L.M. Smith has been gracious enough to do this interview and also give away a hand-crocheted bookmark! So please do not forget to enter in the rafflecopter at the end of this interview to hopefully win it.
L.M. Smith is both an avid read and writer. Her favorite authors include Kim Harrison and Richard Adams. She began writing stories and poetry as a child and has always been fascinated by mythology and the paranormal.
A self-proclaimed 'desert rat', she lives near Las Vegas, Nevada with the love of her life, their three dogs, and two cats. She is proud to be an alumna of the University of Phoenix and enjoys horseback riding, kayaking, and taking long walks with Vladimir: her Doberman Pinscher.
While working on her next upcoming publication, her guilty pleasures include salt-and-pepper flavored sunflower seeds and cold, home-brewed coffee with Italian Sweet Cream... though never at the same time because that would be yucky.
1. What are 3 things that will not be found on the internet about you?
I'd love to reveal juicy details here but, the honest truth is, all of the juiciest stuff probably is, in fact, already on the internet somewhere and you just have know where to look for it- leaving only the mundane to answer your question. #1: I own the complete James Herriot collection and have read them all several times. #2: I've had a never ending toothache since 2008. The dentist put a massive hole in my back molar while pulling my wisdom tooth and then said it was too extensive to repair and too important of a tooth to remove unless I could afford a false replacement so I am simply living with the pain. #3: I like mushrooms, chicken, olives, onions, and extra cheese on my pizza.
2. What are 3 things that you need to get your morning going?
My coffee cup, coffee in the cup, Italian sweet cream in the coffee. Coffee, coffee, coffee. I am a coffee fiend!
3. Do you happen to have a favorite author?
I have 2. Richard Adams, author of Watership Down. It's about bunnies but it's not a kids tale by any means. I've read it 6 times. The other is Kim Harrison- I am addicted to her Hollows series, I can't wait for the TV show to air and I will pay just about whatever price she asks for her newest e-books when they come out because I am that addicted to them.
4. Where did you get your inspiration to write your book/books?
Bit and pieces of this and that from here and there. In StarTrek Voyager a group of people are stranded very far from home and the entire series is about them trying to get back to where they're from. I wanted to do something along these lines but I don't write SciFi, so that was one inspiration. Ever time I've read a paranormal book that focused on only one or two supernatural creatures I've wondered where an author could draw the line. If Vampires and Zombies exist why not psychics, Demons, Valkyries, empaths, and whatever else one can come up with? So I wanted a way to believably unleash the whole spectrum of creatures on the world- not in such a way that they'd always been there, but in a way that made humanity confront them undeniably and all at once because confusion and chaos are entertaining. I could go on but the truth is- everything I see, watch, read, hear, or even do sparks some kind of idea which gets tucked away in some deep caver of memories that I can then shop through later when I'm in such a mood to do so and by putting a little of this and a little of that into the pot... a plot begins to brew.
5. What is the hardest part of being a writer?
Finding the time to write! Any unpublished or newly published writer will believe that being a writer means writing- any writer that has been published for some length of time knows that the more involved you get in your own books- the less time you have to write. As a writer there is a constant stream of self-promoting, book marketing, social networking, relationship developing, brain storming, interviewing, completion, editing, rewriting, etc. And for Indies I think it's even harder because we're doing eve more of this on our own instead of having a publisher to help. At some point a write has to just turn the world off, brew a pot, order a pizza, close the door and say - ENOUGH! Today I am going to write! Otherwise, we would all become one-hit-wonders.
6. What is the easiest?
Writing. Oxymoronic right? Once I've actually found the TIME to write, the actual writing process is easy. Writing, at least for me, is a compulsion- I rarely sit around trying to think up a good plot or come up with the right words to make a paragraph say what I want, or figure out what's going to happen next. I firmly believe that stories exist somewhere in the universe- one might even say that they are alive all on their own somehow- and writers are merely the vessels through which they choose to expose themselves to the world. Once my fingers get to ratty-tapping on the keyboard- writing just happens all by itself and when it does start to become difficult I realize the story needs a rest and I go away to do something else and when I come back... it's easy again.
7. What made you decide to become an author?
Have you ever gotten a song stuck in your head and you couldn't get it out until you broke out your YouTube or your Mp3 player and listened to it? I never said "I want to be a writer." Stories will pop into my head and if I don't find some way to get them out they will replay themselves over and over again like little mini-movies. The worst part is that I won't get the whole story right away- I'll get a small scene that lasts maybe 30-45 seconds but it will just keep repeating until I write it down and allow it to develop into something longer. With The Citizens, for example, I just kept seeing Jazz and Beck meeting in the lobby over and over and over again and their conversation would play out repeatedly and I've even been told that my lips would move silently with it so I looked like I was talking to myself. I had to sit down and write it- I just had to. I didn't have a choice or it would have driven me insane.
8. Tell us a bit about your book for those who have not read it yet.
The Citizens is the first book in the Jazz Nemesis series. It's about five people that wake up in a ghost town with no memory of where they are or how they got there. They quickly realize that their every move is being monitored by a complete stranger that calls himself Mayor E. and they also learn that they can't leave. They are given tasks to perform, tortured when they fail, and studied extensively when they succeed- but things take an even bigger turn for strange when they start to develop supernatural abilities and aversions. They don't know how much they can trust each other but - at the same time- they need each other if they're going to survive.
