"When it comes to authors,we may hide ourselves from others but within our pages, our true souls emerge." - Nicole Hill
"I want a Vampite of my very own. Until I find him, I'll just keep writing him into existence." -Nicole Hill
" I write like people talk. It may not be perfect but it's damn entertaining." - Nicole Hill

Monday, April 25, 2016

#IndieSpotlight of James Smith Author of The Shoe Box- A collection of short stories.

 James Smith
The Title of Your Work or Group: 
The Shoe Box – A collection of short stories

Where are you from?
Currently I live in the North East of England

In what genre do you write?
 The only work I currently have available would probably be classed as contemporary short stories – although they vary from being ‘true life’ to somewhat satirical in nature. I am currently trying my hand at a thriller/crime caper style novella – basically playing around with stories.

In your own words, what is your book about? If you were not the author and trying to explain this awesome book you just read to a friend, what would you say about it? 
The Shoe Box is a collection of five contemporary short stories examining the human ability to deal with adversity, maintain that special spark and our obsession with competition and celebrity. The stories are filled with richly developed characters and punchy humour. People who have reviewed my book comment on how authentic the characters feel, even though this is only a short story. It’s a lovely book to dip into before bed, commuting or during that well earned coffee break.

What is your writing style? Do you follow all guides and rules? Synopsis, outline etc. or do you just sit down at the computer and type to see what happens. 
  The stories just seem to appear. Sometime I am in the position of being able to write down the plot as the idea lands in my brain, but mostly it just happened (normally when driving or out running). I tend to find that when the idea has hit the writing becomes somewhat organic – it’s like the characters develop as I write (which can make editing a nightmare when you get to the end with this fully formed character and you have to go back and change their reaction to something you wrote earlier in the story). Although having said that things change from story to story with some being planned out before actually typing anything and others appearing as my fingers hammer the keys.

 Have you ever written anything and thought; " The world has got to see this!" ? 
I’ve never written anything and thought ‘this will be great’ or ‘amazingness is here’. I am often humbled by the fact people even buy the book, let alone spend the time to send me feedback – either through twitter or as a review. I am fully aware what a crowded market place the indie sphere is and whilst I have a confidence that what I have written could be enjoyed by someone else, I don’t take it for granted. I think when you start thinking that way you’re very soon going to come down to earth with a crash.

 Do you have an editor and Cover Designer or do you do this yourself? 
The first piece I wrote was edited by friends of mine before being submitted to a website that sold short stories – who edited it some more before putting  the piece up for sale. Unfortunately the site didn’t appear to get much traffic so after about sixth months I took the story down and looked to put it out there myself. Through a few things I have been involved with I have built up a bank of fellow indie authors who edit my work and I edit theirs. The cover etc I do myself using (mainly) Amazons software when I place the book up for sale.

Who is your favorite author. Not just someone that you read allot. I wanna know whose book you read that made you suddenly know that if you didn't do this for the rest of your life then you would never be happy. 
I have a number of favourite authors, some long dead, others who are still very much ‘banging out the hits’, but the ones that inspired me to try writing are the authors I found to be poor. I read a lot and I have lost count of the number of books I got o far through and thought this is rubbish – and I am not talking about indie authors either. I thought if these guys can get this drivel published then I should give it a go.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
 The real challenge to my writing is time. I am a full time teacher and I have a family. So finding time to make things up can be a challenge.

Do you write your characters or do they write themselves through you?
 Most of my characters develop as I write. Having only written short stories (so far) I have an idea of what that character has to do in the story, but then how they do it, their personalities, develop as I write them.

Do you ever write yourself into the characters? 
 I think all writers write about what they know and aspects of my personality, personal experiences or beliefs do appear in my characters – it’s possibly what makes them appear so lifelike to my readers.

Is writing your full time job or are you "Keeping your day job"? So to speak.
I’m a full time teacher and selling a collection of short stories for royalties that barely enter double figures means I have to keep the day job. I would love to write full time, but I am at the start of my journey so we shall see where we go from here.

 If you could go back in time and meet one famous person or legend in history, who would it be? 
I have no idea who I would want to meet from history – sorry boring answer, but I have no idea.

There are millions of new books released every year. What in your mind makes yours stand out from all those millions in your genre? 
I don’t think there is anything that makes me stand out from anyone else in my genre. I think I write engaging fiction which people appear to enjoy reading, but at this point in my journey I guess I am nothing special – but then is anybody?

In the world of Indie, marketing is very difficult, especially if you don't have the funds to pay for it. Have you found a great free way to market your work that you think other Indies will benefit from? 
I found a fantastic way to market your books and raise money for charity at the same time. I worked with a group of authors who I ‘met’ via twitter and we wrote a couple of seasonally based short story collections. The royalties from each book were donated to a specific charity. We sold a lot of our seasonal short stories this way which obviously introduced a lot of new readers to our work – one of my contributions was even read out on a hospital radio station (not Radio 4 or anything but hey) – it also made the marketing a lot wider, as 10 + authors were publicising the work to their network of friends and ‘fans’. The only negative at that time for me was that I didn’t have a book to sell, so I was working hard marketing the story collections, receiving great feedback from readers, but didn’t have anything of my own to sell. I learnt a lot from that experience (I did a lot of the editing) and it did raise a lot of awareness – but I put the cart before the horse so to speak. If that opportunity were to present itself again I would definitely get involved with it.