Friday, October 11, 2013

Author Interview with Cynthia DeFelice


The DMS was lucky enough to interview Cynthia DeFelice. Lizzy reviewed her stories Signal and The Ghost of Fossil Glen, and it was great to share our thoughts about it and hear yours. We are excited to learn a little bit more about the story behind the story. So, without further ado... take it away, Cynthia!

What inspired you to write Signal?

The first thing I do every morning is to go for a run with my dog, Gabby. Back in 2008, when I first starting thinking about writing SIGNAL, I had a wonderful dog named Josie (who appears as herself in the book but who, sadly, died last December.) We ran together every day on the very trail Owen and Josie run on in the story. One day Josie found a doggy treasure: a ketchup-smeared napkin, which she proudly brought to show me. I thought, Whew, it’s ketchup, not blood. Then I thought, what if it had been blood? I began imagining a kid tracking signs of blood down the trail, curious and freaked out in equal measure. What might he discover?

I love deserted houses, and the secrets they contain. That is why Owen discovers Cam hiding in the deserted house. 

How long did it take you to write Signal?

Most of my novels take about a year, though I might be working on something else at the same time.

What was your inspiration for the characters Owen and Campion?

I like to think and write about kids who are on their own. Both Owen’s and Cam’s lives have been affected by the actions of adults, but they are left to figure things out for themselves. They are both lonely, and I enjoyed exploring how this would bring them together.

The “Dog People” were inspired by a real couple I see when I’m at the trail. They arrive with a pack of 20-30 wild and crazy dogs they have rescued, creating total pandemonium! Their hearts are good, though.

What are some of your favorite books from childhood? Were there any specific authors who inspired you?

My mom read the works of E.B. White and A. A. Milne to me and my three siblings. I loved the Madeline books, the Borrowers, and folk and fairy tales from every corner of the world.

I’m amazed how many fellow authors say this: I was – and am - enthralled by the book To Kill a Mockingbird. I’m sure it has influenced me in many ways, both conscious and unconscious. You could learn everything you need to know to live a decent life from this one book. I love the mysterious Boo Radley, the voice of Scout, the strength of Atticus, the way Harper Lee didn’t shy away from any of the disturbing realities, and the fact that she only wrote this one incredible book.



If you could live anyplace real or fictional, where would it be? Why?

I love living near the water. I am lucky to live on one of the beautiful Finger Lakes in upstate New York. We also own some farm property, where we built a pond. It has been one of the great joys of my life to watch the birds, reptiles, and other critters that have come to live and visit there. In an ideal scenario, though, I have to say I’d choose to live in a remote area by the sea, somewhere with four distinct seasons.

If you could befriend a character from one of your books, who would you befriend? Why?

I love so all of my main characters! I’d enjoy hanging out with any one of them. And sometimes a secondary character comes along who steals my heart: Ezra in Weasel, Stewpot in Nowhere to Call Home, Memaw in The Missing Manatee, and the dog Quill in Wild Life!
I guess at this point in my life I would choose to befriend Jessie, from my first novel The Strange night Writing of Jessamine Colter. She is wise in a way I aspire to be.


Your Ghost Mysteries series involves Allie, who can communicate with ghosts. Did you know when you wrote the book that The Ghost of Fossil Glen would turn into a series or did it just happen? Will Allie have any more ghostly adventures?



I had a lot of fun writing The Ghost of Fossil Glen! So, when it turned out to be so popular, and kids were begging for a sequel, I was very happy to revisit Allie, Dub, Hoover, Mr. Henry, and the rest – and new ghosts! I didn’t plan it to be a series, but one thing seemed to lead naturally to another. I think, however, that The Ghost of Poplar Point is the final book.

You write books in a variety of different genres. Is there a genre that you prefer? Or is there a way you decide which genre you are going to write next?

I enjoy writing in every genre except sci-fi/fantasy. By the time the concept of a book takes shape in my mind, and the main character begins to become real, it becomes obvious what the genre will be.   In general, I write realistic fiction. If it turns out to be historical fiction, it is because some tidbit of history has grabbed my imagination in an irresistible way.

Are you currently working on a book? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?

