24 July, 2015

#Interview with L.M. Smith, #Author of A Jazz Nemesis Novels

About the Author:

L.M. Smith is both an avid reader 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, various global cultures, and the paranormal.
A self-proclaimed ‘desert rat’, she lived near Las Vegas, Nevada with her soul mate, their three dogs, and one very sassy black cat.  She is proud to be an alumna of the University of Phoenix and enjoys playing online video games, painting pottery, and binge-watching entire season of her favorite TV shows in one day with her sweetheart.
Thanks largely to the encouragement and vivacious faith of her wonderful fans, L.M. has finally allowed herself to hope that she may someday see Jasmine and all of her friends brought to life on the silver screen.


Works By L.M. SMITH
A-Musing Adolescence: A collection of poetry and short stories for the young and the young at heart
The Citizens: A Jazz Nemesis Novel, vol. 1
The Refugees: A Jazz Nemesis Novel, vol. 2
The Survivors: A Jazz Nemesis Novel, vol. 3 (Available August 1, 2015)
Papa Smith Goes to Maui: The Adventures of Papa Smith, vol. 1 (ALL author proceeds from this publication are donated to The V Foundation for Cancer Research)
Dance of a Valkyrie (A short story included in the anthology, All The Lovely Creatures by B.C. Sirrom – available on Smashwords.com)

An Interview with the Author:

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
There is an unusual and very misunderstood condition called Paramnesia, which I believe – in hind sight – I may have had as a child.  I would often have these vivid and detailed fantasies or daydreams that would be so realistic that, at times, they seemed more like memories than some of my actual memories … so much so, that I couldn’t always tell them apart.  When I would recount the events from these imagined memories, adults and friends would accuse me of deliberately lying and demand to know why I insisted on fabricating such silly stories.  This would, in turn, leave me feeling confused and hurt because I couldn’t understand why my memories were betraying me.  To avoid this conflict, I started writing my fantasies down instead of telling them to people and, as a side effect, this made it easier for me to differentiate between fact and fiction.

What inspires you to write?
This is another compulsion.  The characters in my stories like to talk … a lot … and often.  Many nights have seen me lying in bed through the wee hours of the morning, eyes wide open, staring at the ceiling while fictional people converse with one another as if I’m nothing more than a fly on the wall inside my own mind.  To make matters worse, they will repeat the same conversation over and over again until I write it down.  Once the words are on paper, they’re quiet for a while … until the next conversation begins.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
Questions.  Lots and lots of questions.  Every good plot begins with the words ‘what if?’ or “what would happen if?’.  What would happen if a group of people woke up in a ghost town in the middle of nowhere and couldn’t remember how they got there?  What if science discovered a way to accelerate the natural evolution of human beings?  What would happen if mankind used all of our potential brain power?  What would happen if a tyrannical government decided to use fear as a method of control and influence?  What if secret societies decided to recreate the world?

Are there some stories tucked away in a drawer that were written before and never saw the light of the day?
Tucked away in a drawer?  No.  Thrown in the trash and all but forgotten about or lost to the gremlins that like to sneak into the boxes during a move and make the strangest objects disappear without a trace?  DOZENS!

Tell us about your writing process.
It begins with the idea which usually just pops into my head somewhere around 2:30 – 3:00 in the morning and wakes me up to ponder it.  Once the conversations begin the writing begins, usually just a brief outline or synopsis of each chapter to start and then I go back and start fleshing out each chapter one-by-one.  After that the self-editing process begins.  I re-read each chapter to myself to fix inconsistencies, add details, adjust wording, avoid repetition, etc. and then I do it all again.  The last thing that I do before I send a book to the editor for polishing, is I order a print copy and re-read it one more time to check for typos or pick up on things that I missed during the first two read-throughs.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
In The Survivors: A Jazz Nemesis novel vol. 3 (Releasing on August 1, 2015), my absolute favorite scene is when Jasmine’s father sends a clinical psychologist to visit and evaluate her because she’s been living in her friend’s room for several weeks in his absence, and without his permission.  In the first part of the interview, Jazz is pretty hostile but she eventually realizes that it doesn’t matter what she says because the psychologist is determined to label her as mentally unfit, so she decides to just have fun with it.  Much like me, Jasmine has no filter between her brain and her mouth and this becomes hilariously apparent when she begins pummeling the poor woman with nonsensical prattle that quickly morphs into deranged, yet hilarious, gibberish.  The entire scene becomes even more giggle-worthy when Gabriel walks into the room and the antics instantly escalate as a result of his presence.  I confess that I laughed while writing it and each time that I re-read it during editing.

