Luanne G. Smith: “Power, love, jealousy, rage–they’re all things we feel and respond to.”

5 Questions With...

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[Note From Frolic: Our resident YA expert Aurora Dominguez got the opportunity to interview author Luanne G. Smith and ask her five(ish) questions. Luanne’s novel The Vine Witch is out now!]

Aurora: What was your inspiration behind your most recent novel?

Luanne: The inspiration for The Vine Witch came from watching a documentary about French vineyards. I’d had an idea for a book about a witch out for revenge after she’d awoken from a curse, but I didn’t yet know how to define her magic. There are so many witch books on the market, I knew there needed to be something different about her or the story to make it stand out. So, when I listened to these winemakers in the documentary talking about their grapevines and the process of producing wine in such reverential terms, with references to the moon cycle, the composition of the earth, and the effect of a slope of land on the taste of the wine, I imagined an almost supernatural relationship going on there. It struck me that that connection to the vines could make for a very compelling form of magic.

What character do you most relate to and why?

I think most writers would say each character comes from some part of their psyche. Yes, even the evil ones. And main characters, by default, are almost always going to be the most relatable because of the load they have to carry in the story. You have to like your main character a lot to see them through a full novel. But I have to admit that sometimes secondary characters come along and capture your heart. That’s the case with Yvette, a witch with little skill and even poorer prospects. She was meant to only be in one scene in The Vine Witch and ended up going along for the rest of the novel after she meets Elena, the main character. She starts out not very likeable, but I think she redeems herself by the end.

Why do you feel books with powerful and relatable characters are so popular and have such a voice right now?

My feeling is people are always going to connect and relate to strong emotions in stories. Power, love, jealousy, rage–they’re all things we feel and respond to. And as humans I think we’re always striving to understand ourselves and our relationships with other people. Stories help us navigate those thoughts and feelings by observing characters in the heat of the moment, yet from a voyeuristic reader’s POV. And for underrepresented groups in particular, that’s a very powerful thing to be able to visualize yourself in the full arc of a relatable heroic journey.

Please describe the content of your latest book and what can readers expect from the read.

The Vine Witch is a story about a witch who emerges from a curse to find her world upended by betrayal, vengeance, and self-discovery in turn-of-the-century France. The book has been described as a fairy tale for grow-ups, and I’m absolutely fine with that. I think readers who like a little whimsy in their fantasy will appreciate the world I’ve created where witches are responsible for creating the wine in the Chanceaux Valley. Oh, and there’s also murder, a demon, and a gargoyle who likes to piss on the grapes.

What’s next for you in the book world?

The Glamourist, book two in The Vine Witch series, will be out June 16, 2020. It follows the same characters as the story takes them to the big city, and even bigger problems, as they visit seance rooms, cabarets, and the bohemian art scene in Montmartre. I’m also working on the third book set in the south of France, which should be out late next year.

Who is your favorite writer right now and why?

I couldn’t pick one! I have so many favorites for different reasons. But I suppose just for overall quality I couldn’t possibly emulate I’d maybe have to say Madeline Miller. Her book Circe was an absolute masterpiece in my opinion. But I could say the same about Anthony Doerr and All the Light We Cannot See. Or Neil Gaiman and Neverwhere. And Shakespeare forever and always. Basically, it’s an unfair question!

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About the Author:

Luanne G. Smith is the author of THE VINE WITCH, a historical fantasy novel about witches, wine, and revenge set in early 20th century France, and the forthcoming second book in The Vine Witch series, THE GLAMOURIST. She’s lucky enough to live in Colorado at the base of the beautiful Rocky Mountains, where she enjoys reading, gardening, hiking, a glass of wine at the end of the day, and finding the magic in everyday life.

Find Her Here:

Website: https://www.luannegsmith.com/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/writersmith1 @writersmith1

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/luannegsmith/ @luannegsmith

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