Tuesday 12 June 2018

Interview: Cy Young

For this week's author interview, I am pleased to welcome Young Adult author Cy Young to The Writing Greyhound. Keep reading to learn more about Cy and Onions, his novel.

Firstly, please could you introduce yourself?
My name is Cy Young; I’ve been a performer on Broadway, in clubs around NYC, have sung on numerous recordings for the Painted Smiles records, co-starred in a musical at London’s Globe Theatre, co-starred with Buster Keaton in Once Upon A Mattress, Howard Keel in On A Clear Day, have a song on Streisand’s third album, Draw Me A Circle, have three plays published by Samuel French, a short story published by Twit Publishing which won best short story in the Oklahoma City Writer’s Group, and many other credits.
How did you first become interested in writing?
I started writing songs in high school and continued at Northwestern by writing for their yearly musical presentation, The WAA MU SHOW. I wrote and had produced other musicals in New York, then spent some time in L.A. where I learned to write plays. I returned to NYC to have my two-character play, Jump I’ll Catch You, produced at Riverwest Theater, later to be published by Samuel French.
onions, cy-young, book

Tell me about Onions.
I wrote Onions first as a screenplay which has not been produced. It’s partially autobiographical as I began playing the trumpet in fourth grade to help improve my breathing condition, which it did. I entered contests movie theatres were having in those days between features and continued my study in Chicago while attending college. I identified with Onions’ alienation from society as I’ve always been a loner and have found it difficult to adjust to social mores. 
What drew you to writing for Young Adults?
I’ve dealt with young people in teaching Sunday school and working as a substitute teacher. Their lives have grown increasingly complex due to the influx of scientific marvels such as iPads, texting, computers, media exposure, Facebook, etc. This is a very rich emotional field to explore and write about.
Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?
Yes. Although I lived through it, I researched the period, comic books of the generation, old cars, circuses, ultralights, court procedures in declaring an elderly person incompetent, Spanish Architecture, Indian folklore in the southwest, corrupt politicians and their methods, and jet aeroplanes used as icons in front of public buildings. 
My understanding is that inspiration comes from one source and my job is to listen and write down what that source unfolds to me.
What’s your writing process?
I work best in the early morning. I once arose at 3:30 a.m. to work on my book, The Kings Of October, a book about the first World Series in 1903. I like to have the ending worked out before I proceed into the heart of the narrative. As for plays, I used to precede each play with a breakdown of the principal characters, their emotional, physical, societal backgrounds, but I abandoned that as I wrote further. I often visualize my characters and their actions as I wrote many screenplays. This helps to fill out the description of who, what, where, when, and why, as well as scenery, time, place, etc.
cy-young, author

What do you love most about writing?
Losing myself in a new world, in exploring the characters, their actions and motivations, creating such idiosyncratic people that they take the story away from me and write the narrative themselves.
Which authors inspire you?
Shakespeare, Moliere, Gene Perrot (comedy), Herman Melville, Salinger, Simon & Garfunkel, O’Henry, Sherlock Holmes, Maughm, Hemingway, Roald Dahl...
What are you currently working on?
Turning Kings Of October from a screenplay into an ebook, and then doing the same thing with another ten screenplays.
What are you reading at the moment?
I just finished Longbow, a well-written historical novel, Jack Messenger’s short stories, I want to read Brenda Stanley’s book, The Treasure of Cedar Creek, and many others.
What’s your all-time favourite book?
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Have twenty ebooks, paperbacks, and audio books all up and running on Amazon.
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
Performing, preparing my Children’s Crusade musical for house concerts this summer, overcoming bad habits, keeping my singing voice active, yoga, and spiritual growth.
Onions is available to buy now. For more about Onions, you can check out the website.

Will you be reading the book? Let me know in the comments below!

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