Author Interview - Cydney Daemon
CydneyDaemon, first and foremost, is a human being. She is definitely not a demon of chaos taking human form in order to collect as many books, black cats, and items of gothy wonder as possible. When she is not hyper fixated on writing whatever has possessed her brain, Cydney can be found arguing with her dog, playing referee to her two house panthers, consuming media things meant to scare her for fun, and testing the limits of Dr Pepper consumption on the human body. Alternatively, if spotted in the wild instead of in her cave of darkness, she may be seen rambling to herself about anything from book ideas to how many times she had to walk down that aisle before remembering to grab the damn chips she came here for. Prior to becoming a published author, she worked in customer service—which was a grave mistake on everyone's part. She currently also works as a freelance writer, writing the session notes for mental health professionals. With an origin story that includes poverty and severe childhood trauma, mental health and empowerment for everyone has always been extremely important to her. Cydney seeks to write books that have their own heart and soul and that can help those in the way books helped her growing up, whether that be by providing an escape or an inspiration.
Genre: Gritty Post-apocalyptic fantasy – Adult/Upper YA
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
CHAOS is the title of my debut. It follows four teenagers who come together to try to solve the murder of someone they’re all connected to. They begin to uncover secrets about their city involving a cult and the ancient mythology behind their powers. Originally, I started writing it just as a fun side piece many years ago with no intention of sharing it, but the story and the characters grew on me. It was initially about teen superheroes, thanks to my deep love of the X-Men. There’s still a small hint of that in the book, but it’s so much more now with a darker, grittier tone.
When you’re writing an emotional or difficult scene, how do you set the mood?
It depends on the scene and my mental state. Sometimes my brain sees and feels things so vividly that it just flows without me needing to set the mood. Other times, it helps me to listen to music and/or to read a couple of other scenes I’ve already written. There are other times when it’s really difficult because the scene is so emotionally draining, and I don’t really know how to set the mood and just sort of have to power through it.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Bram Stoker, especially Dracula. Not only is it my favorite book because of the story itself (though I side with Dracula and believe he was framed), but the prose is beautiful and the structure is very unique. I’m also definitely inspired by a lot of the classics and Greek mythology. For more modern inspirations, I would list Rachelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series, The Nevernight Chronicle by Jay Kristoff, and Shea Ernshaw’s books The Wicked Deep and Winterwood. I love beautiful prose and books that I can feel the tone and the vibe in every word and on every page. Specifically with CHAOS, I went through a major overhaul between the 1st completed draft and the 2nd completed draft. The 1st draft had a very juvenile feel, which has its place but wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted something darker and more heavily grounded in reality with the tone and the vibe. Vampire Academy and Nevernight really helped me figure out how to tell the story in the way I wanted and how to tell it in a way that felt authentic to me and my own style.
Which of the characters do you relate to the most and why?
There’s part of me in all 4 main characters. And even in a couple of the side characters. I think it comes across in the most obvious ways with Henry based on a lot of his kind of weird behavior and Charlotte’s background with being Indigenous and not having a connection to her community. For Wesley, I didn’t realize until recently that I was pulling from my own experiences with a loved one’s death and how that affected me. I can’t really provide an explanation for Elsey though without giving away spoilers except for her scars and my own experiences with being bullied and mistreated due to scars, appearances, or perceptions from other people.
Q5: What advice would you give to a
writer working on their first book?
Have fun with it and make sure you’re writing for yourself. Focus on writing the book you want to write, not the book other people want you to write. You’ll never please everyone, but at the end of the day, you need to be happy with what you’re doing and love what you’re writing otherwise you’re going to resent your story and maybe even want to walk away from it altogether.
How much research did you need to do for your book?
An extensive amount. I have collected classroom syllabuses, school schedules, science articles, photography information, weapons information, combat information, etc. From looking up calendars in the future in a certain location to get the exact moon phase on that date to looking up what type of glass a window would need to be to avoid fracturing in a given situation, everything has been thoroughly researched to make sure I could be as accurate and grounded in reality as possible.
What was your hardest scene to write, and why?
