Frequently Asked Questions
Note: Questions about writing, publishing, and the like are answered on my Writing Resources page.
Questions About Movies
Questions About the Seven Realms Series
Questions About the Heir Chronicles
Questions About Me
Questions about Writing (craft)
Questions For your Book Report
Questions About Movies
Is there going to be an Heir Chronicles or Seven Realms movie?
All of my books are being shopped for film, and we've had some inquiries, but no viable offers. If a film deal is made, trust me, you will hear about it on this page, on my blog, everywhere!
I always caution readers: when it comes to film, be careful what you wish for. Writers and readers are partners in story, and so when a book comes to the screen, it doesn't always match the reader's vision. It seems like the more you love a book, the more likely you are to be disappointed in the movie.
If a film is made, can I be in it?
If a film is made, it's unlikely I'll be the one to decide on the cast. Which is a good thing, because I'm woefully ignorant of possible candidates. When it comes to things other than writing novels, I tend to defer to the experts.
Questions About the Seven Realms Series
What is the Seven Realms series about?
The Seven Realms series is high fantasy, set in the queendom of the Fells. Han Alister, a thief-turned-wizard joins forces with Princess Raisa ana'Marianna to defend her right to the Gray Wolf Throne. There will be four books in the Seven Realms series. The titles, in order, are The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Gray Wolf Throne, and The Crimson Crown.
Where did you get the idea for the Seven Realms series?
Ideas for novels come from multiple sources - the influence of other writers, the accumulated experiences of the author, and so on. I have always loved high fantasy, beginning with The Lord of the Rings, continuing with Mary Stewart's Hollow Hills series and Marion Zimmer Bradley's Arthurian stories, David Eddings's Polgara series, Mercedes Lackey, and George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire.
The Seven Realms series is set in a world that I created for The Star-Marked Warder, an adult high fantasy series that I never finished. I began writing SMW while I was shopping The Warrior Heir. I'd recently read Martin's first three books in SOIF, and I was especially impressed with what he did with character. I wanted to create characters that would seize hold of the reader and not let go.
While I was in the middle of writing SMW, The Warrior Heir sold, and I abandoned SMW and began writing and revising The Wizard Heir and The Dragon Heir. After finishing The Dragon Heir, I knew I wanted to return to high fantasy, but write it for teens. So I took some of the characters from SMW back to when they were teenagers - and that's how it all began.
I've always had an affinity for thieves - characters who live at the edge of darkness. They have such interesting choices to make.
How many books will there be in the Seven Realms series?
There will be four books in the current series: The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Gray Wolf Throne, and The Crimson Crown.
I love the thieves' slang that Han and his friends use. Where does that come from? Did you just make it up?
For the thieves' slang, I relied heavily on several dictionaries of 18th and 19th century British thieves' slang. Here is one that is available online: http://pascalbonenfant.com/18c/cant/
Questions About the Heir Chronicles
What are the Heir Chronicles about?
The Heir Chronicles are contemporary fantasy, set in Ohio. The first three books relate to the struggle of the lesser magical guilds (The Warrior Guild, The Sorcerer Guild, the Seer Guild, and the Enchanter Guild) to free themselves from the dominion of the powerful Wizard Guild.
As the series opens, a high school boy discovers he is among the last of a race of gifted warriors. He's been hidden in a small town, but now he's being hunted by wizards to compete in a tournament to the death.
Where did you get the idea for the Heir Chronicles?
I began writing what became The Warrior Heir when my sons were 13 and 16. Their experiences in middle school and high school took me right back there. All I have to do is walk into a school gym, breathe in the stink of sweat and terror, and I'm 15 years old again.
My sons both enjoyed reading fantasy, and I did, too. Harry Potter had come out, and, of course, was doing very well. Although HP was contemporary, there was a medieval feel to it. I wanted to write a story that could take place at Strongsville High School, where my sons attended. I wanted to write a contemporary American fantasy. And so I did.
How many books will there be in the Heir Chronicles?
The first trio consists of The Warrior Heir, The Wizard Heir, and The Dragon Heir. I am under contract to write two more books in the Heir series, likely The Sorcerer Heir and The Enchanter Heir.
What will the new Heir books be about? Will the same characters be in there?
I plan to follow the pattern I've used so far - my cast will include both familiar characters and new viewpoint characters. The action begins shortly after the ending of The Dragon Heir. I'm putting a new twist into the struggle between wizards and the Anawizard Weir, digging up the bones of a secret that's been hidden for decades. Possible tagline: Peace just doesn't work for some people.
When will the next Heir Chronicles book come out?
It will be after I finish the four Seven Realms books. The Crimson Crown should be released in fall, 2012. So if all goes well, the first new Heir book will come out in fall, 2013.
Where do your magical words come from?
Many of the magical words in the Heir Chronicles come from Old English. There are English/Old English dictionaries online. For example, in The Dragon Heir, ælf æling used for a drug used to enhance wizard performance, also known as mind-burner. In Old English, æling means burning, burning of the mind or ardor; ælf means elf, sprite, fairy, or goblin.
How could you kill off my favorite character?
I've received so many comments about this topic, I actually blogged about it here. http://cindachima.blogspot.com/2008/11/killing-off-significant-characters.html. Beware--there are spoilers in it for The Dragon Heir.
