Steph Sinclair: So Kat Kennedy and I are here with Lindsay Smith, the author of the debut novel Sekret. And I just want to warn people that I may or may not take this opportunity to drop the word sekret as many times as possible… sekretly.
Kat Kennedy: Steph is making no sekret of the matter, basically.
Lindsay, thank you so much for coming to talk with us today!
We’re super excited about this novel and the cover we’ll be revealing.
Lindsay Smith: Thank you guys! And I welcome it–my crit partner has taken to tweeting random Russianized words at me. It’s awesome.
Steph Sinclair: Hahaha! Perfect!
Kat Kennedy: Hahaha! Oh really! Because the spelling of Sekret ties into the first cover I made for you!
Lindsay Smith: Ooooh. I’m both SKARED and EXSITED to see this!
Steph Sinclair: Oh, you, you we must keep, Lindsay!
Kat Kennedy: That was Hylarious!
(First Pitched Perfect reference down.)
Steph Sinclair: I see what kind of night this will be.
Now, we are sure Macmillan’s cover is awesome, but we are going to try and convince you to instead go with one of Kat’s.
Kat Kennedy: You see, I made these covers hoping I could persuade you to switch to one of mine. I’m very creative. 😉
Steph Sinclair: She’s uncomfortably creative.
Lindsay Smith: 😉 Well, I was so psyched to see Macmillan’s cover art–we really didn’t change anything from the comp they first showed me because it so embodied it. But I’m dying to see!
Lindsay Smith: HAHA. YES.
Kat Kennedy: LOL. So this was obviously the first thing that intrigued me about the novel.
Steph Sinclair: This one gives me Professor Umbridge feels!
Kat Kennedy: The spelling of Sekret. Have anything you want to admit to us, Lindsay?
Lindsay Smith: Well, I have been studying Russian and Russian history/culture for most of my life at this point. So it’s definitely infected (INFEKTED) my spelling and world view.
Kat Kennedy: Haha! That’s awesome. And I like how unique it makes the story.
Okay, second cover. I was aiming for illicit dealing with this one:
Steph Sinclair: Sekrets, sekrets they’re no fun, unless you share with everyone!
That’s what the cover sings to me.
Lindsay Smith: Ooh, steamy! This definitely captures some elements of the story–how can you trust and/or love someone when they can steal your thoughts? When everyone can see or hear what’s happening?
Kat Kennedy: That is superbly creepy.
And it is a really important question.
No love without trust, in my opinion.
Steph Sinclair: Plus there is kissing on this cover. Kissing is good.
Lindsay Smith: Agreed. The main character, Yulia, will grapple with that quite a bit throughout SEKRET.
Kissing is always excellent.
Kat Kennedy: Kissing is the best.
Okay, with this third cover I just wanted to gross everyone out.
I think it would work brilliantly for your novel.
Please consider it!
Steph Sinclair: AHHHHH! GET IT AWAY!
Lindsay Smith: EEEW! Terrifying!
Kat Kennedy: Can’t you imagine people lining up around the street to buy this book?!
Lindsay Smith: At the start of SEKRET, the main character has been living as a fugitive on the streets of Moscow… but I don’t think even she would resort to eating worms. 😉
Kat Kennedy: With that cover on it, it can’t fail.
Steph Sinclair: I just love how the title is carved into her face.
Lindsay Smith: I’m kind of terrified to know a stock image like that exists, haha.
Kat Kennedy: I know!
The original artist said they were real worms, too.
Steph Sinclair: Just think… someone had to actually put that in their mouth. *shudders*
Kat Kennedy: I love art but… I don’t love it that much.
People, no medium is worth that much effort.
Lindsay Smith: Ick. I’m just gonna pretend they’re candy. For my own sanity.
Steph Sinclair: Yes, let’s all pretend they are sour gummy worms…
Kat Kennedy: LOL.
Okay, but onto your brilliant (real) cover.
(Sure we can’t talk you into #3?)
