Author Of The Week: Author Chat with Kim Smejkal (Ink In The Blood), Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
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 Kim Smejkal, YABC's Author of the Week!!
Kim Smejkal lives with her family on Vancouver Island in Canada, which means she's often lost in the woods or wandering a beach. She writes dark fantasy for young adults and not-so-young adults, always with a touch of magic.
Meet Ink In The Blood!
A lush, dark YA fantasy debut that weaves together tattoo magic, faith, and eccentric theater in a world where lies are currency and ink is a weapon, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Kendare Blake.
Celia Sand and her best friend, Anya Burtoni, are inklings for the esteemed religion of Profeta. Using magic, they tattoo followers with beautiful images that represent the Divine’s will and guide the actions of the recipients. It’s considered a noble calling, but ten years into their servitude Celia and Anya know the truth: Profeta is built on lies, the tattooed orders strip away freedom, and the revered temple is actually a brutal, torturous prison.
Their opportunity to escape arrives with the Rabble Mob, a traveling theater troupe. Using their inkling abilities for performance instead of propaganda, Celia and Anya are content for the first time . . . until they realize who followed them. The Divine they never believed in is very real, very angry, and determined to use Celia, Anya, and the Rabble Mob’s now-infamous stage to spread her deceitful influence even further.
To protect their new family from the wrath of a malicious deity and the zealots who work in her name, Celia and Anya must unmask the biggest lie of all—Profeta itself.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Ink in the Blood started with the antagonist. I had a conversation with my father about why he left Czechoslovakia in 1968, and he said the worst thing about living under communism was the constant flow of lies from those in charge. That got me thinking about the nature of lies, and the antagonist in INK—who basically created a cult of personality—was born. From there, I added all the things that I would have loved to read about as a young adult: tattoo magic, theater, and fierce friendships. Much of INK seemed to flow organically, but that initial seed of inspiration was definitely from that conversation about institutional deception.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
I’m notoriously terrible at titles! INK IN THE BLOOD was originally called Devil’s Caravan, but my agent and I changed the title (after much debate and stress) just before it sold. And thank goodness! Ink in the Blood is the perfect title, and I can't imagine it being called anything else now.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
My absolute favorite scene is one I can’t really talk about because of spoilers, but it’s the moment when Celia finally discovers the truth of who she’s up against. That particular scene was a TRIP for me to write, it barely changed during revisions, and it still manages to unnerve me even now. I never thought I’d be able to scare myself with my own writing, but I managed!
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
I think there are two important things: to keep going, and to find your people. Perseverance in the face of rejection is crucial. You have to believe in yourself and the stories you have to tell, even when it feels like the whole world is turning its back on you. This can be the most difficult part of writing! And because this can be such a long, lonely road, it’s equally important to find those people who’ll both stand by you through the downs and celebrate the good stuff when it happens. A good support network is everything.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I adore everything about the cover. The artist, Emilee Rudd, did an amazing job capturing so much of the unique imagery in the story: the linked pinkies, the absinthe, dagger, masks, and bell jar. And the fact that she drew it all in a style reminiscent of old school blackwork tattoos, just like those that are found in the book, is an incredible bonus! In my wildest dreams, I couldn't have imagined a better cover Ink in the Blood.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2019-2020?
There are so many books I’m excited for! I recently read GHOST WOOD SONG by Erica Waters and loved it. I’m also looking forward to NO FRILLS by Erin Elizabeth Grammar, CROWNCHASERS by Rebecca Coffindaffer, GODDESS IN THE MACHINE by Lora Beth Johnson, BELLE RÉVOLTE by Linsey Miller, and the second book in The Offering series—DEFY THE SUN—by Jessika Fleck. There are so many good YA fantasy and sci fi books coming out this year!
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2019?
THE WAKING FOREST by Alyssa Wees and THE GOOD LUCK GIRLS by Charlotte Nicole Davis are both books I still think about often. I loved The Waking Forest for its unique premise and gorgeous prose, and the The Good Luck Girls for its wonderful world-building and memorable cast of characters. It feels like they both flew under the radar as well, so I shout about them whenever I can!
YABC: What’s up next for you?
The sequel for Ink in the Blood is called CURSE OF THE DIVINE, and it comes out early next year. The continuation of Celia's story takes her to an inside-out version of the world, and she discovers the terrible truth of the ink and the Divine. There's also a new villain to contend with, and out of all the characters I’ve ever written, he’s my hands-down favorite. 😈
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
There’s a scene near the end of the book that almost wrecked me. I wrote it through tears. If you read INK, you’ll know which one I'm talking about. I apologize in advance if it wrecks you too.
Ink In The Blood
By: Kim Smejkal
Publisher: HMH Teen
Release Date: February 11th, 2020
3 winners will receive 1 finished copy and 1 sheet of INK IN THE BLOOD temporary tattoos ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
I so want to read this. The plot sounds really unique and I'm really disappointed my library doesn't have plans to get a copy. Guess it's up to me to put in a request for it! (Our YA shelf could really use some new recommendations...) Of course, the likely-hood is that I'll probably just buy my own copy of the book anyway...
I have seen this book in a lot of places and it is on my TBR now! What an unique premise to the story. The cover is also outstanding and will be sure to attract YA readers of this genre. Best wishes to the author on the novel.