Tuesday, May 13, 2014

BB Interview: Cindy Young-Turner, debut author of THIEF OF HOPE

Good afternoon and welcome back to the BB Writers Retreat

While sipping some good ol' sweet tea out on the front porch, debut author Cindy Young-Turner stopped by for a chat. And as always I asked her some of my favorite questions: why do you write? 

The answer to that is always fun ;)

But my favorite question to ask authors is: what advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time and talk to the aspiring writer you once were? 

Check out Cindy's wonderful answer below, as well as other golden advice for all writers.

~ Lia 

BB Interview: Cindy Young-Turner, debut author of THIEF OF HOPE

Cindy Young-Turner, 
author of Thief of Hope and Journey to Hope

Lia: So, Cindy. Tell a little about yourself:
Cindy: I’m an author and a mom and I also have a full-time day job. Life is hectic. By day I edit and do business development for international development projects. In my free time, I try to inspire my characters to fight for change and justice in their imaginary worlds. I’m an avid reader and a fantasy geek and the original Star Wars trilogy shaped my childhood.

Lia: Ultimate question...Why do you write? 
Cindy: I don’t think I could not write! I’ve always done it, from almost as far back as I can remember. I have stories I’d like to tell so I’ll keep writing as long as I can.

Lia: How do you feel you've grown as a writer?
Cindy: Finishing a novel is a huge milestone and getting published is an even bigger one. I have to give a lot of credit to my wonderful critique groups that have helped me over the years. In addition to knowing how to put words together, there’s also characterization, plot elements, basically how to make your story hang together and engage the reader. Working professionally as an editor has also helped in the technical aspects of writing, even though technical writing is very different from creative writing. And going through the sometimes painful editing process during the publication of my novel was definitely an eye opener. It’s amazing to look back at my writing from a few years ago and see the improvement.

Lia: Can you describe a bit how your venture into writing looked like?
Cindy: As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been writing for most of my life. Sometime in grade school I think I had to write a story for a class and I was hooked. I was ten when I wrote my first “novel” and it was a combination of my own ideas, Star Wars, and GI Joe. I think now you’d call it fan fiction. I have a bunch of other novels in various stages that were hand written in notebooks. Most of them will probably never see the light of day, but who knows. Maybe someday I will salvage one of them.

Lia: Can you tell us a little about your book?
Cindy: Thief of Hope is fantasy and features a pickpocket whose life becomes entangled with the commoners' fight against an oppressive society, a would-be king's bid for the throne, and the strange and dangerous magic of the faery folk. In this bleak, medieval world, nothing is black and white, and even a thief must make a stand for what she believes is right. I adore Sydney, the heroine of the story. She’s not perfect and she’s had a hard life but she’s a fighter.

Lia: As one of your critique partners many moons ago, I adore Sydney too.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing this particular story?
Cindy: The hardest part was getting through a couple drafts and then realizing I needed to overhaul the story because certain plot elements just weren’t working. I kept about ten chapters and tossed out the rest, save for a few scenes that made it to the final cut. It was painful, but the result was a much stronger story.

Lia: It always does, doesn't it?

What are you working on now?
Cindy: I’m currently working on the sequel to Thief of Hope, titled Thief of Destiny.

Lia: What does your typical writing day look like?
Cindy: With a full-time job and an active five-year-old, it’s challenging to find time to write. Luckily I’m a night owl and my most creative time is between 9 pm and whenever I go to bed. Sadly I can’t pull really late nights like I used to.

Lia: Do you read a lot while you write?
Cindy: I love to read and I will read just about any genre. I went through a period a few years ago where I wasn’t reading much due to job pressures and lack of time and then I realized how much I missed it. So now I’m playing catch up because there are so many good books out there. I’m currently working my way through GRR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series (on book 4) and I’m about to start the last book in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. Not to mention the stacks of books around the house waiting to be read!

Lia: Good for you! I love stacks of books and honesty, a writer who doesn't read isn't much of a writer.

What are your thoughts on the necessity of writers building a platform? Any advice?
Cindy: Personally I hate the marketing aspect of the business. I’d much rather be writing than trying to sell my books and myself. But sadly it’s a necessity these days. There is so much out there in terms of social networking and it can really be overwhelming. I’ve been trying various things, from blogging to twitter to being featured on various book blogger sites. The best advice I can give is to start small and see what works for you and what you’re willing to do. From what I’ve heard, the best way to build your platform as a writer is to write more books.

Lia: That's the best advice of all!

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself if you could speak to the aspiring writer you once were?
Cindy: I’d tell myself to have more confidence in my writing and to take advantage of my free time to write more when I have the chance.

Lia: Cindy, thank you so much for being our guest author today. 

Where can BB readers go online to find you and your work?
Cindy: Thanks so much for having me today! I hope your readers will check out my links!