The Intriguing Observations series was created to gather some of the greatest supporters and bloggers to provide their own insight on all things creative both in their ventures and their techniques. This week on the guest series is fellow Astraea Press member and author of Heart Murmurs R.R. Smythe (@RRSmythe).
Hi. Thanks so much for having me here today to talk about my new book, Heart Murmurs.
I often get the question, how do you come up with ideas?
Well, as I typically write historicals—I love love to actually visit the places I will be writing about, and take some historical tours. Nothing helps the setting, the place or feel of the book, than walking the paths of your character.
Heart Murmurs is set in Gettysburg, Pa. Most people think of Lincoln’s address when they hear Gettysburg. It was also the site of one of the most horrific battles of the Civil War. A fabulous time to visit is fall, when the leaves of Pennsylvania are in full bloom. A hot cup of coffee, a notebook and a stroll through the battlefield, and you are utterly transported. To a time when so many brave souls, men and women, fought so bravely.
My character, Mia, is obsessed with Little Women. As a result, she ends up working after school for a historical re-enactor company, All- things- Alcott. Part of the ancient house holds a sweet shop. Can’t imagine where I got that idea…
Reenactments are a huge part of Gettysburg. If you get the chance, they are fabulous to watch.
Mia finds an ancient leather-bound- book with the title, Literati, engraved on the cover in the Alcott’s library.
A budding writer, a mysterious L appears at the bottom of her manuscripts, and no matter how she tries, she is unable to remove it from any of her projects. I hope you get as much enjoyment from reading Heart Murmurs, and learning about the town of Gettysburg, as I did writing it.
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.
Morgan Kelley is new. Adopted by his aunt, a descendant of Louisa May Alcott (Little Women), he’s thrown into life at a new high school, and as a historical guide for his aunt’s store—a homage to all things Alcott. Conspiracy theories abound about his mangled lower leg—but no-one has been brave enough to ask. Till Mia. Something is awry with the Underground Railroad tunnels beneath his aunt's home.
Mia and Morgan enter the world of a secret Literary Society--and are drafted to help bring a rogue Literary giant to justice, solve the mystery of her heart donor, the the real fate of Beth from Little Women.
About the Author
Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, R R Smythe 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.
She also writes under the pseudonym Brynn Chapman .