Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Greg Smith to Chat About Books.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
I’ve been an artist all my life and the transition to writing, imagination-wise, has been quite easy. My main trouble is my mind that never stops concocting ideas for stories or characters.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
Capt. Kramer, USMC is very loosely based on my son, Jason, who is a major in the Marines. Others, I suppose, could be regarded as amalgamations of various people from my past while some are straight from my imagination. While Shadow doesn’t resemble our beloved dog who passed some 2 years ago, I named him in honor of Shadow who is sorely missed.
How do you pick your characters names?
I’m always on the lookout for interesting character names — from any source. But I’ve been known to garner some from the phone book … a first name here, a surname there.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
I generally have a reasonable concept of a story before I put ‘pen to paper.’ As I make it a point to have factual material, places, etc in my writing, the next and major step is to carry out as much research as possible until I’m satisfied I have enough to begin writing. Unlike some fellow writers and not in accordance with the lessons I received from my online course with James Patterson, I do not plan my story out but simply begin writing. I try to follow the idea-in-mind for the storyline but generally find the characters will quite often take control at times and dictate new directions. My wife laughed when I announced my surprise on one occasion there had been an unexpected murder.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
A tough question, that. My top 5 (and not in order of any preference) would be James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell, Edward Rutherfurd, Jack Whyte, and Lee Child.
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
If I had that opportunity I would have to choose Jack Whyte. I’m enthralled with his Arthur series. And as I am tackling my own historical fiction at present I would be intrigued to learn from him how he pieced together his fiction and historical fact so intrinsically.
Were you a big reader as a child?
When I wasn’t deep in drawing I read an awful lot. Back in the day it was mainly science fiction, but in later years I moved over to historical fiction, crime, mystery and thrillers.
When did you start to write?
My “career” has its early roots in the assignments given out by my teachers in primary and high school (I grew up in Australia). I always achieved 10/10 or A+s for my writing. It might astound your readers to learn back then I wrote with a nib pen and inkwell. It wasn’t until about 8-9 years ago that I actually put my artwork aside to try my hand at writing ‘seriously’.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
Good question. Surprisingly enough, I don’t think I would consider re-writing the end of any of my books. Even though my wife and some friends have scolded me for killing off some favored characters, the endings have reached the point pre-ordained, even if slightly manipulated by a character or two.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
Jack Whyte’s Arthur series struck such a deep note within me that I would like to have written those books. Hopefully my own historical fiction will achieve at least a modicum of success compared to his.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
That’s a tricky question. Right at this particular moment in time and my current frame of mind I guess the title could be OF TWO MINDS.
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
He would be King Arthur and I would walk him through contemporary England so he and I could bemoan the shortcomings and massive failures of his ancestors and celebrate their well-deserved achievements.
Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I grew up in Papua New Guinea just a few years after the end of WWII.
What are you working on right now?
THE ARCHER’S DIARY is the title of my current 2-book historical fiction. I have been working on it for some 7 years, most of that time being spent on research. Right now I am tackling the 5th rewrite.
Tell us about your last release?
LEX TALIONIS was released Dec., 24, 2017 and is the 3rd book in my action crime series featuring Capt. Kramer, USMC and his Anatolian shepherd dog, Sgt. Shadow, USMC. It has these two confronting their nemesis, Shelley Harper, who vows to bring America to its knees for the death of her husband and crime boss, Valdiron and their daughter. There could be a 4th book to follow if I gain an appreciative following.
Do you have a new release due?
THE ARCHER’S DIARY, Book One will be my next release but no date is fixed as yet. I am hoping for possibly late 2018.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
My wife and I generally go out to dinner and celebrate over a good meal and wine. Oh yes, and catch my breath before diving into the next book.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
Everyone, readers in particular, have an open invitation to visit my web site where they can find my contact information. I welcome any and all comments, suggestions, ideas, etc.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I would like to take this opportunity to ask anyone interested to become a Beta Reader for me to visit my web site and drop me a line. I’m hoping to have THE ARCHER’S DIARY available some time soon.
I also want to thank Kerry for inviting me to this interview. Without the likes of her, and her interest in our work, us writers would be lose many an opportunity to reach a wider audience. Thanks Kerry.
You’re very welcome, Greg. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions 🙂