Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Interview with Cindy Pon and Fury of the Phoenix ARC Giveaway!

At ALA this year, I was lucky enough to grab an ARC written by one of my favorite writerly-type people: Cindy Pon. Fury of the Phoenix is the AWESOME sequel to Cindy’s critically acclaimed debut novel, Silver Phoenix, and guess what? I’m giving it away so I can share its awesomeness with you! Not only that, but Cindy generously agreed to throw in a paperback copy of Silver Phoenix! Details on how to win are at the end of this post, but first, please read my interview with Cindy, who is honestly one of the most upbeat and inspirational Young Adult writers I’ve ever met. When you’re around Cindy—whether in person or online—you can’t help but smile.

Here’s the Fury of the Phoenix blurb:

Cindy Pon’s debut novel Silver Phoenix was called “fluid and exhilarating” in a starred review from Booklist, and Meg Cabot called it “an addictive gem.” In this companion novel, seventeen-year-old Ai Ling—her powers stronger than ever—stows away aboard a cargo ship in order to protect devastatingly handsome Chen Yong during his quest to locate his father. Masquerading as brother and sister, Ai Ling and Chen Yong face demonic predators on the ocean voyage, but their biggest threat comes from the kingdom of the dead. Part supernatural page-turner, part love story, and altogether stirring, Fury of the Phoenix further heralds the arrival of Cindy Pon as a stellar author of paranormal romance and fantasy.

Doesn’t that sound amazing? Trust me: it is!

Now for the interview:

Can you tell us how writing a sequel is different than writing a first novel? Is it easier, more challenging, just different?

Honestly, writing Fury was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I'm not quite sure how I did it or how I survived it. hah! Not only is there the challenge of working under deadline, there is the added stress of meeting expectations. What if you suffer the sequel slump and your second novel is horrible? My initial drafts were difficult to send to my editor--Silver Phoenix was so much more polished as I worked on it for two years versus four months. But in the end, with my editor's guidance, I was able to write a sequel I'm very proud of.

Which character in your books resembles you the most, if any? Do you inject personality traits of people you know in real life into your characters, or are do they all just kind of come to you organically?

Ai Ling is like me in that she enjoys a good meal and she is a brush artist. This really allowed me to paint the world from her view through my own eyes. Li Rong is my male alter ego. =)

I love how you take one of the villains from Silver Phoenix and really unravel his story in Fury. Did you plan this while writing Phoenix?

I love Zhong Ye's storyline and I really enjoyed writing from his point of view--it was the first time I did with a male narrator, and I found him a lot easier to understand and write than I did Ai Ling for Fury. And no, I didn't plan it while writing my debut. Silver Phoenix was meant to stand alone, so I didn't go on sub assuming editors would buy a sequel. I'm so glad mine did, however.

How would you describe the main differences between Silver Phoenix and Fury of the Phoenix?

I would say that Silver Phoenix was a very epic journey, and this one is much more personal. The conflicts are mainly internal.

Is writing romance something you particularly enjoy?

Are you saying my books are romantic? haha! I don't think it's a strong suit. I really had to work on my sexual tension and romance in Fury with much prodding on my editor's part. But in the end, I did enjoy it quite a lot. I would find it very challenging to write actual love scenes though.

Now for the random!

What’s the origin of what has to be your favorite expression: BOOTAY SHAKE!?

I have no idea! I just thought it was a fun and funny way to express my encouragement. My own bootay ain't all that. ha!

Your novels make it pretty obvious that you’re a foodie. What’s your favorite restaurant in San Diego? Your favorite dish?

Oh. Really tough. Depends on my mood. But I always love the taiwanese places like Tea Station and also am a huge fan of Extraordinary Desserts. I love mapo tofu. My mother's recipe is in the Silver Phoenix paperback under extras!

One of the things I really admire about you is the way you manage to stay upbeat and positive, no matter what happens. Can you let us in on your secret?

I know you've seen me sad, angsty and emo. haha! But really, this business is SO tough and you need to have a thick skin and be able to roll with it. Also to allow yourself sadness, frustration, disappointment, and then be able to make yourself move on. Lingering in a negative place never helps in your own endeavors. So I guess that's what I try to do!

How excited are you to be doing a picture book using your own Chinese brush paintings?

I am very excited! And also very scared. haha! I know if anyone can help mentor me, it'll be my editor, Virginia.

Favorite writing snack:

Tough. But I always do like to have an espresso drink of some kind or a chai latte on hand.

Thanks so much for having me, debra!! /bootay shake!

And thank you, Cindy—we love you here! =D

Now, for the ARC contest. We know Cindy’s favorite expression is bootay shake—what’s yours? Leave it in the comment section for a chance to win the Fury of the Phoenix ARC AND a paperback copy of Silver Phoenix (with recipes? YUM!) Entries close on Monday, February 21st at noon PST. Also--follow our blog if you don't already--you MUST be a blog follower to win! The winner will be chosen by either random number generator or my son…because I am also random.

