Monday, April 01, 2013

Heart Murmurs, by R.R. Smythe (With Giveaway)

Finding new writers is like panning for gold. You sift through a lot of books and stories--enjoying many and then... you find the gold. The writer that captures your attention, keeps you turning the page-- R.R. Smythe is one. The first time I read something from her I was hooked, I found her writing highly visual, emotive with gripping story lines. Another keeper for my shelves. Since that time she's become a friend. Recently she's come out with a new book Heart Murmurs.  She has allowed me to drag her, I mean, interview her on Romance Magicians.
R.R. Smythe
Please Welcome R.R. Smythe!
What inspired you to write this book?
Hmm. I heard about cellular memory one day while driving on NPR and then went home and researched it. The thought of memories as a concept of DNA was fascinating to me. I was also studying Louisa May Alcott at the time, so the two ideas married and produced Heart Murmurs.
Which has turned out *fascinating*. Funny how something from things around us give us ideas.
Very cool.

 Tell us about the hero/heroine: what drives them , what keeps them apart?
Mia prior to her transplant, did not quite know where she belonged in the world. She was interested in boys, but made bad choices-her initial choice the all important most popular boy, who actually was a loser. (Note to all you popular boys out there, I realize you are not all jerks. You guys are getting a bad rap in YA lately. lol)  Ah, I already like this character arc...
Morgan. Oh, poor Morgan. I can't say much about him without giving away his story. He was the son of a famous man, who never acknowledged his existence, let alone guided him. You create the deepest and kindest heroes. (seriously you have to read them)
Neither of them had a lot of time for love--until they met each other. Ah! Funny how it works out like that. :-)
What drew you to YA?
Most likely the voice in my head still seems to speak like an 18 year old LOL. I am surrounded by teens and work with kids, so I may just never grow up. Just call me a Lost Girl. But it works, your voice and your stories are appealing to all age levels.
What is your writing process? Morning, evening? Pantser? Plotter?
Wherever I can get it. I usually have a schedule, but new day job developments have temporarily altered that-so I'm swimming fast and treading water. I am a puzzler. The absolute worst. I do a rough rough rough outline, and fill the blanks between. The hardest part is typically making my plot twists layer through the novel, but I think I've finally gotten the hang of it. (No comments on what number book this is for me, MV lol) *me* say a word? Nah!  Actually you do fabulous, (and I'm not just saying that) your books are a page turner. But like you-- I write when and where I can. It's become a challenge--a personal test of if I write or not. You do write quickly, I know this, when you get some time. (Yes, I am jealous of this)
What draws you first- character or plot?
Ug. Both. I know that's a cop out, but as a reader I need both. That said, I cannot stomach as a reader, plot only books. I picture myself pushing paper dolls around a board when the characters are flimsy. This is why I adore your stories, the characters are compelling even as they navigate in the plot.

All writers read-- what are you reading now?
The Winter Sea and When She was Wicked by the fabulous Anne Barton. I have that on my TBR, I need to move it on up.

Heart Murmurs, by R.R. Smythe
Mia Templeton is dying. Or was dying. After receiving a heart transplant, her world is forever altered. Before her eyes open, she overhears her donor was a murdered girl of the same age. Whispers invade Mia’s head before she’s even left the recovery room. She develops tastes for foods she once hated, and dreams so vivid, she feels they’re someone else’s memories. Her personality is altered—once a quiet doormat, she’s now inexplicably flippant, and confident. And her unexplained longing for the new boy at school is borderline obsessive.
Here is an excerpt from Heart Murmurs see for yourself why I adore her writing.
I don’t remember dying.

“Stand back. Clear!”

Nothing. A feeling of floating, weightlessness.

“Oh, please, please, baby.” My mother’s voice, sounding uncharacteristically hysterical.

“Clear!” A spreading, burning under my ribcage. Followed by a surging river of heat to my heart. It stutters, rumbling like a kettledrum inside my ribs, and up into my skull.

“Come on, Mia.” My father, unglued.

The steady beep-beep-beep of a monitor and the whooshing of a respirator. My chest rises up and down without my permission, a puppet to the machine. A rushing sound, like water filling a vacuum, clogs my ears. My new heart, my new heart, accelerates, beating so fast, it feels as if it will take flight from my newly stapled sternum.

