Interviews about TANTALIZE

Tantalizing tidbits abound as Cynthia dishes on writing, gothic lit, favorite things and her latest novel.

JV: What started you writing YA fantasy novels?

CLS: I mentioned Blood and Chocolate above, and it's probably my inspiration novel. I love its romance and ferocity and pacing. I write for younger kids too. My inner "children" are ages 7, 10, 14, and 17. It's crowded in here. But I'm especially drawn to the YA audience. There's never a time of greater change, risk, or emotion.

Guest Author Interview—Cynthia Leitich Smith
from Jessica Rodriguez of Jessica's Vision.

"The restaurant setting came easiest. I'd worked as a waitress after high school and in college to help pay for my educational expenses."

Interview: Cynthia Leitich Smith from YA Rock Starlette Blog.

What sort of things do you like to do in your free time?

I'm a great fan of museums—especially natural history museums. I'm rather entranced by dinosaurs and Ice Age Mammals. I also love to go to superhero movies and botanical gardens and out for sashimi. My favorite shows right now are “Monk” and “Bones.” I read about 100 comic books a week, and I have an amazing group of writer friends with whom I get together regularly.

—Interview: Cynthia Leitich Smith of “Tantalize”
from the Columbia County Rural Library District
of Dayton, Washington.

What tip do you have for those interested in writing horror?

“If it's horror-fantasy, make sure you have “earned your ghost” or other monster.

“From a literary perspective, it's not enough to take a realistic character and just slap a set of teeth (or claws) on her. Instead, consider how the specific mythology tradition has developed in books over generations. Decide what your contribution will be, and then make your approach to the fantasy element pay off in terms of character, theme, and plot.”

Cynthia Leitich Smith on Writing Horror/Fantasy:
a Poised at the Edge Author Interview from Hello Ma'am.

If you could pick one or two songs to represent your book, what would they be?

“Bad Moon Rising” Creedence Clearwater Revival

“Red Red Wine” UB 40

“I Want to Be Evil” Eartha Kitt

—Author Interview: Cynthia Leitich Smith
from Jaden Nation at the UndergroundUnrest.

What makes Tantalize unique?

“Probably my most remarked-upon twist on the tradition is that the story largely revolves around Sanguini’s, a fictional a vampire-themed restaurant set here in Austin, Texas.

“As an older teen, I’d waited tables in restaurants to help pay for college tuition and expenses, and I loved how each was a stage for drama — complete with thematic décor, menu, costumes/uniforms, music, and more.”

Books That “Suck” Interview: Cynthia Leitich Smith
from The Compulsive Reader.

What's the future of the Vampire in literature...doomed or saved?

"The vampire is (to work in the title of my next book) Eternal (Candlewick, 2009). The fashions of his/her depiction will vary over time, but the traditionally suggested themes of sensuality, selfishness, endless youth, being both in-and outside the world, redemption (or lack thereof), the mysterious/dangerous/foreign 'other,' and an existence outside the rules… These are themes that—for better and worse—endure."

Cynthia Leitich Smith on Fantasy, YA, and Vampires
from Writers Interviewing Writers.

"I adore losing myself in a novel. I have this theory that once you’ve hit your third or fourth draft, all the answers to story questions are already hinted at somewhere in the manuscript. Your unconscious mind knows what it’s doing. You just have to trust yourself and your characters. I go into a deeply intuitive state, and somehow the map I’ve integrated begins to show itself."

Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith
by Sarah Aronson at Through the Tollbooth.

“Horror is a wonderful metaphor for adolescence. You're a shape-shifter in your changing body. Your raging hormones are the beast within. You're transforming...but into what?”

—Cynthia Leitich Smith's Tantalizing Talk from Marta Acosta.

“When I began writing, I took the typical advice: write what you know. For me that meant stories of small-town people from the mid-to-southwest, including Native families.

“As I've grown as I writer, I've begun to branch out and take more chances. Like Quincie, I live in Austin and have a history of working in a restaurant and am independent and ambitious. So, a lot of me can be found in her story, too.”

Interview – Cynthia Leitich Smith from Darque Reviews.

“I think that gothic fantasy works well as analogy. It prepares us for the horrors that we face in reality. Take for example, Tantalize, which is in part the story of a vampire who doesn’t want to be one. Boil it down, and that’s a drinking problem.”

Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith
by Elle Wolterbeek from the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy (International Reading Association)
(scroll to pages 81 to 84 (pg. 7 to 10 of the PDF file)

“I do this drastic thing... that freaks out my graduate students. When I'm finished with the first draft, I print it, read it once, throw away the hard copy, delete the file, and delete trash. Knowing as I go in that the draft is for my eyes only, that I'm not committed to it, frees me up to experiment. It gives me an opportunity to explore the characters and their world. I figure the best, strongest aspects of the character and story will survive when I write the second first draft.”

—Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith
from the Faerie Drink Review.

Fresh Voices of YA: Cynthia Leitich Smith Interview from Book Chic (Aug. 14, 2007).

"From the beginning, I was very aware of the power of the conversation between books."

Going Goth: An Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith
from Suite101.com.


Q: if you could live inside any TV show in the world, what would it be and why?

A: "Fantasy Island" (1978-1985) because I want to be Mr. Roarke when I grow up.

Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith:
a Girlfriends Cyber Circuit interview
by Lara M. Zeises.

Q: What's your favorite... line from a movie?

“I never drink…wine.” — Bela Lugosi’s “Dracula.”

Shop Talk Tuesday with Cynthia Leitich Smith
from Laura Bowers at Writing Without the Reins.

"...The title ...was the only one I considered and came from one of the first lasting lines I wrote. Quincie says, 'Call me werecurious, but if my mission was to arouse the boy with the beast within, I'd have to tantalize his monster.'"

Chatting with Cynthia Leitich Smith
from Hello Ma'am.

On writing as a career:

"Writing fiction seemed a tremendous indulgence against great odds. It was something I'd do someday. But it slowly occurred to me that many people 'someday' their way through their entire lives. The only way to make dreams a reality is to commit to them fully."

—Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith
at Alma Fullerton's site.

On making the leap into gothic fantasy writing:

"Beginning writers always are told "write what you know." But there's another bit of golden advice: write what you love to read."

Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith
at Not Your Mother's Book Club.

On what this latest book is about:

"Let's just say it's a genre bender, offering gothic fantasy, suspense, mystery, romance, and humor with a serving of blood-and-tongue sausages on the side."

Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith
at the YA Authors Café.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I'm diving into a revision of ETERNAL, which is set in the same universe as TANTALIZE. It goes deeper into the heart of the universe.

Quincie and even her hybrid werewolf best friend Kieran are largely on the outskirts of their world. Plus, she's not the most reliable first person narrator.

ETERNAL will bring readers to a center point of the fantasy structure.

Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith
by Debbi Michiko Florence.

A writiing tip:

“Write at least one scene from the point of view of your antagonist.”

What's Fresh with Cynthia Leitich Smith's Tantalize
by Kelly Para at YA Fresh.