Today, I’m thrilled to welcome Graham Smith to the blog. He’s here to talk about his burgeoning writing career. Enjoy!
Tell us how you got into writing.
I’ve always been a reader and for the last two years I’ve also been a reviewer for the highly respected crimesquad.com review site. The next natural step was to start writing and I wandered aimlessly through a first novel until Col Bury gave me the kick up the backside I needed to get focussed. Then he got me into short stories on a Facetube page and it snowballed from there. The community there really gave me the confidence to forge ahead with writing short stories.
Describe for our readers the genre(s) you write in and why they appeal to you as a writer.
I still have the novice’s scattergun approach and will try to write any kind of story which has death, detection and mystery. That said I wouldn’t tackle outright horror or teen vampire stories as I don’t enjoy reading them and would therefore not enjoy writing them. To use labels I would say crime, thriller, mystery, hard-boiled, noir, action and I’d love to try adventure one day.
What inspires you to write?
I just enjoy storytelling. It’s as simple as that for me. If people are buying into my work either financially or emotionally then I’ll keep doing it. When I run out of stories or stop enjoying it I’ll also stop. As for plot inspiration, I just observe life and add my own twisted mind to situations to make them more entertaining.
Do you have time to read? If so, what are you reading at the moment? Do you have a favourite all-time read?
I could no sooner stop breathing than stop reading. I have always got a pile of books to read and I’m still reviewing so that keeps me going with fresh material. I’m currently reading ‘Blood Falls’ by Tom Bale which has started off at a gallop and speeded up.
Which author(s) would you say have most influenced your writing?
Every author I’ve ever read has given me something to draw upon whether it is great ideas or things I should avoid doing. Like Jeffery Deaver I like a good twist at the end but I couldn’t begin to match his convoluted plots. Courses I’ve attended have provided great insight, so a nod to Joseph Finder, Stuart MacBride and Allan Guthrie would be appropriate. Matt Hilton, Sheila Quigley and the aforementioned Col Bury are author friends who have given me great practical advice and more encouragement than I could ever have hoped for.
So with the exception of those mentioned everybody and nobody in particular.
Are you working on anything new at the moment?
I’m busy with the debut novel, I have a short story noir series I want to develop for my next release and there are just general stories landing in my portfolio from time to time for use somewhere one day.
What are your hopes for the future?
To continue writing and maybe – just maybe – get a print deal organised.
Where can you be found online?
I’ve had pieces up on http://thrillskillsnchills.blogspot.com/, http://at-the-bijou.blogspot.com/2011/11/november-goes-noir-at-bijou-presents_04.html
and my reviews are at www.crimesquad.com
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Read what you fancy writing and then write a review of the book. When you have done this a few times you get a better understanding of the mechanics behind storytelling. Other than that, go for it, accept constructive criticism for what it really is – somebody who you think knows better than you, trying to help you. Learn from these people and expect rejection. It makes the compliments so much sweeter.
What do you most like about writing? What do you dislike?
I enjoy throwing the first draft down and seeing where my mental outlines take me. I dislike the re-reading and close editing although I do appreciate the value of it. I sometimes throw a rough first draft together and sort all the editing issues
out later. At other times when I have a clearer picture of the final story I take much more care and edit as I go.
What are your strengths and weaknesses as a writer?
That’s a tough one to answer as I’m still very new to writing. I’ve had a lot of compliments on my endings and final twists so I think that could be called a strength. Also I’ve been praised on setting up scenes and the inclusion of details. My weaknesses are the tendency to overwrite things and that’s where I have to be strictest with myself when editing. I’ve learnt that sometimes you have to cut a particular section or joke out because it doesn’t work in the right context.
Thanks again Graham for taking the time to talk to me today. I hope everyone enjoyed reading the interview.