9. Why did you choose this cover for The Citizens?
The symbol on the cover is a variation of an Ouroboros, or a snake eating its own tail. The original symbol can be found in a surprising number of societies from all over the world and is indicative of the cyclical nature of life: from birth to death to rebirth, from order to chaos and back to order, from tyranny to anarchy and back again. This symbol has powerful meaning for the series as a whole but also for each book individually. At least one character in The Citizens dies and is reborn, another experiences a life that seems ordered but only through true chaos does that character begin to understand what order really is. I added the dot in the center of the Ouroboros and the line beneath it. A line with a dot over it is the Mayan symbol for the number six but fear that I cannot discuss the purpose behind this without revealing too much else about the rest of the series that is yet to come.
10. Will we see another book by you soon?
The Refugess is the second book in the Jazz Nemesis series and my goal is to release it in very early 2013.
11. Were any of your characters inspired by people in real life?
All of them were, to some degree. Jazz, as I've mentioned, is based on me. Beck, in many aspects of his personality and the little quirks that he has (like chewing on his cuticles) is based on my fiance. I have a beautiful Japanese cousin ( by marriage) name Kaori- but assure you that the name and heritage is all that I borrowed from her; she does not behave at all like the bratty adolescent in the book. Piper was named after my oldest (and favored) dog, but much of her appearance, mothering personality, and ability to go from sweet and nurturing to stern and commanding in a blink is based from my mother. Gordon, the obnoxious sales guy, is based off of a former co-worker- there I said it... he's just lucky I'm not giving out his real name. :)
12. Have you thought about writing a different genre?
Always. I've done two supernatural novels with at least three more to come. I've also done compilation of poetry and short stories. I am frequently receiving requests to write kids books and have some ideas floating around for those, but no idea where to actually begin with them. I've also considered old-school fantasy- but I suspect that magic and monsters will always invade my work no matter what it is.
Question asked by Wanda H.
1.Why did you choose the most anti-social character in the book to be an empath?
The primary reason for this is because I based Jazz on myself in many aspects. I am relatively anti-social in person but enjoy communicating with people online (much as she does) through gaming and social networking- but I am also empathic. From a very young age I've been very strongly affected, more than average, buy the emotions and feelings of others. I have sensed a friend in need after 2 years of non-communication and over a distance of more than 250 miles even though I didn't know why he was in need. (It wasn't until I called him three days later that I learned I'd had a panic attack on the exact day and at the exact time that he'd learned of his father's sudden death, and when I did call him it had been just minutes after he returned home from the funeral. I believe that being empathic is largely to blame for my introversion- as I was quite the opposite when I was a little girl. The more I aged the more the feelings of others started to affect me and the more I started to withdraw as a result. Secondly- because it just might give Jazz a chance to grow and learn something about herself as well as the world around her...maybe.
Question asked by Kim C.
1. Can I read what you got so far? lol
Sure! Once upon a time there was this voracious reader and very curious woman named Kim, who woke up in a ghost town with no memory of where she was or how she came to be there. She was completely alone but she was fed and had a roof to sleep under and a library full of books to read. One day five strangers showed up talking nonsense about ankle monitors and black bubble cameras and being turned into monsters. Kim thought perhaps she'd finally gone mad or maybe she'd fallen into one of the many books that she'd read. She was on the point of asking the strangers one too many questions when one of the women bared a set of horrible fangs, bit Kim, and drank all of her blood. Kim's body will never be found-may she rest in peace.
Fun Question time......
1. 3 things that make you happy?
- having my hair braided by someone else
- good music
- and reading reviews of my books.
- Animal abuse
- superiority complexes
4. What is your favorite show?
I watch very little TV and this varies depending on whatever series I happen to be catching up with on Netflix. Supernatural is my current addiction but I am also looking forward, very much, to The Hollows.
5. What is your favorite book that you could read over and over?
Watership Down. I've read it many times already and every time I do I get something new from it. It's very deep and multi-faceted.
6. What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?
Take naps with my fiance-but I have a sleeping disorder so this doesn't happen very often, unfortunately.
7. Favorite food?
Sushi! Specifically raw tuna.
8. Favorite drink? Alcoholic or non-alcoholic.
9. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
I never want to leave the desert- I love it here. I would want to visit other places like Ireland and Tahiti frequently, but I would always want to come home to where I am now.
10. The new cool thing now that we read about are vampires and werewolves, angels and demons. Which would you pick and why?
I'm bored with both match-ups, to be honest. I love the characters themselves but the idea of pitting an epic and continual cycle of the same "good guys" versus the same "bad guys" is tiring. I like surprises and unique creatures like the Valkyries that I created in Dhampiri to go against the Vampires. Another aspect that unsettles me is the idea of an inherent dislike between species. This concept seems to border on publishing a hidden statement on prejudice. Should a vampire really inherently hate a werewolf and visa versa? Or is it possible that members of both species are naturally capable of seeing each other as equals and only become enemies when given a reason to do so-the opposite of the Edward vs. Jacob paradox, if you will. Something to consider-anyway.
Cover of The Citizens:
Cover of The Refugees coming out sometime in 2013!
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