Woo! I'm so excited to finally post this! Cindy Pon, author of Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia, was kind enough to do an interview with me. I really love this book, and the cover art is just gorgeous. So without further ado, the interview!
Okay, let’s get the first routine questions out of the way first. How long have you been writing?
Cindy: Thanks so much for having me, Michelle! I started with poetry as a tween. then moved on to short stories in high school and college. I wrote infrequently during college and then stopped writing altogether for over a decade! Silver Phoenix was the first novel I had written.
Was publishing always your goal?
Cindy: It was a goal in the back of my mind, I think. Publishing a novel was always a "dream goal" from when I was a girl. But when I started the novel, it was more as a challenge. Can I do this? And after I was finished, it seemed like such a waste not to at least try and get an agent.
Tell me a little about what the process is like after acceptance? What’s in store for an author once their story is picked up by a publisher?
Cindy: I queried 121 agents in about four months time and probably received over 100 rejections. After I signed with agent Bill Contardi, we subbed to eight major publishing houses first. It can take months or even years to hear back. but once one editor is interested, it all goes down like a stack of dominoes. In the end, Silver Phoenix sold in about five weeks at auction. I spoke with all the editors that were interested in the manuscript and was thrilled to go with Greenwillow Books and (my editor) Virginia.
So what inspired ‘Silver Phoenix’?
Cindy: Fantasy was and will probably always be my first genre love. At the time, I had just started as a chinese brush art student and learning more about the history and culture of China. I thought I'd combine my two interests and the result was Silver Phoenix.
You’ve got a sequel coming soon, ‘Fury of the Phoenix’. Can you tell us anything about it?
Cindy: Yes! I'm working feverishly on the revisions now with my editor. It is two storylines. One of Ai Ling and Chen Yong and the other taking three centuries earlier of Silver Phoenix and Zhong Ye.
Even though your book is fantasy, did you have to do any kind of research?
Cindy: I did a lot of research for both books. Architecture and clothing of ancient China, the imperial palace, myth and folkore. I won't say what research for the sequel. =)
Now for some fun stuff. What’s essential to your writing space?
Cindy: Hmm. A drink! Usually a coffee one.
What’s something you just can’t live without?
Cindy: Internet access. Tissues. (ha!)
Favourite food and/or drink to have while writing?
Cindy: I love vanilla lattes and chai lattes and also chinese green teas and milk coffees.
How do you balance family life with your writing?
Cindy: I'm fortunate in that my bubs are both in school most of the day, so I write a lot in the mornings. Also, my husband is so so supportive. Saturdays are all mine too to write or do whatever I need to do!
Lastly, if you could go on a writing retreat anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Cindy: Oh, China of course. Beijing or Hang Zhou.
You can keep up with all the latest about Cindy at her website, check out her profile at HarperTeen, and pick up a copy of "Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia" anywhere you buy books. "Fury of the Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia" comes out April 2011!