People love dogs! What inspired you to write about the Iditarod Sled Dog Race in particular?
I became hooked on the sport when I read Race Across Alaska: First woman to win the Iditarod tells her story, by Libby Riddles and Tim Jones. I'm drawn to stories about women who are courageous under pressure, as Libby Riddles certainly was when she found herself exhausted and caught in a blizzard during the race. When I read about a local woman who put her career on hold to train and compete in the Iditarod, I had the spark of an idea for my heroine in Iditarod Nights. For a time, the research consumed me. I discovered there is so much more behind the Iditarod – from its early beginnings to its present-day sport – than most people realize. I admire the veteran mushers, their dedication and how they put their dogs' wellbeing ahead of their own. And I fell in love with the dogs! They are amazing athletes; the sheer joy in their expressions when they're hooked up to a sled is thrilling!
Are there common themes you find yourself drawn to in your writing and the books you read?
My author brand is writing in the spirit of adventure and happy endings; that's my promise to my readers. The more challenging and seemingly impossible the adventure, the better. There has to be character growth beyond what the character believes themselves capable of. And even though I put my characters on an emotional rollercoaster, there is always a happy outcome. I want a story, whether one of my own or someone else's, to leave me with a good feeling. I'm not genre-specific in what I write or read. To date, I've published three contemporary romances and a humorous adventure novel. If it's a good story, I don't care if it's a romance or western or sci-fi/fantasy. I just finished reading Nora Roberts' dystopian series Chronicles of the One. I'm a huge Stephen King fan, especially his Dark Tower series and Christine, and Whiskey When We're Dry, by John Larison, knocked my socks off!
What can readers expect from Cindy Hiday next?
My current work-in-progress, Come Snowfall, takes place in 1880's eastern Oregon and is about a twelve-year-old girl who discovers how far she's willing to go to save her family. My husband and I went camping near Baker City last summer to research the area where my story begins, near the Elkhorns and Wallowas, and we visited the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. It's beautiful country, and it has been fascinating to learn about the history of that era, the pioneering west. I hope to have the book finished by the end of the year.
Who inspires you in your life?
Resilient people. People who find the silver lining or a solution to a challenging situation. People who don't know the meaning of the word "can't"; And kind people. Something as simple as a smile from a stranger can brighten my entire day.