Vampires, werewolves and wolverines are all enjoying a steep rise in popularity with mortals these days. If the supernatural makes your pulse race, don’t miss Eternal, Cynthia Leitich Smith’s newest novel. Eternal is the story of Miranda, an average Dallas teenager who is chosen by the King of Vampires to become his next princess. Luckily for Miranda, her guardian angel Zachary moves heaven and earth to save the eternal soul of the woman he loves. Teen and adult readers will find irresistible the alternating points of view between Miranda and Zachary as they battle the powers of darkness in the world and also within themselves. Recently I interviewed Cynthia about her new novel Eternal and writing about the supernatural.
What is your research process when writing a fantasy?
When you’re revisiting mythologies that are well known–like vampires and shape shifters and ghosts, it’s important to study what’s come before you. That way, you can to find out what’s already been done so you can make a fresh, meaningful contribution to the conversation of books. I began by studying folklore from around the world, then the early Gothic masters, and continued up until present day–taking a look at modern horror, pop culture, and of course the body of literature for young adult readers.
How did you get your start writing?
Even as a child, I’d always thought of myself as a writer, and I majored in journalism at The University of Kansas. I went on to complete an additional degree at The University of Michigan Law School because I felt a graduate education was important and the law was fascinating, not because I had a burning desire to practice per se. It wasn’t long after graduation that the lure of story led to me to a full-time writing life.
Which writers inspire you? Why?
I’m fond of YA authors Annette Curtis Klause, Libba Bray, Holly Black, and Cassandra Clare for their strong girl characters. I was also a terrific fan of Joss Whedon and his "Buffy: The Vampire Slayer.".
What’s next for you?
Currently, I’m working on Blessed, which will crossover the casts of Tantalize and Eternal, picking up where Tantalize left off. There’s also a graphic novel adaptation of Tantalize in the works. However, my next book will be for much younger readers–Holler Loudly (2010), an original southwestern tall tale picture book.
Cynthia may be found on the Web at www.cynthialeitichsmith.com. She makes her home in Austin, Texas; with her husband, author Greg Leitich Smith in a beautiful old house that may or may not be haunted.
This interview will also apppear in the latest version of The Houston Banner.