Book Nerd Interview
New York Times bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima comes from a long line of fortune-tellers, musicians and spinners of tales. She began writing romance novels in middle school, which were often confiscated by her teachers.
The Warrior Heir was named to Voya’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2005-2006, is a 2006 Booksense Summer Reading Pick, was named to the 2007-2008 Lone Star Reading List, and was a finalist for the 2006 Great Lakes Book Award. Warrior Heir received a starred review in the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books and a “Perfect Ten” (5Q, 5P) in Voya. The Wizard Heir also received a “Perfect Ten” from Voya and appears on Voya's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2007. The Dragon Heir received a starred review in Kirkus, was named to Kirkus's Best YA 2008 list, was a VOYA Perfect Ten, and is a USA Today, Indie Next, and NYT bestseller.
Chima's Seven Realms series launched with The Demon King in October, 2009.It received a starred review in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, was a Voya Perfect Ten and was named to the 2009 Voya Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror List. The Exiled Queen followed in September, 2010. It received a starred review from Kirkus, was a Voya Perfect Ten, and a New York Times bestseller. The Gray Wolf Throne follows in September, 2011.
Chima is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the University of Akron. Chima is an active member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. She has been a workshop leader, panelist, and speaker at writing conferences, including the Northern Ohio SCBWI Conference, the Western Reserve Writers’ Conference, and the World Fantasy Convention. She frequently speaks to young writers and readers at schools and libraries nationwide.
Chima lives in Ohio with her family, and is always working on her next novel.
What was your first introduction to YA literature, the one that made you choose that genre to write?
When I was a teen, there was very little lit written specifically for us. My first real exposure to YA literature came when my sons were teens. (We kept reading to them long after they were able to read themselves.) I enjoyed sharing those books so much, I thought it would be cool to write something they would enjoy reading.
What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I have an evil twin named Linda. Her words, not mine.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I began writing poems and stories in third grade. I wrote my first novels in junior high school, when I was 14 years old. I guess you would describe them as romances.
What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
Critical thinking. My first college degree is in philosophy. Not much vocational outlet, but a great way to prepare for life.
Did you learn anything from writing The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms #4) and what was it?
How to deal with a 23-page revision letter. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned through revision is that I can make major changes in plot, character, voice—and it doesn’t break the book.
Which character have you enjoyed getting to know the most over the course of writing Seven Realms Series?
I probably had the most trouble with Micah Bayar. I love antagonists, and I wanted readers to understand him and even empathize with him. But I kept getting “I hate him!” So I knew I wasn’t doing my job as a writer. In The Crimson Crown I wrote a chapter from his POV. The feedback I’ve received was that it worked.
For those who are unfamiliar with Raisa ana’Marianna, how would you introduce her?
My relationship with Raisa and Han was interesting because I already knew them very wel when I began to write. They were adult characters in a high fantasy series I wrote for adults that hasn’t been published. So it was fun to think about how these characters would have been at 16 and 17.
Raisa has good instincts. Even at 16, she would be a better queen than her mother, and it’s frustrating for her to stand by and see her inheritance crumbling. In The Demon King, she comes off as willful and a little spoiled, but, hello—princess?
What part of Raisa did you enjoy writing the most?
It was great having the space of four books in which to develop her character arc—from a rather naïve, sheltered princess to a skilled navigator at court.
If you could introduce Han to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I think Han and Leesha Middleton from the Heir Chronicles would get on well. They would understand each other.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Can I change that from mentor to influence? Because mentorship suggests a relationship. For the Seven Realms, I would have to say I was influenced by George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones, et al.) I loved what he did with character—the fact that nobody was totally black or white. Each character had his own journey.
How many books have you written?
Eleven or twelve, going back to junior high. The Crimson Crown is my seventh published book, and I’m finishing revisions on the first of two Heir Chronicles books.
You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Um. Keep reading?
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
Does this make me look fat?
Who was your first boyfriend?
Bill Seiler. He had an orange Mustang convertible. Years after we broke up, I’d find myself looking for that car.
What's the worst summer job you've ever had?
I really had only one summer job—that lasted for years. When I was sixteen, I began working in advertising at the Akron Beacon Journal. I would take ad copy over the phone, eventually moving on to editing advertising copy. I worked my way through college there. By the time I left, I had great spelling skills and was a lightning-fast keyboarder. Great prep for a writer.
When was the last time you cried?
I think I was watching the news.
Where can readers stalk you?
My website is www.cindachima.com; I tweet @cindachima, and my official facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/CindaWilliamsChima
A thousand years ago, two young lovers were betrayed—Alger Waterlow to his death, and Hanalea, Queen of the Fells, to a life without love.
Now, once again, the Queendom of the Fells seems likely to shatter apart. For young queen Raisa ana’Marianna, maintaining peace even within her own castle walls is nearly impossible; tension between wizards and Clan has reached a fevered pitch. With surrounding kingdoms seeking to prey on the Fells’ inner turmoil, Raisa’s best hope is to unite her people against a common enemy. But that enemy might be the person with whom she's falling in love.
Through a complicated web of lies and unholy alliances, former streetlord Han Alister has become a member of the Wizard Council of the Fells. Navigating the cut-throat world of blue blood politics has never been more dangerous, and Han seems to inspire hostility among Clan and wizards alike. His only ally is the queen, and despite the perils involved, Han finds it impossible to ignore his feelings for Raisa. Before long, Han finds himself in possession of a secret believed to be lost to history, a discovery powerful enough to unite the people of the Fells. But will the secret die with him before he can use it?
A simple, devastating truth concealed by a thousand-year-old lie at last comes to light in this stunning conclusion to the Seven Realms series.
The Seven Realms is one of those series that has the potential to keep going and continue to inspire readers for years. However, all good things must come to an end. Author Cinda surely knew how to close such a grand story. The series have been a great contributor of many hours of enjoyment and it’s quite shocking that it is finally over. Although it is hard to let go of things you enjoy, I am thoroughly satisfied in all aspects. The creative ways that Cinda is able to capture such a wonderful world filled with unforgettable characters are untouched. She is a master when it comes to telling this kind of fantasy tale of unbelievably twisted coil of political affairs. The Crimson Crown is a satisfyingly and perfect way to say goodbye to some of the most memorable characters to ever live within the pages of a book.
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