Interview with Jill Carson for James Lane Post

*The original interview has been edited

East Hampton Library’s 18th Annual Authors Night fundraiser is returning to its full-scale, in-person format after being held virtually for the past two years. Known as the premier literary event of the Hamptons and one of the most successful celebrations of books and authors in America, the celebrity-studded event hosts 100 authors across all genres at an Authors Reception. Participating authors include Carl Bernstein, Katie Couric, Tina Brown, Nelson DeMille, and Ali Wentworth, to name but a few. All proceeds from the night go toward East Hampton Library’s programming, enabling it to continue offering free programs to the community year-round. The East End’s rich literary traditions, plus its close proximity to New York City — home to a myriad of acclaimed authors and publishers — makes it a prime location for this event.

Cynthia Bardes will be returning to Author’s Night this year.

Jill Carson: What made you realize you wanted to be a writer and when?

Cynthia Bardes: I started writing as a child and I went to Sarah Lawrence College, where there’s a lot of writing. But what really happened is I was a dress designer and I was in stores all over the country. I lived in Los Angeles for about four months and I was walking down Wilshire Boulevard when I was hit by a car. I was flipped over on my knee and had to have major surgery. So while I was recuperating in the hotel, I thought, “I’ve always loved writing. I’m going to start writing a fantasy children’s book about my pet and little muse, Pansy, a brown poodle.”

Jill Carson: What drew you to picture books, Bardes?

Cynthia Bardes: I’ve always liked fantasy and I just thought writing fantasy picture books would be a fun way to start.

Jill Carson: Do you have any forthcoming projects that you can talk about?

Cynthia Bardes: My first chapter book for eight and nine year olds, “Pansy’s Rainbow,” will be out at the end of November. My next Pansy picture book will be out in fall 2024.

Jill Carson: You’ve attended East Hampton Authors Nights in the past. Can you tell me about your experience at the event?

Cynthia Bardes: I’ve attended Author’s Night for seven years and I was the only children’s book author in attendance when it started. There are about 100 authors and people come by to speak with them and buy books. I see a lot of repeat customers. In my case, I sign books to somebody’s children or grandchildren

Jill Carson: Authors Night is all about fostering community among writers and readers. What is the most important part for you about having a community and a space to interact and connect with that community as a writer?

Cynthia Bardes: I often attend the East Hampton Library’s children’s fair, where there are about 20 children’s book authors signing books. I love to see children run into signings and say, “we love Pansy!” It is gratifying to interact with this community of young readers who are excited about what I create.

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