Welcome to the Kuramagi.
For today’s festivities we will be playing a very fun game of chance.
It’s called the Japanese Lottery, but we are going to change the rules just a little bit.
I am going to have you reach inside this lovely box and pull out a piece of paper.
Generally when playing this game the number on the paper will determine what your prize will be, but for our game it will determine the time period you are going to visit.
You see our historic village has many secrets and one of them allows you to travel through time.
You won’t be the first to play our little game.
A lovely young women by the name of Reiko recently traveled through time and down below we have a little bit about her experience.
What do you say, are you ready to play?
A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith
Published by Roaring Brook Press on October 25th 2016
Genres: Asia, Historical, Self-Mutilation, Social Themes, Time Travel, Young Adult Fiction
Buy the Book • Goodreads
A troubled girl confronts her personal demons in this time-travel thriller alternating between present day and 19th century Japan.No one knows how to handle Reiko. She is full of hatred; all she can think about is how to best hurt herself and those people closest to her. After a failed suicide attempt at her home in Seattle, Reiko's parents send her to spend the summer with family in Japan, hoping she will learn to control her emotions. But while visiting Kuramagi, a historic village preserved to reflect the nineteenth-century Edo period, Reiko finds herself slipping backward in time into the nineteenth-century life of Miyu, a young woman even more vengeful than Reiko herself. Reiko loves escaping into Miyu's life . . . until she discovers Kuramagi's dark secret and must face down Miyu's demons as well as her own.
B: To start things off can you please tell us a little bit about your book and where you got the inspiration to write it?
L: Thanks for having me! My newest book is called A Darkly Beating Heart, but before I settled on a title, I called it the angry bisexual Japanese time travel revenge fantasy. Which pretty accurately sums it up! It’s about a Japanese-American girl named Reiko who goes to visit distant relatives in Japan after a family tragedy. Reiko’s dealing with a lot of troubles of her own—heartbreak, self-harm, obsessive thoughts, and a general feeling that she’s been wronged by the world. So when she visits the historical village of Kuramagi and finds herself slipping back in time to Edo-period Japan, she relishes the chance for escape. But there are plenty of dark secrets awaiting her in the past, as well.
Reiko’s story came to me while my husband and I were on our honeymoon in Japan. We visited a truly wonderful historically preserved village called Tsumago. They allowed no external signs of modernity—no electric lighting, visible cables, or anything. On Halloween night, we took a stroll through the fog-shrouded village, just barely lit by paper lanterns lining the streets, and my mind started conjuring up all sorts of dark things that could be lurking just out of view. Then I imagined how that darkness might seek out someone to prey on, and the story wove itself together from there.
B: If someone searched your computer today, what would be the strangest thing they found due to book research?
L: This book is probably not my weirdest in the “research rabbit hole” department, but things I looked up for this book included: how many pints of blood are in the average human body; various forms of cyanide and their effects on the esophagus; electronic voice boxes; and lots and lots of details about Edo-period clothing and weaponry.
B: Reiko sounds like a fascinating character and I would love to know what is your favorite quality of hers?
L: Ooh, this is tricky. At the book’s start, Reiko is a deeply unlikeable character—my favorite kind, honestly! She’s angry, she’s hateful and bitter, she’s convinced she’s been wronged by pretty much everyone around her, and most of all herself; she has obsessive thoughts about harming herself and others. But while she doesn’t know it, I think she’s a survivor—resilient and adaptive, though she starts out with some pretty terrible coping mechanisms. I think her very unlikableness and strength despite it makes her very relatable, and lets readers see that they aren’t the only person who’s ever dealt with dark or angry or obsessive thoughts, and I think there’s a lot of comfort to be had in that.
B: If you can without spoiling things will you share your favorite scene from the book?
L: For a non-spoilery scene—there’s a moment early on where Reiko goes to visit the Meiji Shrine, set in this beautiful forested park right in the center of ultra-modern Tokyo. Within moments, the Harajuku cosplayers and clattering trains and J-pop music all melt away and she’s in this silent, empty wooden shrine, seeking some sort of guidance or inner peace. I loved writing that moment for how much it shows the dual sides of Japanese culture, and reveals that for all that Reiko does like reveling in her anger and bitterness, there is still a part of her that wants to be better.
B: If given the chance to travel to any time period which would you choose and why?
L: I’m bad about romanticizing certain aspects of older time periods, but when you look at the whole of them, I can’t think of a single one I’d want to be stuck in! If I was only visiting, though, I think I’d go to the bohemian cafés of 1890s Paris and listen in on the artists there. I’d go to V-Day celebrations in 1945 New York City, and smoky Harlem jazz clubs in the 1920s. And I’d definitely like to be a fly on the wall in Imperial Russia during Catherine the Great’s reign.
B: When it comes to carnival rides, do you like the slow, scenic type rides, or the fast, thrilling rides?
L: Fast, scary roller coasters, every time! I love the adrenaline rush and that fearful dread in my gut at every sharp bank.
B: I believe that A Darkly Beating Heart is a stand alone. Can you tell us anything about your next project?
L: I don’t have anything definite yet, but I’ve been writing a lot of fantasy lately, both YA and adult, so hopefully I can announce something soon! I’m also the lead writer on The Witch Who Came In From the Cold, an episodic story from Serial Box, and the second season for that begins next January.
B: If someone dared you to write “book nerd” on your forehead while wearing your favorite pajamas – and then share a photo of it – would you do it? (If so, we double dog dare you to do it and share it with us right here!) 😉
L: I would totally do it!! I don’t have a picture for you today, but maybe sometime soon…. 😉
Do you have A Darkly Beating Heart on your tbr?
Make sure you head over to Dark Faerie Tales Makeover Booth with Gretchen McNeil, author of I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl today!