Shop Talk Tuesday with Cynthia Leitich Smith

March 20, 2007

Okay, I’m trying something new on for size. Starting today, I will be posting author interviews on most Tuesdays! If you’re a published author and would like to do an interview, or if you have any great “hypothetical question” ideas, please email me at laura.bowers@comcast.net!

Now, on with the Shop Talk!

I really wanted to start this with a bang. So today, we have Cynthia Leitich Smith joining us in the beauty shop! *applause! applause!*

Cynthia is the author of the wonderful young adult novel, TANTALIZE, which came out last month from Candlewick. For the full scoop on TANTALIZE, check out her website and blog!

Welcome, Cynthia! Grab some coffee, get comfy in the beautician’s chair, and let’s get down to the gossip.

First off, tell us the truth–when’s the last time you had a manicure?

My last manicure was on Feb. 22 in preparation for the launch party for Tantalize. I decided to attend in full vamp regalia and had my nails done in alternating black and blood red. I also had my hair dyed darker and blood red streaks attached to the front.

Very cool! And I’m speaking for everyone when I say . . . we want a picture! Now, have you ever had a major hair disaster? If so, what was done to correct it?

For one week, I was blond. It was my senior year of college, and I was stuck in Lawrence (home of the University of Kansas) for the week because I couldn’t afford to go anywhere with my friends. I got bored and wandered into the drug store. The rest is history. The worst part? That weekend, I met the cutest boy on a plane on my way to a national student PR conference. He later dumped me when he found out that unpleasant shade of orange wasn’t my natural color—as if!

As if is right! Last beauty question: What beauty product can you not live without?

Bubble bath, but I think it’s more a cheap form of therapy than a “beauty product.”

Okay, Cynthia, there’s a lot of “Hypothetical Questions of the Week” in my novel. So here’s some hypothetical questions for you:

HQ #1: Which book published by another author do you wish you could have written?

Chance by Dian Curtis Regan, illustrated by Dee Huxley (Philomel, 2003). Sometimes I want to take my horsey, blankey, rattle and take off, too! The book definitely captures the spirit of my inner baby.

HQ #2: Which movie screenplay do you wish you could have written?

“My Cousin Vinny” (1992). I love comedies and juxtapositions of cultures (New York-Deep South). Plus, hey, grits and the Karate Kid. Gotta love it!

HQ #3: You magically find a $100.00 bill in your box of Wheaties. In what frivolous way would you spend it?

I like that “frivolous” is mandated. There’s this costume shop, Lucy In Disguise, on South Congress here in Austin. I routinely shop there for such necessities as tiaras, feather boas, and capes. I’m thinking…Cat-In-The-Hat hat. That would look quite dashing on me.

HQ #4: You’re a big time celebrity who just had a baby. (Congratulations.) If you were competing with other celebrities for the most bizarre baby name, what would it be?

Carmilla Lupa Leitich Smith

HQ #5: Paparazzi are stalking you, looking for shots of odd things authors do while writing, or of rituals they perform before starting. What do they catch you doing, hmm?

Dancing in the dark to the soundtrack from “Xanadu.”

Here’s some quickies—no more than two words per answer! Do you . . .

Outline or wing it? Wings-fangs!

Sell by proposal or completed draft? Draft, baby!

Love to edit or cringe at the thought? Deep love!

Prefer writing a new book or marketing the old? Write on!

And finally, because I’m nosy—what’s your favorite . . .

Time to write? Midnight to two a.m.

Movie? “Teen Witch.”

Book? What a Truly Cool World by Julius Lester, illustrated by Joe Cepeda (Scholastic, 1999).

Author? My husband for reasons including but not limited to his genius prose.

Song? “It’s a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong.

Pair of shoes? Blood wine kangaroo cowboy boots.

Guiltiest pleasure? Movie popcorn.

Line from a movie? “I never drink…wine.” — Bela Lugosi’s “Dracula.”

Thank you, Cynthia, for spending time with us in the beauty shop. Any woman who wears cowboy boots is alright in my book, and I just might have to try dancing to Xanadu next time I write! advanced web statistics

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mayra Calvani December 14, 2007 at 7:31 am

Thank you, Laura, for the fun interview. Cynthia, I am really looking forward to read your book. I live in Belgium and I was at the bookstore last Saturday and asked for your book, but they didn’t have it, so I ordered a copy! It’s kind of a nice coincidence to read your interview here today. Good luck with your book and look for my review of it soon…. :-)

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