From the Booking Desk:
Cynthia Westbrook is another of those friends that I have Judy Bobalik to thank for. After Judy introduced me to her, there was no way that Cynthia and Jay were not going to be on the invitation list for the BOLO Books Birthday soirée in New Orleans. As a whole group of us sipped lemoncello and wine in the NOLA heat, the bonding continued. Cynthia wears her heart on her sleeve and makes every room she is in joyous. In short, wherever Cynthia is, that is where you want to be! When I invited her to participate in the composite sketch profile series, she said “you know I’m not an author, right?” And of course I knew that. This collection of profiles is designed to highlight every part of the crime fiction microcosm. Without every component – author, fan, publisher, marketing, etc – this system would simply fall apart. So, today we celebrate a fan and a “fan”-tastic woman. Let’s see how she answers our questions.
Name: Cynthia Westbrook
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
( Yes we have our own colorful and crazy stories right here in Duval County. Like the man who took an alligator on a beer run to a convenience store. Yes, that was here. Gotta love Florida!)
This person from my personal life is such an inspiration:
It has to be my dear, sweet and ever patient hubby Jay. In life I feel like a cross between Stephanie Plum and Lucy Ricardo. In one of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books, Stephanie shares that as a kid, she jumped off the roof because she thought she could fly — but she forgot to wear underpants. That seems to be the way I approach life. I go head long into things, often without thinking, and seem to find trouble on a regular basis. Jay, just like Ranger in the Stephanie Plum tale, comes in, dusts me off and cleans up the mess. (Hey Jay, I’m still waiting on that Porsche Cayenne!) No, seriously, Jay always encourages me to do whatever I want and supports me any way he can to ensure my success. What a Guy!
Something that most people are surprised to learn about me is that growing up, I was extremely shy. Stop laughing! I really was! Jay, who is an extrovert, has gently helped me become more comfortable in so many different situations.
Jay, along with Judy Bobalik, M’Lou Greene, and L.J. Roberts encouraged me several years ago to attend Bouchercon in Raleigh, NC. This was a real turning point because I only knew these ladies through a Facebook photo sharing page. I had no idea what I was getting into. Which leads me into the next question…
One of the people I admire most in the crime fiction community is:
I really have to say it isn’t just one person but the whole mystery community. I love that the mystery community is very often referred to as a tribe. Since 2015, when so many different people took me under their wings at that very first Bouchercon in Raleigh, I have felt so welcome. I have never looked back. I have tried to describe the experience to those who have never attended Bouchercon, but have failed miserably. How does one explain that you once shared photos of your cats dressed up in holiday outfits with Reed Farrel Coleman and his wife or that you were lucky enough a enjoy a wonderful chat with Charlaine Harris thanks to a chance meeting on an elevator. Every year, I not only enjoy seeing some wonderful ole friends but I am always fortunate to make many new friends. Then, in addition to meeting all these wonderful people and having all these incredible experiences, you have the BOOKS! It is like having your most favorite ice cream and THEN adding CHOCOLATE SYRUP on top with a cherry!
With that thought in mind, just think, Bouchercon 2019 Dallas is fast approaching! Time to start picking out my boots and hats! YEEHAW!
STALKER ALERT! If this fictional character were real, they would likely need to get a restraining order against me:
Unlike in real life, I often develop a huge crush on at least one character in every book I read. So this question took some real thought. I must say that the answer is Hercule Poirot. Agatha Christie’s Belgian detective is an old friend I return to over and over again. Plus, I have always been a sucker for smart men. Never discount those little grey cells! And he is such a dapper dresser. AND the MOUSTACHE!
People are always surprised that I am a fan of this individual (singer, actor, or artist):
Of course, I love old black and white movies but I also love radio programs from the past. The detective series is at the top of my list. Speaking of stalking, I’m especially fond of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, with Bob Bailey. Yes, Johnny would likely need a restraining order against me!
My personal catch phrase is (or should be):
“Life is a banquet and most poor bastards are starving to death!”
– Patrick Dennis, Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade
Judy Bobalik thought it should be: I know where it is at but I can’t tell you how to get there. This from my horrible ability to give directions.
I think Cynthia and I could be great friends! We share many of the same sensibilities. I feel the same about smart men, Poirot, and old movies. And I’ve been wanting to check out some old radio shows.
I think that Cynthia will be a Malice Domestic next year (not to mention Bouchercon), so hopefully you two will get to chat.
Carol If you are going to be at Bouchercon I will keep an eye out for you. I love to meet kindered spirts
Another wonderful sketch! Now I hope I cross paths with Cynthia at Bouchercon this October or at some other point in the future.
So nice to meet you, Cynthia. I agree, the mystery community is wonderful.
Cynthia’s smile brightens any room! It’s so great to see her here!
Cynthia, I dub you the person who people most want a picture with at Bouchercons. I mean, who doesn’t want a picture with all your fabulousness. Your outfits are a legend, bright and cheery and poppingly wonderful. Of course, they are a reflection of you. I was delighted with my picture with you in St. Pete that included Terry Shames and M’Lou Greene, too. I can’t wait to see what you wear in Dallas! Maybe this time, I’ll get a chance to talk to you a bit, too. I’m a big fan of old radio shows, but I’d love to be pointed in the direction of some you love.
I felt the same as Cynthia did when Kristopher asked me to take part in the Composite Sketch series. I didn’t really think that I’d be right for the article since I am “just” a fan!
It takes all the parts of the wheel, to keep the business turning.
Kristopher Thank you once again for featuring me. It was a delightful honor. The mystery community is so special and every year I discover just how much. Can’t wait to see everyone in Dallas. I’m counting the days.
Great composite! I agree that Cynthia is a joy to know!