Wednesday, July 29, 2015

PPLYAFest Interview #2 with Cinda Williams Chima

Continuing today with the PPLYAFest is my interview with Cinda Williams Chima. Get to know more about her and her books below. 

Interview with YA author Cinda Williams Chima

Raychelle: You have previously mentioned that your fantasy stories were influenced by authors such as Tolkein and George RR Martin. Was there any other inspiration for the direction of your stories?

Cinda: I am constantly learning through reading. There are a lot of really great YA novels out right now and they are constantly creating a better experience.

R: What is one thing you want readers (new or established fans) to know about your books?

C: My goal in writing, first and foremost, is to write a great story. I think anytime a writer loses sight of that and they are writing to an agenda or to teach lesson, that generally comes between the reader and the story.

R: What are you currently working on, if anything, and can you tell me a little about it?

C: I am working on my new series called the Shattered Realms*, which is set in the world of the Seven Realms, but a generation later. You will see some of the same characters, actually some of the children of the characters. 

*The first book in the series is called Flamecaster.

R: I imagine that you get a lot of requests for events. What is one place that you would love to be sent on tour? Where is the most requested location?

C: I have never been to San Diego Comic Con and I have heard so much about it. The only thing about some of these really big events is so often some of the actual reading fans, the crowds are so large and they have trouble getting in to some of the events. I do like book fests because there is always someone to talk to. There are other authors there and it's an opportunity to meet with readers that don't already know my books. I get a lot of love from Texas, and I find that the teachers and librarians there really kick-butt and I always have a warm welcome there. Some other great reading areas are the Pacific Northwest. There are a lot of great bookstores and a lot of readers. 

R: What does your writing process consist of?

C: I think it's important for writers to figure out when their best time is and for me that is in the morning. The earlier I get started the better. Everyone is different and it's important to know that there are no standard rules for writing. Don't let anybody tell you there is only one way to do it. Like a lot of authors, I have an editor in my head saying that this is no good or this is terrible, and I have found that she sleeps late. Like this morning, I was working my way through some different plot issues and it's almost like a dreamlike state and you don't have the restrictions like you do sometimes later. 

R: Since you have two long series, how do you prepare for the next book?

C: It depends on the series. In the Heir series, it's more of a standalone. With the Seven Realms series, there is one story arc over four books, so it is more a matter of breaking off the story and starting in again. Sometimes there isn't even a day between. Usually, within any given time I am working on two books at once, the one that is still a rough draft and the one that is getting polished. 

R: Do you have an unwinding process to relax between deadlines?

C: I find exercise and taking walks is very helpful. Some writers don't like to read when they are in the middle of writing, but I am always writing so it doesn't bother me. I am also fond of wine. 

R: Give me one unique fact about yourself…

C: I am interested in genealogy  I have done a lot of family history research and a lot of the names of my characters come off my family tree. I have gone back as far as the 1600s. They are mainly scallywags and moonshiners.

R: Is there a character that speaks to you the most? What do they tend to say?

C: I have a special place in my heart for Seph McCauley (the Wizard Heir). He is a bit of a darker character and the protagonist in the Warrior Heir. He's worldy, he's been a lot of places, he's something of a cynic and so I really enjoy him. Princess Raisa ana’Marianna in the Seven Realms. I have given her a lot of traits that I wish I had. Sometimes I make them tall, but not in her case. She is smart and courageous and she sticks to her principles.

R: Do you tend to focus more on the development of the storyline or the dialogue (at least during your first draft)?

C: I would say the storyline. The dialogue comes out of story and should move the story along. It's just one tool that you have. You shouldn't have any dialogue that doesn't move the story along, unlike in real life.

More about Cinda

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima grew up with talking animals and kick-butt Barbies. She began writing poetry and stories in third grade and novels in junior high school. These days she writes fantasy fiction for teens of all ages. Her Heir Chronicles contemporary fantasy series includes The Warrior Heir(2006), The Wizard Heir (2007), The Dragon Heir (2008), The Enchanter Heir (2013) and The Sorcerer Heir (2014).

