Today, I have a special treat for you guys: an interview with author Cindy Pon of SILVER PHOENIX (that's Cindy w/ the alien on the left)!
I did a review of SILVER PHOENIX a while back and really enjoyed it--it's a YA fantasy set in ancient China. Anyone who is a fan of fantasy will really enjoy the mythical creatures and adventures in this debut novel.
I follow Cindy's blog, and she is also one of the nicest, most approachable authors out there. I suggest you stop on by at http://www.cindypon.com/ and say "hi!"
Now, on with the interview!
1) Can you please tell us about your road to publication? How did you meet your agent?
i queried from end of january 2008 through april 2008. i hit 121 agents and was still sending out queries on the weekend that agent bill contard i emailed regarding his interest. i didn't "know anyone". i simply did my research online and sent out queries to any and all agents i felt might be interested in my debut. they weren't especially personalized either.
how could you with 121 queries?
we went on sub within two days and silver phoenix went to auction and sold five weeks later.
it was an absolute whirlwind and utterly surreal and thrilling. also terrifying! i always say it takes a lot of courage to pursue your dreams, but it takes even more courage to live it.
2) Wow, that is amazing. I totally agree that it takes courage to make it happen! Did you ever think about giving up along the way? If so, what kept you going?
i didn't. i was considering going directly to publishers if i couldn't find an agentto represent me.
what kept me going was the love i had forthis novel. i did get feedback, but many agents were saying "great writing and story, not sure i cansell this", because there simply wasn't very much out there that's similar to Silver Phoenix within the YA genre.
so i chose not to believe them and kept going. =D
that someone *will* be willing to take the risk and love the story as much as i do. i was blessed that this is exactly what happened.
3) I'm a fan of your blog, and notice that you're on several social networking sites. Can you tell us about what you did to promote the launch of your book? Any advice for newbie authors on building a readership?
i did most of my promotion online. i'm so fortunate in that the blog and writing community have been nothing but supportive. readers like you are kind enough to share the news of my debut and interview me. i spent a lot of time doing interviews which i love to do--only with sequel deadlines and travel, it's been more difficult these past months.
i love my blog. i'm not sure if i have advice but i can tell you what i do. i write posts about things i enjoy sharing, and i try to blog fairly consistently. there's nothing worse thanvisiting a blog that hasn't been updated in weeks.
i'm sad to say i haven't been able to visit all my favorite blogs consistently since a month before publication. =( but this give and take is key. find other blogs you enjoyto read and contribute to their comments section! it's allabout community.
4) Great advice! What is it like to be writing the sequel to Silver Phoenix now that you're working with an editor and a dealine? Is it more difficult than writing the first book? Easier? Why or why not?
there are pros and cons. the deadline really forced me to focus. at the same time, i did find it much more challenging due to the time crunch. it's like learningto write a novel all over again!
5) If you could go back in time, what advice would you give Past Cindy about the road to publication?
i don't think i would have done anything differently?
my advice to other writers is to keep reading and keep writing. believe in yourself and your story and never forget your passion for it. that's what truly matters.
6) Well said! Anything you can tell us about the sequel? We're excited!! :D
it's a pre-sequel! two story lines (silver phoenix & zhong ye, ai ling & chen yong) intertwined.
A big THANK YOU! to Cindy Pon for the interview :). I learn so much from hearing about other's journeys to publication. It's invigorating to hear the success stories and glean courage from them.
If you haven't read SILVER PHOENIX yet, I suggest you check it out at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Silver-Phoenix-Beyond-Kingdom-Xia/dp/0061730211/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1250563178&sr=8-1).
Read it with your favorite Chinese food at the ready, though. Cindy writes about food throughout, and I was never wanted dumplings and noodles so much in my life!
Consider yourselves warned.
Has anyone else read Silver Phoenix?
Read any other good books lately? :) I'd love to hear what's on your reading list!