Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cindy Pon Interview

The awesome Cindy Pon, author of the recently released Silver Phoenix (review here), allowed me to interview her for today. Thank you Cindy! You're great. Some of these questions are a little dated because the book came out the other day, but let's all pretend it's the day before the release, ok?

1) Your book is being released VERY SOON. Are you ready for the release? Are you nervous? Are you doing anything special for it? Details please. :P

i guess i'm as ready as i'll ever be. i've been working hard on the redesign of the website : please go see if you haven't yet! i really love it. as well as online promotions for the book and arranging for signings at three locations in cali, SF, SD and LA. as for actual release day, i plan to have a special "contest" on my blog. so stay tuned for details!

2) Your book's cover is gorrrrrrrgeous. What was your reaction when you first saw it?

i was a little stunned. i mean, it's just a WOW type of cover. and i was included in the process of choosing a model, helping with costume choices, etc. to see the final cover rendered in such a breathtaking way, as well as seeing my heroine in the flesh. it was a real moment for me as an author.

3) I'm going to assume your book is set in China. Or Taiwan. Somewhere in Asia. Did you do any research about the place it was set and the customs there before you began writing? Can you share any bizarre things you found about the place where it's set?

my book is actually set in the Kingdom of Xia, which is based in parts on ancient china. i did read many books on chinese dynasties, on the royal courts, the emperors, the architecture, the dress, etc. i found out that some emperors had literally THOUSANDS of royal concubines. as a sign of status and virility. you can imagine, many of these women never got to see the emperor, much less, um, see him within the bedchamber.

4) Have you gotten any early reviews or feedback about the book that have calmed any nerves you have about the book's release?

my first industry review was actually a starred review (an honor) from ALA's (american library association) booklist. i really couldn't have asked for a better review from someone who obviously read SILVER PHOENIX, got it and loved it. here's a short excerpt :

If the cover image of a fearless Chinese heroine reminds readers of such films as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, that’s intentional; the story inside will, too. First-time novelist Pon has a screenwriter’s talent for producing a sweeping saga.... Ai Ling is a clever and determined heroine, Chen’s younger brother is a witty teen whose girl-crazy ways transcend the centuries, and even the monsters have dimension. Pon’s writing, both fluid and exhilarating, shines whether she’s describing a dinner delicacy or what it feels like to stab an evil spirit in the gut. There’s a bit of sex here, including a near rape, but it’s all integral to a saga that spins and slashes as its heroine tries to find her way home.
~Ilene Cooper, ALA’s BOOKLIST, starred review

i also got awesome blurbs from meg cabot and alyson noel. they were both so kind and so encouraging. i couldn't be more grateful. i'd like to say it's eased my anxieties some what-- but it's within my nature to obsess and worry. i think i'm a pretty typical debut author. =)

5) What books can we expect from you after Silver Phoenix is released? (:

thanks for asking! i'm working on both a sequel to SILVER PHOENIX as well as a children'
picture book with my own chinese brush art.

6) You're part of the 2009 Debs livejournal community group thing. What's it been like being a part of that?

i joined a little later than others, but i felt right at home right a way. such a talented group of writers and we couldn't be a better resource and support group for one another. aprilynne pike's much anticipated WINGS (with that awesome blurb from stephenie meyer!) will be out in early
may and r.j. anderson's fantastic read FAERY REBELS is out the same time as SILVER PHOENIX. i've read both books and recommend them highly! SHRINKING VIOLET by danielle joseph as well as DULL BOY by sarah cross are also titles out by debs in may!!

7) I've noticed on your blog and website that you make pretty brush paintings. Does doing those paintings, in some bizarre way, help with your writing at all? By giving you inspiration or something to do when you have writer's block?

i think that creative outlets are free therapy. ha! i've been a student of chinese brush art for eight years, and that's a very young student with a lot to learn. i do think that painting helps to open creative outlets, and it can be connected to my writing. my heroine, ai ling, is a student of the art, like i am.

8) What are you looking forward to the most about having your book being released?

wow. i'm looking forward to my signings and meeting new friends and seeing old ones. i'm looking foward to it all running smoothly, and the novel finding a place for herself, a niche, where readers who would love her would find her. =) i'm looking forward to "letting her go" and moving on to my sequel.


Thanks again, Cindy! You rock. And a million congrats on your release!

Cindy has been awesome enough to offer some lotus bookmarks (you can go here and scroll down to see what they look like) to a few lucky commenters, so comment, if you wish.

You can check out Cindy's website here, and stalk her on twitter here.


  1. This is a great interview, guys! And wow, that starred review from ALA is fantastic. Have fun on your book signings and tours, Cindy; you deserve it!

  2. Great interview! And Khy, I don't know if you care about the number of followers you have, but 6 more till 100!

  3. thanks, everyone!! first five commenters can email me if you'd like free goodies! =D

    thank you khy!!!

  4. I really enjoyed this book - just finished it! I very much enjoyed your review. It's interesting to hear Cindy's reaction to the book cover and the early reviews. It was great to read the excerpt of the early review from ALA.

    Thanks for doing this review!

    gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

  5. Awesome interview! Cindy sounds totally cool(and I'm not just saying that because she is a fellow asian XD)! What stuck me most out of the interview is that whole 'thousand of royal concubines' thing. That' Strange.

    Thanks for the interview with Cindy!