Lindsay Smith: Haha. Maybe next time around. 😉
Kat Kennedy: I need to speak to your typographer – that’s brilliant.
I love it.
Lindsay Smith: Swoon. When Macmillan sent me the mockup for this, I was SOLD. No changes needed. It perfectly captures the Cold War era, the Soviet propaganda poster look, the paranoia… I was in love.
Steph Sinclair: It does feel perfectly historical.
Kat Kennedy: It truly is a history buff’s book cover pornography.
It’s not often you get a cover that so accurately reflects a book.
Steph Sinclair: Did you have any input on it?
Lindsay Smith: I’d briefly discussed the old propaganda posters with my editor–not as part of a cover conversation but in the book itself–and she might be a little psychic herself, because it’s EXACTLY what I was envisioning.
Plus, she used one of my favorite lines from the book–“An empty mind is a safe mind.” Which covers the psychic spy element. I love it!
Steph Sinclair: I love the premise of this book!
Kat Kennedy: So you keep mentioning the mind reading and psychic aspects.
Can you tell us the overrall premise for the readers at home?
Lindsay Smith: Sure thing! SEKRET is about psychic teens in Soviet Russia who are forced to spy for the KGB. There’s mind-reading, but there’s also lots of historical elements–the space race and the Cold War and the Beatles and lots more.
(And, of course, kissing. 😉 )
Steph Sinclair: So basically, badass things? 😉
Kat Kennedy: Ha! You just sealed the deal with the Beatles thing.
Lindsay Smith: Haha, thanks! I know historicals can occasionally be a tough sell, but I love reading them, and I hope all the elements in SEKRET will connect with readers, too.
Kat Kennedy: To tell you the truth, I’m kind of scared to read this book. It sounds…intense.
Do you promise to hold my hand through it?
Lindsay Smith: You got it. “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” “Across the Universe.”
Kat Kennedy: LOL.
Steph Sinclair: But Elizabeth Wein has blurbed it… it’s kind of a must read at this point!
Kat Kennedy: It’s nice that you make no…sekret… of you excitement.
Steph Sinclair: Ohhh… I see what you did there, Kat.
You fool no one!
Kat Kennedy: My favourite authors are those that can fangirl over other authors.
So, you’re saying, “not a good enough reason to use the word penetrate?”
Steph Sinclair: You are not allowed to watch Pitch Perfect before author interviews again.
Kat Kennedy: I’m sorry! “It was a dick move.”
Hahaha, another quote!
Okay, I’ll stop.
Lindsay Smith: Hahaha! Yeah, no way I can keep SEKRETs from you awesome ladies.
Steph Sinclair: Well, you know what they say…
Kat Kennedy: “But when you walk on by, will you call my name?”
Anyway. Thank you so much for coming to chat with us today, Lindsay!
And for letting us reveal your amazing cover!
Steph Sinclair: Yes, thank you! We can’t wait to read your book!
Lindsay Smith: Thanks so much, Steph and Kat! I really appreciate it… and you can spill your sekrets to me anytime!
Kat Kennedy: Only if you diggity.
Steph Sinclair: No doubt, baby.
Kat Kennedy: I like the way you work it.
Steph Sinclair: Hey yo, hey yo, hey yo, hey yooooooo!
From debut author Lindsay Smith comes an espionage thriller with a dash of both history and dystopia.
Yulia’s father always taught her that an empty mind is a safe mind. She must hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive in Communist Russia—especially because she is able to read the minds of the people she touches. But when she’s captured by the KGB and forced to work as a psychic spy with a mission to undermine the U.S. space program, she’s thrust into a world of suspicion, deceit, and horrifying power. Yulia quickly realizes she can trust no one—not her KGB superiors or the other operatives vying for her attention—and must rely on her own wits and skills to survive in this world where no SEKRET can stay hidden for long.
“A young spy thriller with a twist of the psychic set in a harsh world doubly frightening for being no fantasy.” —Elizabeth Wein, author of Printz Honor winner Code Name Verity
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