Cynthia Vespia, Author of “Sins And Virtues”

What inspired you to write Sins and Virtues?

I was on a road trip up to the mountains and I saw a correctional facility out in the distance. It started sparks of ideas and I had to grab a napkin and a crayon from the back seat to jot them down. Now, because of that, I tend to carry a pad and pen wherever I go.

Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

The two focal characters, Ben and Sam, were developed from little facets of my own personality. Obviously Ben is a struggling writer who is just trying to do right by the people he cares about. Sam is a little bit more complex. She houses alot of anger and rage from things in her past. Granted I have not had to absorb the abuse this fictional character has but there are many women in the world who have, I tried to be their voice. Sam was one of my favorites because at first blush she would appear to be the villain. It is only when you peel back layers that you see who she really is inside. That was one of the better parts of writing Sins and Virtues, I state it in the story itself, we are all born of light and dark sides…yin and yang…its the side we choose to nurture that defines us.

Why will readers relate to your characters?

Every time I sit down to write it is important to me to make the characters as real as possible. That means giving them flaws. Nobody is perfect. We all have faults, we all have sins as well as virtues, so I try to add those little things into characters to make them resound with the audience.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes, it has been a passion of mine since I was eight years old. Everything seemed to follow that path. I used to write short stories and character sketches. It was in high school that I decided on it as a career.

How do you deal with exposition give readers the background information they need?

Carefully. I’m a fan of less is more. Stephen King as great as he is can sometimes ramble on with his exposition. I like it short, sweet, and to the point.

What is the most difficult part of the whole writing process?

Marketing and promotions. I don’t care if you are self published or with a big house in NY, you are going to have to do the majority of the footwork yourself. In this technology age it is a TIME SUCK! A necessary evil if you will. And unless you have the funds to hire a publicist then it takes precious time away from your writing. It’s tough to balance, it really is, and feels as though it is never ending.

How many stories do you currently have swirling around in your head?

So many! I’m about to start a new one and I’ve narrowed it down to two. One is a follow up to my Demon Hunter series and the other would be the spawn of a new series…something more contemporary and a little tongue-in-cheek.

What do you like to read? What is your favorite genre?

I read alot of different things. My favorites are the genres I write in as well. Fantasy and thrillers. I’ve read some romance and it wasn’t that interesting.

What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you’d written yourself?

The Hunger Games, not just because it is a mega hit but also because I really liked the premise. It is a detailed plot that at the same times resonates with things that are going on in today’s world.

What are your current writing goals and how do you juggle the promotional aspects with the actual writing?

Like I said it is difficult. My writing goals are to complete every idea I have in my head or in my little notebook. I’d like to get really good at writing, maybe win an award…who knows. Get my screenplay for The Crescent made into a movie finally. Juggling the promotions gets exhausting. I am trying to manage my time a bit better so I’m not in front of the computer all day. When I get out there to conventions or signings and press the flesh it is alot more fun. The world is becoming too impersonable with all the gadgets.

Do your characters ever take on a life of their own?

All the time. That’s the beauty of developing them. They evolve like real people would. You put them in these extreme circumstances and they react.

Does your understanding of the story you are writing change during the course of the book?

Sometimes. That makes it fun though. You expect it to go one way and instead it veers off course and takes you to an entirely new level. For me, when that happens, it feels like I’m reading it myself.

If your book was made into a TV series or Movie, what actors would you like to see playing your characters?

When I’m writing sometimes I have an actor in mind. It doesn’t always happen but when I was writing Sins and Virtues the TV series ALIAS was popular. I loved that show. So Jennifer Garner jumped out at me for the character of Sam Mitchell. It is a complex and emotional character and Garner has great range. Ben Haskins always makes me think about Tate Donovan.

If you could have lunch with one person, real or fictitious, who would it be?

Quentin Tarantino. I saw him on a flight once and just as I was going to talk to him they moved him to another section of the plane. He is such a talented visionary. I would love to pick his brain. A dream would be to have him direct The Crescent film in a way that only he could portray it!

Where can people learn more about your books?

SINS AND VIRTUES is available through Musa Publishing here:

I’m in the usual social media sites:


Sam Mitchell from “Sins And Virtues” by Cynthia Vespia

What is your story?

My name is Sam Mitchell and I spent the better part of the last two years in a women’s correctional facility…or in simpler terms I was in prison. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I’m innocent, oh no, I’m guilty of killing my husband. But apparently the self defense case didn’t fly in court…even though it was true.

What is your problem in the story?

After awhile I couldn’t take being housed behind bars with the rest of the rot of society. I planned and I plotted and finally made my escape from the prison treading miles and miles of a frigid body of water. In the midst of the wilderness in northern California I came across a cabin I thought was empty…unfortunately for me it wasn’t. The owner Ben Haskins was home writing. He’s something of a renowned fantasy author. His reality is about to get alot worse than his fictional worlds. Now I’m stuck with a captive and time is running out before the authorities track me down. But I won’t go back to prison…I’d sooner die first.

What do you want?

Freedom. Peace. To have the last few years back. My life was stolen from me, I want to get it back. And I intend to take it by any means necessary.

What, if anything, haunts you?

The time spent with my husband haunts me. He was an abusive man. Drunk and mean. He would beat me until his hands bled. Nevermind the sanctity of marriage. That was a clever way to get me under his control. He started out so sweet at first but once that ring went on his finger and mine he used it to control me.

Are you healthy?

That’s a good question and I’ll answer it because I’ve seen so many women rot away their health, both physically and mentally while they are behind bars. But I’ve always been an athlete and I’ve always been active. When they convicted me I swore to myself I would never let them break me. So I would while away the time in prison by maintaining my fitness level. But am I mentally healthy? You tell me.

Was there a major turning point in your life?

Yes, I had a major turning point running into Ben Haskins. So many things have come to the surface for both of us. Most of the time we as humans will lock away our deepest feelings in a tiny box so we don’t have to deal with them. Once that box is open it is like Pandora, revealing everything and leaving you raw.

Was there ever a defining moment of your life?

The day I put my knife in my husbands belly. They defined me as murderer. It is a stigma I want to cast off my shoulders.

What is your most prized possession?

I used to have a collection of knives that I would call “my babies.” They were intricate in design, each one of them held special meaning for me. The biggest of those would play an integral part in the death of my husband.

What is your favorite scent?

My favorite scent is the smell of fresh brewed coffee. We tend to take for granted the simple things in life but once they are taken away from you then you begin to realize how good you really had it. In prison, all they offered was water processed mess. It made me miss a good strong cup of joe.

What is your favorite item of clothing?

I like to stay comfortable. As an athlete in school you would find me wearing sweats or track suits most of the time. And I’m a taller woman, alot of people told me I could’ve been a model, so I tend to have a hard time finding jeans that fit well. Loose fabrics that allow me movement…yeah, that’s the most comfortable. Of course I’ll take anything that isn’t a prison jumpsuit.

How do you envision your future?

At the moment, in this hostage situation with Ben Haskins and the police breathing down my neck I don’t see it ending well. You never know what is around the next corner but frankly I’m not willing to find out what they have in mind for me. So my future, once bright and full of possibility, is perhaps now going to crash and burn. We’ll find out soon enough.


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