A dull, muted pain aches through my chest; which will, no doubt, intensify when the drugs wear off.

“Too fast.” The monitor is screaming, wailing like a kid’s tantrum.

Two choked sobs. Mom... and Beth.

Beth is here, how wonderful. I try to move my fingers, to tell her I’m okay. Don’t cry.

My brain says lift, but all I got was—“Her fingers twitched. I saw them.” Beth’s voice, relieved and oh-so scared.

My heart thrums, finally steady and even. It feels strange, too far back in my chest. Like an ill-fitting shirt. I raise my hands to try to scratch it, adjust it.

“Mia? Mia, can you hear me? We’re all here, darling. Dad and Beth, and Claire is outside.”

I feel the tube down my throat, choking me. I suck in for air, but my chest rises on its own, interfering with my breathing. I feel like I’m suffocating, despite the oxygen shoved up my nostrils.

“She’s trying to breathe on her own. We need to adjust the respirator. Easy, Mia.” Dr. Starzel, my own personal medical savior.

Two unfamiliar, whispering, conspiratorial voices, “I can’t believe they found a donor, just in time.”

“The report said it was a homeless girl. She was murdered.”

“For heaven’s sake! She may be able to hear you. One more word and I’ll have both of your babbling traps fired.” My father chastises the women, whom I guess to be nurses, by the soft squeaks of their retreating Crocs.

I have a murder victim’s heart? Worry tickles the back of my brain. How did they find a donor? How—I’m struck with pain so blinding, I feel my brain shrivel inward. Like a cowering child. And hear nothing.

The weightless feeling is back.

I feel the burning rush of something shoot into my IV. It’s liquid fire.

I trace its path up my arm, into my brain, addling it. But relief is the trade-off. The pain backs off.

Thump-thump. Thump-
thump. It is the only sound I hear, for what seems a very long time...
Thank you R.R. for coming by! I have enjoyed it. I hope you come again.
As a gift, I am giving away a free e-copy (kindle) for one commentator. Please put your email address : name at yahoo dot com and I will announce the winner tomorrow morning in the comments. Thank you!
R.R. Smythe Bio: Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, R. R. Smythe (Also writing as Brynn Chapman) is the daughter of two teachers. Her writing reflects her passions: science, history and love—not necessarily in that order. In real life, the geek gene runs strong in her family, as does the Asperger’s syndrome. Her writing reflects her experience as a pediatric therapist and her interactions with society’s downtrodden. In fiction, she’s a strong believer in underdogs and happily-ever-afters. She also writes non-fiction and lectures on the subjects of autism and sensory integration and is a medical contributor to online journal The Age of Autism


Anonymous said...

Thanks for having me MV. I will be commenting, but most likely not till this evening. Thanks again!!!


M.V.Freeman said...

Anytime RR, always a pleasure! :)


Tawnya Peltonen said...

Heart Murmurs sounds super interesting! I love the Little Women connection.

lovey_20_81 @ hotmail . com

Suzanne Johnson said...

Sounds like a wonderful read, and while I consider myself a plot-first writer, I totally agree that if the characters aren't deep, everything feels flat.

Anonymous said...

Lovely interview! I look forward to exploring the book further!

M.V.Freeman said...

Thats what drew me as well! (and the characters!)


M.V.Freeman said...

I agree totally....! There is Jean Lafitte...

M.V.Freeman said...

Susanna, you will love this book!

Anonymous said...

tawnya- yes i love little women. Fabulous story
suzanne- i love plot driven as movie for instance is Inception

Cari Hislop said...

The book sounds really good!

cari at thehislops dot co dot uk

Anonymous said...

thank you cari;)

bn100 said...

Nice inspiration for the book

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Louisa Cornell said...

Wow! Fascinating premise for a book, especially a YA book! Young people seem to think they are immortal and I have a sneaky suspicion this book addresses that issue on a couple of levels. Love it!

Anonymous said...

bn-yes i find odd combinations but thats my wierd mind!

louisa-im surrounded by teens and yes that is a prevalent theme

M.V.Freeman said...

All right...Thank you ALL for coming to this blog! :D I have the winner... and it is:

Tawnya!! CONGRATS!!!!!!

Alexia Evans said...

Wow! This sounds like a book that we're not going to able to put down. I can't wait.