Can you tell me a little about yourself and how you got into writing?
I’m a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom of four little ones, each of them with varying special needs. I’ve learned a lot from my kids, mostly to never allow anything to stop you from doing what you want to do. Just because you can’t do an activity exactly the way most others can doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It just means you have to find your own way of doing it.I’m also a Psychology major with a minor in criminology, which really helps me dig deeper into my characters.
Writing is something I have always done. Since my single digits I’ve kept journals, written short stories and was always that geeky kid who loved doing research papers. Weird, I know but there is something about writing articles/papers that can teach someone else about a subject they may know little about that I love. Writing books was never in my plan but when one of my short stories got longer and longer, I decided to give it a shot! I consider myself so fortunate to be able to do what I do. I don’t take one moment of it for granted.
This talk a little about your YA books. (Chynna has also written a children's book, two memoirs and a adult suspense/ thriller as well as a YA novel)
Can you tell us a little about your YA novella Blackbird Flies?
Blackbird Flies is a coming-of-age story about a fifteen-year old young man named Payton. He had tremendous odds stacked against him being raised by a single mother with untreated bipolar and alcoholism and his father left him at a young age. But instead of becoming a statistic, he turned to his musical talent for comfort.
His grandparents, who had taken care of him after his mother passed away, sent him off to live with his father, who he’d always believed deserted him. The move taught him things about his past, himself and how to forgive and let go. There’s also a bit of romance mixed in when he meets a young girl named Lily with the same demons his mother lived with.
Payton shows us that with the love and support of just one person, you can face those odds with strength and come out on top.
It’s a dark story in places because of some of the subject matter (eg: mental illness, drug/alcohol abuse, teen suicide, etc.) but I think the story is told in a way that isn’t preachy or intrusive.
Where did you get the idea for Blackbird Flies?
This story is actually based on a slice of my own life. Payton is a younger, male version of myself and is making much wiser choices than I did. I wrote the story while writing my memoir White Elephants to give me a lighter distraction. It was a way for me to discuss some of the same issues that I was talking about in my memoir but more geared for young people. The funny part was that it ended up being published before White Elephants!
Why should we read Blackbird Flies in one sentence?
The best sentence I can think of is the dedication in the book: “To every kid out there who just needed someone to listen and believe in them. Hold on to what makes you, YOU!”
I know that’s two sentences but I think that’s the perfect explanation of why one should read the book.
Your next YA Suspense/Paranormal novel, Dark Water is out in the summer. Can you tell us a little about that?
Yes! I’m very excited about this project because it’s my first full-length YA novel. The book is called Dark Water. I actually wrote it over NaNoWriMo this past November.
The story revolves around a sixteen-year old girl named Freesia Worth. Her father was killed in Afghanistan and a few weeks later, her mother disappeared. The story is about her desperate search to find clues as to what happened to her mother before the case is stamped ‘cold’. Here’s the book jacket synopsis:
Some answers are found far beneath the surface…
Sixteen-year-old Freesia Worth has a mystery to solve—the disappearance of her mother at their family lake house. Her traumatized sister Sage hasn't said a word ever since that day.
After almost a year, Detective Barry Cuaco has found nothing but frustrating dead ends. Soon he'll have to let the case go. But Freesia isn’t making it easy for him. She needs answers. Now.
With the help of her secret crush, Rick, and a mysterious Goth girl named Mizu, Freesia learns about an ancient Native legend and a man known as the Watcher of the Lake.
Will Freesia finally uncover the truth? Or will the lake keep its secrets far beneath the dark water?
As well as being a mother and author you also run your own trademark freelance writing company called Lily Wolf Words. Can you tell us a little about this?
Lily Wolf Words is my writing company I run from my home. It’s named in memory of my grandparents Lillian (Lily) and Wilfred (Wolf) Batty. They were my main sources of inspiration when I was growing up and never let me give up on myself. So with their name behind my work, I’ll have the strength to keep going…even on those tough days.
Aside from writing articles and books, I also do freelance editing for a few publishing houses and authors, acquisitions for a YA online magazine as well as speaking, ghostwriting and a few other services.
Last word from the author.....
I guess I’d add that if writing is something you love, don’t let anything get in your way of making it happen. It’s not always the easiest job. It’s very competitive and sometimes editors don’t have the time to be as nice about things as they could be but the skin gets thicker over time if you stick with it.
I never had any intention of publishing my work. I wrote strictly for me in the early years. I wrote because it was therapeutic for me and brought me back down to earth when things were too chaotic around me. But just like with Payton, it only took one person to recognize I had some talent and encouraged me to get out there.
Find that person and never stop moving forward.
Buy Blackbird Flies on:
Barnes & Noble
Cynna is also on LinkedIn, Goodreads, and Authors Den.
For more information about Chynna books and where to get them, you can visit her author blog at www.chynna-laird-author.com. There is a page set up for each book.
Chyann also have two other blogs. The Gift (www.the-gift-blog.com) has been up for about four years now. Its focus is on families and children living with special needs, particularly those with ASD and sensory issues (SPD). The other is White Elephants (www.seethewhiteelephants.com) where I cover all the subject matter discussed in both Blackbird Flies as well as in my memoir White Elephants. Here I give a safe place for those wanting to get information or just talk to others dealing with things like abuse, mental health issues, recovery, addition, eating disorders and more.
One person can win a Kindle version of Blackbird Flies by Chynna Laird. As Blackbird Flies I would only reccommend that you enter if you are 15+ as it is a dark story in places because of some of the subject matters (eg: mental illness, drug/alcohol abuse, teen suicide, etc.)
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-Giveaway sponsered by author
-Giveaway is opne to anyone 15+
-Giveaway ends 24th June 2012