Monday night, Cinda Williams Chima, a New York Times and USA Today bestselling Young Adult author, paid a visit to Youngstown State University to speak, answer questions and sign books.
Chima spoke to Professor Rebecca Barnhouse’s Young Adult Literature class from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at DeBartolo Hall in room 346 on Monday.
Chima is an Ohio native and has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Akron, as well as a master’s degree in nutrition from Case Western Reserve University.
The Heir Chronicles and The Seven Realms series are what brought Chima the most success and recognition. Her books have been named both Booksense and Indie Next picks, have been named an International Reading Association Young Adult Choice and have been placed on the Kirkus Best Young Adult List and the VOYA Editor’s Choice as well. Chima’s books have also been named on the Best Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror and Perfect Tens lists.
She was honored with the 2008 Lit Award for Fiction from the Cleveland Lit and was also named Cleveland Magazine’s Interesting Person of 2009.
Chima was an assistant professor of nutrition at the University of Akron before leaving that position to fulfill her passion of being a full-time author. At that time, she had published three books and had secured three more under contract.
Chima claims that there is no one right path to becoming a writer.
“Most writers don’t make a living from writing, at least not at first. So I think it’s worthwhile to think about what you would like to do as a day job, whether it is raising children or working in a field related to books, such as being a librarian or teaching English or being a technical writer,” she said. “Some choose a field totally different from writing, one that will not suck all the creative juices and allow time and energy for writing after hours.”
For those dreaming of one day seeing their ideas in print, Chima said she urges authors-to-be to keep in mind that a writer is one who writes, not necessarily one who publishes.
“The biggest advantage in being a writer is that I finally feel totally in context. I’ve always been a daydreamer — now I get paid to put my daydreams on the page. Plus I get to hang out with other people who love books, like librarians, English teachers, bookstore owners, agents, editors, and especially readers,” Chima said. “If you want to be a professional writer, e.g. a published writer, then you need to learn about the industry also. Read widely in the genre you hope to publish in. Keep an eye on the markets. Attend conferences, subscribe to industry blogs, network with others who have similar goals. Join a writing workshop or critique group. There is so much information out there these days, there is no excuse for not educating yourself.”
The newest installment of the Heir Chronicles, “The Sorcerer Heir,” will be available Oct. 21. More information can be found at cindachima.com.