Author Of The Week: Chat with Crystal Smith (Bloodleaf), Plus Giveaway!
Welcome to our weekly special feature post, Author Of The Week!!
Each week we will be interviewing a different YA author and highlighting their upcoming release!
We will also be hosting a giveaway of the book we are highlighting!!
Introducing Crystal Smith, YABC's Author of the Week!!
Crystal Smith is a writer, photographer, and artist who developed an early love of storytelling in a family of voracious readers. She resides in Utah with her high school sweetheart husband and two lively sons. When she isn’t writing or creating, she can be found re-watching Jane Eyre or reading ghost stories with all the lights on.
Princess Aurelia is a prisoner to her crown and the heir that nobody wants. Surrounded by spirits and banned from using her blood-magic, Aurelia flees her country after a devastating assassination attempt. To escape her fate, Aurelia disguises herself as a commoner in a new land and discovers a happiness her crown has never allowed. As she forges new bonds and perfects her magic, she begins to fall for a man who is forbidden to rule beside her. But the ghosts that haunt Aurelia refuse to abandon her, and she finds herself succumbing to their call as they expose a nefarious plot that only she can defeat. Will she be forced to choose between the weight of the crown and the freedom of her new life?
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
I think the character I’d most want to meet in real life is Kate (if sunshine became human, it would look like Kate.) but the character that was most fun to write was definitely Zan. Brooding and snarky with an artistic soul…my jam.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
I’ve been daydreaming about retelling the Goose Girl since my early teens, so definitely the novel. That said, it’s had the title of Bloodleaf for so long it feels like the book and the title are inextricably intertwined at this point. The poison vine called bloodleaf in the story became central to the plot because I liked the way it sounded as a title—but I liked the way it sounded as a title because the plant was becoming central to the plot.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
There are many scenes in Bloodleaf that I’m proud of, but there’s one scene that was added late in the game that has always felt pretty special to me—the scene where Aurelia and her little brother see each other in the library in Achleva. My agent had pointed out that there was a lot going on at that point, and Aurelia needed a moment to re-center herself, to get a tiny boost of hope. It’s a very simple, quiet scene, but I love it.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
Do not give up. That’s it. Just don’t quit. It took years and years and countless rejections, but that’s really the only secret I have to share—let the setbacks fuel you to do better, try harder, dig deeper. It was a long, arduous road, but I wouldn’t change it. I’m a much better writer now than if I’d succeeded on my first draft, or landed an agent with my first query.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
This is a hard question, because I love everything about my cover! But I have to say, the choice to go with blue surprised me a little (I had always envisioned it in red! Or green. Or black, maybe.) but it is so perfect! I could stare at that blue cover all day long.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2019?
There are so many intriguing titles coming out this year, it’s nearly impossible to choose just one! BUT, if you backed me into a corner and threatened me with death I’d probably throw out Erin Craig’s House of Salt and Sorrows—I am a sucker for spooky retellings. Gothic 12 Dancing Princesses? SIGN ME UP.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
Right now I’m headed into another draft of Bloodleaf’s sequel! Middle books in a series are always hard, and I’ve never had to write on such stringent deadlines, but I’m loving where the sequel is heading, and I think there’s a lot coming in book 2 that will feel new and fresh and surprising, so I’m excited for that!
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
Ooooh…this is a tough one to divulge without spoilers! But I have to say I’ve only ever made myself cry while writing once, and it was a scene that, as a mother, hit very close to home. (You’ll know it when you get to it.)
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Revising! Rewriting, actually. The first draft is always painful, but I love starting with a fresh page after I’ve written the book once. It’s freeing: I have a base file to refer back to if I get stuck, but I’m unrestricted by the words I’ve already laid down. It usually takes writing a book a couple of times before I get it right.
By: Crystal Smith
Publisher: HMH Teen
Release Date: March 12th, 2019
** 2 Winners Total **
1 US winner will get: Signed hardcover, three character bookmarks, and exclusive enamel pin.
1 International winner will get: signed hardcover, three character bookmarks, and exclusive enamel pin
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*