Author: Lindsay Smith
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Goodreads: Add Here!
Goodreads: Add Here!
Livia is a dreamstrider. She can inhabit a subject's body while they are sleeping and, for a short time, move around in their skin. She uses her talent to work as a spy for the Barstadt Empire. But her partner, Brandt, has lately become distant, and when Marez comes to join their team from a neighborhing kingdom, he offers Livia the option of a life she had never dared to imagine. Livia knows of no other dreamstriders who have survived the pull of Nightmare. So only she understands the stakes when a plot against the Empire emerges that threatens to consume both the dreaming world and the waking one with misery and rage.
A richly conceived world full of political intrigue and fantastical dream sequences, at its heart Dreamstrider is about a girl who is struggling to live up to the potential before her.
So let's get the interview started!
- Tell me a bit about yourself.
I live in Washington, DC with my husband and our rotten Sheltie, and I’m pretty much always either writing or reading! I’m a foreign affairs junkie, and I’m fluent in Russian. I love traveling, eating, and downtime.
- Describe Dreamstrider in three words or less.
Nightmares. Kissing. Spies!
- Oooh that sounds intriguing! Where did the idea for Dreamstrider come from?
I came up with Dreamstrider while thinking about the dual nature of dreams--the kind we experience when we sleep, and the kind we experience when we’re awake. I wanted to design a world where they were one and the same, and so the concept of the Dreamer, a religious figure who tries to inspire waking dreams through sleeping ones, grew naturally out of that. I also wanted to subtly dismantle the Chosen One trope, but to say anything more about that would be spoilerrific ;)
- What was the most difficult aspect of Dreamstrider for you to capture?
Livia was a challenging character. I gave her an incredible gift in her ability to dreamstride, so in order to balance that out, I wanted to give her other difficulties with things that came easily to other characters. She struggles with feelings of inadequacy, especially after putting her teammates in grave danger. She comes from a hard life, and therefore feels ill at ease around people of means. And she doesn’t feel deserving of her gift. I love flawed characters like this, though, who don’t always meet our expectations off the bat, and have to work hard to prove themselves--especially to themselves.
- What was your favorite book growing up?
Slaughterhouse V was the first book that really made me want to be a writer, strange as that is! I loved how many different genres Vonnegut toyed with--war dramas and science fiction and domestic disputes. But I was also a huge fan of Nancy Drew and the Babysitters’ Club.
- Was becoming a writer always your life goal? Or did you have other ideas in mind?
I’ve always wanted to write, but I knew it couldn’t be my sole profession. I’ve bounced around a lot of pursuits--musician, linguist, researcher, even computer scientist. Writing, though, has always been a constant in my life.
- To keep in theme with Dreamstrider... If you could choose to take over the body of one of the characters, which one would you choose?
Ooh, great question! I think Vera would be a lot of fun. She’s so impulsive and unafraid. I’d love to see what sort of trouble I could get up to as her!
- As readers, we all know that book worlds can be pretty terrible. But that's one of the things that make them so excellent to read about. If you could live in any of the worlds you created (from any of your books), would you?
I don’t know! They all start out in pretty horrible shape, but I like to think the story leaves them in a better place. The Barstadt Empire would certainly be an intriguing world to jump into and try to shape.
- What piece of advice do you wish someone had given you while growing up?
To never let perfection be the enemy of the good. It wasn’t until I learned to shut off my inner editor that I was really able to get anywhere with my writing. I had to actually FINISH a book before I could worry about making it better!
- And finally, where can your readers find you online?
Author of YA historical thrillers SEKRET and SKANDAL and the forthcoming YA fantasy DREAMSTRIDER (all from Macmillan Children's). Russophile, foreign affairs junkie, nerd.