Thursday, June 28, 2012

What's more dangerous than a horse? An interview with Cindy McDonald

Today I'm talking with Cindy McDonald about her book Hot Coco, a romantic drama and part of her family drama series, Unbridled series.

Cindy McDonald was born and raised in the Pittsburgh, Pa area. For 26 years she was a professional choreographer,she taught ballet, jazz, and tap. During that time she choregraphed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. Most recently she has retired to write her novels. She resides with her husband on their Thoroughbred farm know as Fly By Night Stables near Pittsburgh.


1) Please tell us about your book.
Let’s face it, everyone knows a beautiful woman who can’t walk through a room without tripping over the coffee table, or turning every situation into a total debacle. Trainers at Keystone Downs have been dumping Coco Beardmore and she’s landed in Mike West’s lap. The problem is that Coco is a complete klutz! Her driving skills are a real bang—into Mike’s horse trailer, and right through the barn wall! What’s more are her Thoroughbreds: one flips while being saddled, one sits down like a dog in the starting gate, and then there’s the one that’s an escape artist. It’s enough to drive a normally calm and collected Mike West to the very edge.

But Mike’s not the only one having problems with women. His father Eric has taken on more than he can chew, and he’s about to get spit out by two women: One that he’s in love with and one that thinks he’s in love with her.

Things have never been hotter around Westwood Thoroughbred Farm—and someone’s about to get burned!

2) Tell us about the inspiration for this book.

Blondes—everyone loves to think of gorgeous blondes as klutzy, air-headed, and basically stupid. I wanted to take a character and introduce her as one thing, and then morph her into another. I think I did a very good job with Coco. I started her out as a stereotypical blonde bimbo and turned her into something else—no, I’m not going to tell you what, but just know that everyone is touched and changed in this story—read between the lines, watch the subtext, it is there for you—if you pay attention.

I also left behind bread crumbs of my former life as a dancer/choreographer in this book—you will see them—I couldn’t help myself!

3) Tell us about your female lead, Coco, and your male lead, Mike.

Let me tell you what, I had a blast writing Coco’s character! It was fun getting her into hot situations and watching my characters stand back in total shock at what havoc that one woman could cause. But the great thing about Coco was how forgivable she was. She is beautiful and yet she is a kind person—who just can’t get out of her own way. But stay tuned—Coco has a surprise for you!

Mike West is the main character in all the Unbridled books. His heart is damaged by is ex-wife, Ava. She was unfaithful when they were married, and try as he might he just can’t let go of the feelings that he has for her, but Coco is a very chaotic distraction from his heartache—or should I say flammable distraction? ;}

4)  Are your leads partially based on anyone you’ve known?

Cindy: With arched brows and lowered voices, people ask me this question often. One person was very concerned that I had them in mind when I wrote the character, Ava West. She is gorgeous, she is manipulative, and she is a real witch. I felt bad that this individual thought that I felt that way about them, and I assured them that Ava was a figment of my imagination—nothing more. All of my characters are fictitious. They are part of my Unbridled stories, and that’s all.

5) What’s the funniest thing you ever saw during your time dealing with horses?

We have a Quarter Horse at our farm named Cody. Along with Thoroughbred racing, my daughter and I show Quarter Horses. Anyway, the first time we took Cody to a horse show we had him tied to the trailer while my daughter was getting dressed, and I was busy with something or other. When my daughter emerged from the trailer, there was Cody, hiding with his head under the hay bag that we had hung on the trailer for him to munch on. I couldn’t help but laugh and I quickly informed him, “Cody, you weigh fifteen-hundred pounds! Hiding just isn’t an option!”

Cody is quite the character, and I’ve featured him in the next book of my series, Dangerous Deception. As a matter of fact, I feature horses that have run for our stables in all my books—in Hot Coco a horse named Charlatan is featured—he was one of our favorite racehorses here at Fly-By-Night Stables.

6) What’s something that most people misunderstand with horse training and racing?

Horses can be dangerous. They can hurt you. As I pointed out in the above question, they weigh in excess of fifteen-hundred pounds. Fifteen-hundred pounds of disrespect can get a lot of bones broken and permanent damage to anyone if they don’t know how to properly handle these animals, especially a racehorse. Make no mistake, they are trained athletes, and they can be very high strung and moody creatures.

7) Can you tell us a bit more about the books in the Unbridled Series?

Cindy: The first book, Deadly.Com was released September 1st, 2011. But before you read it you’d better make a note: never agitate a madman. Successful Thoroughbred trainer Mike West just made that mistake, and he’s gonna pay—more than he ever realized. But it’s all in the family; his sister, Kate, has been the object of the madman’s desire on the social network site “My Town”. Her constant rejections have infuriated him. People who seem to be in his way start turning up dead, and he’s got Kate and Mike next on his list!

A November release is planned for Dangerous Deception, the third book in the series. When the West’s ask aging jockey, Vic Deveaux, to take an easier position at the farm, he becomes enraged. He teams up with two greedy stable hands in a plot to kidnap Shane, only Vic finds himself between the rock and the hard place when he soon discovers that his partners have murder on their minds!

My books are always available to reviewers. If you would like to read and review Deadly.Com or Hot Coco, please contact me:


Thanks, Cindy.

You can read more from Cindy at

Hot Coco can be purchased at Amazon and a book trailer can be viewed here.


Lauren Carr said...

Great interview. Hot Coco is a hot book. It will make you laugh and sniffle a few times, too. Can't wait for Dangerous Deception to come out.

Cindy McDonald said...

thank you J.A. for hosting me today, I enjoyed my visit. Have a lovely summer!

J.A. Beard said...

My pleasure.