I am. It has the working title of FORT, but who knows what the final title will be? I’m cracking myself up writing it, and I’ve got to think that is a good sign! It’s about two eleven year old boys, Wyatt and Augie, who are building a fort in the woods during the summer. I think a lot about kids who “don’t like to read.” I truly believe they just haven’t yet discovered the books they would like. I’m hoping Wyatt’s and Augie’s adventures will appeal to some of those kids. 
















28 comments:

  1. That's interesting about the dog people. I'm glad the author encountered them and was inspired by them.

    I'm pleased to meet Cynthia.

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    1. Medeia- Thanks for stopping by! I am glad you enjoyed the interview. :) ~L

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  2. I love the inspiration behind Signal!

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    1. Kelly- I loved finding out about the inspiration, too! :) ~L

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  3. Great interview! I can just picture someone trying to walk 20 dogs, lol!

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    1. Thanks, Meradeth! I have a funny image in my mind too! 20 dogs is a lot! :) ~L

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  4. I love how she got her idea for Signals from her best friend!

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  5. love getting to know cynthia & both her series! love the doggie link, i used to hike with my first black lab too. these both sound like great reads!

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    1. Tara- Thanks for stopping by. So glad we could introduce you to Cynthia and her great books. :) ~L

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  6. Love the interview :D Thank you both for sharing. <3 The books sounds awesome. Love the picture of the dogs :)

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    1. Carina- So glad you enjoyed the interview. The books are both great! Have a nice day. :) ~L

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  7. Loved this interview and Cynthia's answers! We loved your review of Signal and added it to our TBR, but we haven't heard of The Ghost of Fossil Glen! It sounds great -- we'll be adding that one, too. Great post!

    ~Michele & Katertot @ A Belle's Tales

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    1. Michele and Katertot- The Ghost of Fossil Glen is fantastic! It is a quick read and the ghost makes it very exciting. :) Thanks for stopping by to check out the interview!
      ~L

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  8. I certainly got a clear Signal with this one. And such a fascinating interview. Well done to Cynthia. "Dog People" might note that behind the next tree might well be the pesky "puparazzi"! I know they hound Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar. Penny loves dog people :)

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    1. Klahanie- I am sure Penny gets hounded all the time. It isn't easy being a modest internet superstar! :) Thanks for stopping in. ~L

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  9. Wonderful interview! Loved learning how you got the idea for Signal! :)

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    1. Hi Cherie- Thanks for visiting. Glad you enjoyed the interview. I always love to hear how authors got the ideas for their books. :) ~L

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  10. I loved this interview but was saddened to read about Josie. Gabby, however, looks adorable.

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    1. Barbara- I was sad about Josie, too. I agree though that Gabby is adorable. Thanks for stopping in! :) ~L

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  11. Great interview! I think I would like FORT! :D

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    1. Erik- Thanks! Fort sounds good to me, too! :) ~L

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  12. Great Interview. Her books sound very interesting. I have always loved stories about dogs from Lassie to Old Yeller. I have to smile at the vision of the couple trying to keep all those rescued dogs in tow but you have to know their heart is in the right place.

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    1. Anna Maria- Their hearts were definitely in the right place- but it does conjure such a funny image in my head. :) I enjoy stories with dogs, too! :) ~L

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  13. I love the scary premise of SIGNAL and the story about how it came to you. And it's so wonderful that fans loved THE GHOST OF FOSSIL GLEN and begged for a sequel. (I can only hope that happens to me someday.) Wishing you huge success with all your books. :-)

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    1. Lexa- I think it is awesome that fans begged for a sequel to The Ghost of Fossil Glen, too! I can understand why after reading it. It is such a page turner! I hope your fans beg you for a sequel someday, too. :) ~L

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  14. Excellent interview. And I have to say that the spark of the idea for SIGNAL, with her dog bringing her a ketchup-covered napkin, is possibly my favorite origin story ever. My dogs are a major part of my life (a mash-up version of my current two 'babies' is a big part of my WIP), so my condolences to Cynthia on the loss of Josie.

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    1. Jocelyn- Thanks! So glad you enjoyed the review. I thought the idea for Signal was awesome, too! I have never heard anything quite like it. :) Thanks for stopping by! ~L

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