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-Are you and Ai Ling alike in any way?
Yes! We are both brush painting students, are stubborn, and love to eat! =D
-How were you inspired to write the Kingdom of Xia series?
Fantasy has always been my favorite genre. When I started to write Silver Phoenix, I had just begun learning Chinese brush painting as a student, and really beginning to learn more on my culture. I decided to combine these two loves and interests, and the result was Silver Phoenix!
-What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Gosh, it was the first novel I had ever written. Everything seemed hard. But for me as a writer, the quiet moments are the hardest. All the exciting action scenes came to me first. Also, since it was my first novel, I had no idea how to write one! It was a huge learning experience.
-How much research did you have to do?
I did a lot of research for Silver Phoenix! Everything from reading about Chinese furniture and clothing, the expectations and role of women within the inner quarters to imperial art and architecture. And of course, Chinese mythos.
-Do you have any advice for other writers?
Read widely! Definitely in the genre you want to write in and also beyond that. Challenge yourself in each new writing project. Actually sit down and write! That is the hardest part--to finish a novel.
-Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I began writing bad poetry as a tween. I think my love of writing originated (like for so many authors) from my love of reading!
-Who are your favorite authors?
Some favorite authors include Iris Murdoch, Ursula Le Guin, Megan Whalen Turner, Cinda Williams Chima, Octavia Butler, and Sarah Waters.
-What are your favorite books?
This is an impossible question to answer!! But Megan Whalen Turner's The Queen's Thief is a favorite fantasy series of mine as well as Chima's The Demon King series. Also loved Tipping the Velvet by Waters and Wild Seed by Butler pretty much blew me away. Recent favorites include Alif the Unseen by Wilson, Unspoken by Rees Brennan and Personal Effects by Kokie.
-Do you create an outline before every book you write?
I don't! I am such a planner in Real Life but not so much when I write. I have a document that I fill with everything from research to scenes to dialogue, but I don't outline in the traditional sense.
-Are Silver Phoenix or Fury of the Phoenix going to become movies?
I wish! My agent has tried, but fantasy is a hard pitch these days. And alas, Chinese inspired fantasy for the American audience is an even harder pitch. =(
That's that, and thanks to Cindy Pon for gracing us with her presence~~
Once again, both Silver Phoenix and Fury of the Phoenix are HIGH HIGH HIGH recommendations! If anyone's looking for something to read, Kingdom of Xia would be it. Check out my reviews here and here!
Also, Cindy's working on a new series-- let's stay tuned for that! I, for one, am definitely looking forward to it!