Wednesday, February 25, 2015

3 Cynthia Leitich Smith, author of FERAL PRIDE, on readers inspiring a new series

We are thrilled to welcome a very special guest today to Adventures in YA Publishing. NYT best-selling author Cynthia Leitich Smith hardly needs an introduction as her books are so popular with both children and YA readers and her presence online is so strong, especially with respect to her commitment to promoting diversity in literature. She joins us with an interview as well as a giveaway of a MG-YA first chapter critique! Thank you, Cynthia!

What was your inspiration for writing FERAL PRIDE?

All of my novels can stand alone, but FERAL PRIDE caps my FERAL trilogy and TANTALIZE series (both Candlewick), which are set in the same multi-creature universe and feature some overlapping characters.

The inspiration for the FERAL heroes was the prominent appearance of shape-shifters in my TANTALIZE series – most especially a Wolf named Kieren Morales and an Opossum named Clyde Gilbert.

YA readers were telling me that while they thought the heaven-hell battle had been fully realized by DIABOLICAL (Book 4 in the TANTALIZE series), there was still much to be said about the shifters. I’d left them in a perilous place, begging the question of what might happen next.

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

Sensual expressions of romantic love are always challenging. Those scenes are tough to write – I have huge respect for genre romance writers.

Of the pairings in FERAL PRIDE, Yoshi and Kayla’s is the most physically charged. They’re both werecats – he’s a black-furred cougar-like Cat in animal form and she’s a dark-spotted, gold cheetah-like Cat.

They come armed animal-like instincts, against a life-and-death backdrop. The attraction is electric. But they’re also more complicated than that.

Kayla is only baby steps into recovering from the death of her first boyfriend and Yoshi, who has legendary experience with ladies, is suddenly faced with the first one with whom he could have a real relationship, a real future, if they both survive.

What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?

I’d recommend reading the TANTALIZE series (which is made up of TANTALIZE, ETERNAL, BLESSED and DIABOLICAL, plus two graphic novels TANTALIZE: KIEREN’S STORY and ETERNAL: ZACHARY’S STORY) as well as the previous books in the FERAL trilogy (FERAL NIGHTS and FERAL CURSE).

Protagonists (and fan favorite) from the TANTALIZE series return for FERAL PRIDE – Quincie Morris, Kieren Morales, the Archangel Zachary, and there’s even a mention of Miranda Shen McAllister in heaven.

There also are a few short stories set in the universe. “Cat Calls” and “Haunted Love” are available for free download from major etailers, and “Cupid’s Beaux” will appear in THINGS I’LL NEVER SAY: STORIES ABOUT OUR SECRET SELVES, edited by Ann Angel (Candlewick, 2015).

What do you hope readers will take away from FERAL PRIDE?

I hope they ask themselves what makes us human and what makes us humane. I hope they’ll be skeptical of media influences and think critically about what they believe and why.

What are you working on now?

I’m writing a YA realistic novel, HOW TO END A DATE (Candlewick). It’ll be my first novel with a Native American protagonist since my debut, RAIN IS NOT MY INDIAN NAME (HarperCollins). It’s feels both like a bit of a debut, after writing so much speculative fiction, but also like coming home again.


Feral Pride
by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Released 2/24/2015

The explosive finale to the Feral series by New York Times best-selling author Cynthia Leitich Smith.

Anti-shifter sentiment is at an all-time high when Kayla’s transformation to werecat is captured on video and uploaded for the world to see. Suddenly she becomes a symbol of the werebeast threat and—along with fellow cat Yoshi, lion-possum Clyde, and human Aimee—a hunted fugitive. Meanwhile, a self-proclaimed weresnake has kidnapped the governor of Texas and hit the airwaves with a message of war. In retaliation, werepeople are targeted by law enforcement, threatened with a shift-suppressing vaccine, terrorized by corporate conspiracy, and enslaved by a top-secret, intelligent Cryptid species. Can Clyde rally his inner lion king to lead his friends—new and old—into battle against ruthless, media-savvy foes? A rousing blend of suspense, paranormal romance, humor, and high action.

Purchase Feral Pride at Amazon
Purchase Feral Pride at IndieBound
View Feral Pride on Goodreads


Cynthia Leitich Smith is the New York Times and Publishers Weekly best-selling author of the TANTALIZE series and FERAL series. Her award-winning books for younger children include JINGLE DANCER, INDIAN SHOES, RAIN IS NOT MY INDIAN NAME (all HarperCollins) and HOLLER LOUDLY (Dutton).



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