Hello again for another fun author interview. Today, we have Christy Smith in from St. Louis, MO to visit with us. Christy, I’m going to turn this over to you to get us started. Mind lettings us know a little about your background, and how you got started writing?
- I’m from St. Louis, Missouri, the second of 5 siblings. Never really dated much. In 1976, I heard a commercial for Compatibility, the city’s first computer dating service. We met on Memorial Day 1976, got engaged on August 4th, 1976, and married on February 11, 1977. As of this writing, we have been married 38 years.
- It seems like I’ve always been writing or drawing something since I was 9 or 10.
- I had an imaginary friend as many kids do. We talked about writing.
Sounds like you’ve been a writer for a long time. Is there a point in time you can look back at, and say, “There! That’s when I became a writer.”?
- In 1983 when the kids were little, I started taking notes in pencil. Later in that year, I set up our Royal Typewriter to transcribe all of the notes I’d written.
::Chuckles:: For some reason, I seem to resemble that method, though I managed to skip the handwritten part. Did any of your book come from your early childhood thoughts, or is there a more recent inspiration?
- It may sound silly but truth be told, I had to get the words from my mind and onto paper. Once that was complete, there were more words, so the process continued. That’s how it started.
Oh, well do I recognize that one too! Now that you have one book out, do you have another project in the works, or has the muse been polite and given you a chance to take a break?
- I am writing the sequel to Forever And Always, titled Today, Tomorrow And Always and also a non-fiction book about my life with Meniere’s.
- I asked fans what questions they were left with at the close of the book. Answers to those questions will be woven into the fabric of the sequel along with much more.
Sounds like you stay in close contact with your readers. Has that influenced the style you write, or how much (if any) realism you include in your work?
- [No.] I write fiction now, so currently my writing style is descriptive.
- All Civil War related material is real, Underground Railroad, fighting, etc. The characters are from my mind.
Do you weave in any of your own experiences then? I remember reading Forever and Always and it had a very visceral feel to it, like you’d been there.
- No, they are not, all experiences are from my imagination.
Umm.. You must either have done quite a bit of research, or had some big historical influences in your reading past. Now, this curious mind wants to know which it was.
- As a preface to my answer, I hated history in school; never did well; thought I’d never use it. Now on to my answer… Most influencing have been the Bible and my daily study of it and The Secret War For The Union, Edwin C. Fishel; April 1865, Jay Winik, The Civil War Journal, and every other book, magazine and snippet I’ve devoured on the Civil War.
Did any of these books and/or authors become your favorite, or is there someone else who has claimed that spot?
- Jerry Jenkins because of his imagination, of course, and he brings everything together so effortlessly. He never ceases to amaze.Liz Curtis Higgs – She too, brings her stories together with such finesse. Both have their own individual flavor to their writing that I find quite inviting.
Would you consider either of these a mentor figure in your writing?
- [Yes] Liz Curtis Higgs. She has been extremely helpful.
Has she provided the most support through your writing journey to date, or is there someone else outside the family who takes that honor?
- That’s easy! God has always been my supporter and my encourager. Even when I feel like I can’t write another word, He is there encouraging me.
That, indeed, is a wonderful support and cheer leading team. Has this allowed you to make writing your career now?
- Yes, I see it both as my passion and my career.
As you’ve developed as a writer, what challenges did you encounter and what lessons did you learn from them?
- The biggest challenge to my writing is my Meniere’s. It is an imbalance in the inner ear that leaves me with horrible vertigo or spinning, noise that can range from high-pitched sounds in the head that I’ve named the Emergency Broadcast System six octaves higher than the original. The attacks leave me weak both physically and emotionally.
- Very detail-oriented research was the first most challenging part of writing Forever And Always. The second most difficult part of writing this book was incorporating the Civil War research into the story.
- I learned that I can do something I only wished I could do, and I can be proud of what I accomplish with my writing. Being proud in this way is not bad, it is a lift to my self-esteem.
Agreed. It is an ego boost to see the finished product, and to see the reviews come in. Part of that I’m sure comes from the interesting cover and title that you’ve chosen. With all that you learned, if you could start over, with everything you know now, would you change anything in your book?
- Yes, I would have taken more time to use more and better descriptions.
Did you have a particular method you used to select them?
- [The title] was in my head when I started writing notes back in 1983.
- [For the cover selection] I ran a contest with 99 designs for my current cover. Earlier covers were put together by a previous publisher and myself.
Yet, your title is evocative enough it makes me wonder: did you hide a message in your book for readers to find?
- The message is simple. Never give up no matter what adversity you are faced with. God is always with you.
Simple, yet elegant. It is lovely.
Being part of several writer communities around the cybersphere, I do have to ask if you are as much of a reader as you are a writer.
- [Yes. I am reading a new author who has recently caught my attention. The book is called] Rose: Life Begins at 81, one of Dutch Jones’ writings
And, the proverbial “million dollar question” – what advice would you pass on to other up-and-coming writers?
- Write, write, write. Don’t be discouraged by negative responses to your writing. Use them as positives to better your writing.
Christy, thank you so much for coming out today. Any last words for our readers before I wind up today’s interview?
- Yes, I want to say Thank You for your support and watch for the sequel, Today, Tomorrow And Always and I also have a book in the works about my life with Meniere’s.
There you have it folks. Christy Smith – an author who reaches for success despite the cards life has given her.
If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to leave them below. Discussions are always welcome here.