When Charlie Green, a seventeen-year-old self-proclaimed coffee addict, witnesses an angel fall onto his front lawn, he believes his adventure-less summer might just turn around. Nearly emotionless and completely out of touch with humanity, Tane is every bit the heavenly piece of excitement Charlie has been waiting for. being chased by mutated cannibals, talking to alligators, falling in love, and breaking a patient out of an insane asylum were definitely not on his to-do list.
Tane is a Listener from Fismuth; a dark and fantastic place of hierarchy, monsters, and heavenly beings. Chosen by her leaders and taken out of training, she is sent to Earth to find a Septar—a lost soul left behind long ago. the only problem? Tane has no idea who or where the Septar is. But Tane treads dangerous ground when she enlists the help of Charlie and his friends, inadvertently dragging them all into a world of untold beauty and fatal corruption. on a journey rife with prophecies, and from a land built on blood, Tane discovers the true meaning of humanity as she fights to get back home before she loses her abilities forever.
INTERVIEWI’d like to introduce my next Young Adult Fiction Author, Ms. Cydney Lawson to the blog!
SK: How did you come up with the title of your latest novel?
CL: With a lot of help from other writers and friends. the title went from one end of the spectrum to the other. Originally, the title was settled at ‘Black Coffee and Tattered Wings’. A valued critic—my cousin—told me that it sounded like a soap opera. so I moved on to something that encompassed the plot of the book and the general mood: Wingless. I finally felt like I’d found the perfect title.
SK: What could you tell us about your childhood experiences as a writer?
CL: My family has a long-running joke that I was reading before I could walk and writing before I could speak. when I was around three years old, my grandfather would sit down at our old computer and it would be my job to create my own bed-time stories. Step one: pick out Clip Art. Step two: make up the story. Step three: print it out and tack it on the wall. of course, we all outgrow bedtime stories, so I started writing what I thought to be real chapter books in journals (which I have conveniently misplaced). it wasn’t long after that that I would either be reading something or writing something. I adored it.
SK: What were you like as a teenager? Were you a writer then? Is your main character anything like you were as a teen?
CL: Technically, I’m still a teenager (nineteen), but when I was a bit younger, I was still a writer. Once my interest in literature started in my kiddy years, it never stopped. I loved English class in middle school and high school. I joined the Creative Writing Club later on. I submitted countless pieces to my school’s literary magazine. anything that I could get involved in without looking overeager, I signed up for. Okay, even if I did look overeager.
As for my characters, I have two main protagonists: Tane and Charlie. I think Tane is more of a combination of the girls I used to hate and the girls I used to want to be like. She’s aloof, blunt, inquisitive, brave, level-headed, and pretty arrogant. She ends up being the reluctant hero in almost every scenario. She is who the reader could still end up hating. We couldn’t be more different.
Charlie, on the other hand is definitely more relatable to me. he is very much the average Joe who is kind of wading through life with no real sense of direction or specific interest. he dabbles in a bit of everything, has a few close friends, a family secret or two, and an all-around normal life. He’s talkative, impulsive, curious, sarcastic, and awkward at times, but I feel that I was exactly like that a couple of years ago.
SK: Could you tell us a bit about your path to publication?
CL: My path to publication was a pretty straightforward one. I wrote book upon book upon book and would sometimes put them up on public critiquing websites and always got good feedback, but never really thought about publishing. I was sixteen and too young to know my own style, or to have any real confidence in my own writing. it is very possible that all of my work would have stayed in boxes in storage if a very close friend of mine had practically pushed me into at least looking into self-publishing.
After writing Wingless, I felt like it was the first novel that I’d written that I believed in, and that I wanted to share with people. However, the problem with self-publishing is that you’re doing it all yourself. All of the copy-editing, formatting, cover-making, everything. it was a lot of work, but I finally felt like I was doing rewarding work which was an amazing feeling.
SK: What were/are your fears about releasing your first book?
CL: Honestly, I worry every day that I bit off more than I can chew. As Wingless is the first in a trilogy, I’m scared that I won’t meet the appropriate deadlines, that the first book won’t get enough publicity to even qualify for a second book, that the second won’t be as good as the first, that the second will be way better than the first and put pressure on for the third. Basically, I worry that my mouth wrote a check that another specific body part of mine can’t cash.
SK: Young Adult fiction is an extremely large genre with various sub-genres, where does your novel fit in (urban fantasy, historical, paranormal, etc.)?
CL: Oh my Gandhi, the YA rainbow is full of so many beautiful sub-genre colors! I ask myself this question a lot actually. I would say it’s an urban fantasy, taking place in both suburbia and a dystopian version of heaven.
SK: How long did it take you to finish writing your novel?
CL: I find that question so hard to answer with this novel. it was an off and on project for a very long time, started back in 2009. I felt like it wasn’t going in the direction I wanted it to go, like it was more of just telling a story instead of carrying the meaning that I try to put in all of my writing now. Also, I didn’t feel emotionally attached to the characters so I did a re-vamp, focused on some other things for a while and eventually returned with a vengeance and a message. everything fell into place in just a few months of working on it.
SK: What is your favorite type of hero?
CL: I would say that without a doubt, Tane is my favorite kind of hero. the kind of hero who is told that they are weak and unworthy but who proves to be brave and strong. someone who has to learn about themselves on their way to fulfill their goal. someone who may not be the best person at first but goes through a genuine change and makes genuine personal connections throughout the book. oh, yeah, she has to be able to kick ass, too.
SK: Where did you get the ideas/inspiration of writing YA books?
CL: It was kind of a gradual ascension as I aged. when I was four I wrote bedtime stories. when I was twelve I wrote middle grade. when I was seventeen I wrote young adult. I think I’ve settled into young adult the best so far because it’s such a wide spectrum of possibilities.
As for inspiration, I get a lot of my inspiration from people watching. An interaction can set off a scene in my head. In this case, I don’t remember what exactly set it off but the scene that plagued my brain for a few weeks before I actual sat down to write it was a girl naked except for a crimson sash, falling from the sky and confronting a boy as she landed on his lawn.
SK: What is your favorite YA book you have read so far?
CL: It’s honestly a tie. my two favorite young adult books are the Perks of being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. Perks was such a touching, insightful, realistic, emotional read, and it made me feel understood while still remembering to keep me entertained. Shiver on the other hand, was the first book to make me cry and so it’s stayed in my top five just for that reason. But it became tied for first when I paid attention to Maggie’s unique writing style and amazing little details that set it apart from every other book: using temperature to identify each other, the blue font, etc.
SK: Any last thoughts for our readers?
CL: You’re never too young to make your own dreams come true.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cydney Lawson is a sophomore at Auburn University. She
writes constantly and finds herself more often than not in
the middle of a book: whether she is reading it or writing it
depends on the day. As her first self-published work,
Wingless has a special place in her heart among the plethora
of nameless novels that remain tucked away in notebooks.
When she’s not writing, she could be doing anything from making youtube videos to arts and crafts to
singing in the shower. Obviously, the scatter-brained author hasn’t settled yet.
Check Cydney Out Online:
YOUTUBE BOOK VLOG