My latest novel is “The Citizens”; it is about five strangers that wake up in a ghost town with no memory of where they are or how they got there. They quickly deduce that they’re captives in a highly elaborate scientific experiment but when they all start to develop supernatural powers and turn into fictional monsters they realize that their captors are planning something much bigger than they could have ever imagined.
What was the hardest part in writing your novel?
The hardest part of writing this novel was putting my characters through some of the horrible experiences that they had to endure. Once I started to develop their personalities I felt an attachment to them that made me want to protect them and see them happy. I knew, however, that they had to be tortured and maimed at times so that they could grow as individuals and so that the story could progress in a way that would be engaging for readers. Still, I found myself tugging at my own heart strings from time-to-time as I experienced the emotional and psychological despair that my characters were feeling throughout the story and that was really difficult for me. I actually even felt guilty about it on occasion.
Tell me about one or two of your characters.
· My all-time favorite character is Jazz. In the beginning of the story she’s just Jasmine Marshall, a reclusive little computer geek from Montana with very little life experience or self-confidence. She’s the one character that, I believe, experiences the most intellectual and emotional growth throughout the course of the story but even by the end of the book she still has a lot to learn. I can identify with her in many ways because I am also somewhat of a recluse and I have a very big geek flag which I fly proudly! I think that I exploited some of my own insecurities and imperfections when I was writing Jazz, and then allowed her to develop and grow in ways that I hope I would do if I were to ever find myself in her shoes. Still, like I said before, she’s by no means perfect even by the end of the novel.
· Piper is my second favorite character which is probably why I named her after my dog. She also experiences some significant change in the book but her changes are more physical and psychological. Many of the best books that I have ever read have allowed the characters to learn and grow from their experiences throughout the story and that is a concept that has always been very interesting to me.
How old were you when you knew you wanted to write?
I’m not sure that I ever realized I wanted to write or even decided to write. Writing, for me, was always more of a compulsion than a choice. Little ideas and fantasies would just pop into my head from extremely early childhood and then I couldn’t stop thinking about them until I either wrote them down or told someone about them. I had notebooks filled with random, underdeveloped little plots, four-page stories, and even poetry because something inside of me had to put them on paper. It wasn’t until very recently that I started trying to actually practice the art of writing and learn how to develop my many ideas into full-bodied stories that would be suitable and entertaining enough for publication.
Name some of your favorite books or authors.
· I first read the novel Watership Down by Richard Adams when I was around eight years old. Although firmly PG-rated, the book was way too advanced for me to understand at that age but my big brother gave it to me when he returned from the Gulf War so it meant a lot to me, it smelled like the cologne that had spilled in his luggage on the way home, and it was about rabbits – so I loved it anyway! I re-read the book again when I was twelve, and then again at sixteen, and then when I was in college. With each read I learned something new from it and enjoyed the story as if it were the first time which is, in my opinion, the mark of a classic.
· Another favorite of mine is The Hollows series by Kim Harrison. I actually just discovered her books a few years ago and I was instantly addicted to their originality and to the incredible depth of detail that she’s created for her fictional take on the world. I admire her a great deal because, in addition to creating extremely well developed and unique characters (and lots of them), she actually invented an entire culture for them to live in which is exceptionally rare and fascinating in fictional literature.
Are you an am, pm or whenever you have the chance writer?
I consider myself more of a 24-7 writer, to be honest. I will sit down to a keyboard and tappity-tap away whenever I can find the time but even when I’m not physically writing something, I seem to always be thinking about various plots or ideas in my head. Every night when I climb into bed the last thoughts that I can remember having before falling asleep are about whatever story I’m working on and I find myself running through dialogue between characters in my head while I’m doing the dishes or folding laundry. I first started having trouble with insomnia when I was really young and my mom would tell me that it was because I just couldn’t “turn my brain off”. Now that I’m older I have to admit that she was probably more accurate in that statement than even she might have realized at the time.
If I were to come to your house and open your refrigerator, what would I find? Are any of those items a guilty pleasure used when writing?
There are a lot of fruits and vegetables in my fridge because I am a member of a food co-op but the one guilty pleasure that you will find in there is my coffee. I prefer cold coffee so I brew two or three pots of hot coffee at a time
and then pour them into a big plastic thermos and keep them in the fridge. Right next to the coffee is my absolutely essential Italian Sweet Cream coffee creamer. My other guilty pleasure while writing isn’t in the fridge though – it’s on my desk: Spitz brand flavored sunflower seeds still in the shells. My flavor preferences include chili lime, cracked pepper, and spicy. They’re the perfect snack for me because when I’m in ‘writing mode’ I can sit at a keyboard for hours, completely oblivious to the passing of time and, as a result, I often forget to eat so with the sunflower seeds nearby I have something relatively healthy to munch on while I’m working.
Tell us about your other published stories or novels? Or perhaps, do you have something else in the works that you’d like to share.
· My first published novel, Dhampiri, is about an Irish catholic woman that immigrated to Kentucky with her husband shortly after the American Civil War. When a family of vampires turns her into their nanny she finds herself in the middle of a different war that has been waging between the vampires and a clan of Valkyries since before the American Revolution.
· I also recently completed a short story about one of the Valkyries from Dhampiri who decides to leave her clan and attempts to assimilate herself into modern-day human society but, instead, becomes suspect number-one in a murder investigation. This story will be published in an anthology along with works from a variety of other very talented authors in late 2012. The anthology is, as yet, untitled but anyone interested in reading it can find updates about it on my Facebook page (link below).
· Finally, I am currently working on a full-length novel titled The Prototypes, which will be the second installment in the Jazz Nemesis series.
I can’t say too much about this book without spoiling The Citizens (the first novel in the series) but I can tell you that I’m having a lot of fun reinventing some monsters that you may recognize from pre-existing lore, as well as creating brand new creatures from scratch. Some will be friends and others will be enemies to the original cast of characters in this series, and I can also reveal that one primary character will die … but you’ll have to read it to find out which one. The estimated release for The Prototypes will be in early 2013.
Share with us the sites that we can stalk you on?
· I’m having a book giveaway contest on my Facebook page with a free signed, paperback copy of The Citizens to the winner. The deadline for the contest is June 9th. For details on how to enter, as well as updates and information on various other promotions and works in progress, please visit me at http://www.Facebook.com/AuthorLMSmith
· I am a member in a few great supernatural fiction groups on GoodReads and you can find information on how to order my books in several formats here as well: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4614965.L_M_Smith
· All of my published works are also listed on my Amazon.com author page and this is the best place to read what others have had to say about my books:http://www.amazon.com/L.M.Smith/e/B005P8AOQC/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1338481735&sr=81
· And you can also email me with your questions and comments at: