On Friday, we’re launching a pre-sale to support our first publishing endeavor. (We’re using KickStarter.) In advance of that, I thought I’d give you a peek into the author’s mind. Here are 5 questions for S. D. Smith:
1. You have a reputation as a goal-scoring phenom. Why writing instead of professional sports?
I’m not going to lie, I am indeed a predator on the pitch. If my knee didn’t feel like it’s been taped together by children doing a VBS craft with popsicle sticks, I’d probably be suiting up for Liverpool Football Club right now. So now those VBS kids have to read my book. Sorry, kids. Nice try on the knee, but here’s a story about rabbits with swords.
The first three I remember were Lassie, The Boxcar Children series, and The Chronicles of Narnia books. With Narnia, something I cannot really describe began to happen as Mom read to us at night in our home, way back in an Appalachian hollow. It was my first experience of magical transcendence. I felt a million things I could not name. I was delighted and transported by chivalry, nobility, sacrifice, joy, and magic. It was clean and happy but dangerous too. Even now, when I see the old 80’s covers of those books, I feel a measure of that first brush with the numinous. I feel like a child again with no words for the wonder in my heart.
3. What’s the secret to a good turkey sandwich?
OK, way to bring us all back to earth here, bro. I used the word “numinous” in the last answer and now we’ve descended dramatically and are literally talking turkey. The secret to a good turkey sandwich? If I told you, I would have to kill you. So, here’s how you do it. Bread, the white kind. Turkey, a good-tasting kind. Then mayo, not salad-dressing. Pickles optional. Then you eat it with your mouthparts. I’m coming for you.
4. If you could be any cartoon character from the ’80s, which one would you choose?
The first one that pops into my head is Lion-O from Thundercats. Lion-O was balanced. He wasn’t quite as strong as Panthro, or as fast as Cheetara, but he had it all. He was a good leader. I would like to be totally awesome at everything, have big muscles, and display a mane of amazing orange hair (or any hair). But if the question was, “What one are you like?” I would have to say that raincloud blue bear from Care Bears. I always identified with that guy.
5. In all seriousness, what is The Green Ember?
I used to sit on my porch and tell my then-toddling daughter stories about the rabbits we’d see hopping around in our yard. These stories went on and on for years and grew into what became The Green Ember.
So The Green Ember is a new adventure story with an old soul. I love what C.S. Lewis called “dressed animal” stories. He loved them and kids usually do too, if they haven’t been talked out of them. One thinks of Lewis’s well-known statement about children getting “too mature” for fairy tales. “Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” Personified animals make big, dangerous themes easier to digest for younger kids. This story is a bit of a throwback to a time when storytellers were more eager to ennoble virtue, while at the same time it’s just a fun tale. It’s about a pair of rabbit siblings, Heather and Picket, who, in terrible personal peril, discover a world wounded to its soul. They see how their own stories are linked to the wider world’s calamity and have to find a way to overcome in the face of betrayal and disaster.
I loved telling these stories to my kids and I enjoyed turning those tales into a novel. I hope it’s something your kids, and you (if you’re old enough), will enjoy.
Andrew again. I’m so excited to show you what we’ve been working toward. Watch this space tomorrow for a sneak peek at the cover art. On Friday, we’re going to launch a KickStarter project aimed at helping us get this great book in your hands.
How can you help?
On Friday, please share the KickStarter link or the video. That would help us tremendously.
If it seems like the kind of thing you’d back, please back the project! Of course, there’s some science about having early backers leading to having more backers, so we’d love to have you on board early, but we welcome you whenever, however you’d like to support us.
Get your kids involved. We’re going to be running some fun contests that involve children and art. Please plan to participate!
For us, this isn’t just publishing a book for publishing’s sake. We believe in the power of story to change lives. I believe in Sam’s story. I’m excited for you to read it.