Monday, September 23, 2019

Interview with Lindsey Duga for Glow of The Fireflies

Glow of the Fireflies

by Lindsey Duga
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Release Date: October 1st 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
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Briony never planned to go back to the place she lost everything.

Firefly Valley, nestled deep within the Smoky Mountains, is better kept in her past. After an unexplained fire gave Briony amnesia, her mother disappeared and her dad moved them to Knoxville.

But now her grandmother needs a caretaker and Briony's dad volunteers her to help. The moment she returns, her whole world shifts. She feels a magical connection to this valley, as if it's literally part of her somehow.

And when she meets a hot guy who claims he was her childhood friend but now mysteriously keeps his distance, Briony starts piecing together her missing past...and discovers her mother didn't leave to start a new life somewhere. She's trapped in the hidden world within the valley.

Now, Briony will do whatever it takes to rescue her, even if it means standing up against dangerously powerful nature spirits. Even if it means giving up her first love.

Can you briefly describe GLOW OF THE FIREFLIES and its characters? 

Briony Redwrell is missing the first ten years of her life. After a fire in her hometown stole her memories and tore her family apart, her father moves them both to Knoxville. The move is a desperate attempt to leave the tragedy, and the fact that Briony’s mother left them, in their past. 

Six years after the fire, Briony’s grandmother breaks her leg and she needs a caretaker. Eager to find out more about her lost childhood—who she was before the fire, Briony accepts the job. 

But she doesn’t go back to Firefly Valley alone. Her best friend, Izzie, accompanies her for moral support. The minute they arrive, Briony gets a phone call from a demolition company that is supposed to be bulldozing down her old home. Knowing this may be her last chance to find clues at her old house, she goes back to the charred house. There, she encounters a handsome teenage boy whom she follows into a world beyond the physical plane. 

In the ethereal plane, nature spirits exist and mana controls the earth elements. It is there where she discovers that Alder—the guy she followed—isn’t just a childhood friend. He’s a nature spirit. It’s also where she encounters her mother who left six years ago. Her mother claims to be trapped within the spirit world and needs these so-called “spirit gates” to be opened in order for her to pass back to the physical world. 

Her mother sends an emissary in the form of a sarcastic fox spirit named Raysh to lead her to the gates. But she needs Alder’s help to open them. And while Alder would do anything for Briony, he fears her getting too close to the world and its spirits who stole everything from her in the first place. Including himself. 

Who would you say is your favourite character from the story and why? 

Is it cliché if I say my main guy?

Alder stole my heart. When I first wrote him I intended him to be aloof and mysterious, but instead he came out to be this really sweet, endearing, open, and caring guy. He’s also a bit of a dork. He likes puns and old cartoon shows like the The Ninja Turtles. 

One trope that I absolutely adore is childhood sweethearts, and y’all…this book is it. Alder is a one-woman, one-heart kind of guy and ever since he was a kid he’s been absolutely in love with Briony. I’m just really pleasantly surprised with the way he turned out. 

Second favourite character would be Izzie. She just gets to have so many fun lines as Briony’s BFF. 

How did the story occur to you? Did you find inspiration anywhere? 

The setting came from a trip that I took to the Smokies when I was in college. My friends and I camped out in a cabin, built a bonfire, made s’mores, canoed across a lake, and went to a small town drive-in. It was one of the best trips I’d ever been on and it made me fall in love with the Smokies. I spent long summers in West Virginia catching fireflies in the front yard with my cousins and my great aunt had the most amazing, beautiful garden…all these things inspired Firefly Valley and one of the main themes of this book: nostalgia. 

We tend to long for the past, but what’s it like if you long for a past you can’t remember? It was that idea that lead me to create Briony’s backstory and the main conflict of the book. 

Besides my own experiences, I drew a lot of inspiration from Studio Ghibli. In fact, three separate Ghibli movies inspired the plot and setting: 

Princess Mononoke (the nature spirits and nature gods were obviously a great inspiration to GLOW. I created the wisps thinking about the kodamas!) 

Spirited Away (Briony also gets transported to a mysterious spirit world and must save a parent!) 

The Secret of Arietty (The aesthetic of the cottage and forest in this film greatly influenced Gran’s cottage in the book.) 

If you could choose one song to describe your book, which one would it be?

I must’ve listened to this song a thousand times when I was editing this book. It’s so representative of the story that even though I came up with the idea BEFORE I heard this song (a friend showed it to me after my second draft) I wonder if I wrote this book for this song. GLOW OF THE FIREFLIES is like its full-length featured music video! 

Fall is here or almost here, and we love to go out and find the perfect cosy spot. What drink and place do you think will go with your book to have a perfect book date? 

This book was written off matcha soy lattes. So I would say grab one of those (or some kind of iced sweet tea) and find a porch swing. There’s nothing better than swinging back and forth and letting your toes drag across the sun-warmed wood as you flip that next page… 

Can you recommend your readers any other books in case they are left hungry for more once they finish GLOW OF THE FIREFLIES? 
I don’t know of too many books about nature spirits, but these books have some similarities to mine: 

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – I’m sure everyone has heard of The Raven Cycle series, but it honestly it can’t be mentioned enough. It’s so GREAT. The setting takes place in Virginia in the foothills of the Blue Ridges. I’d say the aesthetic is pretty close to GLOW. 

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr – Fae! Faeries are pretty close to nature spirits. If you’re into fae and destined love this book might be for you.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black – A small town with secrets, a mystical forest, and fae!  

What’s next for you? 

My next novel coming out will actually be a middle-grade ghost story called The Haunting. It will be in Scholastic Clubs and Fairs, and also available in B&N. I’m really excited about it since it’s my middle-grade debut and I’ve been dying to break into the age group for a while! Plus, I grew up reading these kind spooky ghost stories when I was a kid. I pretty much consumed all the Mary Downing Hahn and Betty Ren Wright books by the time I was in sixth grade. 

As far as YA goes, I’m actually working on a paranormal romance novel set in the Roaring 20’s! Think Great Gatsby meets This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab. I hope to have news to share on it soon!

Lindsey Duga is a middle grade and young adult writer with a passion for fantasy, science fiction, and basically any genre that takes you away from the real world. She wrote her first novel in college while she was getting her bachelor’s in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University.

Other than writing and cuddling with her morkie puppy, Delphi, Lindsey loves catching up on the latest superhero TV show and practicing yoga.

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