Hey guys, I have the pleasure of having Lindsay Smith on the blog today for the blog tour for her new novel, A Darkly Beating Heart! I hope you guys enjoy our interview, and be sure to check out the other tour stops and giveaway below!
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016
Buy it: Amazon | B&N
A troubled girl confronts her personal demons in this time-travel thriller alternating between present day and 19th century Japan.
No one knows how to handle Reiko. She is full of hatred; all she can think about is how to best hurt herself and those people closest to her. After a failed suicide attempt at her home in Seattle, Reiko's parents send her to spend the summer with family in Japan, hoping she will learn to control her emotions. But while visiting Kuramagi, a historic village preserved to reflect the nineteenth-century Edo period, Reiko finds herself slipping backward in time into the nineteenth-century life of Miyu, a young woman even more vengeful than Reiko herself. Reiko loves escaping into Miyu's life . . . until she discovers Kuramagi's dark secret and must face down Miyu's demons as well as her own.
Lindsay Smith is the author of Cold War-era espionage novels Sekret and Skandal, as well as the fantasy novel Dreamstrider. She writes on foreign affairs and lives in Washington, DC. lindsaysmith.net
Brittany: How long have you been interested in Japanese culture and why did you decide that Edo Japan was the best setting for A Darkly Beating Heart?
Lindsay: I’ve always been interested in Japanese culture, particularly the pre-Meiji periods, but it wasn’t until I visited a historically preserved village on my 2014 trip to Japan that I got the idea for A Darkly Beating Heart. The exteriors of the town of Tsumago in Kifu prefecture has been kept more or less exactly as it appeared in the 1860s. No external electric lights or cables, just low two- or three-story wooden structures with clay tile roofs, all winding their way up the hillside, lit by paper lanterns. It was such a spooky place to walk around at night, when fog came up from the valley, and it really got me thinking about what secrets could hide in the darkness, especially during such a tumultuous period at the end of the Tokugawa shogunate.
Brittany: As I already said, A Darkly Beating Heart is set in Edo Japan and your duology Sekret is set in Russia. What other countries would you like to use as setting in future books?
Lindsay: I’m honestly not sure! There are plenty of other stories in Russian history that I’d love to tell, but I really enjoyed branching out of what I know best and learning more about Japanese history for this book. It would be awesome to do that for another setting. Colonial India, maybe, or WWII Great Britain, or Romania during Tito’s rule. I am a writer for Serial Box’s The Witch Who Came In From the Cold, which is set in USSR-occupied Prague during the 1970s, and I’ve greatly enjoyed working on that as well.
Brittany: What is your favorite thing about writing Historical Fiction?
Lindsay: It feels a lot like writing fantasy, honestly, except the worldbuilding is already done for me. ;) I love getting to immerse myself in another time and place and tease out all the tiny details that bring it to life.
Brittany: What is the creepiest or scariest thing you have ever done for fun?
Lindsay: Oh man, if you ever need a ghosthunting buddy, let me know! I’m all about exploring spooky abandoned places. In high school, I went to one of the “crybaby bridge”s of urban legend with a group of friends, parked on the bridge, and told scary stories while we took photographs and scared ourselves silly with the creepy sounds in the woods.
Brittany: What are your favorite and least favorite scenes to write?
Lindsay: ANGST. I love writing angst. More generally, I love torturing characters, and feeding on all their delicious tears!
My least favorite scenes are pretty much all of those “connective tissue” bits—crucial to keep the story moving logically, but very hard to keep interesting. I always challenge myself to dig deeper in them and find something to make them stand out rather than just look like the scaffolding that they are.
Brittany: What fictional character that is not your own do you identify with the most? Could be from a book, TV show, or a movie.
Lindsay: I identify with all the poor Slytherins at Hogwarts who WEREN’T evil as hell! Man, they sure got a bad rap. There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious and relentless!
Brittany: Who was your first OTP?
Lindsay: Han and Leia, definitely—the dorky scoundrel and the tiny spitfire diplomat. I think their dynamic in the original trilogy describes my husband and me pretty well, too. ;) My OTPs right now, though, are Steve/Bucky (Cold War parallels?! Compare/contrast in free will and compulsion?!, epic love story that transcends the chains of time against all odds?!), and Putin/Ridiculous Photo Ops.
Brittany: Could share with us what your writing process is like? Do you draft? Do you have a certain schedule for yourself? Things you specifically must have with you when writing, etc?
Lindsay: It’s always evolving, but lately I’ve become an outlining evangelist. I used to keep my outline in my head, then inevitably left huge gaping logic holes that I’d have to tie myself up in knots to fix. Or rewrite the book. About a dozen times. Now I try to tackle all those knots ahead of the time in the outlining stage.
I can write pretty much anywhere, but the worse the internet connection, the more success I’ll have. Oops. Right now I get a lot of writing done on my train commute, to the point where sometimes I have trouble stockpiling enough outlines/projects to fill the time.
Brittany: Could you tell us anything about what you’re currently working on?
Lindsay: I’m currently rewriting an older fantasy novel draft, and giving the side-eye to a couple of potential cyberpunk-ish plots. Nothing concrete, though! Also, the first season of The Witch Who Came In From the Cold will be out next spring in an omnibus from Saga Press, and then Season 2 will launch!
Brittany: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Lindsay: There isn’t any one correct way to write, so find what feels right to you—outlining, making it up as you go, writing every day or only when you feel like you have a clear enough head. That being said, the surest way to get better is to keep writing, and that inevitably will mean getting some bad writing out of your system first. Don’t be afraid to put something less than perfect on the page.
10/24: Ex Libris - Review
10/25: Live Love Read - Top 10
10/26: What Sarah Read - Review
10/28: Pondering the Prose - Review
11/3: Bookiemoji - Review