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Lauren Sevier and A. Smith will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Author Interview: Lauren Sevier and A. Smith
1. How did you choose your genre? What made you write this book?
When we first began writing Guns & Smoke, Dystopian was all the rage (Think Divergent, Hunger Games, Maze Runner, etc.). Oddly enough, Guns & Smoke began as a YA Dystopian novel. Abbie really loves the dystopian genre. She enjoys reading stories of how the world can change from what it is now. Additionally, Dystopian has never really been about potential or unrealistic futures. Dystopian is a take on the current climate surrounding the world. There are several elements heavily featured in Guns & Smoke that speak to the darker side of life currently (human trafficking, violence, murder), and are highlighted in The Fool’s Adventure world. Ultimately, we started writing this with no intention of it becoming as big as it has. The Fool’s Adventure is set in such a rich world that the possibilities are, quite honestly, endless. Jesse & Bonnie’s story is just one of many that we plan to tell in this series.
2. Writers write what they know, and must observe the world. Are you a firstborn, middle or last child, and how does this shape your view of the world?
Abbie: I am the last child in my family, however, there is an age gap between myself and my siblings (5 and 7 years respectively), so I feel more like a first-born child. Because of life, I’ve really been treated like a first child. As a result, I am really responsible and tend to be the one people can rely on. Lauren is really good at balancing me out. Sometimes too much structure and responsibility can be a hindrance instead of a blessing. We work well together because we balance each other out. Lauren: I’m the middle child in my family. LOL. No surprises there. I love to make people comfortable and meditate, but I’m also pretty silly. I get the crazy ideas that Abbie has to rein in most of the time. I think being a middle child, feeling at times overlooked and the pressure to compete has helped me become a driven person with a large creative streak. This helps me to be self-reliant, self-motivated, and always thinking outside the box which has helped me tremendously in my writing journey and in co-authoring with Abbie.
3. Where is your favorite place to write?
Abbie: I can write just about anywhere, but my favorite place to write is in my office. I have a desk in front of the window to my big backyard, so I am able to see nature. For me, it’s not really about where I’m writing, but more about what time of day. I am one of those interesting creatures that is both an early bird and a night owl. I write best first thing in the morning before the world is awake, and late at night after it’s gone to sleep. Lauren: I have an office in my house with antique bookcases and double french doors that face my street and let in a ton of natural light during the day. With a toddler, it can be hard to carve out time for myself where I can immerse myself in my writing. So having a dedicated space in my home where I can shut out the distractions really helps me to knuckle down and get work done. I also have a double desk so Abbie can come over and we can work through marketing stuff or current novels we’re developing. Sometimes when we’re on a deadline she stays the night. (We have a guest room outfitted just for her).
4. How do you feel about killing your darlings, and what do you do with the remains?
Abbie: This is a real problem for me. I can’t tell you how many characters that I started writing and their end was death. But the more I thought about it, the more I figured I could extend it out, until, eventually, I don’t kill them off. I’m pretty sure Lauren has had to reel me back in at least a dozen times when it comes to killing our darlings. When this does happen, unfortunately, we try to make that death as impactful as possible. Lauren: Kill them all. Just kidding… well, mostly. I think character deaths should be intentional and that you should make them count for something. Give them agency and let the readers really feel the horror of those deaths. In Guns & Smoke Bonnie kills plenty of people, not many of them matter to her until one scene where she’s simultaneously reliving trauma from her past, as she kills a man threatening someone she cares about, she’s rescuing herself as much as she’s rescuing her loved one. It makes the scene so much more impactful when there are strong emotions and implications for the prospective character. So I’m all about a GOOD character death.
5. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them?
Abbie: Alexandra Bracken is one of my most favorite authors, but not necessarily because of her writing. I admire authors who really take the time to not only write amazing books but interact with their fans. Alex is really great about that. One burning question I have for her is: Will you ever write in the Adult genre? Her last release, Lore, was amazing, but I definitely wanted it to be Adult! Lauren: LEIGH BARDUGO. Hands down. No question. I want to know her character development process. Specifically for Kaz Brekker who is my current obsession in fiction. He is the rebirth of the anti-hero in literature in my perspective, and I am a sucker for anti-heroes and misanthropes. I think what she did with his character development was something so revolutionary and I would love to know the inner workings of the process she went through to develop him the way she did.
