My Books!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Welcome Chynna Laird

Please welcome Chynna Laird to the blog today. Chyna,how much of yourself are in your books?

What a great question! A LOT of myself is in my books because I write from what I know and what I've gone through. I draw inspiration from my personal experiences.

2.What key elements keep you on track as a writer?

I love that you asked me this! The main things that keep me on track are dedication, motivation, inspiration and organization. Writers need to have all of these things to keep going!

Who are some of your favorite authors? Who has influenced your writing the most?

I am greatly inspired by anyone who is brave enough to put themselves out there emotionally. Sooo many to mention. I love Maya Angelou, Alice Munro, John Saul, Chris Grabenstein, and the new and fabulous author, Nicole Johns.

4.I'll have to check out Nicole Johns. I don't know her work. What is the easiest part of writing?

I would say the easiest part for me is coming up with the ideas. I have lists and folders filled with ideas. What's difficult is finding the time to finish them all! HA!

5.Me too! I bet every writer has more stories than time to write them. Would you share your links with us so that we can find you on the web?

Main blog:
White Elephants blog:
I'm also on Facebook (look for my new Chynna T. Laird Author's page!), Twitter (lilywolf), MySpace, LinkedIn, Author's Den, Goodreads, Shelfari...check out my Webpage for more places to find me! ;)

6.Please tell us about your new book and share an excerpt with us. Don't forget to give us a buy link.

Blackbird Flies is a story so close to my heart. Here's a blurb:
Fifteen year-old Payton MacGregor is a musical prodigy. To him, though, his music is merely a way for him to escape from the chaos that surrounds him. All of his life, he's had to care for his mother, who copes with her bipolar disorder with booze instead of turning to her own musical talents. He refuses to become a statistic. Then he’s thrown a curve ball.

His mother suddenly dies, leaving him to be cared for by his aging grandparents. As much as they love him, they decide to send him halfway across Canada to live with his father, Liam—the man Payton always believed abandoned him and his mother. Payton isn’t making the relocation easy on anyone until he finds out he's going to attend the prestigious School of the Arts for musically gifted youth. Any second thoughts he has about his new life are erased when he meets Lily Joplin. Their connection is instantaneous.

Lily is a talented singer, but her struggles with drugs and bipolar disorder hit too close to home for Payton's comfort. And when her issues become all-consuming, he wonders if his music will be enough to carry him through.

Here's one of my favorite excerpts. It's near the beginnging shortly after Payton moves to Edmonton to live with the father he'd always believed abandoned him and his mother years earlier. It shows his passion for his music, the love/hate emotional struggle he lives with about his mother and his interest in his new romantic interest, Lily:

The Dean led Payton into the opera hall. “Your Dad told me you are a bit of a pianist.”

Payton resisted the urge to roll his eyes. “I guess you could say that.”

“Well, we haven’t moved the piano back to the music room yet since our recital last night,” the Dean said, nodding toward the stage. “Would you like to have a go?”

Payton's gaze switched to the stage where a full black lacquered grand piano sat. Its lid opened towards him, exposing its gorgeous strings…beckoning him. It had been days since his fingers last caressed the keys of a piano. There was nothing that would have made him happier or given him more inner peace at that moment than to play his music.

He didn't answer the dean. He just walked down the stairs to the stage. A spotlight still shone on the piano. It didn’t even matter to him that the leather seat was hot from the lights. He sat down, pushed the seat back to account for his long legs and positioned his hands over the keys. He closed his eyes.

He played Chopin’s Nocturne—one of his favorites. He’d learned it completely by ear, listening to his mother play it. She’d played the piece with such emotion, it pained his heart. He wished the music flowed half as beautifully from his own fingers as it had through hers.

As a young boy, he liked lying under the piano bench while his Mom practiced. When she’d gotten really into her playing, the bench shook in time with her hands flying across the keyboard and her tiny feet pumping the pedals. Being only five feet tall, she’d often had to sit right on the edge of the piano seat so the pedals wouldn't snap back up.

When Payton struck the last chord, the notes lingered high above the auditorium stage, echoing for several seconds. Then silence. Payton removed his glasses and wiped his eyes on his sleeve then heard…applause? It wasn’t just his dad and the dean.

He put his glasses back on and squinted, trying to block the glare from the lights with his hand. A small group of students had sat down in the first couple of rows while he’d been playing. He was embarrassed at first, but when he stood, the students rose, cheering, “Bravo! Awesome!”

He fidgeted for a few seconds then shot a peace sign and walked off the stage. Walking back up to where his dad and the dean stood, he saw that girl again…the one that looked like Alicia Silverstone. He got a closer look at her. Even in the dim light, he saw her face perfectly. Her hair was all one length and ebony. It draped around her shoulders, hugging her gorgeous oval-­shaped face. Her dark emerald eyes were highlighted with perfectly sculpted eyebrows and long eyelashes—the same darkness as her hair. Her creamy skin looked like the sun had never touched it. Her pink, plump lips stretched into a half-­smile when she noticed him staring at her. She gave him a thumbs-­up.

He just hoped his mouth wasn't open.

“"Son, that was incredible,"” Dean Fenehey said. “"You'll definitely be an inspiration to other people here. And you can almost bet if you keep up your practicing you’ll get that scholarship."”

Practicing? Scholarship? What the…?

Chynna T. Laird
Author of award-winning book, "I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD"
Author of multi award-winning book, "Not Just Spirited: One Mom's Sensational Journey With Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)"
Author of "White Elephants"
Author of 'Blackbird Flies" (Now available on all online eBookstores)
SPD Contributor with Our Journey Thru Autism
Contributing Writer for the SPD Foundation Blog
Contributing Writer for
Contributing Writer for Parenting Special Needs Magazine
Contributing Writer for Amaze Magazine

Chynna, your excerpt is great. You can find Chynna's book at

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