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Friday, January 9, 2009

Interview With Cyn Balog

My next interview is with Cyn Balog! Her debut novel comes out this June so write that down on your calender everyone!

What were some inspirations for your book?
I am not really a fantasy fan, not like some writers of the genre who know everything about fairy lore and will likely scream foul! when they read my book. I consider it to be a romance that just happens to involve a fairy. I'd wanted to write a book about two people who were made-for-each-other, who are suddenly torn apart by the unexpected. Around that time, I'd been thinking about how most fairies are painted as dainty, beautiful female-types, and how interesting it would be to have a normal, football-loving, strong guy as a fairy. And those two ideas eventually just clashed.

Who or what was the inspiration for your characters?
Morgan is just any teenage girl, maybe a little of me. She is the me that would exist had I had an awesomely super boyfriend since birth, and also psychic abilities. She acts very self-assured but it's really just a facade because when she starts to lose those things, she starts to lose her confidence. I think a lot of teen girls base their worth on transient things like boyfriends or clothes and so their confidence is constantly wavering. Cam is just... ah... the dream boy. Just everything a teen girl could want. Okay, well, everything I would want if I were a teen, too.

What was hardest part of the novel to write?
FAIRY TALE really was one of the easiest books to write. I have heard of people going through dozens of revisions with their novels, and I didn't have to do that. I think I worked on it a total of 3 months before it was out on submissions. So I would have to say that the hardest part of this book was the beginning. Usually that's the easiest part, and the sagging middle gets me...but before FAIRY TALE, I'd written two other books...one that didn't sell and one that my agent wasn't thrilled with. Just starting a new book, knowing it might end up on the shelf, was daunting. But I guess I'm just one of those people who cannot not write.

What motivates you to write?
Now, it helps to be under contract, and know there's money coming in! But I've been a writer since I was a little kid, and it's one of those things that just draw me in. There are a few words in the English language that send a thrill down my spine..."writing" and "shopping," being two of them. I get excited whenever I think of doing it.

Do you listen to music while you write?
Nope. Music distracts me. :)

How has the road to publication been?
Once I actually sat down and said, "I'm gonna do this!" things went pretty smoothly. It was maybe 2 years from that point to selling. I had a few rejections and upsets (like when my first manuscript didn't sell)...but everyone has those, and I think I was pretty lucky. Though I'd written books twenty years ago and back then everyone thought I would be a novelist. But I'd psyched myself out, saying the odds were impossible, and never tried-- thinking that a career in marketing was much more stable and would give me a better chance at success. But if something is your true calling you're not going to be able to ignore it for long. It's like Wayne Gretzky says, "I missed all the shots I never took." Once I realized that, everything fell into place.

Do you think bloggers help in publicizing and promoting you new book?
YES! Hugely. I am completely indebted to them for spreading the word on FAIRY TALE. Right now I am in the middle of writing a new book and am expecting my second child so I'm a little frazzled when it comes to the promotion side of things. I'd like to have a really dynamic web presence but haven't had the time, and they have helped me fill in the gaps.

Do you like the cover of your book? How was the process been in developing this design?
LOVE the cover. I really have not heard anyone say a negative thing on my cover yet. Sadly, I had no input into it whatsoever. My editor sent me the cover they'd developed, I loved it, and it was agreed.

Are you upset about the change of the title?
Not at all. It was done because sales were a little worried that a younger audience might be turned off by a title with "Lust" in it. Since I had received emails from mothers concerned as to whether this would be appropriate for their young daughters, I knew those concerns were valid. Considering the book is more of a sweet romance, I didn't want the title misleading anyone. FAIRY TALE is a much more accurate title, anyway. Though I must admit I liked raising eyebrows whenever I said LUST! And there is another book on the market (an adult book) called FAIRY LUST, and it has erotic stories involving elves... so perhaps it is better to distance my book. I'd hate for anyone to accidentally buy the wrong book and give their kids that!

Why was there a change in the title after so long (is it because of the "mothers who emailed me wondering if a book featuring LUST was suitable for their 12-year-old daughter" XD)?
Really, it was a suggestion from the sales reps at the bookstores--they were concerned about having the book face-out on the YA shelves with the word "LUST" in it. I really don't think LUST is a dirty word but I can understand them wanting to be safe rather than sorry. And I work in marketing-- I get that this is business. FAIRY TALE opens the book to a whole audience of people who may have passed it up. And the sales reps are the experts. If they believed that we could sell more books by titling it FAIRY POOP, I would have probably gone along with it.

Are you excited about the new title?
Not excited, so much as relieved that it was so easy to agree on. To me, the title isn't the most important aspect of the book--it's a number of things working together that determine whether a book is successful. I am happy the cover is staying the same, though, because I know a lot of teens are very visual and I really think it's beautiful.

Who is mainly in charge on creating a new title?
I brainstormed with my editor, but the sales reps threw out FAIRY TALE, and it was one I had thought of on my own... so we agreed in a matter of minutes.

Can you tell us more about your latest novel, Sleepless?
Sleepless is about a sandman who falls in love with a mortal girl whose sleep he controls. It's a dark book about forbidden love. It's also about the afterlife and what happens to us after we die. It's the first book I've written that takes place partly in other worlds. Writing it and coming up with new, strange places has been an exercise in expanding my imagination, that's for sure.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Only you can prevent forest fires? I'm sorry, I am drawing a blank. Hi, Mom!

I hope everyone enjoyed the interview! Cyn's website, and her blog


  1. Awesomeness! I'm reading looking forward to reading Fairy Lu....rrr Tale. Great interview!

  2. Only you can prevent forest fires! That is a great way to end an interview!! I'm looking forward to picking this one up!

  3. Great interview! And it's an amazing book. I couldn't put it down!

  4. Awesome interview. Sounds like it will be a great book :)


  5. Great interview, Yan! Interesting to see how Cyn finds music distracting - I think it's inspirational :D


  6. Wonderful interview. As many are, I cannot wait until Fairy Tale comes out. I am really looking forward to it.