There’s a scene between Henry (one of my main characters) and his dad, and it was very difficult to write not only because of the content it shows but because Henry is such a precious sweetheart of a character. He holds so much emotion inside while being an absolute cinnamon roll and writing things that hurt him is physically painful for me. Every time I even think about the scene or have to read over it, I actually have to verbally apologize to him even though I know he can’t hear me.
Q8: What is your writing process like?
Are you more of a plotter or a pantser?
My writing process has changed so much over the years. I used to be a pantser, but with the risk of plot holes and realizing that my brain just wasn’t equipped to be a pantser with how vividly I see stories in my head, I made the shift toward being more of a plotter. Now, I write a summary of what I want to happen as detailed as possible and break it down into scenes and organize it in the order I want it to be in. Some scenes, though, I don’t have an exact plan for what’s going to happen, but I have an end point in mind or I’ll know a scene is needed in a certain spot and in the outline, I’ll write something like, “scene between Charlotte and her dad,” and then I just let the characters guide the scene and decide what happens.
What are you working on now?
At the moment, I’m going to allow myself to take a break so I can relax a little bit and get some other fun projects done and maybe watch a show or a movie or two. But then I’ll get to work on writing book 2 in the CHAOS series.
What are you currently reading?
I’m reading Mary, Everything by Cassandra Yorke, and next I’ll be
reading Heir by P.K. Reeves.
Amazon Author page
Bitter pain wound her heart into a solid knot. Elsey Hallen bit her tongue and tried to breathe.
The pungent aroma of cabbage and pork choked the air from the room. For every note the cellist flubbed, she gritted her teeth. Her shchi remained untouched.
Surveying the room, Elsey noted every detail. Eight people around the table, herself included. Two exits—one on the far right and one on the left. Golden damask wallpaper. Cream crown molding. A gold chandelier trimmed in gleaming crystal. A string quartet in the—
“Elsey.” The man across from her mother placed his elbows on the table. He rested his hard, flat chin on top of his folded hands.
Her striking blue-green eyes sliced to him.
Gray peppered Micha Adamson’s slicked-back chestnut hair. His tailored navy suit hugged his wide shoulders, complementing his speckled robin’s egg eyes. A crooked nose offset the features of his otherwise magazine-worthy face. He wore an arrogant sneer that seemed to fit with his prominent cheekbones and strong square jaw. Towering over the other attendees, his strapping build demanded recognition. His skin shone under the lights like raw pine treated with a layer of varnish.
“You always seem to be growing.” Micha’s stare lingered on the sweetheart neckline of her black velvet dress. “What are you now? Seventeen?”
“Yes.” Her voice—like a crackling flame—carried an extra bite. “The same age as your son and daughter.”
A pinch nipped her left side. Elsey jerked from her mother’s grasp. Digging her black nails into her dress, she ignored the look she received from her father, Gregor, at the head of the table.
Micha’s thin lips twisted up. “My last girlfriend was eighteen.”
If Elsey had a weaker stomach, she would’ve vomited. “I’m not taking applications at this time, and I’d still pass on yours even if I were of legal age.”
“What legal age? There are no laws dictating what I can and can’t do.” He burst into laughter, slamming his hand on the table. The dishes rattled. All eyes fixed on them. His gaze narrowed. “Don’t worry. You’ve always been too willful for my liking.”
The bitter pain knotted even tighter into her heart.
“Besides,” he continued with a voice colder than frost, “what would a man want with a girl who looks like a jigsaw puzzle?”
Her face grew almost as scarlet as her long, voluminous curls. Every stare felt sharper. Elsey felt too aware of her appearance. The jagged line cutting from her forehead into her right brow. The deep hole creating a concave against her high cheekbone under her right eye before cutting into a sickle down her face. The pitted dip in her chin that forked at the end. The hollow stitch of skin at the left corner of her heart-shaped lips. The strained skin twisting around her left eye and slicing toward her jaw. The thick line carved along the valley of her left cheek. And underneath her long-sleeved dress and flesh-toned stockings, more scars—rough lines and gouges—defiled her entire body. Turning her creamy muted rose skin into a map of puckered and gnarled terrain.
Rage unfurled its wings in her chest. Burying all her pain in a shallow grave.
She gripped the table.