Graham Smith is married with a young son. A time served joiner he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. For the last eleven years he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.
An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer for the well respected review site Crimesquad.com for over two years.
As well as reviewing for Crimesquad.com Graham has also interviewed such stellar names as David Baldacci, Jeffrey Deaver, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Matt Hilton, current CWA Chair Peter James, Mark Billingham and many others.
When not working, his time is spent reading, writing and playing games with his son. He enjoys socialising and spending time with friends and family.
Bio taken from his Amazon.com Author’s Page.
It was my pleasure to take a moment and get a chance to interview Graham Smith! I had seen him around the water cooler in the usual places that new and independent authors like to congregate and he accepted my invitation to be interviewed. So without further delay, here is the interview with Graham~
1. What makes for a good hook in your stories? Where does your inspiration come from?
I try to always have the first line or paragraph dramatic to grab the reader. If it is mundane or boring you are fighting an uphill battle to keep the reader interested. A lot of my inspiration comes from jokes. I often dismantle a punchline and re-write it as a twist at the end of the story. Once I have the end I can start to write something and it’s amazing where I wander off to before reaching my planned finale.
2. Are you an organized writer? Do you do things like take notes and make lists of characters? Or do you free write and work it out as you go?
I tend to utilize both methods. Once I have the ending I can free write a short story without any kind of outline or preplanning. For the novel I am writing I have a full “cast list” with names, relationships, characteristics, appearance and so on otherwise I would get confused and change people names half way through.
3. What is your normal writing day like? Do you write when you are inspired or do you have a schedule?
My normal writing day is ten hours at work, a few hours with family and then if I’m lucky, there’s time for a couple of hours grabbed late at night to write or network my books.
4. Who is your favorite author and how did they inspire you to write?
I don’t have a favourite author as I like so many different authors for different reasons. The authors who have supported and encouraged me to write are Col Bury, Matt Hilton and Sheila Quigley. There are lots of other writers out there who have given me great help and advice on writing and I gained valuable tips and advice from attending writing courses run by Joseph Finder, Stuart MacBride and Allan Guthrie.
5. It’s easy to see that you have a passion for writing but is there any part of it you don’t like?
The only part of writing I can claim any dislike for is the editing. I tend to throw a first draft down as the story tells itself to me. Then I have to go back and edit it to remove typos and malapropisms along with plot errors. I have learned the hard way that this is best done after setting the story aside for a week or two. If it’s too fresh I see the mistakes as correct as I’m still to close to the story. Having said that, if I see someone asking for a story on a certain topic as part of a challenge or competition with a short deadline then I write it and send it off the same day.
6. Do you make time to read and if you do what are you reading right now?
I always have a book on the go and I’m currently reading Lucifer’s Tears by James Thompson. I can never ever be without a book. I am also a book reviewer for the well respected review website www.crimesquad.com
7. What inspired you to write thriller/murder mysteries with gum shoe twists? Is there personal life experience in the writing?
I was invited by the wonderful Kate Pilarcik to write a Noir piece for a blog feature she was doing and in my naivety I though Noir was all about the gumshoe detective sub-genre. I wrote a piece and deliberately left the character nameless until Kate persuaded me to give him a moniker. I so enjoyed getting to grips with the character I wrote more of him until I had enough for a collection. When I write him I can feel myself really getting into character.
8. Your books have been published with Amazon.com, Does this mean you see the publishing industry headed this way?
Personally I think that there is room for both paper and electronic devices and luddites like me will always want a paper book.
9. Do you have any online sites where others can read more of your writings?
Every time I’m asked this question I cringe as I do not have my own website or blog where people can find out about my writing. However it is rapidly climbing my “to do” list and I have decided that once the first draft of my novel is complete I will make it my priority.
10. Do you have any more stories in the works? What kinds of stories do you plan to write next?
My novel will be a police procedural thriller and I aim to finish the first draft in the next few weeks. Then I’m planning to write more short stories followed by a Harry Charters novella. The next step will be the dreaded editing of the novel. I haven’t planned any further ahead than that
11. Who would be your first choice to play Harry Charters of your book “Harry Charters Chronicles”?
My first choice would be Bruce Willis as he plays a drunk better than any other actor I’ve ever seen
12. If you could meet anyone from any time who would it be and what would be your first question?
I’d love to meet Carl Hiaasen and my first question would be “How do you manage to create such wonderfully out-there characters and manage to keep them believable?”