It's blog tour time! Please welcome Cynthea Liu
, author of the YA novel THE GREAT CALL OF CHINA
, which was published in February. Cynthea also runs the excellent author site AuthorsNow!About the book:
Chinese-born Cece was adopted when she was two years old by her American parents. Living in Texas, she's bored of her ho-hum high school and dull job. So when she learns about the S.A.S.S. program to Xi'an, China, she jumps at the chance. She'll be able to learn about her passion—anthropology—and it will give her the opportunity to explore her roots. But when she arrives, she receives quite a culture shock. And the closer she comes to finding out about her birth parents, the more apprehensive she gets. Enter Will, the cute guy she first meets on the plane. He and Cece really connect during the program. But can he help her get accustomed to a culture she should already know about, or will she leave China without the answers she's been looking for?An Interview with Cynthea Liu:Me: What were your favorite books (or types of books) as a teen, and what was it about them that appealed to you? What, on the other hand, would make you put a book down?Cynthea:
I am sad to report, I didn't read many books as a teen, and if I did it was mostly adult fiction. Science Fiction! (Dean Koontz was one of my favorite authors then.) I'm a sucker for great suspense novels with that element of surprise. People in danger. Lives to save!
What makes me put a book down? Usually overwritten books. Books that just say the same thing over and over again, or go on and on about the same thing that really isn't necessary, like you're trapped in a novel that's stuck on Repeat. It's hard for me to get past that! Me: Have your reading tastes stayed the same, or have you discovered new loves and peeves (and if so, what are they)?Cynthea:
These days, I'm very into early chapter books. Young middle grade stuff that doesn't have any other goal but to entertain! It's nice to read something without feeling you're supposed to learn something, too. I especially love books packed with humor.Me: What was your favorite part of writing THE GREAT CALL OF CHINA, and what was the hardest?Cynthea:
Well, putting THE END on the manuscript is always my favorite part to writing any book. There's so much work that goes into each one that there is nothing quite like finishing! The hardest part was writing an emotional scene in two languages (English and Chinese). Technically, it's hard to do anything in two languages, much less write a dramatic scene without it becoming a DAYS OF OUR LIVES episode!Me: Did you draw on any people/places/experiences from your life while writing?Cynthea:
Absolutely. As a Chinese-American who often felt pretty clueless about my own heritage, I drew from that experience when writing about Cece, my main character. Also the book is set in Xi'an, China and I worked hard to bring that place (and Beijing) to life. My brother lives in Xi'an, and it's such an important city in China's history. I'm surprised more Americans haven't heard of it. In my book (pardon the pun), Xi'an should rank right up there with Beijing and Shanghai.Me: What was the most exciting moment during the publishing process? The scariest?Cynthea:
Getting an agent was very exciting. It's one of the first times your writing will be validated by someone within the industry. Landing the contract was also intense. Having multiple publishers vy for your book is the biggest flatter of all. That book is PARIS PAN TAKES THE DARE, which is coming out this June!Me: What are you working on now?Cynthea:
These days, I'm working on THE GREAT CALL OF CHINA release, focusing more on authorial aspects of the job like booking school visits and helping my publicist with getting the word out. I am dying to get back to writing, but I do enjoy reaching out to teachers and librarians so that I can help inspire kids to read and do what they love.
Hope you enjoyed getting to know Cynthea! Another interview to come next week. :)