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!