Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Cynthia Weil Author Interview

Photo Content from Cynthia Weil

Cynthia Weil is an internationally known lyricist with songs from “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”, the most played song of the twentieth century to the Oscar nominated and double Grammy winning “Somewhere Out There” from the animated film “An American Tail”. Her lyrics have been sung by everyone from Barbara Streisand to Dolly Parton to Kanye West. and she is currently featured as a character in “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. She has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in addition to multiple Grammy nominations has two Grammy awards. It is only fitting, then, that 806 has a teen songwriter as its main character.

Cynthia resides in Los Angeles with her husband and songwriting partner, Barry Mann, and dog Callie. When not writing lyrics, you can find Cynthia fighting for animal rights, supporting young artists, or crafting her next book filled with music, dynamic relationships, and discovery.


You and your husband, Barry Mann, have co-written numerous award-winning, iconic hit songs together, including “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling,” “On Broadway,” and so many more. Will you please share a little about how you first got started in the music industry.
My husband and I got together at Aldon Music, a now legendary music publishing company. I was writing with a singer/songwriter, Teddy Randazzo, when Barry came up to play a song for him. I saw him and it was all over for me. I asked the assistant at the front desk if she knew if he had a girlfriend. She told me he was signed to Don Kirshner’s Aldon Music and Don was a friend of hers. She asked if I wanted her to call Don to set up a meeting to show him my lyrics and maybe he’d put us together to work. She set it up and Don put me together with (da da!) Carole King, it was the beginning of our friendship which continues until this day. And I hung around the office until Barry noticed me.

Your new young adult novel, 806: A Novel, is the story of three very different teens—a songwriter/musician, a golden boy jock, and a magic-obsessed nerd with very sensitive allergies, who are forced by circumstances to band together to find their mutual sperm donor father. Are any of the characters based on yourself or people you’ve known?
None of them are based on me but, of course, KT as a teen songwriter is the closest to me. I often turned to writing to comfort me when I was a teen. I created them from my imagination because that’s what writers do, however I often think that the search for a father is a part of me because my father killed himself when I was 9.

In general, what inspires your writing/where do you get your ideas?
I often got lyrical ideas from my life and my friends’ lives or something I have read about. I am a voracious reader. I am always inspired by other writers even as a lyricist. As a lyricist I always think “could I have written that?”

You’re an award-winning songwriter, who has also written books for children/young adults—Rockin’ Babies, I’m Glad I Did, and your newest: 806: A Novel—have you been writing fiction in addition to your lyrics throughout your career, or is this a recent progression?
I began writing fiction when I stopped writing lyrics. I had sent 806 to Soho Teen not knowing they were a mystery imprint and they got in touch with me saying they loved the voice of 806 and would like me to write a manuscript set in the Brill Building in the 60s with a murder in it. So I wrote I’m Glad I Did for them and put 806 in a drawer until Peggy (Tanglewood Publishing) contacted me. I think I had sent it to her before I contacted Soho Teen and she told me she was interested in it.

Behind every story there’s a story…what was your inspiration behind writing 806: A Novel?
My inspiration was seeing a sperm donor Dad who had been reunited with multiple kids of his on a morning show. Everybody loved everybody and I wondered what would have happened if it all hadn’t gone so well. The scene takes place in the book when KT remembers the same incident and it inspires her to post on the website based on Donor Sibling Registry (DonorSiblingRegistry.com).

Sibling 1 throws blenders and plays guitar. Sibling 2 is allergic to everything and is into magic. Sibling 3 is a varsity swimmer with a group of female fans. Enough said. The only thing they have in common is their biological father, and the only thing they can agree on is that they all want to meet him. With the help of a broken-down, “borrowed” Jeep, KT, Jesse, and Gabe make their way across the country evading police, trying their luck on the slots, and meeting a life-changing pig, all to track down Donor 806, their father. Any hope of success requires smarts, luck, and ingenuity. Good thing they have each other...even if they don't see it that way.

Praise for 806: A NOVEL

With a theatrical flair for comedy and drama, songwriter Weil (I’m Glad I Did) offers an improbable but hilarious road trip story about three St. Louis teens seeking out their shared sperm-donor father. When the three meet in person, rock-band guitarist Katie “KT” Lambert, who narrates, is disappointed to learn that she’s related to two of her least appealing classmates: “dumb jock” Jesse and “bookwormy nerd” Gabe. Nonetheless, she agrees to join them on a spur-of-the-moment trip west to find their father. Thus begins a series of misadventures and mixed-up identities that has the threesome traveling on highways and back roads to a tattoo artist’s mountaintop retreat, a celebrity golf tournament, and a rock star’s mansion. Fortune and misfortune are painted with broad, colorful strokes, and readers will enjoy predicting how the outrageous adventure will end. Although the protagonists appear stereotypical at first, their family backgrounds and other problems add depth to their characterizations. Besides learning to accept their differences, KT, Jesse, and Gabe come to appreciate what they have left behind. Ages 13–up. Publishers Weekly

Their adventure is filled with humorous moments: running from police, meeting a mystic in the desert, sneaking into a celebrity golf tournament. These moments balance out the weightier content of the plot. [T]he book is wonderful and relatable for kids who may not have grown up in traditional biological families. This lovely story reminds readers that other people, no matter how different they may seem, often share the same hopes and fears, and knowing that makes everything a little less lonely. Foreword Reviews

You can purchase 806: A Novel at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you CYNTHIA WEIL for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of 806: A Novel by Cynthia Weil.


  1. Meeting my best friend on the very first day of school is unforgettable.

  2. When our marching band became the first to win a big contest two years in a row.

  3. "Unforgettable memory from your high school years." I had an unforgettable memory, but I've forgotten it!