Today I visited with a rockin’ author and editor who also happens to be my good friend, Sandra Hume, who writes fiction under the pen name Sienna Cash. Her new book — Finding the Eddy, now available for preorder — is the sequel to the steamy page turner, Worst-Kept Secret. Both books follow the on-again, off-again relationship of onetime next-door-neighbors Charlie and Wade, who are seven years apart in age—but the twist is that he’s the younger one. Without further ado, let’s get acquainted with our *new* in new adult, Finding the Eddy.
What’s it about?
Rejecting Wade Hunter was the worst mistake Charlie Michaelsen ever made. But what good is knowing that now? Even if Charlie were brave enough to confess her true feelings, Wade’s gone—two thousand miles gone, in Colorado, while Charlie’s home in Massachusetts.
As for Wade, he’s moving on, done trying to shake the girl who wrecked him. It’s been six months. He’s finally inching towards normal.
Until Charlie shows up in Colorado—to stay.
FINDING THE EDDY, Sienna Cash’s long-awaited sequel to WORST-KEPT SECRET, picks up the sexy story of the once-doomed Charlie and Wade, childhood next-door neighbors who stumbled into love across a seven-year age gap. With fresh determination, Charlie’s ready to prove to Wade that she means it this time. Uprooting her life from the Atlantic to the Rockies is nothing compared to losing the best person she’s ever known. But is Wade ready, or even willing, to take that risk?
With piercing honesty and humor, FINDING THE EDDY follows Charlie and Wade’s uncertain journey of forgiveness and redemption towards a HOME that may have nothing to do with geography.
Coffee Talk with Sienna Cash
Who are your particular books written for?
These two books about Charlie and Wade—Worst-Kept Secret and Finding the Eddy—are for people who enjoy a realistic, often-funny love story. But the books are also about family and female friendship, and how we can both fail and succeed at both at times. I’m told both are page-turners for those who enjoy that kind of story.
What do you mean by “new adult”?
It’s nothing more than an age category for characters, really. In general “new adult” refers to books about characters from ages 18-28. New-adult books can be in any genre—fantasy, dystopian fiction, romance. The term was pioneered as a response to the books of Jamie McGuire, a hugely successful self-published author whose novels were about college students and people in their twenties. These books tend to read like YA but with more adult themes. My own personal shorthand for this is “YA + sex.”
What’s your approach to writing sex scenes?
Sex scenes are notoriously difficult to write, but I enjoy the challenge. I took a writing workshop not too long ago—it’s worth mentioning that it wasn’t a sex-writing workshop—and the instructor, a high-caliber author, happened to mention unrealistic or glossed-over sex scenes as one of her pet peeves. I agreed with her. Sex is an integral part of life and we should be able to treat it as such. Beyond that, sex is so much more than simply sexy—it’s funny and messy and poignant and can provide some of the most valuable character revelations. I didn’t want to shy away from the truth of that. Of course, if the sex scene can be both realistic and high on the heat-level scale, that’s a win-win.
How is Finding the Eddy different from its predecessor, Worst-Kept Secret?
Without being too spoilery, WKS takes place mostly in Massachusetts; more than half of FTE takes place in Colorado. Also, we get into Wade’s head in FTE, where WKS was entirely from Charlie’s point of view. The reader gets more of an idea of why he is the way he is.
What is your favorite music to listen to while writing?
This sounds like the antithesis of who I am, because second only to my roles as wife and mother, I am a music fan. But for the most part, I can’t write to music. I think about writing, and my characters, while music is playing—in my car, for example—and I have specific playlists earmarked for characters like Wade, who lives and dies by his music (as do I, or at least I used to when I was his age!). When I wrote scenes from his point of view and really wanted to get into his head, sometimes I did play that playlist. But most times I find music too distracting to really write.
Why do you self-publish?
I wrote a blog post on this when I first published Worst-Kept Secret, which is here. But the short answer is: I like control, and I’ve been wanting to do this for way too long and wasn’t willing to wait on a traditional publisher’s timeline.
Who is your favorite character of all time?
I assume you’re talking about other people’s characters, because I don’t have that many! (I will say that I rather enjoy the character of Tater in Finding the Eddy.) But overall, my favorites are probably a cross between the Walsh sisters from Marian Keyes’ books and Laura Ingalls from the Little House series.
How do you choose your character names?
It varies. Usually they just come to me. I try not to change character names mid-stream. I did that with one character in Worst-Kept Secret, and I stillmake mistakes when I write about that particular character. Mostly the characters arrive in my head already named. As I write more, though, I expect to broaden my horizons and turn to outside sources, because there are only so many names to go around, particularly for heroes. The name of the MC in my next novel, which will be young adult, showed up in a dream. Because a dream was the catalyst for Worst-Kept Secret, I believe it would be a mistake to not honor that.
Describe a scene that’s autobiographical-ish.
I did lose my father at a young age, which is about all I have directly in common with Charlie, the MC of both Worst-Kept Secret and Finding the Eddy. Several times I have had trouble, as she did, finding his grave in the cemetery, because, like her, I don’t enjoy visiting them. Her hometown of Danborn is based heavily on my own hometown in Massachusetts (with liberties taken as needed to serve the story), enough that natives of that town recognize it. So that’s certainly autobiographical. But I took a lesson from author Sarah Dessen, who had a negative experience when she first started writing about real places: readers will always call you on something they perceive as wrong. So no details of any place I write about—including Fort Collins, which is an actual city in Colorado—are entirely real.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Officially, I run an editing business, line editing and copy editing fiction. If you need a fiction editor and you’re self-publishing, I’ve got your back. The business is under my own name; Sienna Cash is a pen name. (Here’s why I write under two names.) I also write nonfiction travel books about Laura Ingalls Wilder under my own name.