1. What made you decide to become an author?
I was writing "books" from the time I was very young, even before I fully realized it was a profession. I fully intended to go into writing when I graduated high school but I was told by some "wise elders" that writers made no money, and I'd be homeless, and I'd never get into heaven if I became a writer. And, fool that I was, I listened to them. About ten years later, unable to deny the urge to write any longer, I started writing again. And realized those "wise elders" are not so wise because I got my first contract only a few years later.
2. How did you come up with the idea for Sleepless?
I was driving home from work with my daughter in the backseat and we were listening to I'm a Little Teapot for the 4 thousandth time and it just suddenly popped into my mind that I should write about a sandman. I could imagine him sitting outside a girl's bedroom, preparing to seduce her to sleep, but unable to actually be with her in the way he wants. She doesn't know he exists.
3. Did you base any of the characters in the novel on real people?
Yes, Eron is based on my grandfather, or how I imagined he was as a young person. His history was based on my grandfather's history. My grandfather immigrated to the US from Italy when he was just a child and his mother was part of a forced marriage to a man who already had a number of children. His new family never really accepted him.
4. What would you consider to be the best thing about writing YA lit?
I tried writing for adults, and there is no comparison... it is just more interesting writing for teens. The teen years are filled with so much drama, so many firsts. Adulthood and maturity are overrated and boring! Plus, teen fans are so awesome. They really get into what they read-- they're so passionate! I've gotten so many emails from people who told me they bawled at the end of my book or that they absolutely need to know what happened after the last page, or even that they hate me for ending my book that way. But the best thing is that they're so into it. Adults don't have that enthusiasm or passion.
5. What do you think is the most important thing budding writers should know?
Most importantly, never give up.
6. In Sleepless, Eron is a Sandman who lures people into sleep and can communicate with them in their dreams. What is the weirdest, wildest, most far-fetched dream you've ever had?
I have a lot of weird dreams, which must go along with being a writer, but I always forget them. The one with Batman and Robin stirring a big pot of body parts and singing Goobledy Goobledy Goo was really strange.
7. What book can you read over and over again, and still never get tired of it?
THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD by Agatha Christie is SO NEAT. Every time I read it I catch something new. I am a huge Agatha Christie fan.
8. What of who are your biggest inspirations?
Chocolate and Caramel. And my kids. They inspire me to write so that I can keep paying my mortgage so they can keep living in our house!
9. 5 things you can't live without.
My family. Books. Writing. Chocolate. Caramel.
10. You wake up one day and find that you've won ten million dollars in the lottery. What would you do with the money?
Oh I would definitely buy a house in the middle of nowhere with lots of acreage for vacations, and then I would take a month-long trip to Disney. But I would also give a lot away to charities and family. Ten million is like, overload. One would be just fine for me :)
And that's it, folks! Thank you so much, Cyn, for the wonderful interview. And guys, don't forget to check out Sleepless, which hits the shelves TODAY!