To describe Lindsay Smith as just an author would be correct, but would not cover Smith’s amazing background and knowledge. Possessing a passion for Russian history, cybersecurity, and politics, Smith’s always presents worlds that have deep and complicated histories. Some of her book are Sekret, Skandal, Dreamtrider, and is one of the creators and writers of The Witch Who Came in from the Cold. Smith’s latest project took her to the Marvel Universe as she is one of the writers on Serial Box’s Marvel’s Black Widow: Bad Blood.
Yanes: Many of your novels are set in historical periods. What is a time period that you haven’t written about yet, but that you want to set a story in?
Lindsay Smith: My main interest has always been 20th-century history, though I’ve mostly covered the Cold War era in my novels, with a World War II novel (The Shadow War) coming out later this year. I’d love to explore something in the 1910s-1920s—Russian Revolution, maybe? But I could also see diving back further, particularly in Russian history.
Yanes: One of your current projects is Marvel’s Black Widow: Bad Blood. As Marvel characters go, Black Widow doesn’t have many powers. (I know her power levels vary from continuity to continuity.) How did this impact the type of story you wanted to tell about her?
Lindsay Smith: We really wanted to focus on Natasha’s skills and innate resourcefulness more than any superpowers. She’s been crafted into this very precise, very deadly weapon by the Red Room, but now she’s taken ownership of those abilities and can use them in a way that can keep up with anyone. So we let Natasha do what she does best—draw on her own sheer determination and badass spy and assassin skills to outsmart and outfight her enemies.
Yanes: Given your expertise on cybersecurity and that Black Widow is a spy, how much real-world cybersecurity information were you able to layer into this story?
Lindsay Smith: My biggest pet peeve is when the media uses “cyber” as a license to get away with anything technical and hand-wavey. Most of Marvel’s Black Widow: Bad Blood takes place in the physical world, but I really wanted to ensure that when Natasha relied on the digital one, it was in a way that felt authentic, and came with its own limitations.
Yanes: Authors will often talk about how characters have a unique voice. Given that Marvel’s Black Widow: Bad Blood is an audio drama, did any of the voice actors cause you to want to change a character? On this note, were there any moments in which a voice actor brought a character to life in an unexpected way?
Lindsay Smith: Sarah Natochenny is the sole narrator on Marvel’s Black Widow: Bad Blood, and she’s captured Natasha’s voice so fantastically! Everything about her performance really captures the tense mood we wanted to create.
Yanes: Finally, what else are you working on that people can look forward to?
Lindsay Smith: My next novel, The Shadow War, comes out in October from Penguin, best described as Stranger Things meets Inglourious Basterds as a group of teenagers in Nazi Germany call on dark powers from another dimension to fight the Third Reich. I also recently worked on Serial Box’s Orphan Black: The Next Chapter, which was narrated by the incredible Tatiana Maslany herself.