! Thank you for stopping by!

    Hi, Ingeborg!

    Thank you for helping me welcome Cynthia!

    Have a great day!

  4. Thanks for having me, Tin, I enjoyed answering your questions.

  5. Nice interview.


  6. I love finding new romance by new authors!
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    mestith at gmail dot com

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