Hi folks! So glad to see so many new faces around this here blog. Wow! I'm floored by how many people entered my contest, and excited to pick a winner.
Two of the books that are up for grabs are SILVER PHOENIX and FURY OF THE PHOENIX by the amazing Cindy Pon, who is a local author that I have had the joy of meeting several times. Cindy is a sweet, wonderful person and her books are AMAZING. They are set in the fantastical land of Xia, and incorporate some really awesome Asian fantasy elements that just grabbed me from page one. (Click the book titles above to go to the Amazon page for each novel and learn more about them).
I asked Cindy if she would be kind enough to answer a few questions for me to post here at the Archives, and she happily obliged-- and quickly, too, considering I only got this idea on Friday! I asked Cindy the questions that I wanted to know the answers to, and I'm hoping you'll find her responses just as interesting as I did.
And here we go!
Me: What inspired you to write SILVER PHOENIX? Was there an "Oh!" moment, or did it come to you gradually? How long did it take you to write each book?
Cindy: I began writing after a decade hiatus in my 20s because I had my
children back to back! I really needed something to call my own again and remembered my first
love--creative writing. So I went to several classes at UCSD extensions for creative writing
and decided to try and write a novel after taking the novel writing class. I didn't know much about my novel but I did know that I wanted it to be a fantasy inspired by ancient China. All in all, I think Silver Phoenix took at least 6 months to draft and then I revised it at least six times over the course of a year.
Fury of the Phoenix was very different to write, as it was the contracted sequel. I wrote and
revised once in four months time and gave it (horrified as I was as the draft was a mess) to my
editor. Then we spent probably another 3 - 4 months revising it entirely three times. It was a very eye opening and intense process. I was literally terrified before receiving each editorial letter-- because I was afraid I couldn't do what needed to be done. In the end, I love Fury and am very very proud of it.
Me: One of the things that I love the most about the SILVER PHOENIX series is how accessible it makes Asian mythology, which I think has been really under-represented in fiction. Were there any other authors or stories that inspired your writing?
Cindy: Thank you, L.T. I agree, there is a real dearth of Asian Inspired or Asian fantasies in both the adult and YA markets. Ursula Le Guin is a favorite fantasy author and I really love her quiet and beautiful prose, and very intelligent storytelling. The Wizard of Earthsea is a favorite series of mine. Stories that really struck a chord when I was a teen were Anne Rice's vampire books. I was a little obsessed with them. I also loved the Incarnations of
Immortality series by Piers Anthony and Stephen King's novels.
American Gods and the Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman wowed me as an adult reader and I also very recently enjoyed Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel and Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters. For me, the best stories are about escapism, where the author can take you by the hand and you're
immersed wonderfully in that world until the very last page.
Me: I love the INCARNATIONS OF IMMORTALITY series too! Piers Anthony has been a huge influence on me. And I think your books are the perfect escape!
Okay, next question: How much of Ai Ling's love for food comes from you? What would be Ai Ling's ideal meal?
Cindy: Um. All of it. haha! It's very easy to draw from your own characteristics for your protagonists. Ai Ling is a brush artist as I am, and yes, she loves food. I think she'd love most of anything to eat, but she does enjoy dumplings, chow mien, and tofu dishes in particular.
Me: Tell us a little about your Diversity in YA tour!
Malinda Lo and I spearheaded it and are so excited to be on tour in less than two weeks!
We've invited awesome authors to join us along the way such as Gene Yang (American
Born Chinese), Dia Reeves (Slice of Cherry), Nnedi Okorafor (Akata Witch), Sarah Rees
Brennan (The Demon's Lexicon trilogy) and Rita Williams-Garcia (One Crazy Summer).
Malinda and I both had Asian inspired fantasies releasing near the same time (Huntress and
Fury of the Phoenix) and felt it was the perfect opportunity to celebrate diversity in children's
and young adult novels!
We'll be stopping in San Francisco, Austin, Chicago, Boston and New York City in May along
with a signing her in San Diego the week of World Fantasy Con (Halloween weekend).
We're so excited! Please check link for details and we'd love to see you: http://diversityinya.com/tour
Me: What are you most excited about in the upcoming year? Any plans for next books that you can talk about?
Cindy: I'm excited to go out and promote Fury of the Phoenix and meet readers and fans! Besides the diversity tour, I'll be attending Comic-Con here in San Diego, stopping by SCBWI nationals in Los Angeles as well as doing World Fantasy Con the end of October. I'll also be starting my picture book soon which will feature my Chinese brush art. And I hope to start on another YA Xia fantasy (unsold) after the tour as well!
Thanks so much for doing the giveaway and having me, L.T.!! Getting to know
readers like you is truly the best part of being a published author! Good luck in your own writing endeavors!!
Thank YOU, Cindy, for writing the amazing books you do and being so accessible to your readers. You are an inspiration to us all.
Go check out her amazing books!
Okay, so-- you're all reading this post for another reason. And that reasons is to find out WHO will get to pick two of SIX BOOKS that I'm giving away. To refresh your memories, the list is as follows:
-An ARC of DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth
-A copy of SILVER PHOENIX by Cindy Pon
-A copy of FURY OF THE PHOENIX by Cindy Pon
-A copy of THE PERICLES COMMISSION by Gary Corby
-A copy of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins
-A copy of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis
And the first winner, picked by Random.org from everyone who promoted the contest for extra points, and therefore the person that gets first choice of the books above, is:
Congratulations!!! Email me at wickedmoon921 (at) gmail (dot) com ASAP with which two books you'd like.
And the second winner, picked by Random.org from everyone who left a comment on the contest post, is:
CHEN YAN CHANG!!!!
Congratulations!!! Email me at wickedmoon921 (at) gmail (dot) com ASAP so I have your contact info and I will reply as soon as I've heard from the first contest winner with which four books are left to choose from. (I really hope this hasn't been too confusing).
Thanks so much for playing and following, everyone! I am looking forward to getting to know all of you, and getting to know some of you even better. :)
Congrats to the winners! Aww, Cindy is so awesome. That was fun to get even more insight into her writing process :).
AWESOME interview. Cindy is one of the greatest, kindest authors I've ever met. All the hope for continuing success!
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