Monday, June 28, 2010

Interview with YA Fantasy author Leah Cypess

This week we're featuring interviews of the amazing authors who are taking part in the prize portion of our competition. Remember, to take part in YA Flash Death Match, all you have to do is follow.

Author Leah Cypess has graciously donated a signed bookmark gift pack for three lucky voters! She's awesome and inspiring so check out her interview out below...

How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

I have confirmation when I was eight-years-old, I told my grandmother I would be an author when I grew up. But I have a feeling I made up my mind even before that.

 Why did you chose to write YA fiction?

I've always liked YA, and the four manuscripts I wrote before Mistwood were always intended to be YA.  Originally, I thought Mistwood was going to be my first attempt at an adult fantasy novel... until some time after I finished it, when I realized there was nothing stopping it from being YA as well.

What is your favorite book?

Only one? Are you kidding me? ;) For now, I'll say The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, and then keep going before I get a chance to change my mind...

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Rattling off the first 5 that come to mind: Megan Whalen Turner, Juliet Marillier, Dave Duncan, Sharon Shinn, Connie Willis.

What inspired Mistwood?

An image in my mind of a supernatural creature being hunted in a misty wood. I have no idea where it came from, but it popped into my mind one night, and I picked up a pen and started writing.

What is the main thing you hope readers will gain from your book?

The main thing is a really enjoyable reading experience -- the kind that makes me close a book with a happy sigh.

Do you have any upcoming books or projects to share?

I'm currently working on the revisions for a companion book to Mistwood... currently scheduled to be published in 2011 (though it does not have a title yet).

Where is your favorite place to write?

The New York City subway. I lived in Brooklyn and worked or went to school in Manhattan for many years, and those long commutes were incredibly productive.

What would you tell other aspiring YA authors?

Well, first I'd direct to them to an awesome article by Jennifer Crusie, which I reread recently and remembered how much I love: Rats with Islands: How to Survive Your Publishing Career. Its basic message is to not give up, but she says it far more eloquently than I could.

And second, I'd add that it's important not to pin all your hopes on a single manuscript, no matter how great it is.  I wrote and submitted four manuscripts before Mistwood.  They all got positive responses -- each one got at least one revision request from an editor, and one went to the acquisitions committee at two different imprints -- but eventually, when each had been rejected by every publisher in existence, I had to move on to the next manuscript. If I had remained focused on my first book, or written sequels instead of completely new books, I never would have gotten an offer for Mistwood.


J. L. Jackson said...

That's great advice!! It's nice to hear someone talk about the publishing experience.

Karly Kirkpatrick said...

I agree, great advice! Thanks for sharing with us, Leah!

Theresa Milstein said...

It's good to hear a published author's path. And it's also good to know that not necessarily the first manuscript that gets published.