We had the opportunity to go to the Texas Teen Book Fest as media back in September and we had a great time.
Michaela interviewed the author of one of her new favorite books, Cindy Pon. Cindy Pon wrote Serpentine and Michaela's review can be found here.
Interview conducted by:
1. Why did you start writing?
I think that I started because I was a reader, just like you. Every writer that I know started as a reader and so I started writing around your age at 12. I started with poetry and I went to short stories around 14 to 18 when I was in high school. Silver Phoenix was the first novel I ever wrote, that was a debut novel that came out in 2009. That was the first of two books that was set in the Kingdom of Xia and this [Serpentine] was the 3rd book that came out and it's later, but in the same world.
2. Where is your favorite place to write and read?
I like to write in Bobo Shop, which is Taiwanese. I don't know if you know what Bobo is, but it's like they have tempo tea drinks , and they will do like smoothies, like they are fruit smoothies and they are like honey, yogurt balls that you suck up in pipettes, but they serve food too. They make like crepes and stuff, so they have food and drinks and I like to go there and write. Then to read, I would read anywhere. I tend to go anywhere with a book just in case there is a wait or something happens.
Me too! I don't go anywhere without a book!
3. What is your favorite genre to write and read?
My favorite genre is definitely fantasy and so I write it obviously so I read it. I just like how its kind of freeing for me. When I read I like to be put in a different world and different place, something that is exciting and new to me. I grew up reading all the mythical creatures, unicorns, mermaids or fairies. I love those kind of things so that's what I continue to read and I, obviously, write crazy creatures.
4. Are you making a second book to Serpentine because if you are I'm going to buy it the first day it comes out!
Well, what do you think because of the ending? If you look at the book, and in the e-books it doesn't say, (holding book and pointing at spine) Book One. So they thought that it was the ending and they were like "oh my gosh, I don't know about that ending." I was like, no there is another book. The sequel is coming out next September.
Okay, because I was wondering...
For sure, more Skybreak.
5. When did you get inspired to write?
When did I? You mean initially as a child? or ....
Ummm....I'm not that kind of writer that has a lot of ideas, like files of ideas, so usually I get....well for Serpentine, I get fascinating ideas of monstrous women. I loved Medusa, I don't know if you that group of mythology...
Yes, I do.
Well so I just wondered what if your the monstrous women, what if that's the hero instead of a regular normal girl. In like Silver Phoenix she's a regular, normal girl and so I was fascinated by that. I also wanted to write sister friendship, that was a very strong theme for me, and so I....Jenny and Skybright and their friendship, you know how they care for each other...
I loved how they shared that relationship.
6. What age did you decide to become a writer and get your books published?
So I have been a writer since age 12, but I don't think I started thinking about being published until I had both of my kids and I was staying home full-time. That's when I thought, "oh I always wanted to write a novel" because I always wrote short stories before, but why don't I try because I stay home full time? So that was in my 30s, I didn't consider it until I was in my 30s.
I did like English if we were reading a book I liked. I was better at English. I wasn't very good at math. I don't like math.
I still have bad dreams about math, so I think English for sure! I enjoyed art too. More creative things....
I like, like if I draw a line and add to it, I don't go from that. I can't watch a video to learn how to draw, I have to use my imagination.
Yeah! It just kind of happens right? Yea, that's fantastic!
8. What is your favorite hobby when you are not writing?
I'm actually a Chinese brush artist too!
I saw that!
Yeah! So I love doing cute animals, like fuzzy animals, little chicks, or pandas, or cats, bunnies. I just like bright flowers like lots of pretty colors, so I find it very soothing to do...painting and art.
I'm messy with paint!
That's okay! That's what artists do, they get messy. That means you are actually doing it.
My mom doesn't like when I get messy....
She just needs to lay a tarp down for you.
Yeah, I'm like not the cleanest person or the most organized, but I don't have things thrown all over the place.
Art is messy. You will get it on your face or your pants, that's how it works.
I am always like "shhhh" if I'm reading or if I'm trying to think and its because if I'm reading, I'm in my own like world.
Yeah, you're in the zone, like don't talk to me! Do not disturb!
Yeah, I'm like "what do you want? Do you not see that I'm reading?"
I feel you! I feel you! You can't be bothered.
Reading is important and if someone took that away from me, I don't know what I would do. Like I brought my iPad today because since most of our interview are late in the day, I'm like I want to pass the time reading.
For sure! Good idea, obviously be equipped.
I'm always equipped. At home I am not the person that bookmarks them. I am like the dog-eared person.
Oh no, you're the dog-eared person! I'll try not to judge. That's okay as long as the book gets read, but thank you for not dog-earring this [Serpentine] one.
Yeah! I thought it was too special to do that.
You're sweet! Thank you!
Well, I kind of stopped that habit (sigh).
Thank you so much Cindy Pon for allowing Michaela to interview and be goofy with you! It is a day that she treasures.
To learn more about Cindy Pon and her amazing books you can go to her website.