author of FAIRY TALE and the upcoming book SLEEPLESS (2010)
(click on the pics to learn more!)
Here is the INTERVIEW:
You say you were an almost entirely silent child. What affect did this have on your writing?
Yeah, I barely spoke at all when I was a kid, I was so shy. I found that I'd much rather stay inside, writing, than running around playing freeze tag and red rover with the other kids. So I got absolutely none of the fresh air that experts tell you is so important for a growing child, but what I did was spend a lot of time learning the craft of writing. I wrote book after book as a kid, just the things that I liked to read, so I started with picture books and then graduated into mid-grades, and then YA novels. I experimented with all sorts of voices. None of them were publishable, sadly. I didn't have any mentors in school who inspired me to write, so I really just learned everything on my own. I think those silent years, the years I spent inside, writing, were very important in helping shape who I am today as a writer.
Did the novel you wrote when you were fifteen become anything you have published or might publish in the future?
I wrote this novel when I was 15 that was called DEADLY SECRETS. It was my first real attempt at a full-length YA novel, but reading it over now, it's pretty hilarious. A mother lets her three young kids go and move into a house that was left abandoned when their grandparents died. She does this because she's too busy to go with them, and despite the fact that she knows the grandparents were murdered in the house and the murderer never found. Strangely enough, the murderer is the next-door neighbor, who still lives next door, and Duh Duh Duhhhhhh... turns his sights on the three kids!!!! So no, it will never be published. Ever.
Have you always wanted to be writer?
Oh yeah, ever since I knew how to write. I didn't even really know there was a profession called "writer"; I just did it because I thought that was what everybody did. And I liked to read, so I wrote the stories I would want to read.
How have your various interesting jobs influenced your writing?
None of the jobs I've had since graduating from college have influenced my writing, because they're pretty boring, cubicle jobs. Well, maybe in being so boring they made me eager to get home and do something interesting... writing! The ones I've had as a teen have become great fodder for my novels, though. My first job was working at the Park Bakery in Seaside Park, and one of my upcoming novels is set in a similar bakery.
Why did you decide to get a degree in Communications, and how did that translate into becoming an author?
Not at all. Communication is the degree you get when you go to college and don't know what to major in, sadly. Because everyone communicates, and I can't say that my degree makes me really good at it. It's like going to college to get a degree in Breathing or Eating.
What did it feel like when you realized you were going to be published?
I think in the moment right after I got the call, I flashed back to when I was 5 years old, sitting in my bedroom, writing stories, dreaming that one day my books would be bound and on bookshelves. I just couldn't believe that dream, after so many years, was about to come true. The first people I called were my parents because they always had though of me as "the writer" and they knew how much it meant to me. I was sobbing, and my parents were like, "Why are you crying then?" and I had to explain that it was not because I was sad, it was because I was so happy!
Why is Cinderella your favorite fairy tale?
Before I got married my first name with my maiden name sounded a lot like Cinderella, so a lot of people called me that. And that was the first VHS tape I ever bought.
Is there any meaning behind the names you chose for your characters?
Hmmmm... a few of them. The last name "Sparks" is because she is a psychic and feisty and it just seemed right for her. I chose Pip Merriweather's last name as a cross between Great Expectations and the feisty little good fairy in Sleeping Beauty.
What do you love most to write about, for example, have you always been drawn to the supernatural and fairy stories?
I have tried writing just about everything, and really, writing paranormals is something I just fell into. FAIRY TALE started as a love triangle with no fairy element at all, but obviously, it needed something. When I was writing FAIRY TALE, I was surprised at how easy it was-- it just wrote itself. So I discovered that I have an abundance of interesting paranormal ideas that I can't wait to explore. I like putting ordinary teens in extraordinary circumstances.
Are any of your characters like you at all?
One of the great things about being a writer is that you get to live vicariously through your characters. So they might be the me I wish I could be. :)
CYN BALOG was interviewed by READING ROCKS on October 6th, 2009.