Debut '19 Interview: Crystal Smith & Bloodleaf

In 2019 our goal is to work with as many debut authors as possible and spread the word about their debut novels. Follow us this year as we pick the mind of the 2019 debuts and chat with them. Also stay tuned for news of giveaways, twitter chats and more! 

I got approved for a copy of BLOODLEAF on NetGalley in October and read it immediately and adored it. BlOODLEAF is by far one of my favorite fantasies novels that I read in 2018/19 so I am super excited to have worked with Crystal on this interview and an exclusive excerpt reveal that we posted earlier this month! Check out the interview below! 

About Crystal!

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 and Howl's Moving Castle or reading ghost stories with all the lights on.

Keep up with Crystal: 
WebsiteGoodreads / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / Pinterest  


The Book Bratz: How does it feel that BLOODLEAF is debuting this year?
Crystal: It is incredibly surreal.  I’ve wanted to be an author as long as I can remember—even before I actually knew how to read or write.  That said, as I grew up it became a dream I kept mostly to myself. Those who were the closest to me knew of my aspirations, of the writing and rewriting and querying and the near-constant rejection…but I didn’t talk much about it publicly.  I’d follow other writers, live by their advice, celebrate their successes, but rarely (if ever) dared to comment or reach out.  If I had it to do again, I wouldn’t hold back! Every person I’ve come into contact with in the writing/book community has been beyond kind, helpful, and gracious. Having been very private with my writing journey in the past, the process of putting this book out—this story I’ve lived with for so long!— into the world for has been a liberating, terrifying, exhilarating, and (I’ll admit) exhausting experience. I’ve loved it so far, and can’t wait for what’s next! That said, as soon as Book 1 comes out, I plan on sleeping for a week. ☺

The Book Bratz: In the length of a tweet (280 characters!) can you give us an overall summary of BLOODLEAF?
Crystal: Adrift in an enemy kingdom and bereft of her identity, Princess Aurelia plans her retribution against the witch-hunting Tribunal while unraveling a centuries-old mystery binding her to a secretive new ally, the specter of an ancient queen, and a poison vine called bloodleaf. 5 characters to spare! *whew*

The Book Bratz: Where did your inspiration for BLOODLEAF come from?
Crystal: I’ve been obsessed with fairy tales as long as I’ve been alive! When I was a kid I took a liking to a particular fairy tale anthology at the library, and my consecutive checkouts of that book probably spanned years. Grimm’s “the Goose Girl” was always my favorite, but as I grew up I began to ask myself: what could the bigger story be? The one that, told over and over through centuries, might eventually evolve into this tale? So that’s where I started. It only took me like fifteen years or so to see it through! Haha

The Book Bratz: Is there anything from your personal life that you used as inspiration in BLOODLEAF?
Crystal:  Ohh, this is a good one! I have to say, there is an underlying exploration of how far mothers will go to protect their children that certainly became deeper and more poignant as I had my 2 sons and watched them grow. Gah. There are certain scenes that still get to me, just thinking about them. A funny sidenote: My sister-in-law’s name is KelLynn! I had named Aurelia’s friend/guard Kellan before my SIL and my brother met, and she said I could let the name stay, even if it does get awkward when I’m describing something that happens to the character and the SIL is right there. (ie, “and then Kellan gets stabbed right in the face!! Oh, not you, KelLynn! I swear I don’t want to stab you in the face.”) If you’re reading this, KelLynn, I’m sorry for the terrible things I’ve done to Kellan.

The Book Bratz: Can you share a secret about BLOODLEAF that not many people know yet?
Crystal: Would a book 2 tease work? How about this: If book 1 is basically “The Goose Girl” with ghosts, book 2 can probably be described as “Sleeping Beauty” meets Sleepy Hollow.

The Book Bratz: If you had to create Twitter or Instagram handles for your characters, what would they be?

  • Aurelia: @iseedeadppl
  • Zan: @tkmybrthawy
  • Kellan: @royalbbysittr
  • Onal: @staybackibite
  • Kate: @sunshinekat
  • Nathaniel: @mastrmusclr
  • Toris: @bbbad2thebone
  • Lisette: @didntgetarose
  • Domhnall: @realDomhnallGrump
  • Conrad: @got2Bking

The Book Bratz: Do you have any ideas you plan to visit after the BLOODLEAF world?
Astrid: Yes! I have a gunpowder fantasy I worked on between drafts of Bloodleaf that I would love to come back to someday. I also have a gothic horror idea that’s been beckoning…and about a half-dozen other story kernels that might take root in the right conditions! I’ll be sad when I have to bid the Bloodleaf world goodbye (funny to say when there’s still SO much work to do!) but when I do, there will be some exciting new worlds waiting!


Title: Bloodleaf (Bloodleaf #1)
Author: Crystal Smith
Genre: Fantasy
Publication: March 5th, 2019
Summary: 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?

Thank you so much Crystal for stopping by and answering some of our questions! We loved BLOODLEAF and were honored to interview you and be able to reveal and exclusive excerpt!  

1 comment

  1. This is a fantastic post. I love the interview of Crystal. I can't wait to read Bloodleaf!


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