Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Cynthia St-Pierre - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Cynthia St-Pierre. She is an award-winning Mystery writer.

Author Genre: Mystery

Author's Blog: Fashionation With Mystery
Blog: Vegetarian Detective
Twitter: @stpierrecynthia
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads

Amazon Author Profile

Author Description:
In marketing Cynthia wrote promotional, packaging and communications materials; penned articles for business periodicals; and a chapter of "How to Successfully Do Business in Canada". Currently a member of Crime Writers of Canada, she has one award for fiction and has been a writing contest judge. Best of all for a mystery writer, Cynthia has received a York Regional Police Citizens Awareness Program certificate, presented and signed by Julian Fantino, former Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police.

Cynthia grows vegetables in her backyard, makes recipes with tofu, and speaks English-accented French with husband Yves. Visit Cynthia's blog (in the voice of character Becki Green) at

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Let’s start with what’s next. Do you have another book on the horizon? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

Melodie and I have just signed the contract for A KILLER NECKLACE. Release date this fall? Sneak peek: A fashionista investigates murder before walking down the aisle.

Do you do any book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

Oh yes. I’m out there. Next up—our A KILLER NECKLACE launch. A “heads up” to readers in Orangeville, Ontario, Canada: Melodie and I still meet to discuss our books in your downtown library; therefore, we think it might make the perfect launch pad for A KILLER NECKLACE! Stay tuned to Vegetarian Detective and Fashionation with Mystery!

You have a great book trailer. (See link below.) It looks very professional. Do you know how much impact it has had on your book’s success? Tell us about the process that you used to create your trailer?

Thanks James, I love our trailer too. Doesn’t it reveal A PURSE TO DIE FOR’s darker side? Nevertheless, our publisher doesn’t feel trailers are a huge selling point; therefore, for the most part, future Imajin Books publications will not include a trailer. [Sad face.] I would gladly fill out a Book Trailer Checklist once more, filling in the blanks after “Type of music desired” and “Imagery of importance”.

You have written a short story called Hide and Seek for Grown-ups in which visitors to your blog can read free. Can you tell us if it had an impact on the sales of your novels? Are shorty’s one of your styles of writing or are they created to give readers a sample of your work?

Did you like “Hide and Seek for Grown-ups”, James? Authors don’t get as much feedback as one might think. Also you ask, does a free short story impact sales? Who knows, but I sure like writing them. They are absolutely not just for sample purposes. In fact, I wish there were a larger audience for short stories. Agents and editors swear they can’t sell short story anthologies in general. Wouldn’t you know it, I have a bunch of short mysteries; am working on one right now, even, about a deadly shooting in a cancer center. Readers, I suppose if you want to read more published short stories, you’ll just have to get loud and demand them.

I like the idea of Author bundles. You are a part of a novel collection called Deadly Dozen which was highlighted here on the Author’s Spotlight blog.
What was the impact on your other sales? What was the main objective of bundling your works with other mystery authors? How did you put something like that together?

Being honest about impact here, A PURSE TO DIE FOR is my only published mystery novel. But A KILLER NECKLACE is coming soon. Wonderful DEADLY DOZEN’s main objective is to provide an enticingly priced product for readers. Pay a little more, get a lot more type thing. Imajin Books gets all the credit for the bundle!

Besides the Crime Writers of Canada, what other writer support groups do you belong too? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?

I also belong to Write Now @ King. [Virtual wave to you guys!] We don’t dwell that much on the publishing/marketing end of things, but my do we benefit from creative sharing, motivation, and artsy-fartsy camaraderie!

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

In 2012, when A PURSE TO DIE FOR came out, we benefitted from free “sales”. No obstacles there. On the contrary, word got out. Maybe writing is a like acting. Excellent training credentials aren’t necessarily enough to land you a big role right off the bat, so to get a foot in the Hollywood door, you accept roles in low-budget slasher films. Meanwhile, you continue to learn, to grow, and once you prove your acting chops, you aim for bigger-budget movies. And the chance to work with more directors and actors you admire. And not for free.

Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?

All you who have purchased a paperback from me personally are on my reader list. I also treasure the relationships I’ve made through my blog and Google+ and Twitter, but I don’t surreptitiously collect e-mail addresses like I suppose large corporations do. Just like everybody else, I hate to receive unsolicited marketing calls, letters, e-mails, knocks on doors… So my goal is to engage readers through open channels, so much so that they desire to keep in touch.

Living in Canada creates a unique selling and marketing situation. Where is your biggest audience? Does marketing online help in this situation? Do you plan on publishing your books in other languages like French?

Excellent question. Last I checked, and I admit that was a long time ago because I’m not so much a numbers person, Canada’s population was roughly the same as that of the State of California. Small wonder that most of our sales come from the US. Of course this is only possible because of the Internet. And it’s funny you should ask about French translation. I was just saying to Melodie that I would like to approach editors in Qu├ębec. I lived in la belle province near the tree line for ten years. Now, after 25 years here in my native English Canada, my written and spoken French is getting a little rusty, but I still consider myself bilingual and I love, love, love the French language.

You teamed with Melodie Campbell to write ‘A Purse to Die For’. (See book outline below) How did that process work? How did you communicate your ideas?

I also love writing with Melodie. So much more motivating than writing by oneself. We exchange chapters, you see, and I don’t know what’s coming until I read it, and then I get to continue the story any way I want. It’s exactly like a digital, interactive story. We may shuffle things around during the process or at the end when we’re editing, but that’s the gist of it—back and forth. With plenty of personal e-mails in between in which we also talk about our story. Then of course there are our meetings, which often take the form of chat about our book then an all-important girls’ lunch out!

Author's Book List
Deadly Dozen
1. THE BRIDGEMAN by Catherine Astolfo
2. DEADLY LEGACY by Alison Bruce
3. A PURSE TO DIE FOR by Melodie Campbell & Cynthia St-Pierre
4. CHEAT THE HANGMAN by Gloria Ferris
5. A HUMAN ELEMENT by Donna Galanti
6. LAKOTA HONOR by Kat Flannery
7. PELICAN BAY by Jesse Giles Christiansen
8. SAFE HARBOR by Rosemary McCracken
9. SOUL AND SHADOW by Susan J. McLeod
11. ROOM OF TEARS by Linda Merlino
12. DIVINE INTERVENTION by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Order the Book From:

A Purse to Die For
What’s more treacherous than navigating a pack of society matrons at a designer sale?

Stalking a killer…

When fashionista and television celeb Gina Monroe goes home to attend the funeral of her late grandmother, the last thing she expects to encounter is murder. And the reading of the will is anything but fashionable as unanswered questions arise. Who is the dead woman in the woods behind the family house? And why is she dressed in Milano designer clothes?

With help from her cousin Tony and Detective Rob Dumont, Gina investigates the not-so-model citizens around her. When another murder occurs, a pattern slowly emerges and Gina wonders if her grandmother's death wasn't so natural after all.

Book Trailer: A Purse to Die For

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
eBook Author’s Corner and
HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle


  1. Fun interview! James you ask intriguing and unique questions. I love your analogy to acting, Cindy. To add to your comments about trailers: we are hearing that people who enjoy our books go back to view our trailers, after reading. This is delightful, but not exactly what the publisher created them for!

  2. I can’t imagine the amount of time you spend supporting other authors, James. You’re one in a million. Thank you very much.

  3. Great interview, James and Cynthia. I loved A Purse to Die For, and am looking forward to reading A Killer Necklace. With Cindy and Melodie together, you never know what's going to happen!