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
Jazz didn’t just inherit my quirks, she is me.  A thinner, sexier, stronger version of me but definitely me.  I can honestly say that I didn’t intentionally write her to be that way.  I may have deliberately borrowed a few of her physical characteristics and life experiences from myself but the personality quirks that she took from me were organic mutations of the person that I had originally intended her to be.  Her obsession with coffee, for example, is a page right out of my own life-book, as are her proclivity for tilting her head to one side when she’s confused and her complete and utter lack of good judgement in terms of which thoughts probably shouldn’t be expressed out loud in certain circles of company.

What is your most interesting writing quirk?
It’s more a typing quirk than a writing quirk.  When I’m in a really good groove I am sometimes capable of typing up to 87 words per minute with 100% accuracy but I only use my thumbs and the first two fingers on each hand (with the occasional ring-finger assist for the enter key).  I never took a typing class or learned how to type properly.  In college, some of my classmates nicknamed me ‘Spider-Qwerty’.

What is your usual writing routine?
It’s a simple one really, not unlike what I am sure most writers go through as part of their routine.  I make sure the dogs are fed, put to bed, or put outside – whichever the hour may require – so that they won’t be interrupting me.  I also make sure I have a beverage and that my seating arrangement is comfortable.  I usually give myself 20-30 minutes to check email and browse social media before closing it out completely to write so that I won’t be distracted by it … and that’s it.  I open MS Word and let ‘er rip!

Do you read? Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
Every author should read!  To write without reading is like being a singer who doesn’t listen to music, a mechanic that doesn’t drive, or a chef who doesn’t eat anything but salad!  That said, I do have to limit when I read.  I have a tendency to easily and unintentionally adopt the styles of other writers if I try to read while writing.  For this reason, I prefer to avoid reading when I’m in the middle of writing a book or series as a method to maintain my own personal writer’s voice.  I have loved Watership Down by Richard Adams since I was 11, as well as anything by J.R.R. Tolkein.  Another favorite is the Hollow’s Series by Kim Harrison.

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, to date?
Never read anything that hasn’t been published!  It can be traditionally published or indie-published as long as it’s been published.  This advice was given to me by a fellow (and well known author) who had once accepted a manuscript that a friend of his had written in a spiral notebook and asked him to give an opinion on.  The opinion was favorable but when that author published his next book, this so-called friend accused him of plagiarism.  The claim didn’t hold any water and the whole thing blew over but the author made it a point to never again read anyone’s unpublished manuscript and advised me to do the same.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
This might sound harsh but writing, in my opinion, isn’t something you ‘get into’.  If you’re a writer, you were born a writer and you will always be a writer.  If you’re the type that sits around thinking “I’d like to write a novel but I don’t know how to come up with something to write about” … you weren’t born a writer.  Not all writers write novels, of course.  If you’re a writer you’ll already know it.  You’ll feel it in your bones.  It will be apparent in your social media comments, your emails, your notebooks, and your ‘My Documents’ folder on your computer.  If you’re a writer there’s a good chance that you’re already writing.  Maybe it’s short stories or poetry or just jotting down ideas that never really blossom into something more.  THAT’S OKAY!  We all start out that way.  Keep doing that.  Write down every inspiration that you have and one day it will just happen.  One day your ideas will become your projects and those projects will become your works.  Writing isn’t a profession, it’s not a job, it’s not a skill.  Sometimes it can become those things for some people but, in its purest form, writing is a way of life.

