A Few Moments with Science Fiction and Fantasy Author Cindy Young-Turner
Thief of Hope is a fantasy novel that features a pickpocket whose life becomes entangled with the commoners’ fight against an oppressive society, a would-be king’s bid for the throne, and the strange and dangerous magic of the faery folk.
Do you remember the first thing you ever wrote? Can you tell us about it?
Um, I think the first book I ever wrote was when I was about 10. It was a mash-up of Star Wars and GIJoe and my own ideas (now you’d call it fan fiction). It was hand printed on three ring notebook paper because that was back in the dark ages before computers. I don’t remember much about the story, only that there was a kid and his family and something about saving the country from the bad guys.
Do you prefer plaid or stripes?
Was choosing to publish independently something you always wanted, or an option you hadn’t considered before?
My book was published by a small independent publisher (Crescent Moon Press). Of course I wanted to land one of the big ones, but things just didn’t work out that way and I’m quite happy with my publisher. There are downsides, like not being able to get my book in bookstores, but I think I have a lot more author support than I’d get at a larger publisher, plus we have a really supportive community of authors.
Are you working on anything new at the moment?
I’m working on Thief of Destiny, which is a sequel to Thief of Hope.
Do you have any rituals before writing? Music or silence? Coffee or tea? Twizzlers or M&Ms?
I like writing with music. No snacks because they are too distracting and messy, but in fall and winter I do like a nice cup of tea. Right now it’s too horrendously hot to even think about tea.
Have you ever based a character on someone you know?
Not specifically, but a lot of my characters have an element or two of people I know. Or of myself.
What color is your umbrella?
Black with a white pattern.
Who is your favorite author and why?
I could never choose just one! I love J.R.R. Tolkien of course, who is really the master of fantasy, and another choice is Ray Bradbury because I love his writing style. His use of language was brilliant.
What was the last book you read?
I just finished Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King, which is book 5 of the Dark Tower series. I can’t believe I’ve never read the series before. I’m loving it and trying very hard not to read any spoilers.
Do you write about locations you’ve visited, or do you rely on research? Or do you make up entire settings in your head?
Well, my book is fantasy so sadly I can’t visit any of the places I’ve written about. Wish I could! Some of them, at least. I did partly visualize some of the town of Last Hope based on a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland, with its wonderful and sometimes creepy medieval streets.
After the last word is written, then what? Do you have pre-readers and editors who take over? Do you begin query letters immediately?
I have two great critique groups who help me get the book into shape, along the way and afterward.
What song would be on the soundtrack for your book?
“Not with haste” by Mumford and Sons. I love all of their songs but this one in particular makes me think of my book.
Where can people find your book?
Can we read a little excerpt?
Excerpt from Thief of Hope
The shuffling footsteps faded, and the whispers trailed away, replaced by the chirping of crickets. Sydney scanned the tall trees. The captain had said wizards had been executed here. Somehow she knew an unknown and sinister presence remained in this accursed place.
She yanked on the ropes binding her until her wrists were raw and bleeding. Her heart pounded in her ears, and a bone-chilling stillness spread across the forest. She gazed up at the bare limbs above her.
I can’t die like this.
Her breath grew shallow, and tears blurred her vision. She turned her head, the tree bark rough against her cheek. The reek of decomposing leaves permeated the air. The stench of death.
Shadows lengthened in the fading sunlight. Orange and violet streaked the sky. The air grew colder. Her stomach ached, and her tongue felt thick in her mouth. Defeated, she slumped against the tree, unable to contemplate a slow and painful death by starvation or exposure.
Dusk arrived too quickly. An eerie howl echoed. Her head snapped up, all her senses alert. The beasts would be hungrier this time of year. Not for a girl all skin and bones. She hoped. Terror seized her. In desperation, she strained against the blood-slicked ropes.
Her aching muscles tensed at the soft rustle of leaves. In the deepening shadows, a four-legged shape moved back and forth inside the tree line. When the beast crouched, a pair of bright yellow eyes gleamed from the shadows.
At least Edgar had died for his beliefs. If only she could have done things differently. If only she’d been strong enough to follow his example. Edgar had taught her never to cry, and now his voice resonated in her mind: “You must be strong to survive in this world, Sydney. I have faith you’ll make the right choices.”
“You were wrong, Edgar,” she whispered. “I couldn’t be what you wanted.”
Warm tears slid over her cheeks. The rustling grew louder. She closed her eyes, hoping for a quick end.
“You’re in quite a predicament, aren’t you?”
Sydney’s eyes flew open. An elderly man stood at the edge of the tree line. A dark blue cloak, mud-splattered and frayed at the edges, draped his medium build. His shoulder-length white hair and unkempt beard were matted with sticks and leaves. Bright blue eyes and a thin nose lent grace to his craggy countenance.
“It’s hardly polite to stare with one’s mouth open,” he said. Though deep, his voice was crisp and clear. His smile broadened, and he winked at her. “It also invites flies.”
Her gaze darted to where the wolf had been. It was gone. She wiped the tears from her face on her shoulder. “Who the hell are you?” Her voice was as raw as her wrists.
The lines on his face furrowed. He moved closer. “Hmmm, I expected a more welcoming greeting from you, Sydney.”
“How’d you know my name?”
“I know many things. Knowing how to find you is among them, although I’d hoped we’d meet under different circumstances.”
Sydney studied him. The face, the eyes…. Something familiar, but she couldn’t figure out why. “How’d you get here?”
He chuckled and leaned on a long wooden staff. “We have much to discuss, my dear, but the forest is no place for conversation.” He crooked a finger in her direction. The ropes binding her dropped to the ground. She kicked at them with her feet. Magic. It had to be. The stranger moved, reaching for her.
“Don’t touch me.” She slid to the ground. Setting her teeth against the pain in her cramped leg muscles, she rubbed her calves through the thin fabric of her breeches.
She fingered the ropes at the base of the tree. Her muscles tensed. “What are you?”
“Why must I be anything? Perhaps I am merely an old man who has taken an interest in your welfare and saved you from certain death.”
About Cindy Young-Turner
Cindy Young-Turner has always been an avid reader and became fascinated by mythology and Arthurian legends at an early age. She quickly decided she enjoyed creating her own worlds and characters and set to work writing her own stories. She believes genre fiction can be just as well written and valuable as literature. The universal themes of love, hate, revenge, and redemption are present regardless of whether our characters live in the distant future, on other planets, or in fantastical realms.
Connect with Cindy
About the Thief of Hope
Sydney, a street urchin and pickpocket in the town of Last Hope, has managed to evade the oppressive Guild for years, but there is no escaping fate when she’s sentenced to death for associating with the resistance.
After she’s rescued by a wizard, Sydney is forced to accept that magic—long outlawed throughout the Kingdom of Thanumor—still exists, and the Tuatha, a powerful faery folk, are much more than ancient myth and legend. When the wizard offers a chance to fight the Guild and bring Willem, bastard prince and champion of the Tuatha, to the throne, Sydney embraces the cause as a way to find her own redemption.
But Sydney’s fear of the Guild, distrust of authority, and surprising connection to the Tuatha threaten Willem’s success. Can she untangle the strange threads that entwine her life not only to the fate of the kingdom, but also to Willem himself?
“Thief of Hope is NOT written like a typical debut novel. The world is written perfectly, the scenery is beautiful, the characters are vivid and fresh, and the battle scenes had me holding my breath with anticipation and worry!”—justagirlgeek, 5 stars
“A lot of fantasies sort of gloss over some of the more unpleasant truths, but “Thief of Hope” told it like it really could be, and provided a great adventure in the process.”—K. Sozaeva, 5 stars