Multi-published author Cynthia Hickey has several inspirational romances releasing in 2013 and 2014 through Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents. Cooking Up Love, her first in a four-book series based on the historical “Harvey Girls,” will release on July 1. She also writes general market fiction using her maiden name, Cynthia Melton.

Cynthia lives in Arizona with her husband, one of their seven children, two dogs, and two cats.

How long have you been writing, and what sparked your writing journey?

I’ve been making up stories since I was a child. I started writing them down when I was in high school, and I’ve always wondered what happened to that notebook. It wasn’t until 2005 that I got serious with my writing though, publishing my first cozy mystery novel in 2007.

Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?

I always thought I’d grow up to be a teacher. Instead, I married right out of high school, divorced a few years later, married again, led Girl Scouts, taught Sunday school, did foster care, and was a Detention Monitor at a school. So, while I wasn’t a teacher in the traditional sense, I was working with children. The job as Detention Monitor left me with a lot of time to do nothing while I watched students, so I started writing again.

Let’s talk about Cooking Up Love (Love Inspired Heartsong Presents, July 2013). Please tell us about it.

Very few people nowadays know of the wonderfully innovative waitresses of the Fred Harvey Company. These brave women who left home to forge their own way are called The Women Who Tamed the West. Many of them married during or as soon as their six month contracts expired. As the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad moved west, so did the Harvey Girls. I wanted to write about their courageous pioneering spirits. There will be four Harvey Girl novels in all.

You write both general market and inspirational fiction. Cooking Up Love is an inspirational book. Besides entertainment, what do you hope readers will take away from it?

That what God calls us to do is often different, and much better, than what we plan for ourselves. Sometimes our plans and dreams mesh with His; but sometimes they don’t, they surpass everything we could have hoped for.

God often uses our stories to teach us something when we’re writing them. What did you learn (about life, faith, and/or even yourself) in the process of writing this book?

Every book I write deals in some way with whatever I might be struggling with at the moment. When I wrote this book, I was struggling with the decision to quit the day job and write full time. Guess what…? I quit the day job!

A few fun questions…

When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?

Dark chocolate M&Ms. Oh, my!

This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?

Nope. Can’t sing, although I enjoy it, and can’t play a musical instrument.

If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?

Something fun and peppy! I love fifties music.

In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?

Definitely the strong, female lead. I’m very blunt with my thoughts. What you see is what you get.

I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.

I have a Cairn Terrier named Truly Scrumptious. She looks just like Toto from the Wizard of Oz, and a gold-colored rat terrier/Chihuahua name Twinkie. I also have two cats: Trashcan and Shark Bait  : )

Thanks, Cynthia! It’s nice to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.

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For more information about Cynthia, visit her website.

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