Author Interview: Cindy R. Wilson About 'Paper Girl'


( A bit of a cliché) What do you love most about writing?
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Writing gives me a chance to be someone I’m not and go places I might not ever go—including back in time. It’s like being a kid again, with my imagination running wild and the world at my fingertips (kind of cliché, too, but it’s true!)
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Paper Girl has quite a few themes that are serious current issues that people don’t really take notice of (eg. anxiety, family neglect etc…). Why did you choose to write about these topics?
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A few of these topics are very close to me because I’ve experienced them (or am still experiencing them) in my own life. I honestly wrote this book to bring to light some of these issues that I’m dealing with as my own way of coping and taking steps to move on. When I learned it was going to be published, I knew I’d also found a chance to reach out to other people who are dealing with these issues to show them that despite hardships, there’s still hope.
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Do you ever reread your own work, just for fun?
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Yes! I have files of old stories, even half-finished ones that I peek at all the time. I love revisiting characters and falling in love with them again.
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Do you agree with some of the public that the book dies when it is turned into a movie. Why?
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Tough question! I probably would have years ago. But now? I’ve actually seen a few movies lately where I’ve also read the book but enjoyed the movie so much more. The new interpretation of it hits me in a different way and gives me a different perspective. If not for the movies, these stories might not have connected with the readers in book form, so I think it’s a great additional chance for stories to get out there and entertain or resonate with other people.
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If you could have an extravagant bookish-themed lunch with any book character or author (alive or dead) who would it be, what would you want to talk about and why?
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Oh, wow! You know how wonky my bookish themed party would be? I’d want all these strong female authors who turned stereotypes and ideals on their heads (even if it wasn’t received well). I’d have Jane Austen sitting next to E. L. James and Agatha Christie or Stephenie Meyer or a mix like that and we’d all have cake, of course, and I’m picturing a whole mad hatter thing. But really, I just want to know what drove them to write what they wrote and what projects they were (or still are) passionate about.
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Anyone who has ever tried to write a story, even just for English class in High School, knows that it isn’t always easy. How did you persevere?
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I make my characters my family. I live and breathe their stories, so even if I’m having a hard writing day, I still can’t stop telling their story.
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Do you fangirl, and if so, what fandoms are you never going to abandon?
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Oooh. Anything L. J. Smith for sure. I read the Vampire Diaries series when I was a kid before the show even came out and since then I’m pro-vampire everything. I love the show! And Supernatural, of course. Don’t tell, but I have a secret Tumblr account I share with my daughter where we write One Shots and Imagines about Supernatural all the time. Go Dean!
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Can you please tell readers a little bit about your writing journey? The highs, lows, etc.
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My writing journey has been long with a lot of bumps and celebrations along the way. I started writing my first book the day before I turned thirteen. When I finished it (I was fifteen at the time), I knew writing was for me. So I wrote and wrote and knew nothing about the publishing industry, sending out my first query letter to an agent when I was nineteen, I think. I was naïve and I thought it was as simple as telling a good story. Not so much. I got several rejections on stories I wrote (everything from sci-fi to romance) so I buckled down, focused on adult romance and found critique partners, got nominated for (and won) several awards, talked with a few agents and was on the verge of signing with one. Then she got sick and ended up taking a break from agenting for a bit. And it was, honestly, the best thing that could have happened. I knew I wasn’t writing what I was passionate about. So the next day, I went to the library, checked out a ton of young adult novels and started learning more. I’d written YA in the past, but at the time it was changing and there was a lot more out there to read. It was also getting more competitive. There were some amazing stories out there that reached deep into my soul and I knew writing YA fiction could and would open up a whole new world to me. Not only that, it’s just as deep and inspirational as adult fiction, and I wanted to write it! It was kind of like starting over again. I wrote several novels, submitted a few to agents, learned, and then went at it again. I found new CP’s who knew their YA and joined Twitter as well as other online communities who lived and breathe YA. I also started entering contest to learn more and get feedback. My first book under contract (not PAPER GIRL, but another one coming out soon) was found through a pitching contest on Twitter. I was offered a contract on that and signed with my agent within about two weeks of each other. My publisher offered a contract on two others within the next few months (one of those is PAPER GIRL) and things have been moving forward since then.
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Bit of a cliché, but what is the best advice you have ever been given about writing and everything that comes with it?
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Read. Really, it’s that simple. Read everything you can get your hands on. Read in your genre, read out of it. Read things you don’t normally read. Read it all. Not only will you get inspired to write more, but you’ll learn about writing. You’ll learn how to structure a book. You’ll learn what you like to see in characters and what you don’t. You’ll learn how to start and end scenes and chapters. And the best part about it all? It’s in the name of learning. Learning the craft is your job. So when people get frustrated when you read so much, just tell them it’s for work 😊
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What is your favourite book and why?
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It changes practically every minute. It depends on what mood I’m in, but some of my past favorites are The Kite Runner, A Thousand Pieces of You, Eleanor and Park, and The Sky is Everywhere. All of these books made me feel deeply, moved me to tears, and that kind of storytelling is a thrill and a pleasure to experience.
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