CINDA WILLIAMS CHIMA INTERVIEW
Cinda Williams Chima is the sensational author of the Heir and Seven Realms Series. Her books have been nominated and won numerous awards, including earning places on the New York Times Children's Series Bestseller, USA Today, and Indie Bestseller lists. She most recently published the second book in her Seven Realms Series, The Exiled Queen, and will be touring across the US for the Exiled Queen book tour.
She recently graced us with her presence and answered some of our questions about her bestselling series. Here's the interview.
Whatchamacallit Reviews: What made you want to be a writer?
Cinda Williams Chima: When I was in school, my writing was one of the first things I received positive feedback about. Also, books changed my life.
WR: Most author have a number of books they write before they get published, what was the premise of your first book you wrote before you got published?
CWC: Actually, The Warrior Heir was the first book I finished as an adult. And it eventually got published, after four years of revision. I did write romance novels in junior high school in which I ended up with the cute guy.
WR: How did you develop the idea for The Seven Realms series?
CWM: I had written the first two books of a high fantasy trilogy for adults that I never finished. It was called the Star-Marked Warder, and was set in the Seven Realms. So after I finished The Dragon Heir, I knew I wanted to write more books for teens. I had this entire world created, the culture, the conflict, the characters, a map. And so I took two of the characters back to when they were teens--Han Alister and Raisa ana'Marianna.
WR: What’s your writing process usually like, do you usually outline?
Are you part of a writers group?
CWC: I do not outline. I've tried it, and it doesn't work for me in fiction. Of course, when you write like I do, it requires lots of revision. I do belong to several critique groups. It's really important to get feedback on your work from thoughtful people before it goes to an editor or agent. Also, writing is a lonely business, so it's nice to hang out with friends who understand it.
WR: The first book in the Heir series, The Warrior Heir, reads as if it was a standalone novel, was it originally meant as a standalone novel or did you always know it was going to be part of a series?
CMC: I wrote The Warrior Heir and The Wizard Heir before either was published. I stopped, then, knowing I could have the world's longest unpublished series. I knew that publishers are reluctant to take on a series from an unknown author. Hyperion bought The Warrior Heir as a stand-alone. They bought Wizard when The Warrior Heir did very well. And then I wrote The Dragon Heir. I like doing sequential stand-alones that can be read in any order. However, the story arc of The Seven Realms series goes over the four volumes, so they are not stand- alones.
WR: What’s been one of the weirdest experiences you’ve had since becoming published? Have you gotten any odd gifts from fans?
CWC: No odd gifts. But I do hear from fans who have read my books so many times, they are the ones who find the errors in them. Or ask questions I can't answer.
WR: How did you decide to write from Han and Raisa’s point of view in The Seven Realms series?
CWC: I wanted to feature a strong male and a strong female character. It's also cool to alternate POV because then the reader has more information than either of the protagonists--and that can set up tension.
WR: Of your books who’s your favorite character to write?
CWC: I don't think I can choose. Sometimes a minor character can really take over, though--like Leesha Middleton in the Heir series. She was supposed to be a walk-on in The Warrior Heir and ended up returning for each book. And Cat Tyburn in the Seven Realms series--she's so deliciously tough.
WR: The Exiled Queen ends with a large number of unsolved issues, what can you tell us about the next book in the series and when can we expect the next book in the series to come out?
CWC: The Sword of Hanalea should release in fall of 2011. I'm finishing the line edits on it now. I guess I'd describe it as one crisis after another--a real roller-coaster. The fourth book is called The Gray Wolf Throne, and I'm almost done with a first draft on that.
WR: After reading The Exiled Queen I felt like Hayden Fire Dancer’s character was so intricate and his story so interesting, and yet we don’t get to read nearly enough about him, would you ever consider writing a book from Dancer’s point of view?
CWC: Of course. I love Dancer. I wish I had more time to spend on each character, but the books are long enough, lol
WR: What’s next on the horizon for you? Besides the Heir and Seven Realms series do you have any plans for any other new series you’re working on?
CWC: I'll be writing two more Heir books after the Seven Realms series. And I have an idea for a new series after that, but it's still--um--under development.
WR: Where and when can fans come see you in Austin?
CWC: I'll be at the Texas Bookfest. On Saturday, October 16 I'm participating in a Zombies vs Unicorns Smackdown from 6-7:30 p.m. at the AAMP Building. Sunday October 17 from 11 a.m. to noon I'm on a panel, Portals to Imagined Worlds at the Capitol Extension. Afterwards I'll be signing books at the Authors' Tent. Hope to see some of you there.
WR: And where can other fans hear more about your books?
CWC: Well, The Demon King is now available in paperback, and The Exiled Queen released September 28.
Excerpts from each of my books are available on my website, www.cindachima.com. Help for writers can be found under Tips for Writers, including a document called, “Getting Started in Writing for Teens.”
I blog at http://cindachima.blogspot.com/, where you’ll find rants, posts on the craft of writing, and news about me and my books.