Today, I’m so pleased to have Cyn Balog chat with us. She’s the author of the forthcoming Fairy Lust (Delacorte, 2009). She’s a fellow frequenter of both the Blue Boards and Absolute Write, so be sure to support her win her book hits the shelves. To whet your appetite, here’s a bit about her novel:
Morgan Sparks has always known that she and her boyfriend, Cam, are made for each other. They’re next-door neighbors and have been friends practically since birth. They tell each other everything, and are totally hot for each other.
But suddenly, a week before their joint Sweet Sixteen party, Cam starts acting distant. His mysterious and awkward cousin, Pip, comes to stay with the family. Finally Pip confesses to Morgan what’s going on: Cam is a fairy. No, seriously, a fairy. Because Cam was a sickly baby, the fairies came to Earth the night he was born and switched him with Pip, a healthy human boy. Nobody expected Cam to live, and nobody expected his biological brother, raised in the fairy world and heir to the fairy throne, to die. But now the fairies want Cam back to take his rightful place as Fairy King.
There’s no way Morgan is going to let this happen. As Cam begins to physically change, Morgan becomes determined to fool the fairies so that she and Cam can stay together forever. Soon she has to decide once and for all whether their love can weather an uncertain future.
Can’t wait to get my hands on this one!
And without further ado…
Hi Cyn! Thanks for doing this. This is such an exciting time for you and I’m excited to get to have you on Fumbling with Fiction! As I understand it, Fairy Lust is your debut novel, can you give us a little statistical rundown on how long it took you to get to this point? How many books? How many rejections? How many days, months, or years?
I knew I wanted to be a writer very young– almost from the moment I learned to write. However when I got to college I was really daunted by the statistics about how improbable it is to make a living off of writing fiction, so I actually attempted to give it up to have a “real” career in marketing– and succeeded for almost 15 years. But after awhile I couldn’t ignore it anymore, so I wrote my first book, which landed me an agent fairly easily. It didn’t sell, but eventually I began to work on another idea– Fairy Lust, which sold. So I guess you can say the journey has been pretty long– it’s been decades since I first decided I wanted to be a writer!
Which “Call” thrilled you more? The call in which you landed an agent or the call in which you landed your book deal? Can you describe to us what it felt like?
Definitely the call where I got my book deal! It came completely out of the blue! My book had been on submission for six weeks, and I was under the impression that if my book was going to sell well, the second my agent unleashed it upon the publishing world, offers were going to come in. Didn’t happen. I had just resigned myself to picking up a new idea and starting over, as painful as that was, because ANOTHER one of my books was going to be shelved. And then suddenly, I got a call from my agent. She told me that Delacorte loved it. I thought, “Well, that’s good news, so now they need to go through meetings and a bunch of other hoops, and then maybe it will sell . . .” and that’s when she told me they’d offered a pre-empt. I was at work and started screaming and crying, which is, of course, a very professional thing to do.
I love seeing authors succeed like that! Throughout your journey as a writer, what resources have you found most valuable to your success? Websites? Books? Conferences?
Since I started writing, I don’t think I have made it through a day without checking Verla’s boards, the Absolute Write Boards, and my LiveJournal. I have so many writer friends on all those sites that “get it”, more than any of my family or friends, who still seem to think that since I write YA, I must be best friends with the only other YA writers out there, J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer. The writers I have met online are so supportive and encouraging, I love sharing my problems and successes with all of them because they know what I’m going through. Two of my best friends, Mandy Hubbard (Prada & Prejudice, Razorbill, 2009), and Brooke Taylor (Undone, Walker, 2008), were met online years ago, before any of us had agents or book contracts . . . I honestly don’t think FAIRY LUST would exist without them and the online community of writers.
I love how you talk about making your “writer friends” online and elsewhere. I’m just starting to make some similar bonds and I think it would be so neat to see some of these aspiring writers succeed and I value their support already. Thanks for reminding us how important those relationships are. On your blog, you have something called the “ABCs of Writing.” Can you tell us a little bit about what that entails?
