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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

An Interview with Cindy Pon, author of Want

I've been a long-time fan of Cindy Pon - as an author, artist, and genuinely awesome person - so I'm thrilled to welcome her to The Hiding Spot today! Below Cindy talks about the futuristic setting of her novel (which feels all to relevant), setting the novel in Taipei, and so much more!

The premise of Want is terrifying, partially because of the concept, but also because the rift between socioeconomic classes already feels so wide right now. Can you speak about your inspiration for this premise? 
I joke that I needed to rename Want a retro near-future thriller soon. Inspiration wise, I took headlines directly from what's happening in China as far as pollution and how much it affects health (the Chinese in the north have their life expectancies cut by 5+ years due to pollution), and the disparity in wealth is something I see here in our own country, but replicated in other countries as well. Want has the most politically heavy themes of any novel I had written, but I started it back in 2011. So it's been a long time coming, and scary when many readers, including Veronica Roth who kindly blurbed the book, call it "timely".
Want is set in a near-future Taipei. Did you conduct any research to create the setting? 

I did! I took a big mother and daughter trip there (with my mom) in 2013. I'm naturally a very sensory reader, and there's nothing more sensory than going to the place you want to write about. I really wanted to bring Taipei, my birth city, to life for the reader. Many of the places I visited and things I experienced made their way into this book. 
Tell me a little bit about your writing process: Do you outline? Start at the beginning? The middle? The end? 
I've been a pretty linear writer with my last few novels. I am not a true pantser (write by the seat of your pants) in the sense that I go into a novel not knowing anything, but I don't do much planning either. Before I start a novel, I'd like to have at least six or so scenes in my mind, not fully fleshed, but perhaps dialogue or a place, some moment in time. These serve as markers while I write the story. 
Inspiration comes in many forms. Share three people, places, or things that inspire your creativity. 
I draw inspiration from my art. I've been a student of Chinese brush painting for almost two decades. I also draw inspiration from the beauty in nature. Spring is one of my favorite seasons for all the flowers in bloom, despite my allergies. I also draw inspiration from travel!
My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Name a notable book that provided you with a hiding spot. 
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett 
What can readers look forward to next? 
I'm currently working on a sequel to Want! I also have a short story in Ameriie's villains anthology Because You Love to Hate Me, which releases on July 11th!

More About the Book
Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits, protecting them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.

With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.

Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is, or destroying his own heart?
Follow the links below to purchase a copy of Want!


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