Questions About Me
Why does it take so long between books?
I have been where you are - waiting for the next book in a series to come out. I think it's been especially hard with the Seven Realms series because it is a true tetralogy - one story line over four books. The Heir Chronicles is more of a series of stand-alones - The Warrior Heir and The Wizard Heir can each stand alone.
The fact is, with novels of the kind and size I write, a book a year is an industry standard. Trust me, at this pace, I'm always working on more than one book at a time - revising one and writing the first draft of another. I've published a book a year since 2006, and until three years ago I was working full time at a day job, too! Plus neglecting my family.
But you said that Book #4 is already written! Why can't I have it now?
I'm thrilled that you are eager to read it - thank you! But I want to make sure that it's as good as it can possibly be when it comes to you. The writing of the book is just the beginning. Then other folk take a hand. The awesome Carrie Ryan has posted a blog on what goes on behind the scenes in the publishing process that says it better than I possibly could. http://carrie-me.blogspot.com/2010/05/whats-taking-so-long-i-want-your-third.html
I have a great idea for your next book! Shall I email it to you?
Please don't. I'm sure it's a great idea - for you to write! I've never been the kind of writer who can write fiction to order. I can't imagine writing to someone else's outline - it's like forcing my feet into someone else's shoes. Besides, I have so many ideas of my own that I'll never live long enough to write them all. New ones coming along all the time. I wish I could write faster.
Don't be discouraged. The fact that you are extending my stories and following my characters around tells me that you're thinking like a writer. What if? What if? What if? That's how it starts. That's what I used to do with my favorite books, movies, and TV shows. It's great mental exercise for a writer (and a source of some great fan fiction, I'm sure!) Eventually you will be able to put the parts together in your own stories.
All right, then, how do you feel about fan fiction? Fan art? Fan vid? Fan anything?
I support non-commercial fanwork - it's a great way to exercise your writing muscles. Many contemporary writers began this way. I wish there had been such a vibrant fanfiction community when I was coming up. Though I'm unable to read it, there's a huge community out there that will.
Where do you live?
I live in a suburb of Cleveland, Oh.
How do I get you to come to my town?
I'd LOVE to come to your town - really, I would. I love to meet readers. But even an author who is lucky enough to be sent on tour doesn't generally decide where she goes. My publicist will usually ask if I have any suggestions. If I've been hearing a lot from, say, Denver, I will mention it. Beyond that, bookstores fill out request forms for authors they would like to host. Publicists quickly get to know which bookstores, libraries, and schools host awesome events that bring a great turnout. They will also look at the size of the market, what book sales are like there, transportation costs, etc.
For efficiency and cost reasons, my tours will often focus on one region of the country, and we try to switch around. Finally, if I'm aware of an event that would be the perfect place to showcase my book, I will mention it. For example, this year I'm going to Dragon*Con, The World Fantasy Con, and several bookfests.
Is there anything you can do to make it more likely an author will come to your town? Well, first, move to a major market. JK. Tell the author, of course. Also let her know if you know of an awesome venue in your town, such as Decatur Bookfest. Get to know bookstore owners and librarians. Ask if they ever host author visits. I have had visits happen just because of that.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
I read a wide variety of authors, fiction and nonfiction. Some I like include Alice Hoffman, Anita Shreve, Barbara Kingsolver, Anna Quindlen, Sara Donati, Charles Frazier, Tad Williams, George R.R. Martin, Jean Auel, Diana Gabaldon, Tracy Chevalier, Catherine Gildiner.
Some young adult books I enjoy include works by Jonathan Stroud, Tamora Pierce, Kristin Cashore, Suzanne Collins, Megan Whalen Turner, J.K. Rowling, Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, and John Green - plus many others. There are so many good books out there right now.
What is your family like?
I have a husband who is a scientist and two grown sons.
Were you a good student in school?
Not early on. I was dreamy and not really with the program. The stories in my head distracted me from what was going on in the classroom. I suspect I may be undiagnosed ADD. When my teacher suggested I repeat first grade, my mother talked her out of it. I have a twin sister and she didn't want me to have to explain it all my life.
I began reading fluently in third grade. I began writing almost simultaneously - poetry and stories. After that I kind of bloomed. My grades got better and better through college. Reading changed my life.
What did you read when you were a teen?
First off, anything about animals. My mother read the Beatrice and Ramona books to me. I burned through the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books; my parents had a friend with shelves and shelves of them. I just kind of moved into grownup books then. There weren't so many books aimed at teenagers in those days.
Why do you write fantasy?
Even though I was a scientific person in my day job, I've always been interested in magic. When I was a kid, I was sure I could figure out how to fly. My mother's family came from southern Ohio, and they told magical stories involving witches and strangers at the door.
My grandmother had what they call the “second sight.” She used to tell fortunes with cards. Whenever we would go over to her house, we would beg, “Tell our fortunes, Grandma!” She said when we got older she would buy a trailer and we would travel around the country, telling fortunes and playing our guitars.
I've always loved reading fantasy - though I read other genres as well. The element of magic provides more options when it comes to conflict - which is what stories are made of. I've always been fascinated by the notion of power - and the fact that some people have more of it than others.
Could you email me to remind me when your next book is coming out?
Could you email to let me know when you're coming to my town?
No, but you can sign up below receive occasional
e-mails about book releases, signings, and events.