Inkpop Blog

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inkpopper of the Week: cyc

Posted by cat eyes & skinny jeans on June 14, 2010

“I am a 25-year-old girl (yes, girl, because I still feel like a teenager) who graduated from NYU with a bachelors in English and a masters in English Education. I’m certified to be an English teacher and I hope to find a job soon! Even though I plan to have a career in New York City, I can never root for any New York sports teams! I’m a Philly girl and always will be. Sorry, NY, but the Philly all the way. (Mandy in Summer Friends is a baseball fan of the Phillies.)

“I was never given an English name and I chose not to make one up like other Asians I know. Instead I stuck with my real first name Chen. If anyone’s wondering, ‘cyc’ stands for ‘Chen Yan Chang’ which means ‘morning-beautiful.’

“Who are the loves of my life? My baby turtles! Billy Starmaker and Raspberry ‘Ras B’ Biscuit are 3 ½-year-old red eared sliders who love to eat, sleep, and hide in various spots in my home. They are way too adventurous, and my girl Ras B must have 9 lives because she’s already used up 3!”

Though Chen (aka cyc) is devoted to Billy Starmaker and Raspberry ‘Ras B’ Biscuit; she is also extremely fond of not only the characters featured in her books, but a certain time of year that spells being released from rules and regulations and simply enjoying life for what it is…summer.

Your book Summer Friends was named an inkpop Top Pick for the month of May 2010. Another book you’ve written, Summer of Firsts, is currently ranked at # 33. What is it about summer that inspires your writing? Do you feel that the fact that your projects take place during the summer season, a time of freedom, has contributed to the popularity of your projects?

cyc: Summer has always meant fun and freedom, especially when the school year is over and you want to relax. (In my situation, I’m certified as a teacher so I will continue to have summer off!) In my books, summers give my characters the opportunity to do things they wouldn’t have normally done when they’re in school. Adventure, new boys, summer love, etc. Because it’s almost the start of summer, I feel readers can live vicariously through my characters as they read something light, summery, and romantic. My two summer books are that! Shocker shocker, I have 2-3 other summer book ideas, one which will be a sequel to Summer of Firsts called Summer of Second Chances.

You mention that Vanessa Carlton’s song White Houses inspired your book Summer of Firsts. In what ways? Can you tell us more about this? Have your other projects been inspired by songs, as well?

cyc: When people listen to songs, they come up with their interpretations of what the lyrics are about and how they can relate to their lives. In listening to White Houses, I see a whole story in the four minute song. It’s about a girl who goes on a trip, meets new friends, falls in love, and gets her heart broken. I wanted to expand on the song and develop this girl’s story who I later named Grace. I wanted to flesh out her new summer adventure story and put her in a situation where she gets the opportunity for a love story. It’s fun to see what elements from the song I would incorporate and what new things I could bring to the story.

I have always been inspired by music so, not surprisingly, I have two books and a bunch of short stories inspired by songs. My 2nd book Lucky Lucy was inspired by songs by this indie artist named Darcie Miner. My 3rd book Bottled Sunshine, Empty Jars was inspired by Lillix’s song Dirty Sunshine.

If you had to create a soundtrack for Summer Friends, what songs would you include and why?

cyc: 1. Paramont – Bliss 66: It relates to Sam and Mandy growing up and changing.
2. Summer Stars – Graham Colton Band: A fun summer song.
3. Sam’s Song – Dave Melillo: It relates to Sam missing Mandy when he’s at home.
4. Sadly Beautiful – Jessica Riddle: It relates to Mandy’s loss of her father and growing up.
5. You Found Me – Kelly Clarkson: It perfectly fits the hospital scene when Mandy hides.
6. Fall to Pieces – Avril Lavigne: It relates to Mandy’s romantic feelings for Sam.
7. Another Day – Lene Marlin: Sam makes Mandy feel good and she’s falling for him.
8. Shout – Ross Copperman: It’s what love can do to people.
9. Girlfriend – Avril Lavigne: Isn’t it obvious? Mandy wishes to be Sam’s girlfriend.
10. If Only She Knew – Michelle Branch: Mandy wishes Sam’s girlfriend knows how she feels.
11. In Another Life – The Veronicas: This song always makes me cry. Listen and you’ll know why.
12. Best Thing – Graham Colton Band: Then this song cheers me up because Sam does care.
13. Mandy – Barry Manilow: Mandy’s namesake!
14. Toasted Skin – The Academy Is…: A fun summer song.
15. Daydream’ – Boomkat: It relates to Sam and Mandy’s childhood and the things they used to do.

If you could have a dinner party with five of your favorite authors (dead or alive; no inkpopper’s this time) who would they be and why?

cyc: I would have a dinner with William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Francine Pascal, Ann M. Martin, and Richelle Mead. I fell in love with Shakespeare and Austen’s writing in school, in love with Pascal and Martin’s writing as a kid/teen, and Mead’s writing now. The conversation would probably consist of writing and love although I feel I would have trouble understanding Shakespeare :P. We would have cheesesteaks b/c I’m a Philly girl and I want to see Shakespeare and Austen kicking back with some messy food!

What room is your favorite to write in and why?

cyc: I can write anywhere because my green laptop goes everywhere with me. If I have to, the living room is my favorite room to write in because of the TV. When I want to take a break from writing, I can just turn on the TV and relax!

Pop, Pop, Pop! Rapid Fire Questions:

Chocolate chip cookies or cupcakes? Cupcakes – Red Velvet from CRUMBS!
What’s on your iPod? I have over 1800 songs that include music by Glee, The Academy Is…, Tyler Hilton, Lene Marlin, etc.
Batman or Superman? Superman because I grew up on Dean Cain’s version of this hero.
Favorite book? Pride and Prejudice.
Dream destination/vacation? Hawaii, because it’s so beautiful there. I’ve been there once and I want to go there again!

Over to you…who do you think should be the next inkpopper of the Week?

Erika (aka inkpoperika)

8 Responses to “inkpopper of the Week: cyc”

  1. Laney said

    Congrats on being inkpopper of the week Chen!

    I Loved your soundtrack for Summer Friends!

    ~Laney ♥

  2. Michelle said

    I’m so glad you finally got to be inkpopper of the week, Chen! You really deserved it, and you know I love your stories to pieces. 😀 Congratulations!

  3. MIC said

    Love getting to know cyc better!

    She’s such a talented writer and an extremely influential inkpopper!!!

    We love her!!!

  4. entropist said

    Awesome! Congratulations on being IoTW!

  5. cyc said

    Aw, you guys are so sweet 🙂

  6. Nella said

    Oh, this is why I love the IoW because you get to know inkies much better! 🙂

    Great article, CYC!

  7. anggoro said

    very well, i love the article 🙂

  8. Brunilda Cela said

    Hi. Ok so I read your story Summer Friends a while ago and I absolutley loved it 😀
    The thing is that I can’t find it anywhere on inkpop anymore D: Where’d it go!?

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