Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I Heart U with Astraea Press Author: R.R. Smythe

Meet author R.R. Smythe 
today at the Book Boost!

**All month long at the Book Boost we're featuring my fellow Astraea Press authors. Come back each day for more and be entered to win a Digital Reader Prize Pack (see below for details)!**

I’m often asked where I get my story ideas. I’ve always been intrigued by the strange and unusual.  As a kid I loved Ripley’s Believe It or Not, sideshows and late night chiller films.

Fast forward and indeterminate number of years. I have had my own fair share of odd experiences, including watching a craniotomy and dissecting cadavers. As I am in medicine by day, it is rife with seemingly unbelievable events which fire the imagination.

I first heard about the oddities of heart transplants one wintry day one the way home from work on NPR. About transplant recipients "inheriting" their donors memories.


The author bells clanged loudly and thus began my search through medical literature about the phenomenon called Cellular Memory.

I’ve studied neuroscience and one of the proposed explanations of how could this possibly happen…is that memories may be stored in DNA. When a transplant recipient receives the donors DNA, they begin to interact. To attempt to function as a whole.

Well the author gene in me went a tad crazy.

I then happened on a memoir by Claire Sylvia, called Change of Heart. Claire was 47 and was dying of primary pulmonary hypertension. She received the heart of an 18 year old who had been killed in a motorcycle accident.

It wasn’t long till Claire began experiencing cravings. Cravings for foods she did not like, such as beer.  Claire, once a professional dancer…began to "lumber". Her relationship with men changed as well; she no longer felt the need to be in a relationship, felt more assertive and independent.

Welcome to the premise for my new Young Adult novel, Heart Murmurs:

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 descendent 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.

Heart Murmurs is based on the concept of cellular memory; that the bodies DNA may carry a part of our consciousness into an organ donor. I researched memoirs of people who experienced this phenomenon. The historical portion is based on the life of Louisa May Alcott, ardent feminist, visionary, civil war nurse and abolitionist.

For some, the key to happiness is letting go of the past, for others, it’s embracing it.

A Note from the Book Boost:  I love this concept.  In fact, have you seen the movie Return to Me starring David Duchovny and Minnie Driver?  If not, check it out.  Your book sounds great and thanks for joining us today at the Boost!

Want More R.R.?

Visit her on the web here:
Pick up s copy of her book today!  Click here.

Contest Time:

Everyone who leaves a question or comment for any of our authors this month will be entered to win a Digital Reader Prize pack from the Book Boost!  Pack includes:
Falsify by Kerri Nelson
  • Your choice of books from author Liz Botts 
  • Saint Sloan by Kelly Martin
  • Never Trust A Pretty Wolf by Elaine Cantrell 
  • The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer by Lisa Orchard 
  • The Samurai's Garden by Patricia Kiyono
  • Heart Murmurs by R.R. Smythe
  • PLUS much more! 
One entry for every comment.  Visit often.


jeff7salter said...

absolutely love this premise.
Eager to see how you've handled it in the text.
Like you, I used to love the late movie thrillers.
And seeing/hearing/reading odd little facts has always fascinated me too.

Patricia Kiyono said...

Isn't it great how these "what if" questions turn into stories? Your book sounds fascinating. Congratulations on your release.

Anonymous said...

hi jeff. thanks for stopping~~

r r

and patricia, thank you, let me know what you think of it.