The girls of Night Owl Romance are pleased that you have granted us an interview.
We would love to get to know you.
Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
I write in several different genres of romance. The Selkie and the Siren is contemporary paranormal (shifter) romance. The Amethyst Amulets is a time travel historical romance. And The Bride Wore Blue is a contemporary romance. I have been writing for many years but only recently had the time to work at getting published. I have degrees in English-- both undergraduate and graduate- and taught 11th grade English for quite a while. That included putting out a 100 page slick literary magazine with the contributions from my Imaginative Writing class. I also taught a class in theater and acting. I used to live in upstate New York but found the Florida climate more to my liking. I live just outside Orlando, FL with my husband and mother.
What's your favorite genre to read?
My favorite genre to read? That's hard. I love romances, adventure, and mysteries. I could never write a mystery, though, because I think that is one of the toughest stories to write. How to intersperse the clues and not let the reader figure it out is daunting.
Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?
The next one to come out--March 20, 2009- is The Bride Wore Blue, a contemporary romance. Brett Peters, broadcast journalist for CNN, and Beth Phillips, local Orlando, FL news anchor, have been apart for ten years. After a misunderstanding, he went to work in the Middle East where he's made a career for himself. Beth stayed home and raised their child, a son she did not tell him about because she was afraid he's choose his career over her and the baby. She found a job at a local TV station and discovered what a strong person she really was when not being influenced by Brett. When he is wounded in Iraq, he comes home to recuperate and discovers the secret she's kept for 10 years. Furious but also curious, he starts to get to know his boy under the guise of 'Uncle.' Beth wants him desperately, but refuses to get involved again without some commitment on his part. Brett sweats when he thinks about rings and things, but he also still loves Beth and has come to love his son. Will they be able to overcome the odds against them?
The Amethyst Amulets should have a release date before long. It is the story of a teacher of 13th century literature and language at Cambridge university in England, Julie Summers, and a real 13th century knight, Nicholas de Montclair. Julie wishes for a knight in shining armor--but not a literal one. Nicholas' wife has just died in childbith and he has a son to protect from his evil brother-in-law. Lily, a Druid priestess who watches over her many charges, sees that both are unhappy and decides to put them together--on trial for a year. The amethyst amulet is the time traveling device. When Nicholas rubs it inadvertently, he finds himself in the 21st century--but in his own castle. His reactions to present day inventions is amusing and he marvels at this wondrous place. But he must return home. Finding Julie looks a great deal like his dead wife, he decides to take her back with him to take Julianne's place and help guard his son. Julie finds herself in a place both familiar and strange--since it is the same castle she works at part time. What isn't so good is that she finds herself in Julianne's body one year earlier from the time Nicholas left the 13th century. Now she and Nicholas must face many hardships including a pregnancy over the following year. Will Julie die like Nicholas' wife did? Will they defeat the evil brother-in-law? Will they ever find permanent happiness?
Please tell us what you have planned next?
I am currently starting a fantasy romance between two warriors of a tribe forced to leave their pleasant home by the sea by another tribe of rampaging warriors--think Roman soldiers here. Dak and Darra are sent on a mission to bring back medicinal plants that only grow on an island near their former home territory. They must bypass the enemy tribe and bring back the plants to cure a disease that is decimating their tribe. I have not gotten too far yet, so this is all I wish to share right now.
What type of book have you always wanted to write?
Just like many others, I have always wanted to write 'the great American novel.' My first book--not published and not polished--was a search for identity story about a young man who wants to become a doctor. His family was well off until the Depression hit them hard. In order to go to medical school he joins the navy and becomes an officer. The navy sends him through medical school, but he gets his girlfriend pregnant. She commits suicide and he leaves school, asking the navy to place him in submarines. The rest of the story deals with how he comes of age during World War II in the Pacific, where he must deal with the manical captain of his sub. Yes, there is some romance, but it could not be called a romance as it is secondary to the main theme of the story. What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?
