2020 Debut Author Interview: Kim Smejkal! (+ COVER REVEAL!!)

In 2019, we made it our goal is to work with as many debut authors as possible and spread the word about their debut novels. It was such a success last year that we decided to continue the fun this year as well! Follow us this year as we pick the minds of the 2020 debuts and chat with them. Also stay tuned for news of giveaways, Twitter chats and more!
At the end of 2019, we Tweeted about wanting to discover more debut authors and their books. We ended up finding Kim Smejkal and her novel INK IN THE BLOOD, and we have been interested in it ever since. We are so excited to have Kim on the blog today to answer some of our questions! 

About Kim! 
Kim Smejkal
Kim Smejkal writes dark fantasy for young adults and not-so-young adults, always with a touch of magic. When she’s not writing, she’s homeschooling her kids, tutoring other people’s kids, and voraciously hoarding any precious alone time. Though she grew up on the Canadian prairies, she now lives with her family on beautiful, muse-satiating Vancouver Island. 
Keep up with Kim: Website / Twitter / Instagram / FacebookGoodreads 


The Book Bratz: First of all, congratulations! How does it feel to be a debut author?
Kim: Thank you so much! It's been a wild ride, that's for sure, but I've enjoyed every minute of the chaos. It's surreal to me that the characters and world that previously only existed in my own head will soon be out in the world. I'm so grateful to every reader. 
The Book Bratz: In your opinion, what is the hardest part of the writing process? What's the easiest? 
Kim: I'm a perfectionist (with my writing anyway), and the hardest part for me has been working under deadlines for the first time. When I'm on my own, I could tweak and polish forever. It's hard to let it go sometimes! The easiest part is coming up with story ideas and characters. My brain is alive with them and I often wish I had more time.

The Book Bratz: Where did you get the inspiration for INK IN THE BLOOD?
Kim: The initial seed of inspiration came from a conversation I had with my father. He left Czechoslovakia in 1968, and told me that the worst part of living under a communist regime wasn't the lack of freedom, but the constant flow of lies from those in charge. That got me thinking about the nature of lies, and how powerful they could become... Then from there, I added everything I loved: theater, masks, tattoos, a fierce friendship, and of course, MAGIC.

The Book Bratz: Who was your favorite character to write? Who was the hardest? 
Kim: I have so many favorites! Anya, the plague doctor, Seer Ostra, Vincent, and the main antagonist (spoilers, can't talk much about her!) were all so much fun to write. The hardest character for me to write was actually the main character, Celia. She's so much like younger me that it was sometimes overwhelming and raw, being in her (my) head again. 
The Book Bratz: What was your favorite scene to write?
Kim: Oof, this is a hard one to talk about without spoilers, but my absolute favorite scene was the one where Celia realizes who she's up against for the first time. It's a scene full of fear, emotion, confusion, and then a dawning dread... it was a delicate dance that ended with Celia understanding for the first time that the world was so much bigger than she thought. Yeah, that was definitely my favorite to write. Thinking about it now still gives me shivers!
The Book Bratz: How did you keep track of all of the intricate rules, facts, and information about Profeta while writing? It sure seemed like a lot to remember, with such a beautifully intricate world!
Kim:Ha! Thank you for acknowledging my pain. :) I have multiple documents that outline things like characters, setting, language, magic rules, culture, etc. And thank goodness for my agent and editor who helped me stay consistent! 

The Book Bratz: Do you plan on returning to the world of INK IN THE BLOOD in the future? Is there anything you can tell us about that?
Kim:Absolutely! The sequel to Ink in the Blood is called CURSE OF THE DIVINE. I'm so excited that I got another chance to dive into Celia's world! Plus, the plague doctor has some point of view chapters, and it was awesome to get into his weird head, haha. CURSE is scheduled for release in early 2021 from HMH, and preorder options should be available soon!



Title: Ink in the Blood 
Author: Kim Smejkal
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 11th, 2020

Summary: 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.

Cover Reveal for CURSE OF THE DIVINE!

Return to the world of inklings, tattoo magic, and evil deities as Celia uncovers the secrets of the ink in order to stop Diavala once and for all. This eagerly anticipated sequel to Ink in the Blood is perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Wicked Saints.

Thank you so much to Kim for stopping by and answering our questions! We are super excited about INK IN THE BLOOD and can't wait for it to be out in the world on February 11th

Also be on the lookout for Jessica's review of the book, which will be coming at the end of this week! 

Celebrate So Excited GIF by Hey Violet

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