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We interrupt your regularly scheduled Intrusion for some fangrrl squee-ing.

It’s Cynthia Leitich Smith! It’s Cynthia Leitich Smith! I interviewed the Queen of Interviews!


I know! I can’t believe it, either. Her amazing interviews are the long, soul-searching ones I so admire … but she’s such a good sport that she agreed to do my short, silly interview.


Squeeing over. Commence tribute:

When I first became serious about writing for children and teens, I naturally turned to online resources to learn more about children’s books. What do you think was the best, most comprehensive site I found?


I still remember the old site with the cheery yellow background and the simple “Jingle Dancer” illustration gracing the home page. Now the site is much more sleek and sophisticated, evolving to function as the unofficial repository of Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Children’s Books.

Nowadays, websites for writers are ubiquitous, but one thing hasn’t changed: if you intend to write for children or teens, and you have not explored Cynthia’s website, you’re operating at a disadvantage. That’s all.

We now return you to the Authorial Intrusion boilerplate:

To read any of the previous interviews, just click on the tag “authorial intrusion” on the left side of the page.

For those just tuning in, here’s the history behind these posts:

I love reading about the Publishing Journeys of my favorite writers.

I love the long, soul-searching interviews that reveal every obstacle and triumph: the author whose agent made her do three revisions before signing her … the author who gets up at 4:30 a.m. to write, because it’s the only time she has to herself … the critically acclaimed author who spent nine years trying to get published … I never tire of this stuff!

Long, luxurious interviews aside, don’t you sometimes find yourself wondering: “But do you like Thai or Chinese food better?”

Reader, I asked them.

I assembled a grab-bag full of random questions and emailed them to some of my favorite writers.

They answered!

And now, without further ado, please welcome Cynthia Leitich Smith!

In addition to being an award-winning author of books for several age groups, (The Jingle Dancer, Indian Shoes, Santa Knows, Rain Is Not My Indian Name, and Tantalize), Cynthia Leitich Smith has published many articles and short stories. She has served as a visiting faculty member at the Vermont College MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program, and became a permanent faculty member in 2005. She’s won more awards and accolades than I can list here – please see her site for details – I’m wondering if she ever sleeps.

Currently, Cynthia is looking forward to the audio release of TANTALIZE from Listening Library this spring and in paperback from Candlewick (U.S.) and Walker U.K this fall. She also anticipates the release of ETERNAL, a YA Gothic fantasy novel, and HOLLER LOUDLY, a picture book in 2009. At the moment, she is hard at work on a graphic novel adaptation of TANTALIZE to be released by Candlewick, a few short stories for various YA anthologies, a new picture book manuscript, and a new YA Gothic fantasy novel. (See what I mean? Maybe her secret is power naps.)

Thai food or Chinese?
Chinese! Especially with black bean sauce and brown rice.

What's the last song you listened to?
The theme to "Alien Nation."

If you couldn't write in your current genre, what would you write?
Non-fiction, especially picture book biographies.

Snorkeling or skiing?
Neither. Jeepers. I'm originally from the Midwest, afraid of heights, and saw "Jaws" at an impressionable age.

Favorite pie?
Apple with vanilla ice cream.

Last book you gave as a gift.
Babymouse # 7: Skater Girl by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

Your five favorite movies.
My Fair Lady
The Blues Brothers
My Cousin Vinny
To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar
Teen Witch

Early bird or night owl?
Hoot hoot!

Rain or sun?
Sunshine, baby!

Advice for writers in 5 words or less.
Don't freak out. Keep going!

Nope, but if I had one, it would be a bat.

Do you use writing prompts?
Does dancing in the dark to the "Xanadu" soundtrack count?

Where would you like to travel that you haven't yet?

Chocolate chip cookies or snickerdoodles?

Write a spam subject line for us.
Click me if you're clueless.

What's your favorite childhood Halloween costume?
Princess Leia.

What books are on your night-stand right now?

This Is What I Did,
by Ann Dee Ellis (Little, Brown)
The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous, by Suzanne Crowley
13 DC superhero comics
1 Dark Horse horror comic

Who do you wish you could meet, living or dead?
Rosa Parks

"House" or "Grey's Anatomy"?

Johnny Depp or Orlando Bloom?
Hugh Jackman.

Do you have a favorite how-to book for writers?
What's Your Story: A Young Person's Guide to Writing Fiction, by Marion Dane Bauer

Thank you SO MUCH for indulging our curiosity, Cynthia!


( 12 inscriptions — Inscribe a note )
Feb. 4th, 2008 01:11 am (UTC)
YAY!!!!! Thanks for interviewing one of my all-time favorite people! :) Fun!
Feb. 4th, 2008 02:10 pm (UTC)
Yes! Your mentor, as I recall.

It was so nice of her to play along.

Feb. 4th, 2008 01:32 am (UTC)
Gotta love someone that would get a bat tattoo!
Feb. 4th, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC)
Maybe she'll really get it one day ... !
Feb. 4th, 2008 01:42 am (UTC)
Woohoo for My Fair Lady fans!
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 4th, 2008 02:38 am (UTC)
You are so clever - the Superbowl of Authorial Intrusions! I love it!! :)

Great interview!!!
Feb. 4th, 2008 03:18 am (UTC)
Okay, okay. I know I'm on blacation, but I saw your headline and just HAD to read THIS interview! Awesome!
Feb. 4th, 2008 02:12 pm (UTC)
It's okay - we won't tell anyone.

And you'd have to be superhuman to see the headline and just ignore it. :-D
Feb. 4th, 2008 03:20 am (UTC)
Cynthia is totally squee worthy. Plus, Hugh Jackman? Sigh....
Feb. 4th, 2008 04:57 am (UTC)
Great interview. Cynthia is such a wonderful person!
Feb. 15th, 2008 06:11 am (UTC)
Super fun interview!!
( 12 inscriptions — Inscribe a note )