Mandy Hubbard lives on the West Coast and I live on the East Coast, and so we email back and forth constantly. We both love the Greens’ Brotherhood vlog series, and wanted to learn how to vlog. So we decided that we would do a really goofy vlog series, all about our experiences as writers. We started with a topic beginning with the letter A, and we alternate every couple of weeks. Mandy did a really cute one for the letter “C” because it was right after she got “The Call” that Prada & Prejudice was going to be published. We don’t do anything flashy because we’re complete amateurs, we’re just acting goofy, trying to have fun. But maybe somewhere, buried in there, might be some helpful advice for aspiring writers.
Too funny! Can you tell us a little about your writing schedule and where you do most of your writing?
I have a full-time job which requires me to be active (I manage the events for fitness magazines) so in between dealing with my job schedule, working out, and my family (I have a toddler) . . . I get maybe 19 minutes during my lunch hour? And sometimes my very supportive family will leave me alone for a few hours on the weekends. When you have such a rigid schedule, you really start to value and make the most of your writing time. I used to have a lot more time for writing, and I wasted it!
We all know that writers go through hard times on their way to success. How have you handled rejection in the past?
I mope. Seriously, it’s okay to mope for a day or two, eat a pint of ice-cream, whatever. But then you pick yourself up and get moving again. I think I hit one of my biggest lows after my first novel didn’t sell, and I wrote a second novel, which I excitedly sent to my agent and got a “meh” response. I had shelves of novels, months and years of blood, sweat, and tears, and nobody in NYC wanted them! I was so frustrated, and I contemplated giving up writing. And then I remembered that I had tried that, so many years ago, and it didn’t work. Writing– not to sell, but just for fun– is like my salvation. Writing gives me a high unlike anything I’ve every experienced before– my fingers itch to be at the keyboard when I’m away. So I told myself that I would just keep writing, and not worry about selling. And then, of course, I sold. It was like that old adage they tell you about finding a relationship…. when you’re not looking, THAT’s when you find it.
I like your honesty and think you are right on the mark. On a happier note, now that you are a soon-to-be-published author, seeing the view from the other side, what has most surprised you about the publishing process?
I was floored to learn how much work manuscripts go through, even after they’ve been bought. I thought editors only bought manuscripts that were just about perfect. If it needed more than a little work, they’d pass. Not true. Some of my friends had dozens of pages of changes to make on their manuscripts, and multiple rounds of revisions. Editors don’t just sit there, reading stacks for manuscripts and saying “yes” or “no.” They, and the copyeditors, are pretty much geniuses.
I always ask this question of interviewees, so I hope you’ve been thinking on it. If you could have written one book previously published by another author, which book would it be?
Actually, there are many books out there that I wish I could have written, anything by M.T. Anderson because I have no idea how he manages to get in his character’s heads so completely and so convincingly. And it’s funny, a year or two ago, I’d written four or five chapters of a book about the zombie apocalypse, based on a dream I’d had, since I am a huge fan of zombies. Then, I gave it up to write FAIRY LUST. And I am so glad that I never attempted to finish it because it would have paled drastically in comparison to Carrie Ryan’s THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH.
Oh! I have so been wanting to read Carrie Ryan’s book. Thanks for reminding me.
Cyn, you gave fantastic, thoughtful answers. Thank you so much. It is helpful and inspiring to see a writer going through all of this with fresh eyes. Thanks for taking the time to give us your insight and a BIG congratulations!
You can find out more about Cyn Balog at http://cyn2write.livejournal.com .
Status: First day of law school orientation complete! I read The Appeal by John Grisham for today and had a book discussion, so I will be reviewing that on Saturday if y’all are interested. Other than that I’m still playing the waiting game, but will be working on taking my own advice from yesterday and not wasting time that I could be writing!