Sometimes I enjoy the research process. I did tons of research for my medieval books--The Amethyst Amulets and A Knight to Remember and A Dark and Stormy Knight. The last two in that trilogy are written, but A Knight to Remember needs a lot of cutting, and A Dark and Stormy Knight is not finished. Most of my research is done in my many books on medieval times and rest is done online. I even have a book on the history of underware.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I admit to starting most books on just an idea for an opening scene. Later, I force myself to outline where I'm going. Let me warn everyone how much trouble you make for yourself if you just say, "Oh, I'll just let it flow as it occurs." Chances are you will find yourself down a dead-end road that way. It's time consuming to outline, but at least you know where you're going and can perhaps find flaws before you write them in. Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how does this help or hinder you?
I have belonged to a critique group for many years. Unfortunately, one of our three members moved away. Yes, I know we could critique online, but I really don't like to do that. So, we haven't done much for each other lately. It can help you to belong to a group. That way you don't let yourself become bedazzled by your own words--which often can use some help. It's wise to get others' opinions. It can hurt if they totally disagree with you and you get into a hassle over some area of the manuscript. You have to decide which will benefit you the most.
What was your first published work and when was it published?
My fist published work was The Selkie and the Siren, published last spring as an e-book from The Wild Rose Press. It is now available in paperback from my website, Amazon.com, and can be ordered from bookstores like Barnes and Noble. It is paranormal romance about the Scottish legend of the Selkie shapeshifters who can be people or seals. The hero is one and the heroine isn't. And right there you have part of the conflict. Check it out on my website www.cillianburns.com
What would be the best way for readers contact you?
The best way for readers to contact me is through my website which has a box that says 'contact Cillian.' My e-mail address is cillianburns@AOL.com I am always glad to hear from fans and will answer any questions promptly.
There's a 5 book (star) review for THE SELKIE AND THE SIREN from The Long and the Short of It up on my website. Please take a look. www.cillianburns.com Also my interview with Fallen Angels is second from the top of my links' page. Take a look and tell me what you think.
***Lisa of Night Owl Romance's Review of The Selkie and the Siren by Cillian Burns***
Title: The Selkie and the Siren Author: Cillian Burns Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal Faery Rose - 280 pages Spicy Hearts: Reviewer: Lisa Date: 3/27/2008
In The Selkie and the Siren, Cillian Burns skillfully weaves Scottish lore with modern science and romance. A selkie is. Duncan MacDonald, a marine biologist, and his brother Alex, are selkies (seals who can transform into a human but also possesses telepathic ability with both humans and seals). Their research is secretly based on saving the fish for their native seal colony in Scotland. Everything is normal until Carli MacLeod, a local journalist, appears. Pressed by the need for funding his lab, Duncan MacDonald agrees to appear in a male calendar. This unleashes a series of events that is pleasurably not anticipated or predictable to the reader. In this admiringly creative novel, the romantic peak builds with the well-developed storyline. The characters are soundly created and live up to their sexy potential! Dealing with true human sentiments throughout her novel, Cillian Burns also adds delightful sizzle to this romance by feeding the readers bit by bit. The ending was a long awaited for climax, far from the expected, a lovely surprise! I give well-deserved kudos and high praise to Cillian Burns. This first novel of paranormal romance is a wonderful addition to her historical romance work. Special Notes: In this reviewer's opinion, there could have been more development with the editor character Petrovsky, for it appeared that he disappeared rather quickly for being such a thorn in the side. It appeared that Carli received the editor position out of the air. Even a few brief follow-up paragraphs (perhaps something with the magazine owner Mr. Buckley) would help secure the character within the plot. Aside from this, it is a wonderful novel!
BLURB AND BOOK INFO
Biologist Duncan MacDonald, a Scottish Selkie shapeshifter, is developing a strain of oil-immune fish to help his clan-the Shetland Island seals. When Carli MacLeod asks him to model for her magazine, he accepts because he needs mortgage money. As they spend time together, he falls in love with her. However, he must find a way to be completely human if he wants to follow his heart. Otherwise, he might be trapped in his seal form forever. Carli thinks she wants a career, not a man. Her magazine is her life until she meets Duncan. Although she is attracted to him, some strange nocturnal happenings at his laboratory pool cause her to wonder if he is a Selkie or a human? Will the answer to this destroy their love?
Thank you Cillian for this opportunity!
Have a wonderful holiday season.