League Interview with Cindy Pon, or, “I’ll Stroke Your Brushes!”
Nicole: Welcome League readers! As ya’ll know, we’ve been doing a series with up and coming writers discussing the “process” as they’ve experienced it. There have also been some nasty rumors about how we at the League use these interviews as an excuse to lure people in so that we can rid ourselves of our competition. Which is totally not true. Every single guest has survived . . . by the skin of their teeth. Anyway, today we have another YA fantasy writer, the incredibly talented Cindy Pon. In fact, she’s so talented I can feel my trigger finger itching . . . Um, Cindy, why don’t you tell the League something about yourself and your current project(s)
cindy: hi nicole! thanks for inviting me to the league. i feel so honored to be here! let's see, i'm a stay at home mom with two little ones, sweet pea (5) and munchkin (4). the full time mom thing made me want to have something to call my own, so i decided to try and write a novel! i wrote as a teen but stopped all through my 20's. after about two years writing and revising with my critique groups, i began querying for agents! i queried 121 and was very fortunate to have bill contardi take me on.
we sold SILVER PHOENIX : Beyond the KIngdom of Xia to greenwillow books at auction. it was very exciting and very stressful. also surreal. it is a young adult asian fantasy.
*Nicole stops adjusting the silencer on the small handgun she’s pulled from her purse* Um, Cindy? Are you not using capitals? I can hear that, you know. I have a highly developed sixth sense for punctuation. It’s called my eecumonyerkillingme-sense. Lack of capitals tends to drive me a little . . . umm. . . we’ll not talk about it. I’m sure I’m just imagining things. Your book is very near to its release date. What has the process been like for you?
Cindy: i've learned so so much. the best part was working on the revision drafts with my wonderful editor, virginia. but also, it was very exiting to help choose a model for my cover and see my heroine brought to life on the cover. it's been a little overwhelming at times (mostly from my own neurosis, ha!), but amazing the entire way!
Nicole: *facial muscles twitching* Okay, seriously. There were i’s used as subjects and not punctuated in that last response. Do you have any idea what you’re doing to me, woman? Did Jen Hayley tell you to do this, after the crossbow incident? I totally wouldn’t have shot her with it, btw. I was just toning my triceps. So go ahead and tell me how it feels to see your book for the first time? AND USE FREAKING CAPITALS.
cindy: *obviously enjoying watching nicole squirm* virginia shared my book jacket with me on halloween. what a TREAT. it brought tears to my eyes. the color scheme, the incorporation of my calligraphy, the small beautiful details... chris borgman and paul zakris did an amazing job. i feel very fortunate.
Nicole: *writhing in agony* Oh my gods . . . so many proper nouns . . . so little capitalization. Gretchen made you do it, didn’t she . . . it was the Drano cocktail. We will not be foiled! I have ear plugs around here somewhere . . . while I hunt, tell me about your various projects. How did you branch out into such diverse types of books?
cindy: i sold the sequel to SILVER PHOENIX along with a children's picture book. i am a chinese brush art student and had just had a group art show and posted some fotos. i mentioned off hand that doing a picture book with my own art is a dream of mine. virginia popped into my blog a few days later (while my manuscript was on submission with her) and offered a children's picture book contract as well. i was floored, but am having so much fun working on this!
Nicole: See, you CAN use capitals! Now use them in the correct place, goddamit! What is the most important lesson you learned from this experience?
cindy: to be flexible. to be open to learning. to be a pro at multi-tasking. to never forget how much you love your book and what you are doing. whoops. you asked for one. pretend i only said the first. ha!
Nicole: *Scratching at her ears in agony* You are killing me! I am supposed to be killing you! Not vice versa! Tell me your advice for aspiring writers and get out, you upsetter-of-the-natural-order-of-things, you!
cindy: *obviously relishing her final remarks* my advice is to believe in yourself and keep trying. don't be the pretentious writer who thinks s/he is above criticism, learning or revisions. don't be the timid thin-skinned writer who crumples at the aspect of just one rejection. (i probably received 100 myself...) you may not sell your first novel, you may not sell your third. but if you love the process well enough, it's worth it to keep trying. you will improve with each work and you'll grow as a writer, find your voice, find your passion.
i've learned that it takes a lot of courage to chase your dreams, and an even braver soul to live it. but i can also tell you that it is most definitely worth it. /bootay shake! =D
Nicole: *trembling on the floor, lying in a pool of sweat* That’s it, I’m done. No more interviews for a while. You can find more information about Cindy, and examples of her admittedly gorgeous art, at http://cindypon.com/. Now get out, you no-capitals hussy.