Sunday, June 13, 2010

Interview with Cyn Balog

Today's interview is with Cyn Balog, about her newest novel for young adults,

About Sleepless:
Eron DeMarchelle isn't supposed to feel this connection. He is a Sandman, a supernatural being whose purpose is to seduce his human charges to sleep. Though he can communicate with his charges in their dreams, he isn't encouraged to do so. After all, becoming too involved in one human's life could prevent him from helping others get their needed rest.

But he can't deny that he feels something for Julia, a lonely girl with fiery red hair and sad dreams. Just weeks ago, her boyfriend died in a car accident, and Eron can tell that she feels more alone than ever. Eron was human once too, many years ago, and he remembers how it felt to lose the one he loved. In the past, Eron has broken rules to protect Julia, but now, when she seems to need him more than ever, he can't reach her. Eron's time as a Sandman is coming to a close, and his replacement doesn't seem to care about his charges. Worse, Julia is facing dangers she doesn't recognize, and Eron, as he transitions back to being human, may be the only one who can save her. . . .

Even once they've become human again, Sandmen are forbidden to communicate with their charges. But Eron knows he won't be able to forget Julia. Will he risk everything for a chance to be with the girl he loves?

I don't know about you guys, but I'm completely hooked by this concept. I've been hearing about Cyn ever since she debuted, and it's an honor for me to finally get her over here for an interview. Speaking of which...

Hey Cyn, I’m so excited to have you here! Tell us a little about yourself as a writer. Do you outline, or wing it? Do you write daily, or in snatches?

I pretty much wing it up until I get to about the halfway mark in a book, then I go about writing a list of the scenes I need to complete in order to get to "the end." Because I have young children, I usually write whenever I can find the time, which isn't very often. Luckily I write quickly and haven't had to revise much.

When – and why – did you begin writing?

I started writing fiction as soon as I knew how to write. It was even before I understood that there was an actual profession out there of "writer". I just liked reading so much and wanted to create my own stories. I just thought it was something that everyone did. It came so naturally to me, which is probably why I can write so quickly now... I've been doing it forever!

Tell us about getting published. What’s your journey been like?

Even though I got an early start, I gave up on writing in college because I was told the odds were against me. That was really stupid, because by giving up, the odds of being published weren't just against me, they were impossible. Luckily, if you love something you can never truly give it up; if you love it enough it will keep calling to you. And that's what happened. Ten years later I started writing again, and a couple years after that I sold my first book. It wasn't nearly as hard as people made it out to be.

What was your process writing Sleepless? What did you have trouble with, and what inspired you?

I sold SLEEPLESS on a partial, and as a partial it was much darker than FAIRY TALE. When I started writing the last third, I faltered, because the material was SO dark and depressing. I guess dark and angsty is in these days, but my first draft of SLEEPLESS embodied hopelessness; so much so that it was painful to read. I turned it into my editor knowing exactly what she would say. I asked if I could have two months to completely rewrite the entire book, making it lighter and more hopeful. I started from scratch and finished the manuscript in 6 weeks. The thing that inspired me most was that I was very pregnant and wanted to have it done and revised before I had my baby, knowing I would have very little time after the baby was born! And I did it! I conquered preggo-brain, and I'm proud of that.

Tell me one thing I wouldn’t know about Sleepless by reading the blurb.

Eron DeMarchelle, the main character and Sandman, immigrated to the US from Italy in the early 1900's. His background was inspired by the story of my grandfather.

Name one character you liked particularly, and why.

I love Eron because he is the gentlemanly, chivalrous type. And he's a hottie, too.

Here on Headdesk, I have a minor obsession with the rules of writing. Is there any particular rule you write by?

Just write the kind of book that you would want to read. I got flak from faery-lovers for writing FAIRY TALE, which doesn't abide by any faerie lore-- and it's not meant to. I'm not a huge fantasy fan, so I just wrote something that people like myself would enjoy. With SLEEPLESS, I wanted to read a novel about a Sandman who seduces charges to sleep and falls in love with one of them, and since that didn't exist, I decided to write it.

If knew you a teenager who aspired to be a novelist, what would you say to them?

Don't let anyone tell you it isn't possible!!

How have you grown as a writer, and how do you hope to see yourself grow in the future?

My first novels have been largely commercial, and I think in the future I want to focus more on the craft and on good writing and storytelling, instead of just writing the book with the amazing hook.

What’s next for Cyn Balog?

GIMME FEVER, which is coming out in 2011, is about a misfit girl whose boyfriend returns to town after several years away. He's mysteriously become gorgeous and popular, and soon she discovers that his good looks and charm might not be all they appear to be.

Thanks for coming Cyn, and best of luck with Gimme Fever.

Cyn Balog had a massive case of insomnia while writing Sleepless. Her first book, Fairy Tale, debuted June 2009. Cyn Balog lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and daughters. Visit her online at

1 comment:

Solvang Sherrie said...

Great interview! Fairy Tale has been on my reading list. Now Sleepless is too :)

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