The Compulsive Reader: Interview with Sherri L. Smith

Monday, March 4, 2013

Interview with Sherri L. Smith

I'm excited to kick off the blog tour for Sherri L. Smith's new book, Orleans! To celebrate, I have an interview and a giveaway for a copy of the book and a Delta Relief Kit! But first, here's more about the book:
"First came the storms.
Then came the Fever.
And the Wall. 
After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct…but in reality, a new primitive society has been born.

Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader’s newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans. In the end, they are each other’s last hope for survival. 
Sherri L. Smith delivers an expertly crafted story about a fierce heroine whose powerful voice and firm determination will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page."
And here is Sherri!

TCR: Can you describe your book in ten words or less?

SLS: Escape from New Orleans, with a baby.

TCR: What was your reaction when you first saw your cover?

SLS: I loved it. There was actually a preliminary version that I quite liked, but it was more impressionistic. Then my editor sent me the current version. I think it's super cool.

TCR: What was the hardest part about writing Orleans? The easiest?

SLS: The hardest part was getting it all in there. I had so many ideas about the world and character's motives and relationships. It was a struggle to simplify without dumbing it down. The easiest part? The title. The main character of Fen popped into my head one day and I was like, “Of course! ORLEANS.”

TCR: This might sound like a silly question, but what was the draw to setting your book near the Gulf Coast?

SLS: That's not a silly question. The reason is simple, though. My mother was a native New Orleanian and she was trapped in the city during Hurricane Katrina. The whole idea for the book came out of our experience—from the ordeal of the storm and the destruction of the city as we knew it, to the insane difficulty we had getting her out safely. Her truck was flooded. She was rescued by swamp boat (in the middle of a city street!). I was researching clear roads into town, planning some sort of infiltration to a city that had been essentially closed by Nature and the authorities. It took a week, a desperate call to the Coast Guard, an ambulance, a kind cabbie and two airplanes to get her out. I suppose that almost impossible evacuation is at the heart of ORLEANS. You can't forget these things too quickly, or you will never learn from them. So, I wrote a book!

Thanks so much, Sherri!

More about Sherri: Sherri L. Smith has written several award-winning novels for young adults. Flygirl (2010) won the California Book Award, was a YALSA Best Book for Young Adults, and has received fourteen State Award nominations. She lives near Los Angeles. For more information, visit her website at http://www.sherrilsmith.com/index.htm or her blog, The Middle Hundred, at http://middlehundred.blogspot.com/.

I hope you pick up a copy of the book, and enter to win the giveaway! One lucky winner will receive a Delta Relief Kit, complete with a signed ARC, a blood type ID dog tag, a glow stick, and the ever-crucial Snickers bar—everything you need to navigate ORLEANS, at least from the comfort of your armchair! 

Follow Sherri on her blog tour!

Mon, Mar 4 - The Compulsive Reader
Tues, Mar 5 - The Story Siren
Wed, Mar 6 - The OWL for YA
Thurs, Mar 7 - GreenBeanTeenQueen
Fri, Mar 8 I - Read Banned Books
Mon, Mar 11 - Poisoned Rationality
Tues, Mar 12 - The Book Smugglers
Wed, Mar 13 - Charlotte's Library
Thurs, Mar 14 - Literary Escapism
Fri, Mar 15 - Cari's Book Blog


LinWash said...

Wooowee! Gotta get my hands on that book! So excited about it!

Annette Mills said...

I loved Flygirl! Can't wait for this one.

Sherri L. Smith said...

Thanks for having me, Tirzah, and for the fun questions! I love your readers' enthusiasm. Good luck with the giveaway everyone!