Cindy Pon is a debut author, Chinese brush painting artist and stay-at-home mom. Her young adult fantasy, “Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia,” was released in April by HarperCollins. A sequel as well as a children’s picture book featuring her Chinese brush art will follow.
Pon received her bachelor’s degree from UCSD and went on to gain a master’s degree in higher education administration from New York University. She worked in the college administration side beginning as an undergrad, where she was a student activities intern at Revelle College, an orientation leader and tour guide. She then worked in admissions at Sacramento City College, NYU and SDSU.
It was staying at home full time that brought Pon back to her first love - writing. After taking writing classes at UCSD Extension through Judy Reeves, Amy Wallen and Carolyn Wheat, she finished “Silver Phoenix” in five months, then spent another year revising it six times. She queried 121 literary agents before landing her own. The novel went to auction and was just named by American Library Association’s Booklist as a Top 10 science fiction and fantasy read for youths in 2009.
In her spare time, Pon can be found wandering the La Jolla Farmers Market on Sundays, reading at the Cove, writing at the Pannikin or having brunch at The Cottage.
What brought you to La Jolla?I’m originally from Los Angeles, but attended UCSD for my undergraduate years. Work, marriage and graduate school took me from Sacramento to New York City. When my husband got the opportunity to relocate to San Diego, I couldn’t have been more thrilled. I really fell in love with La Jolla in the four years I was a college student here.
What makes La Jolla special to you?I have very fond memories of my time studying in various cafes like The Living Room as a college student. And I’ve always loved La Jolla for the scenery, which is stunning. We go to the tide pools at La Jolla Cove nearly every week. My children love it.
If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in La Jolla?I love the close-knit community feel of La Jolla. I’d like to see all the stores, especially the independently owned ones, thrive. Honestly, there’s not much I’d change.
Who or what inspires you?People who are not afraid to chase their dreams. Music, art, the colors of spring, flowers, small critters, the miracles within nature - life inspires me.
If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?Usula Le Guin, Neil Gaiman, Gustav Klimt, my maternal grandmother and grandfather, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I and Cleopatra.
What are you currently reading?“North of Beautiful” by Justina Chen Headley. It’s a young adult novel in which we see the heroine come to an understanding of what it means to be “beautiful.” The prose is wonderful and the story itself draws you in - it’s wonderful.
What is your most prized possession?My imagination.
What do you do for fun?I love to read, travel, do Chinese brush painting, work out at the gym, see movies, eat and daydream.
Please describe your greatest accomplishment.Getting published. I’ve been writing since I was in elementary school, but the thought of being an actual published author was always some nebulous dream, something to write onto wish lists. The fact that it is a reality continues to amaze me. I truly feel blessed.
What is your motto or philosophy of life?Never stop chasing your dreams.
Signed copies of Cindy Pon’s book are available at Warwick’s.