Saturday, October 20, 2012

An Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith

Q: What do you hear from your readers? 

I’m honored to receive a lot of mail from YA readers—plus the occasional fan book trailer or art, photos of their pets, and suggestions for future books. A lot of teens have requested that I put their name in a book, and it has finally happened. Cameron in Pasadena, Texas will find a namesake character in my upcoming book, Feral Nights, book one in the Feral series (Candlewick, Jan. 2013).

I've also gotten a fair amount of mail from readers who said the books affected them in some positive way—a lot of girls have told me that they've switched from boys who treated them badly to boys who treated them well because of the example of Quincie from the Tantalize series.

Q: Why do you write for Young Adults/Children or Adults?

I write for both. I value the audience, and I’m inspired by young heroes. Think about it: as a kid or teen, you’re as intelligent as you’ll ever be, but you’re embarking on some critical new experiences—driving, voting, kissing—for the first time. There’s a heightened intensity to reflecting that which fascinates me. It also means the character has to stretch more, grow more, be more dynamic and challenging.

Q: What is one thing you would like your readers to know about you? 

I used to be a closeted geek. When I was a teenager, I was a student council officer and varsity cheerleader and editor of the school newspaper. But I floated across cliques and also read superhero comics and saw “Star Wars” (the original, now subtitled “A New Hope”) over 300 times at the movie theater.  The public "me" was just that—for public consumption, trying to live up to everyone else’s expectations. As I've grown up, I've embraced my inner geek, writing fantastical prose and graphic novels and connecting them with all kinds of teens.

Q: Do you have a pet (pets)?  Tell us about it (them) and how they help/hinder your writing. 

I am kept by four cats—Mercury, Bashi, Blizzard, and Galileo (“Leo”). All are tabbies except Blizzard, who’s, not surprisingly, snow white. They’re mischievous and affectionate and keep me company while I’m tapping away at the keyboard. They also largely inspired the werecats in the Feral series.

Thank you so much for your time, Cynthia! We look forward to seeing you at the Festival!
To learn more about Cynthia, check out her awesome blog & website!

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