Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Sophomore Spotlight on . . . Lindsay Smith

In case you missed the intro with the description and main giveaway, this event is simply about checking in with 2014 debut authors who have at least one release in 2015 (AKA their sophomore year as an author).

Today's spotlight features an awesome top tens list that compares Lindsay Smith's debut and her fall release (which I'm really excited for). Lindsay's first book, Sekret, released in April of last year. Her 2015 releases include Skandal (sequel to Sekret), Kursed (a short story), and Dreamstrider.

I love the list that Lindsay wrote. It made me even more interested in reading her books. I hope you love the post too.☺

Lindsay Smith is the author of the YA historical thrillers Sekret and Skandal and the forthcoming YA fantasy Dreamstrider (October 2015). She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and dog, where she writes on foreign affairs.

Top 10 Similarities and Differences in the SEKRET Series and DREAMSTRIDER

1. Espionage and intrigue!

In Sekret and Skandal, Yulia works for the oppressive, paranoid KGB and the cavalier CIA, the premier spy agencies of the USSR and US, respectively, during the Cold War. Her aim is to steal national secrets that will help her country gain the upper hand in the stalemated world of the 1960s. The spywork of Dreamstrider, however, is run by the Barstadt Empire’s Ministry of Affairs, where they primarily focus on infiltrating the many criminal organizations, though when a neighboring kingdom threatens war, Livia must gather intelligence in both the waking world and in Oneiros, the world of dreams.

2. Psychic Powers vs. Dream Magic

The spies of Sekret use a variety of psychic abilities to conduct their spywork: mindreading, premonition, remote viewing, telekinesis, and even “scrubbing,” or altering a subject’s thoughts and memories. In Dreamstrider, Livia is able to enter her targets via the dreamworld and take physical control of them while they sleep. While their thoughts are largely closed off to her, she is able to learn something about her targets based on how they manifest in the dreamworld, and what their dreams reveal about them.

3.  Historical vs. Fantasy

My two favorite genres—and I often think they’re more similar than people realize! Sekret and Skandal take place in the 1960s of our world, with the added paranormal psychic abilities. Meanwhile, Dreamstrider is set in a wholly fictional fantasy realm (though I drew inspiration from everything from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the piracy heyday of the Caribbean, and the many cult-of-personality military dictatorships of the 20th and 21st centuries). Whether a story is set in the real world or an imagined one, however, I think it’s the tiny details that bring the setting to life—the popular songs and food and beliefs of the people who inhabit the setting add that extra dimension of believability.

4.  Yulia vs. Livia

Yulia is headstrong, determined, and stubborn to a fault—life in the Soviet Union has hardened her against threats real and imagined, and sharpened her convictions to a lethal edge. While Yulia doesn’t fully understand her powers, she works hard to make them her own and use them for a worthwhile cause. Livia, by contrast, begins Dreamstrider just after a failed operation has exposed the fragility of her skill. She questions why the Dreamer has given her the supposed gift of dreamstriding, and whether she’s even meant to use her gift at all.

5.  Swoony Romance

In Sekret, I know the dark, handsome, quiet, musically gifted Valentin won quite a few of my readers’ hearts! He’s a troubled character, burdened with a power he isn’t entirely certain can be used responsibly, but he’s willing to try in order to make a better life with Yulia. InDreamstrider, Livia is coming to terms with the futility of her feelings for her longtime spying partner, Brandt, who’s destined to marry a fellow aristocrat. When the bold Farthing secret policeman Marez comes to help her stave off war, she finally starts to see the possibility of a life beyond the Barstadt Empire, and beyond her doomed crush on Brandt.

6. Everyone Has a Secret . . .

No question about it—I love characters with secrets. I love twists and turns and making chasms open beneath my characters’ feet, just when they’re sure of where they stand. Sekret and Skandal make plenty of use of the devastating power of secrets as Yulia tries to understand how she acquired her power and decide who to trust (and when). Dreamstrider has plenty of surprises in store for readers, as well—including the truth behind the very foundation of Livia’s beliefs.

7. Communists and Spies vs. Gangs and Empires

In Sekret, Yulia is up against the entire USSR and its many systems—bribery, blackmail, espionage, and literal thought police—as she tries to survive and regain her freedom. In Dreamstrider, Livia is much more at peace with her life in the Barstadt Empire, but realizes that its own imperfect elements—a strictly codified class system rife with criminal gangs that exploit the downtrodden—are pushing it toward the brink.

8. Teamwork

Spywork is never a solitary venture—both Yulia and Livia must learn the importance of playing nicely with others in order to achieve their goals. But it’s never as easy as it sounds. In Sekret, Yulia must navigate her missions with the very real threat that her fellow teammates can read her (subversive) thoughts—and will they help her try to escape, or report her to the KGB? In Dreamstrider, Yulia is the only spy with special powers, but her teammates can’t give her any breaks—especially when she keeps messing up the parts of spying that come so naturally to the rest of them. A team is only as strong as its weakest link. How can Livia ever live up to the pressure and atone for her previous deadly mistakes?

9. Nuclear Weapons vs. Nightmares

Aside from the psychic powers, Sekret is grounded in very real and very urgent threats. The United States and the Soviet Union have been pushed to the brink of nuclear war as they lob men and rockets into space. Dreamstrider faces a far more fantastical threat—nightmares. Literal nightmares come to life, seeping from the dreamworld into the waking one. Very different, but both terrifying!

10. Do You Trust Your Leader? vs. Does Your Leader Trust You?

In Sekret, Yulia must decide how much she can trust her KGB overlords as she navigates the confusing, paranoid world of Soviet Russia and seeks her own freedom. In Dreamstrider, Livia’s the one in need of regaining people’s trust. After she failed her teammates terribly on a failed mission that is now infamously known as The Incident, she must prove that she’s still deserving of her dreamstriding gift and a worthwhile member of the team.

I'm leaving Skandal's description out because it's probably spoilery. 

Goodreads Description: 
An empty mind is a safe mind.

Yulia knows she must hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive in Communist Russia. But if she sometimes manipulates the black market traders by reading their thoughts when she touches their skin, so what? Anything to help her survive.

Russia's powerful spy agency, the KGB, is recruiting young people with mind-reading capabilities for their psychic espionage program. Their mission: protect the Soviet space program from American CIA spies. Why shouldn't the KGB use any means necessary to make the young psychic cooperate? Anything to beat the American capitalist scum to the moon.

Yulia is a survivor. She won't be controlled by the KGB, who want to harness her abilities for the State with no regard for her own hopes and dreams. She won't let handsome Sergei plan her life as a member of elite Soviet society, or allow brooding Valentin to consume her with his dangerous mind and even more dangerous ideas. And she certainly won't become the next victim of the powerful American spy who can scrub a brain raw—and seems to be targeting Yulia. 
add to goodreads

SEKRET Buy Links:

Goodreads Description: 
A high-concept, fantastical espionage novel set in a world where dreams are the ultimate form of political intelligence.

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. 
add to goodreads



Have you read any of Lindsay's books? Are you as excited for Dreamstrider as I am?

(Also, if you happen to comment on this post, you can get a couple entries in the event giveaway.☺)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hello potential commenter! Thank you for visiting my blog! Comments always brighten my day. :) I'll try to reply as soon as I can.