Name: Cynthia Hand
2011 Book: UNEARTHLY, HarperCollins, Winter 2011
Book's synopsis: A YA urban fantasy about a 16-year-old girl who is part angel.
Website address: www.cynthiahand.blogspot.com
What made you decide to be a writer? I was always a scribbler. I wrote stories as a child, and my teachers were always telling me I was going to be an author someday, and I believed them. :) Although I didn't fully decide to pursue writing as my profession until a seat-of-the-pants move I made during my senior year in college, where I decided not to be a lawyer but instead get an MFA in Creative Writing. Which I never regretted.
Favorite books/authors? This is like picking my favorite star in the heavens, but I've loved To Kill a Mockingbird fiercely for a long, long time. This year my fave books were The Painted Veil, which was genius, The Host, which was my first Kindle purchase and I didn't put it down for 3 days, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, which had me up all night chewing my nails to see how it ended, and The Hunger Games, which I thought was pulled off just beautifully. In close second: Shiver and Wings.
Morning person or a night owl? Definitely morning person. I like to see the sun rise.
PC or mac? PC
What did you have for dinner today? A macaroni and cheese/chicken/broccoli concoction that I got off the mac n'cheese box. Pretty good. My 2-year-old loved it, which is always a plus.
Quick! Share 11 random things about yourself.
1) When I was a teenager I was a) a ski racer on the Idaho Falls race team, b) a dancer (I had 13 years of ballet and en pointe, tap, and jazz, along with some gymnastics thrown in there, c) a pianist and budding composerd) an actor, as I performed in 2-4 plays in any given year, and e) a fanfic writer--I wrote about Star Wars and SeaQuest (anyone remember Seaquest?!) and Star Trek and Ann McCafferty's dragon series and Vampire Hunter D and Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series and several others--I wrote probably more, in volume, than I do now as a professional writer. In high school I often left for school at 5:30 in the morning and came home around 9 or 10pm. How I had time for homework or eating or anything else is a mystery. I was, in short, a very busy kid.
2) I wore Coke bottle glasses up until I was 13, and my mom braided my hair so tightly it used to nearly pucker my temples, and my teeth were crooked, and I was not Mormon or a farmer in a neighborhood where nearly everyone else was one or the other, or both. In spite of this, I had a fairly happy childhood.
3) I have loved to play video games ever since my brother and I worked fervently to get good grades in order to receive a Nintendo the summer of 1988. The song to Super Mario still makes my heart beat fast. I love arcades, XBox, PC games, Wii, you name it. When I was trying to write my thesis for my MFA I put all my games in a box and sent them to a good but tough friend of mine to keep until I was finished writing. My favorite arcade game of all time is the Star Wars Trilogy, where you actually fight Darth Vader with a light saber. I prefer to think of myself as that cool chick who plays video games rather than an ubergeek, but hey, I say tomAto, you say tomahto. I'm okay with that. I've accepted my inner geek.
4) I wrote much of UNEARTHLY while my avatar in Second Life sat at her desk writing virtually. I even set up her computer to have a page of my novel on it. (Did I mention the geek thing?) Seriously, though, it was a great experience since my writing partner sat at her desk in Second Life a few feet away and worked on her novel, and then at the end of the day, we shared what we'd written. So we got to write together even though we live 2000 miles apart.
5) My roommate in college taught me to crochet, which I get a hankering to do every fall and winter. Now I am learning to knit. I find that I despise purling.
6) I am lactose intolerant but love all things cheesy and creamy-- a terrible paradox.
7) I have a strange fascination/fear of bears. I constantly dream of bears, particularly grizzlies. I have written 2 short stories involving bears and a mess of poems, and, oh yes, a bear appears in my novel. Once I looked up bears in a book that interpreted symbols in dreams. It said that bears are a symbol of mortality. I felt cheated that the meaning would be so obvious.
8) Maybe it's from being raised under a wide-open sky, but I also fear aliens. Not the toothy kind that Sigourney Weaver battles, but the little green men with big slanty eyes. Terrifying. I blame my parents who let me watch Unsolved Mysteries when I was a kid when they did a special on area 51.
9) I can usually name the composer of a movie's score a few bars into the opening credits. It started with (so embarassingly) Robin Hood Prince of Thieves back in the day. I have been collecting scores ever since. My favorite movie composer is Thomas Newman. I have listened to the score of The Horse Whisperer more than any other album on my ipod by a wide margin. It actually lowers my blood pressure.
10) The first day I ever taught a college class I had a fever of 103 and strep throat. I didn't go to the doctor. I thought I was just really nervous.
11) The fantasy version of myself speaks fluent Italian, rides horses, plays the violin and mandolin, and sews her own clothes. She is an amazing writer.