Chima’s high fantasy Seven Realms series launched with The Demon King (2009), followed by The Exiled Queen(September, 2010) The Gray Wolf Throne (2011) and The Crimson Crown (2012).
Both series have been New York Times bestsellers.

Chima’s Shattered Realms high fantasy series is forthcoming from HarperCollins. The first novel, Flamecaster, is scheduled for Spring, 2016.   

Chima’s books have received starred reviews in Kirkus and VOYA, among others. They have been named Booksense and Indie Next picks, an International Reading Association Young Adult Choice, a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, to the Kirkus Best YA list, and the VOYA Editors’ Choice, Best Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, and Perfect Tens lists. Her books also appear on numerous state awards lists and won the Buckeye Teen Book Award in 2011. 

Chima was a recipient of the 2008 Lit Award for Fiction from the Cleveland Lit and was named a Cleveland Magazine Interesting Person 2009. She lives in Ohio with her family, and is always working on her next novel. 

Find Chima online at or She is on Facebook at and on Twitter @cindachima .

About the Seven Realms

When 16-year-old Han Alister and his Clan friend Dancer encounter three underage wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea, he has no idea that this event will precipitate a cascade of disasters that will threaten everything he cares about.

Han takes an amulet from one of the wizards, Micah Bayar, to prevent him from using it against them. Only later does he learn that it has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. And the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.

Han’s life is complicated enough. He’s the former streetlord of the Raggers—a street gang in the city of Fellsmarch. His street name, Cuffs, comes from the mysterious silver bracelets he’s worn all his life—cuffs that are impossible to take off.

Now Han’s working odd jobs, helping to support his family, and doing his best to leave his old life behind. Events conspire against him, however. When members of a rival gang start dying, Han naturally gets the blame.

Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna has her own battles to fight. As heir to the Gray Wolf throne of the Fells, she’s just spent three years of relative freedom with her father’s family at Demonai Camp—riding, hunting, and working the famous Clan markets. Now court life in Fellsmarch pinches like a pair of too-small shoes.

Wars are raging to the south, and threaten to spread into the high country. After a long period of quiet, the power of the Wizard Council is once again growing. The people of the Fells are starving and close to rebellion. Now more than ever, there’s a need for a strong queen. 

But Raisa’s mother Queen Marianna is weak and distracted by the handsome Gavan Bayar, High Wizard of the Fells. Raisa feels like a cage is closing around her—and an arranged marriage and eroded inheritance is the least of it.

Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. With the help of her friend, the cadet Amon Byrne, she navigates the treacherous Gray Wolf Court, hoping she can unravel the conspiracy coalescing around her before it’s too late.

About the Heir Chronicles

One March day, Jack Swift, a high school student in a small college town, forgets to take the medicine he’s taken daily since he was an infant. There ensues a cascade of events that puts him in mortal danger. 

Jack discovers he carries a secret within him that has made him a target of the ruthless wizards of the Red and White Rose. Jack is a Warrior Heir, the last of a dying breed, sought after by the Roses to fight in the tournaments that are used to allocate power among the Wizard Houses. Unknown to him, Jack has lived all his life surrounded by members of the Magical Guilds: wizards, enchanters, soothsayers, and sorcerers. They are determined to save him from the Roses. 

With the aid of his aunt, a beautiful enchanter, Jack desperately tries to acquire the skills that might save his life. Jack and his friends, Will and Fitch, unearth a magical sword from a cemetery and fight off the wizards who would take it from them. Jack begins training with the dark and dangerous Leander Hastings, a wizard with a mysterious past. 

Meanwhile, Jack is torn between his attraction to Ellen Stephenson, a new student at Trinity High School, and Leesha Middleton, his former girlfriend, who decides she wants him back.
Discovered and besieged by treachery at home, he flees to the Lake District of England. There he is confronted by the greatest challenge of all.

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