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Where Stories Are Made is a regular feature here at Book Chick City. It’s where the author takes us on a tour of their writing place, be it an office, coffee shop or park and tells us about their writing day and rituals. My guest today is young adult author, Cynthia Leitich Smith


On a typical day, I’m up and at my laptop before 8:30 a.m., which is remarkable because I’m by nature a very late-night person. I used to write rough drafts only between midnight and 4 a.m., but I’ve modified that recently, shifting to daylight hours so I can spend more time with my very cute husband and sometimes co-author, Greg Leitich Smith.

I try to post to my blog, Cynsations, which appears at Blogger, LiveJournal, and MySpace (and is syndicated to Facebook, JacketFlap), etc. by 9 a.m. The posts are generally pre-formatted in advance, which helps enormously.

Then I add a little note to the Facebook syndication post of Cynsations, which appears on both my regular and “like” pages, read/skim other folks’ blogs for links to include in my Friday round-up, and tweet my own new posts. Along the way, I respond to email and other communications via my various social networks. I also retweet, comment, and otherwise make an effort to participate in the online conversation of books.

I know it sounds like a lot. But that’s not unusual for a full-time writer these days. I write for teenagers, so I live where they live, on the Internet. Also, when I quit my law job to write full time, my commitment went beyond my own books. I’m interested in what other writers are doing and what’s going on in the industry. I like to spread good news. It satisfies the part of me that once planned to be a journalist. Some people garden, I link!

It may take until 11 a.m. to finish all of that, and then I’m on to media interviews—up to three a week. I respond to queries about the full range of children’s-YA books, from picture books to young adult novels. I’m also frequented asked about marketing, in part because I was one of the first really active authors on the Web.

Unless I have a special event or MFA student manuscripts to grade (I’m on the faculty of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults), I spend my afternoon writing. I love that my laptop allows me to migrate around the house. When I really need to spread out, it’s not unusual to find me at the dining room table. I often work on screen and on paper at the same time.

If I’m reading to revise my work, though, I might instead plop–belly first–onto the bed, where, if I’m lucky, I might be joined by a cat or three. Or four.

My house features a number of reminders of my writing life, especially as related to community.

This gnome statue in the garden was a gift from author Libba Bray, who purchased it as a symbolic/inspiration object when she was working on the first draft of Going Bovine (Delacorte) at a summer workshop at my house.

This eagle feather was a gift from one of my mentees, Kim Rogers, and hangs in my library. Greg comes in from his day job as a patent attorney sometime after 5 p.m., and then we relax for an hour or two and have dinner (he cooks, not me) before writing for another couple of hours—sometimes more.

For me, that time sometimes goes to my manuscript in progress and sometimes goes to grading or online correspondence or event preparation. I’ve been speaking out of town a lot lately—Springfield, Illinois; Houston, San Antonio, a Native reservation in California, and have events in Boston, Orlando, and Albuquerque coming up. That requires a lot of prep time.

Finally, I tend to read before going to bed. I used to read a novel a day (or a stack of picture books) but an increasingly busy schedule has slowed me down. Still, it’s not unusual to find me immersed in someone else’s story after 10 p.m. And gratefully so!


Tantalize – Out Now
Eternal – Out Now
Blessed – Out 2011

You can find out more about this feature HERE

If you’re an author who would like to be featured on Where Stories Are Made, please email me: HERE

**Next week on ‘Where Stories Are Made’: MD Lachlen**
View Shedule Page for full author listing!

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Carolyn created Book Chick City in July 2009 due to her love of books. A Brit chick obsessed with zombies, kick-arse chicks and sexy heroes. She's also seriously addicted to chocolate, shopping, and coffee. Her favourite genres are Urban Fantasy, Romance and Zombie Lit... Brrraaaaiiinnnnsss!


Katy May 13, 2010 at 6:14 am

This was great! Cynthia is a busy lady, but she is so good at what she does!


Darlyn May 13, 2010 at 7:06 am

yeay!Cant wait for blessed!


Dot May 13, 2010 at 8:47 am

I love these posts! And I want some of those bat glasses!


Laura Summers May 13, 2010 at 12:51 pm

This feature is really fascinating, seeing people's houses and how they work.

I love the different pets we keep seeing too :)

Reply May 13, 2010 at 2:04 pm

We just love Cynthia! She is super sweet and knows so much about the YA world, she amazes us. We had the honor of meeting her a month or so ago.


MamaKitty May 13, 2010 at 3:39 pm

I never really realize how busy authors are until I talk to one or see a post like this. As a reader, I'm very appreciative of how busy they are!

Thanks for the insight into Cynthia's life and writing. She has a lovely home, beautiful kitties, and a comfy-looking bed! (I totally lay across mine while I'm working too, LOL).


Jessilyn May 13, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Cynthia is amazing, Great feature 😉


Marsha A. Moore May 13, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Thanks, Cynthia. I write late at night and wonder how you ever made that sift to being on task at 8:30 am. :)


Michelle @ The True Book Addict May 13, 2010 at 6:10 pm

LOVE the funky glasses…and the kitties (of course)! Great post. =O)


Moonsanity May 13, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Cool interview, and insights! I just love this feature:)


Cynthia Leitich Smith May 13, 2010 at 10:42 pm

Thanks so much for this wonderful opportunity and for all of the lovely comments!

The bat glasses were purchased at a costume shop called Lucy In Disguise on South Congress in Austin.

As for how I made the shift from a late night to early morning schedule, it wasn't easy. I have to make a much bigger effort to concentrate while writing in the afternoon–so many interruptions.

Turning off the Internet helped as did making the transition gradually, inching the shift along instead of demanding it of myself all at once.

One small correction–and it's good news–ETERNAL is now available from Candlewick in the U.S. and Walker in the U.K.

Thanks again!


Melissa May 14, 2010 at 1:08 am

I also love those glasses! lol

Those kitties are also very cute. :) I don't know if I could make the night to morning shift.

This is a great feature!


Book Chick City May 14, 2010 at 6:44 am

Thanks Cynthia for such a great post! And thanks to everyone else who stopped by to say hello! 😀


Melissa (My words and pages) May 16, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Oh, the kitties look so comfortable. :) Look like they keep you company. That is nice. :) I have to say I love the feather! That is a lovely addition to the room. Thank you for posting about you place and your day.


Heather Ivester May 17, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Thanks for this insight into the busy writer's life. I discovered Cynthia's blog while researching an author and have enjoyed many of her interviews. The linking does pay off!

And cats definitely make the coziest writing partners. :)


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