Friday, November 24, 2006

Ho, Ho, Ho!

I've always been fascinated by writers who are able to collaborate on a story, especially if those writers live under the same roof. Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith are two fine writers who happen to be married to each other. Although they have their own titles, they joined talents and wrote SANTA KNOWS, a fun holiday story. Recently, I asked if they would share a few words about the process. Here's what they said:

Cynthia: Afie is very much a 21rst century kid, and I wanted to offer a
contemporary feel to the classic themes in Santa Knows. Kids today are
saturated in technology and information, so that was one way of
connecting to them. Only problem? Despite my two websites and two blogs,
I'm not especially tech savvy myself. For that aspect of the manuscript,
I turned to my patent attorney-author husband (who holds two degrees in
electrical engineering) to help me out.

Greg: I liked that Cyn's story was funny and had a strong boy
character--I don't think we have enough laugh-out-loud humor for young
guys. When she first asked me to tweak the manuscript, I overdid it
(made the text over the head of most adults and too many kids), so we
took it back a notch or three and have a story that is very today, very
smart, but still fun and accessible.

Cynthia: We also bolstered the role of Alfie's little sister, Noelle,
for dual gender appeal and because she insisted on it.

Note: Cynthia also is the author of Jingle Dancer (Morrow, 2000), Rain
Is Not My Indian Name (HarperCollins, 2001), Indian Shoes
(HarperCollins, 2002), and Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007). Visit Greg also is the author of Ninjas, Piranhas,
and Galileo (Little Brown, 2003) and Tofu and T. rex (Little Brown,
2005). Visit Santa Knows is their first book
written together. Visit

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