GOOD LUCK, and check back in soon for an ARC Giveaway of Kirsten Hubbard's Like Mandarin!


Lindsay Cummings said...

my favorite is "Good news," and then you add something with it. like "Good news, i gotta pee."
"good news, i failed my test, mom."

it makes everything sound better than it really is.

Joan Strading said...

My favorite is "What the fridge!" I'm not sure where it came from. I heard the kids saying it and now we all use it.


liz michalski said...

I say "bloody freaking" way too often, particularly now that my children are old enough to listen to me.

Liana said...

Great interview. Cindy is so fun. I don't really have a catch phrase. I write OMG a lot in my tweets.

Kathryn Packer Roberts said...

I don't know if this counts, but I notice that I say, 'How unfortunate' quite a lot. Everything is unfortunate these days =).

I would LOVE to read these books! Thanks Cindy for throwing in both books!

kathrynroberts at hotmail dot com

Mara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Surviving Sweden said...

Oooh great give away. I don't know if I have a favorite saying. Probably these days it's 'Yeowza' in a very Axl Rose style - mostly because I wish I were the lead singer of my own rock band.

Mara Daniel said...

"But dude...seriously?"

I say it so much that when my friends tell me something they don't say 'I know right?' anymore they say 'But dude...seriously right?' because they want to beat me to the punch. Hah :)

Great interview. I love finding out about different authors.

Stephanie Jenkins said...

My favorite catch phrase--and don't laugh--is "Sparkles! Sparkles!" No, it has nothing to do with everyone's favorite glittery vamp. I started saying it after becoming obsessed with the Charlie the Unicorn videos on Youtube.

Great contest. I'm ripping my hair out waiting for this book!

Monica-Marie Holtkamp said...

Apparently if you ask Kenny MY favorite is "For F#@k's sake!" since he hears it quite a bit! LOL usually it's when he's done something that I've told him at LEAST 100 times NOT to do....

Yahong Chi said...

"Holy crackerdoodles", or "Oh M Godiva". I just love spin-offs. They're fun :)

Jan O'Hara (Tartitude) said...

Hmmm. Favorite phrase... I like variations of "Ha!" and "Heh" online. In person, it would have to be "dude". I know. I sound so mature, don't I?

Lynsey Newton said...

I say "bloody nora" A LOT. I have no idea where this originated and who on earth Nora is or what she did but it's one of my most repeated sayings. Note, I am from the UK - hence the bloody bit.

Thanks for the opportunity to win :)


Reading mind said...

My favourite is in Italian (as I am Italian) and it's this "zio pinguino!" The translation sounds like "uncle penguin" which of course has no meaning either in English or Italian but instead of saying something more vulgar I resorted to this

aliasgirl at libero dot it

Kristen S. said...

Love the interview. These books sounds great, even if I don't win them I'll buy them. :) Anyway, I guess my catch phrase is "Seriously, right?!" in a very squeaky kind of voice. Strange, I know.

Tere Kirkland said...

Great interview!

I didn't think I had a catch-phrase, but apparently I use, "Because that's how I roll" all the time on the blog.

Otherwise, it's all swearing. Cuz that's how I roll. ;)

Hayley said...

I'm not sure I have a favorite phrase, but at work they always make fun of me for saying "Awesome" in this apparently very sing-songy way. I didn't realize how often I did it until they started (playfully) mocking me about it :) So I guess it's kind of my catchphrase, at work anyway.

Hayley said...

Ooops, forgot my email.


Alice Loweecey said...

I used to say "force of habit" all the time--until I made it my book title. Now I never say it. Weird.

An odd family saying is "That ___ has a headache" when something is in danger of falling off a table. I have no idea where it came from.

Great interview!

Janine said...

I tend to say "gonna be honest" a lot.

Jackie said...

I like to say awesomesauce or lamesauce. My boyfriend has gotten into the habit of saying, "Shut the front door!" whenever he hears something unbelievable. It's pretty awesomesauce.

jacqueline.c.goodman AT gmail DOT com

Krista Ashe said...

Bootay Shake the awesome, inspiring and sweet Cindy Pon! Loved Silver Phoenix and can't wait for the sequel!!!

I'm kinda known on AW for my made up words like "le sigh" and faux cuss words like "shinay. I've been known to use redonkulous too, lol.

I kinda spend too much time making up words, lol.

Shveta Thakrar said...

Yay! I hope a zillion people buy this book. I've preordered. :) (So please don't enter me.)

Oh, I say, "No worries" a lot.

Great interview, Cindy and Deb!

LeishaMaw said...

Oooo, you're right the books do sound fabulous.

My favorite saying is (and you are free to laugh at me) Stab me in the eye!

It sounds gruesome, but it's not. Really. I promise.

Alice said...

I have had you bookmarked in my blogs, but now I am an official follower.

Geez-um-crow is an expression I find myself saying a lot. I think it's a Northeast thing

Mel said...

Our household has adopted the weird, fractured "swear words" from the Michael Keaton movie "Johnny Dangerously:" especially "Bastages!"