Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Women Writers of Color: Cindy Pon

Full name: cindy pon

Birth date: august 29

Location: taipei, taiwan

Genre: young adult fantasy

WiP or most recently published work: Fury of the Phoenix, the sequel to Silver Phoenix.

Writing credits: Silver Phoenix was my debut novel.

How frequently do you update your site? once or twice a week i'll post on my blog.
Is your site designed for reader interaction? yes! i love blog comments as well as emails from readers.
Post of note, something in particular you want readers to check out:

i recently thought about my maternal grandmother. i dedicated Silver Phoenix
to her and my grandfather. i share some fotos and thoughts about them in this

Top 5 reads you’re looking forward to reading in 2010 (or have already read)?

i really loved The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, The Demon's Covenant, Clockwork Angel, Tipping the Velvet and Unwind. all read this year.
100 words or less how would you describe your work?

Chinese inspired fantasy that may read epic at times but really grounded in very personal journeys about growth, friendship, family, love, choices and change. there are demons, cute boys, and food. =)

You are unafraid to write about sexuality in Silver Phoenix. Were you nervous about writing those scenes and seeing how people would respond?

not really. i wrote what i felt was appropriate for my story and the culture i created. when a society's expectation of a girl is for her to make babies, there's no tip toeing around that fact. i think it has made some readers uncomfortable, how forthright i am with that aspect of the storytelling. but i think i remain true to to it--and perhaps, being made uncomfortable isn't such a bad thing. this was a reality for many girls in societies and cultures of the past, even today.

You were recently the subject of a cover controversy. How do you propose we bring more attention to books about PoC so that publishers don't feel the need to whitewash the book in order to support the author and so that bookstores are more receptive to selling them?

The truth of the matter is, publishing is a business and money does need to be made. i think when we see a young adult novel featuring a main protagonist of color gain commercial success, we'll be taking strides in the right direction.

I've always said that The Story is the most important thing to me. after all, it's what i poured my heart and soul into. i understand readers being upset over the cover change, because it was symbolic in many ways. there simply isn't anything like Silver Phoenix on the young adult shelves right now. but if the cover change is necessary to give the book a second life in bookstores, of course i'll support it. is the situation ideal? no. but again, until we have that breakout novel...

the very fact that Silver Phoenix is out there amazes me. i did not have a book like that while growing up.

what can readers do to help? buy the novels!! i realize not everyone can afford to buy hardback covers of novels or perhaps, even paperback. but you can certainly help
PoC stories in other ways :

1. request it at your local library.

2. blog about it. talk about it on twitter, fb. almost everyone agrees that word of mouth still carries A LOT of weight when it comes to a novel's success--especially for debut authors who may not be very well known or carried widely in bookstores.

3. review it (this goes with blogging about it).

4. talk about it with your friends!

5. suggest reading the novel for a book club. if participants can't afford to buy, share the novel. or request through the library. i actually had so much fun doing local library teen book club visits.

6. email the author if you've read her/his story and enjoyed it. i can't
tell you how heartened i've been to hear from readers who really connected with my novel. it's why i wrote it in the first place--to be read by others. it takes a lot of courage to write what you love--and hearing from fans is always a courageous reminder for me.

i'm really a believer in being active through positive action.

thanks so much for having me, ari! i really enjoyed this interview
and thanks for all your support of Silver Phoenix.

Thank you for the interview Cindy! I can not recommend Silver Phoenix enough. It is so very unique. Ai Ling is a fighter while still trying to remain true to the time period she lives in. She can be shy, but she is passionate, committed and brave. Plus she loves to eat and the food descriptions are divine!

Furthermore, even if you are angry at the whitewashing of Cindy's covers, don't refuse to buy the book. Email/write to the publishers and bookstore chains decrying the whitewashing of covers. But the fact of the matter is, the publisher is sticking with Cindy and I, personally, appreciate that. I would be highly upset if I never got to read the sequel to Silver Phoenix.

PS The above is a postcard that you could win later on in a swag giveaway! It's a postcard of Silver Phoenix and a new character, Zhong Ye. It's so pretty :)


Mardel said...

I consider myself lucky, because I was able to buy the hardback of Silver Phoenix before the stores ran out of it. I was going to wait for the paperback, but couldn't pass up on the beautiful original cover.

I agree that boycotting buying whitewashed books really hurt the author more than the publishing houses. but we do need to writes letters and make our displeasure known. Not just to the bookstores, but to the publishers also- like a lot of us have already done. There have been small changes here and there (two huge changes recently) but we need to keep on top of it.

I'm going to read Silver Phoenix very soon, and I'm looking forward to it. If it's good for the middle grade age, then I'll probably donate it to the library I work in, otherwise, I'll have it to loan out to my nieces and nephew (only have one nephew).

I enjoyed the interview and Ms Pon's thoughts on the cover of her book.

Doret said...

Mardel- I loved Silver Phoneix. And it is very hard to pass up a beautiful cover.

Enjoy Silver Phoneix its definitely worth moving up your reading queue.

Tea said...

Hi Cindy,

I'm glad to see you here. Thank you again for my autographed copy of your book, Silver Phoenix. I loved, loved that book. It's so beautiful. Waiting for your next book to be published. Always good luck to you.

cindy said...

thanks for the comments, everyone!

tea, i hope you enjoy the read.
and thanks for interviewing me, ari, and coloronline for hosting it!