Monday, 5 September 2011

Author Spotlight - Q&A with Sadie & Sophie Cuffe

The Cuffe Sisters

STEPH: I don't much about "Arrow That Flies." What's it about?

SOPHIE & SADIE: "Arrow That Flies" is an inspirational romantic suspense novel. The heroine, Jackie Duncan, is a forester and an undercover officer in the state environmental task force. Her mission: to take down environmental eco-terrorist, Rand Adams. The hero, Robbie Adams, thwarts her investigation at every turn because he's also looking for his brother, Rand, who's been kidnapped. Forced to think quick, Robbie assumes the identity of his identical twin brother and sparks fly when his type-A personality collides with Jackie's type-Z ride-by-the-seat-of-her-pants nature. Robbie and Jackie get into some scrapes and tight spots, including protests, fire, and an unknown predator archer who stalks them both.

STEPH: Where did you find the inspiration for it?

SOPHIE & SADIE: We've always lived in rural areas in a blue collar world and our writing reflects that background. Some of our manuscripts have been rejected by editors for being non-authentic in terms of small town culture and happenings. Our inspiration came from wanting to portray rural people as the smart, funny, hard working, strong individualist, and believers they are, true to themselves, regardless of the current fashions and fads of NYC or Paris. We also wanted to create a heroine who could be both feminine and rural woods-smart, and that inspiration came from generations of rural women across the country.

STEPH: How long did it take you to write?

SOPHIE & SADIE: The initial manuscript was written in probably a three month period. It's hard to pinpoint the exact timeline as we both sandwich our novel writing time in between other tasks. Also, "Arrow That Flies" wasn't an instant darling with publishers, so the rewrites took years! (Years to whittle and hone, and years off our life doing it!)

STEPH: How important is setting to the novel?

SOPHIE & SADIE: The setting of the northern woods is essential to the novel because it takes place in a small community dependent on logging for its survival. That way of life is quickly disappearing from our national landscape, so we hope we've captured this fragile moment in time.

5. Did you have to do a lot of research for the novel?
For many years we lived in a county with more trees than people. There were wood turning mills, shingle mills, and small lumber mills around every corner and at the foot of every hill. When we got the idea for the story, we researched the changing face of wood harvesting, collected local and state newspaper articles on the subject, and witnessed firsthand in our community the passing of an era as the wood turning mills shut down and workers with chainsaws and peaveys were replaced with big harvesting machinery.

STEPH: Hollywood just told you they want to make a movie of your novel. Cast the leads!

SOPHIE & SADIE: We're going to show our age here because we don't know that many younger stars, but if we suspend the Hollywood age stigma, we'd pick Lorraine Bracco for our heroine and Jack Scalia as our hero.

STEPH: What do you want people to take away from the novel?

SOPHIE & SADIE: We'd like them to take away a satisfied feeling from a compelling story with a good ending. And we hope we've passed on the knowledge that faith makes a difference -- in giving you the confidence to live life to the fullest and succeed at being the unique, gifted individual God designed you to be.

STEPH: Are you a plotter or a panster?

SOPHIE & SADIE: Sophie's a plotter. Sadie's a panster. Because we come from opposite ends of the personality spectrum, we work well together. Occasionally we try to shift roles and it's never pretty!

STEPH: What's your writing space like?

SADIE: Chaos, I'm ashamed to admit, not even organized chaos. I have stacks of research, snippets of paper with ideas and bits of dialog on every flat surface and in every cubbyhole. Notes are crammed onto old envelopes and there's a computer here somewhere on a tiny oasis in the middle. I also have a photo collage of Sophie and me through the years -- the wrinkles have set in but some things never change. Our office is compact and Sophie's desk backs mine so we can pass off flash drives in seconds, confer about anything and everything, wheel over the sleeping dog, and occasionally whack each other.

SOPHIE: Organized chaos. My files are alphabetized (and yes, even the subfiles). My pencils are all sharp and handy in a "No.1 Mom" mug on my desk. I have a messy stack of papers I'm working my way through, but they're in a semblance of order, too. My wall is peppered with photos of my kids and grandkids, and a motivational Garfield poster that reads "My office, my rules." Kinda true, at least on my half. LOL. We're surrounded with beautifully hand-crafted wooden bookshelves and desks, compliments of our father and grandfather. We have a way-cool office.

STEPH: Tell us a little about the state you live in.

SOPHIE & SADIE: Other than our perpetual state of confusion? LOL Maine is unique. We have impenetrable forests, rugged mountains, blueberry barrens, family farms, black bears, moose, loons, bald eagles, whales, seals, thundering surf, and secluded coves. The end (or the beginning) of the Appalachian Trail is located here on Katahdin, a rocky peak just shy of a mile high. It's a great place to hike. We have a million lakes and rivers, some very remote and pristine. We also have over 3,000 miles of coastline with small fishing villages, lighthouses, and rugged cliffs. There are islands and island communities off the coast, accessible by ferry and they're fun places to bike. Acadia National Park is located on the Downeast coast and brings together mountains, coastal terrain, and islands in one place. The southern part of the state is more populated and mainstream. The rest of the state is rural with vast stretches of uninhabited territory, but you won't find a more caring people anywhere on earth.


  1. I love the description of the "office space". I think I can even picture it in my mind. It just goes to show that creativity has no boundaries. Great job!

  2. Oh ... I was hoping to be comment #1. I wanted to check all three reactions but the computer seems to think only one is appropriate. I am in the process of reading "Arrow That Flies" right now. Knowing the Cuffe sisters personally, I found it great fun to read how they describe themselves and their "office." I think we need more portrayals of rural folks as the wondrous people they are; the only difference from everyone else is living in a rural area.

  3. LOL - love the office! I'm just SO glad my sister and I don't share any living space! She's chaos and I'm anal organized!

    Have ordered this one! Love Maine, love the country and am so very excited a rural community is painted as something other then "ignorant hicks".
    Keep writing sisters!!

  4. Great post with insight into each of your personalities. I love that you work in the same space and make or work for you. I've always admired people who can write as one.

    As for the whacking each other, I could almost see you doing that as you roll over the poor yelping dog. Organized chaos, indeed.

    Fun post, ladies.

  5. it was very interesting to learn about you both, Sadie and Sophie. It would be wonderful to have a writing partner as you two have. And it was interesting to see how your office space correlates with whether you are a panser or a plotter. I wish you both success with your writing and your continued partnership. Linda

  6. Thank you all for visiting! If we'd known how much fun it was going to be, we'd have brought out the GOOD plastic dinnerware! We very much appreciate your kind comments and hope you'll come back again tomorrow. Till then!

  7. Sadie and Sofie,

    Funny thing is you write small towns realistically, as they really are...with intelligent people who are philosophical, and/or talented, sweet or feisty, etc. and you were rejected by editors. I write NYC and Brooklyn in particular with intelligent, philosophical and/or talented, sweet or feisty, etc. and I've been rejected by editors. I think some editors have wanted stereotypes of small towns and/or large cities. Glad that doesn't happen at DBP.

    Wishing you every success in the world. :)

  8. I loved that you're from the "State of Confusion!"

    Me too--hey--are we neighbors???

    Loved reading about you two and some of your journey!

  9. It was really great to learn more about you (and your office space!). Looking forward to reading more :-)


  10. Nike, you're definitely right about stereotypes and what people expect. It's time to blow those theories out of the water with some reality for both rural and big city characters who are true to life.

    Cheryl, welcome to our world - yes, we're definitely neighbors!

    Deb, Thanks for stopping by.