Friday, January 30, 2009

Blogger of the Week: Cynthia Leitich Smith

At our Vermont College Winter '09 Residency "Opening Ceremonies," Cynthia Leitich Smith was named the Patron Saint of "The Undead, The Unpublished, and Everyone in Between." This lofty designation is no exaggeration.

Cyn is popular among readers for her contemporary, accessible look into the lives of multi-culti tweens and teens, and, more recently, her wildly successful forays into Southern Gothic supernatural (mwah ha ha!). She is popular among writers because her blog, Cynsations, serves as a comprehensive resource on all things kidlit. She is popular with ME because she rocks it out, all over the place, and in addition to be VERY VERY smart and talented, she is also phenomenally supportive of the many aspiring and burgeoning writers who are lucky enough to cross her path. I am so excited to have her here as a guest blogger today!

And, as an extra-special treat, we're giving away a copy of Cyn's TANTALIZE (also one of Madison Takahashi's picks, as per her student page, which is also a personal fave of mine!) Comment to this post by midnight Thursday (2/5), and you'll be entered in the random drawing to win her book. Winner to be announced a week from today.

Name: Cynthia Leitich Smith
Blog url: or

Tell us a little bit about your blog (the content, editorial identity, purpose):
Cynsations is a source for interviews, reading recommendations, publishing information, literacy advocacy, writer resources, and news in children's and teen literature.

How/when/why did you decide to start blogging?
November 2004

Is your current blog your first? If not (or, if so), how did your original blog/s evolve to your current blog-incarnation?
One of them is. Cynsations is mirrored at Blogger and LiveJournal. The Blogspot came first, and then I decided to crosspost to LJ and more easily reach the YA community there.

What's your favorite thing about blogging?
Being able to offer a most-days hearty dose of information and inspiration. It satisfies my inner journalist, allows me to participate in the greater conversation of books, and hopefully is of some use to the audience.

It is! Okay, what is one thing that surprised you about the blogging process?
The size of the audience. On occasion, I'll ask at a children's-YA writer's conference how many people read Cynsations, and often the majority of hands go up. Jeepers.

Jeepers indeed! You're famous! And with good reason. . . . So, in your opinion, what constitutes a "good" (ie: interesting, readable) blog post?
Anything of interest to the targeted community of youth literature enthusiasts. Styles vary, and that's part of the charm of the community.

What sort of information are you looking to offer your readers?
I tend to go for the substantive--meaty conversations and shared resources with an emphasis on the positive and outreach to the YA readers themselves through giveaways and book-related information of particular interest to them.

What blogs do you read regularly?
The list is too huge to mention, though I skim the whole blogroll on JacketFlap daily. Just for fun, though, I'll highlight: Through the Tollbooth, The Blue Rose Girls, The Longstockings, Read Roger, Fuse #8, Nonfiction Matters, and the whole Austin Blogger Community (see my sidebar for links).

Great recommendations! Thanks for stopping by, Cyn!

Bio: Cynthia Leitich Smith is the author of TANTALIZE (Candlewick, 2007), ETERNAL (Candlewick, 2009), RAIN IS NOT MY INDIAN NAME (HarperCollins, 2001), several short stories, and award-winning books for younger readers. She is a member of faculty at the Vermont College of Fine Arts M.F.A. program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Her website at was named one of the top 10 Writer Sites on the Internet by Writer's Digest and an ALA Great Website for Kids. Her Cynsations blog at was listed as among the top two read by the children's/YA publishing community in the SCBWI "To Market" column. She makes her home in Austin, Texas, with four bossy cats and her husband, author Greg Leitich Smith.


  1. Very nice article! I can't wait for ETERNAL!

  2. I know, it looks so so good. And Cyn always has the most beauteous covers!

  3. It's amazing to see how far this blog has come in the past five years -- and I can't wait to read "Eternal." Good luck to you on your books!

  4. Cant wait for Eternal - 10 days :)

  5. Great interview, Micol! At Through The Tollbooth we LOVE Cyn, and Cynsations, too!

  6. Wow, jeniwrites--I didn't know it was five years old!

    Cynsations is so famous now that I've started to see it in writer's handbooks as examples of the perfect writing blog!! I am working on developing a workshop for my local SCBWI on how to make a writing blog and plan on using Cynsations as an example as well.

    And thank you all for the chance to win a copy of the book! I haven't read it yet and would love to...wish my library would hurry up and get a copy!!!

  7. I have read some of those same blogs!
    I am so excited about reading Eternal. Too bad it isn't about Quincie and Kieren but this will just have to suffice, lol.

  8. I STILL haven't read Tantalize, but I want too...and have wanted too for a LONG TIME!

    Great interview. Cynsations is definitely an amazing blog. :)

    lauren51990 AT aol DOT com

  9. Sorry I'm late to the party. I'm totally into 'substantive-meaty' which might sound kind of obvious but you'd be surprised (or maybe you wouldn't) to know how many bloggers stick very close to the surface. I suppose the fact that anyone anywhere can read what you're writing can be a deterrant to digging very deep. I look forward to reading

  10. I'd love to read Tantalize!
    bunnybx at gmail . com

  11. Update, the trailer for ETERNAL is up on Facebook! It's seriously spooky and awesome. Check it out!

  12. I have heard good reviews on Tantalize! I'm intrigued!

  13. Great interview!

    I haven't read Tantalize yet, but if I don't win it I plan on buying it. And I can't wait for Eternal!

    paradoxrevealed (at) aim (dot) com

  14. Thanks for the Cynsations recommendation! I'm always on the lookout for good writing blogs. The interview was a great read too.

    mdperera at hotmail dot com

  15. nice interview :)