In the past, we here at whatchYAreading have sung our love for both Mistwood and Nightspell. So, when the opportunity to be on a blog tour for Leah Cypess was presented to us, we jumped on the opportunity until it was dead.
Luckily we figured out how to resuscitate it and the following interview is the result.
1. Do you plan your novels or do you write by the seat of your pants?
Seat of my pants, in an extreme way. When I start, I never have any idea what’s going to happen. And I’m usually more than halfway in before I figure out how it’s going to end. For me, part of the fun of writing is in that discovery. The one time I tried outlining a novel in advance, by the time I was done with the outline, I had no interest left in writing the book. Also, some of my favorite twists in my books are the ones that occurred to me while I was writing.
2. Your characters have an ageless quality to them. Did you intend to write a YA book when you started?
I thought Mistwood was going to be an adult fantasy novel, but it was too short — only about 70,000 words, and most adult fantasy novels are 100,000 words or more. I wasn’t sure what to do, but then I read Dreamquake by Elizabeth Knox, and it opened my eyes to how incredible the young adult genre had become. Since Mistwood (and later Nightspell) take place in medieval-type worlds, teenagers are functionally adults, so very little about the book had to change to make it “YA.”
3. You write such strong, determined, almost willful heroines. Who are your favorite female leads on other books?
I really love fierce, determined characters. Some of my recent favorite characters are Ai Ling in “Silver Phoenix,” Sin in “The Demon’s Surrender,” Marisa in “What Can’t Wait,” Elisa in “Girl of Fire & Thorns,” and Reveka in “The Princess Curse.” And two old favorites I can’t leave out are Sorcha in “Daughter of the Forest” and Mara in “Mara, Daughter of the Nile.” And… I will force myself to stop now.
4. Ghostland is a fascinating world. How did you balance the eerie and the creepy?
The eerie came naturally to me — or I should say, since I’ve been reading ghost books for a long time, I have a good sense for how that works. As for the creepy… believe it or not, I watched a bunch of episodes of Bones, and described some of the stuff they love to show up close on that show.
5. If you lived in a fantasy Court what would your favourite dress look like?
It would be deep green, simple and flowing, full coverage, with no lace or complicated tie-ups or anything like that.
6. What did you dislike most about being a lawyer?
No problem, it’s not a secret. What I hated most was the constant pressure to bill my time. I was never billing as much as the firm wanted me to, which meant that there was never a minute when I felt justified in not working. I would work on my commute, get home, get on the computer, and try to get in more work before bedtime. For someone who really wanted to be a writer, it was not a good way to live.
7. What is your favourite episode of Veronica Mars and why? (And Gilmore Girls for that matter?)
First of all, this would be my answer for “What is your favorite question you’ve ever been asked?”
I love the Veronica Mars episode where she goes after the Tritons. The scene where she challenges them in song is priceless. As for Gilmore Girls, it’s a tie between the episode where Rory gets hit by a deer and misses a big test, or the episode where the headmaster decides she needs to become more social, and she accidentally joins a secret society. (“Haven’t I told you not to ring bells?” etc.)
8. Please complete the following sentences:
It wouldn’t be Christmas without….
A Christmas tree? I don’t celebrate Christmas, so I don’t really know.
My favourite character I’ve written is…
That’s a tough one, because my favorite character is always the one I’m writing right now. And I can’t talk about her… yet.
The best name I’ve ever come up with for a character/place is…
I honestly don’t know. Naming is not my forte!
The best restaurant I’ve ever eaten is…
Oooh. Very tough call. But I’d have to say a place called “Masiv” in Jerusalem. It’s this greasy falafel joint where they make a laffa stuffed with a lot of things I actually don’t like – chicken, meat, french fries, tehina – and somehow the combination is the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted.
There’s an Indian restaurant in Seattle that’s a close second.
My next main character’s name will be….
See above! Can’t talk about it yet. Because what if I then changed it? How embarrassing would that be?
I was rejected ……times before someone was brilliant enough to pick up Mistwood.
I cannot even count. Suffice it to say that when I signed with my agent, I sent him a chart with my records of all my previous manuscript submissions and rejections. It was about 14 pages long.
The book I am most excited to share with my daughters is ………
Probably one of Diana Wynne Jones’ books!
9. What, if anything, can you tell us about your next project?
That it’s about a sorceress sent to tutor a secret sect of assassins.
Leah was awesome enough to send me some autographed bookmarks from both books and I have one set to give away. If you are interested in winning them, please comment below. Either mentioning what you loved about Mistwood or Nightspell, or if you have not read them, tell us your favourite Court/political fantasy.
Canada/US only and the giveaway will end on December 18th at midnight PST.