6. Inquiring minds want to know…tell readers something about you that no one knows. Abbie: I still write fanfiction. Lauren: *cough* Same as Abbie. We still write fanfiction. Lots of it.
7. You are stranded on a deserted island with only a backpack for company. What three items are in your survival pack? Abbie: A blow-up raft, a motor with a raft, and a satellite cell phone. I’m not staying on that island LOL Lauren: Sunscreen, rum, and a satellite cell phone. I am staying on that island for some much-needed me-time. Then I’ll call Abbie to come pick me up when I’m ready to come home. I haven’t had a vacation in forever!
8. If you could have one superpower in your existence, what would it be?
Abbie: Time Travel. How amazing would it be to write historical fiction from actual experience! Lauren: I don’t think it’s a superpower but I’ve always said when I grew up I wanted to be a mermaid. That’s it. I just want to swim around the ocean, collecting shiny trinkets in my grotto, brushing my hair, singing, looking fabulous. Yeah, I’d become a mermaid.
9. Favorite snack?
Abbie: Chocolate. I am so easy to please. Just bring me something with chocolate and I will love you forever. Lauren: Cheez-Its
10. Indy 500 – Do you know how to get where you’re going or do you drive the speed limit? Fun fact: Abbie is the navigator in this partnership. One time, when we were sixteen, before she had her license, Lauren was driving and ran a stop sign into one of the busiest streets in town. Also, Abbie nearly died being thrown from the back of a golf cart at Lauren’s sweet sixteen birthday party. Wherever they go, Abbie drives. =)
Guns & Smoke
by Lauren Sevier and A. Smith
GENRE: Dystopian/Western Romance
In a world where safety is a luxury and honor is found only among outlaws, two people attempt to outrun danger lurking around each corner and the tragedies that define them.
Bonnie is an outlaw on the run. Beautiful but dangerous; her dark past stalks her like the crater beasts that roam the desert. As the notoriously cruel outlaw Jones sends his henchmen to track her down and retrieve the gun she stole from him, Bonnie hopes she can stay one step ahead. Because if he catches her, a fate worse than death awaits.
Jesse always dreamed of leaving the farm to explore the ruins of the big cities. He just never imagined he’d be forced to flee after strange men burned down his rural mountain town and murdered everyone he loved. Responsible for his kid brother and searching for an uncle he’s never met before, he isn’t sure he can navigate the perils of life among con artists and thieves long enough to find him.
Their two paths collide as they find themselves thrown together on the adventure of a lifetime.
Together, they may just discover that life is about more than just surviving.
“I didn’t mean what I said earlier, about turning you over to Sixgun. I was just…” He struggled for the words.
“Hurt?” I offered, and he nodded. “I know. I have a talent for pushing people away.”
“I still shouldn’t have said it,” he muttered near my ear, his arm tightening around my shoulders to hold me closer.
“Do you really think I’m stupid?” I asked.
“No, I think you’re the smartest person I’ve ever met,” he said, with all the conviction with which he said everything else. I smiled against his shirt. “Did you really climb into my bed because you thought I was upset about the train?”
“No,” I croaked, hiding my face as best I could. “I don’t have nightmares when you hold me.”
“I don’t have nightmares when I hold you either,” he admitted.
So I let him. I let him hold me all night. We didn’t speak, we just leaned against each other until the sky began to lighten and the shadows of our pasts seemed to fade into the distance.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Lauren Sevier & A. Smith are long time friends and co-authors from southern Louisiana. Guns & Smoke, their first joint publication, began as a “short” story after having too much wine on girl’s night. Nine years later it is now the first novel in a Dystopian/Western Romance series. The duo has plans to publish several series together in the future. A. Smith spends her time with her two rescue dogs and rescue cat surrounding herself with books and Labyrinth paraphernalia. Lauren Sevier collects antique tea cups and tries to stay sane, though as the mother of a toddler she fails brilliantly most days. She also has a growing collection of crowns and tiaras and likes to act silly on TikTok. Look for more thrilling novels from The Fools Adventure series in the future!