Interview with Author Michael W. Smart

I am thrilled to have with us today Michael Smart, author of Dead Reckoning, the first installment in his Bequia Mysteries Series.

R.L.: Hi, Michael! It's so great to have you here. Thanks so much for stopping by. All my writer friends are looking forward to hearing what you have to share with us. So, tell me, Michael, how does
it feel to have your first book published?

Michael: It feels great. I had a little trepidation at first. You want people to like and enjoy what you’ve labored over, and there’s also this separation anxiety about releasing your baby out into the world. But it’s such a relief after you see it out there. When I held the print copy in my hands, an actual book, the culmination of a dream and hard work, it was a wonderful feeling.

R.L.: Awesome! I bet it does feel wonderful! I really enjoyed Dead Reckoning and I loved Nicholas Gage, the main character in your story. Tell us a little about him.

Michael: In writing the Bequia Mystery Series the character Nicholas Gage actually came to me first. Then I decided to set the stories in the Grenadines. It was a time when I was considering retiring early and returning to the Grenadines. But I knew it wouldn’t be the same as when I lived there, some things I wouldn’t be able to still do. Too much time had passed, my perspective and my body had changed. And I wondered what it’d be like living there now. As I thought about those things the character developed, and also the themes. So Gage arrives in the Grenadines with an entirely new perspective than he had in his past life, and he has to cope with reinventing himself at an older stage in life.

R.L.: So cool to get a peek at how your character developed. And speaking of reinventing, the self-publishing industry is being seen in a brand new light lately. Authors want more control over their work and self-publishing allows them the freedom to put out the work they want, how they want and when they want. Michael, what were your reasons for choosing self-publishing over traditional publishing?

Michael: I haven’t really made a choice of one over the other. I self-published for all the reasons you state, and also to bypass the obstacles presented by traditional publishing, especially for a first time author. But I’d also want to be published traditionally. By self-publishing I can get my work out into the world, and any agent or publisher who might be interested can see it.

R.L.: Smart idea, no pun intended! So, Michael, how long have you been writing, and what got you started?

Michael: I first started writing when I was thirteen years old. What got me started was reading. Even at that age I was an avid reader, and I was fascinated by the power of human imagination and the ability to tell a story.

R.L.: What genres do you write in, Michael, and why?

Michael: I write mysteries and science fiction. Those were the type of adventure stories I cut my teeth on in my early reading and writing. Those are the type of stories which still fascinate me today.

R.L.: Michael, having published your first book, is there anything you would do different next time around?
Michael: I wouldn’t say there’s anything I would do differently. But I think the process will be easier and smoother now that I’m past the initial learning curve on publishing my first novel.

R.L.: Okay, now here's a hot topic amongst writers: Are you a plotter or a pantster?

Michael: A plotter definitely.

R.L.: Me, too! Michael, as a writer, do you ever feel like giving up?

Michael: Never. Although until recently writing was just a hobby. I never thought about publishing. But I kept everything I ever wrote, and now when I pull out some of that teenage stuff I see how unsophisticated my writing was, but the story ideas and characters are really useful. The story and characters for my first science fiction novel came from there. Now that I write full time it’s all I want to do. It’s the first thought I have when I awake and the last thought before going to sleep. It’s a really fulfilling time in my life.

R.L.: What projects are you currently working on? What are your plans for the future?

Michael: I've already completed the first three novels in the Bequia Series. I'm working on the fourth. Book #2 will be released shortly and Book #3 no more than a couple of months after that. All three books should be available by end of the summer 2014. I'll keep writing them until I run out of plot ideas or my characters decide to do something different with their lives. My plan for the future is simple, keep writing. 

R.L.: Sounds like a good plan to me! Michael, my readers all want to know, what are your best tips and suggestions for fellow writers?

Michael: If you’re a writer, you want to write every day. And that’s one of the best tips I can offer. To write, write and write, anything, doesn’t matter what, just write. Practice, practice and keep practicing. And the other tip, perhaps as important, is to learn the craft. How to do more than just use words and language, but how to manipulate them. Often what’s going on in one’s imagination doesn’t get translated to the page. And it doesn’t happen by itself or by accident. Doesn’t mean you need to take writing courses or get a degree in creative writing, although those will teach you the craft. But I think one of the best ways to learn the craft is to read, read and read, especially in the genre you enjoy and you want to create in. And while you’re reading pay attention to the language, how words are strung together to create a scene, or produce an emotion, or make you visualize what the author is imagining. Words are a writer’s raw materials, how we string them together our art.

R.L.: Perfect! Michael, thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to answer some questions for us. I loved your first book, Dead Reckoning, and I am eagerly waiting for more. I wish you continued inspiration and success in your writing!

I hope you guys enjoyed this interview with Michael Smart, author of Dead Reckoning and The Bequia Mysteries Series. 
You can get a copy of Michael's book at Amazon, ibooks, or SmashWords
You can connect with Michael at GoodReads.

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