What would be the Dream Cast for you book if it was to be turned into a movie?
This has plagued me more than any other question since The Citizens: A Jazz Nemesis novel vol. 1 developed a fan base.  The truth is, I honestly haven’t been able to think of a single actor/actress that would fit my characters, in my mind.  Maybe that’s because the characters are so real and so individual to me.  I see every detail of their faces in my mind and they look like completely unique and individual people.  For this reason I have a hard time picturing them with any other face than their own.  However, should Jazz and her friends ever have the opportunity to appear on film, I will happily embrace that moment with relish regardless of who the cast is!

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
A knife, a vessel for water, and my husband.  Yep!  Just like Drew Barrymore in the movie Ever After, if I have to sling him over my shoulders and carry him in order to not be separated from him, then that’s what I would do!

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
I spend most of my free time at home and it really is my favorite place to unwind.  My husband is there, my dogs are there, my cat is there, I have my spot on the couch set up just the way I like it, I get to set the AC to the temperature that we’re most comfortable with, we can watch our favorite TV shows, put on a movie, play our video games together, or read books together.  There really isn’t anywhere else that we could go to be that comfortable!

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
I’d like to write a memoire about my unusual childhood someday, perhaps when I’ve completed the last book in the Jazz Nemesis series that’s what I will work on next.  I was raised by very eccentric parents with extremely strong and, in some cases, controversial views.  It was an interesting experience that, I think, would make a great story.

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.
I have six tattoos including the symbol from the cover of the Jazz Nemesis books.
Every time I go fishing, regardless of whom I go fishing with, I always insist on cleaning and gutting all of the fish that are caught.  This is the result of my mother trying to scare me out of going fishing with my dad by telling me that if I decided to choose fishing with him over staying home with her I would have to clean and gut all of the fish that we caught that day.  It backfired.
At this precise moment, I have an insane craving for Korean food … I wonder if there are any Korean restaurants nearby that serve lunch.

What do you have in store next for your readers?
The Survivors: A Jazz Nemesis Novel vol. 3 is coming on August 1st, 2015!  Jazz and her friends have been through a lot already but the worst is still to come for them!  More death, more violence, more destruction, more heartache, and a whole lot more chaos!  But despair not, dear readers, because The Survivors also introduces more exciting characters with unique personalities, strange abilities, and nefarious agendas!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
When I decided to publish my first novel I told myself ‘It doesn’t matter if I ever become famous, make a million dollars, get on a best seller’s list, or see my book made into a movie.  As long as even one reader cries because of something that I’ve written, I will consider this a successful novel.’  The joy and fulfillment that I felt when I read the first review where the reader said “I cried at the end” was absolutely beyond words!  When I published the second novel it was ‘If even one person stays up all night to finish it because they can’t put it down, I will consider it a successful novel’.  Again, this was mentioned in a few of the reviews for that novel and I felt like I could die happy right then and there.  I’m sure I speak for most authors when I say this – you readers have no idea how precious, how valued, and how cherished your reviews are to us authors.  Please, please, whether it be a good review or a bad one or even a neutral one with some constructive criticism … please take a few moments to write a review and let us know your thoughts.  We live for your reviews!

About the Book:
Abandoned by her lover.
 Reunited with her father.
  Ardently pursued by a man who has vowed to never leave her side.

From within the protective walls of Sanctuary, Jasmine and her friends find themselves numbered among a throng of refugees fleeing a world under constant assault from all sides. The horrors of The Maya Virus were just the beginning as nations emboldened by chaos succumb to the temptations of nuclear warfare, religious zealots employ drastic tactics against their rivals, and Mother Nature herself seems determined to destroy all that remains.

As governments crumble and factions unfold, the pressure is on for Jazz to take sides and declare her allegiance, but the rules are unclear and the lines may not be as cleanly drawn as some would have her believe. An ancient secret society disguised as a wealthy corporation creeps comfortably into a position of power; a struggling republic determined to maintain some semblance of normalcy clings to what little control it has left; a faithful crowd amasses to worship a newly emerged and powerful figurehead of myth and legend; an unlikely army forms in obscurity, it’s awesome power hidden from all who would seek to destroy it; and then there’s Damien, quite possibly Jasmine’s greatest temptation to date.

The fiercest war mankind has ever known is percolating on the horizon. What would you be willing to sacrifice to be counted among The Survivors?

1 comment:

  1. Great Interview. I can not wait to read this book.