Interview with Ken Smith

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in West Ham, London's East End. I am a true Cockney. I hate London. Thankfully, I'd left by the age of three and spent my boyhood in my beloved countryside - Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire. There was a town tossed in for a year, Southampton. I hated Southampton. Hence, you will often find yourself in a beautiful countryside setting in my novels.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy is to wonder what is going to happen. Just as the reader is waiting on every word as he reads, so too am I as I write. I rarely plan any scene. I might put Brad in a bar, knowing he's to meet Tom. But what's going to happen while he waits? Well, I just let the bar live its life. Sooner or later Brad will be drawn in. Hopefully it is exciting and brings surprise.

One of the truly great joys for me is when a reader has enjoyed my book so much they want to review it. I have had few reviews but all are genuine and special to me. Especially special are the Cowboys Can Fly reviews. It's a very special book.

It's good that we are able to update because the other little nuggets of gold that sometimes hide in the spam are pleasing mail from fans. They are few but the one today from 'F' reminded me that they exist. He told of the first of my books he bought, and then the second, the how he wanted them all. That is wonderful for a writer to hear, far more exciting than the cash in the next cheque. F goes on to say why he likes my books. But I have to dissapoint him by saying there is nothing new in the cupboard. The least I can do is send a signed copy of a book for his loyalty and kind words. So be assured, if you review my novels or mail me, it will be read and hopefully answered.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Poor health has stopped me writing. I'm hoping one of the meds available might eventually help. Several times a day I will check sales and rankings. It's fun when a book has a run for #1. Then you check the rankings a tad too often, finger on PrntScr.

I belong to the usual bunch of social sites. I say my bit now and then. Guys are often far too sensitive. Then again, some can be nasty. Photography is my other thing, all taken from my window. Most of it goes on Flckr and Youtube. My report says, 'Could do better' But it's fun. And that's why we're here.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I hold my hands up and admit to the world that I'm not a reader. I read a fair amount in the Royal Navy. I'd rather write. I do not enjoy going over my books, and do everthing to get them right first time. Once I have done a final read of a book or story, and am happy, I will never read it again.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first thing I ever wrote, after leaving school, was poetry, again in the RN. But closer to the answer, during my poem phase I was also writing an account of my navy life. But that too is not the answer. You see, I left the navy in 72 but it's not until around 84 I write my first story,

I'd been reading a story in Mister magazine when I thought, 'I can do this. And I can do it better.' I'd not written anything in years but the buzz that writing had given me was still there.

A few weeks later I awoke from a vivid dream. Remarkably, it did not evaporate. Soon, I wrote it down. I liked it and showed it to an English teacher, who very much liked it, too. Before I knew it a letter from Mister magazine lay on the table before me. The editor was to tell me that they were pleased to publish. They would pay £30. And did I have more. The story was The Intruder, my first ever story, my first ever published story.
What is your writing process?
Keep it simple; a good life lesson, for me at least. I don't have a box of cards, online or otherwise, containing every minute detail, to how many spots are on Tom's face, and the story from start to finish, it's not for me. Other writers will do just that. The story is in my head and I want it to flow out unhindered. But a writer must have discipline and mine comes by way of target words. You find the best daily target for yourself and once you have it it's set in stone for the duration of the novel. Say it is 3000 a day then all you need do is write 3000 words a day. So if you do more than 3000 can you do less next day? Sorry, it's 3000 a day, every day. And if you don't reach 3000? In that case it's added to the next day's 3000. It's a simple discipline and works for me. One other personal choice, I like to thoroughly go over the last chapter when completed before moving onto the next. It makes the end game less daunting.
Describe your desk
It's pretty boring. Gone is the ashtray and glass of scotch. Stopped drinking 2000 and stopped smoking four years ago. I deserve a knighthood. Yes, my desk, it has a laptop with a Wifi mouse and keyboard. I could never type a word on a laptop keyboard. Sitting on the box it came in and behind the laptop is a cheap printer. A4 paper aplenty to the right and separate hard drive to the left. A rubbish office seat sits before that. I'm amazed how something with so many wheels barely moves. I have a second laptop, my play laptop, for the bedroom. Oh, both are Dell.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing in the Navy. I wrote poetry, all lovey stuff. It had improved a great deal by the time I left the navy and was more serious. I had a few published for free but knew I was going nowhere with it, however much I enjoyed it.
My serious writing started after The Intruder had been published. As I sent more stories and all were published, I began to think I might be okay at it. But there were very few outlets in the UK for gay stories so I needed to search elsewhere.

A book caught my eye in a magazine. I checked the ad. It had been published in the USA. I had nothing to loose and sent them a copy of The Intruder. It had been lucky once...

Would it be lucky again, I thought as I studied the letter from the US publisher. Would it be lucky? Boy, I didn't expect this. He loved the story. He thought there was a novella to be had from it. Would I write it. Would I? Well no! I'd not written anything that long. But write it I did and again I studied the letter.
He loved it. A few mistakes for sure. A sequel please and could we have some sex. Erm, lots of sex.
And that was it. An American editor, now passed away, put me on my writing career. I wrote three novellas for him. I put them together a few years later and they became my Brad novel. It still sells now and is my best selling novel. And yes, he did get lots of sex. Far too much I often think.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book, or most recent book, is the book I'd always wanted to write, a book I hoped I would write, had the skill to write. I knew I'd had enough of erotica and would write it no more the moment I placed the last full stop in Spunky Sailor. Yes, I knew I wanted to write a simple love story, a story similar to The Intruder, where it had all begun. It would be a story from deep within, from childhood, set in my beloved countryside, a story that had long been growing inside and begging me to write for the longest while. Yes, a story of love between two lads, a story so simple yet so powerful, a story I will treasure writing, a very special story. Sadly, my last story.

I called it Cowboys Can Fly.
What do your fans mean to you?
I'm not sure I have a fan base. I know of a few guys who have everything I've written. The thing that means the most to me are the comments or reviews from guys. They are special, rare, little nuggets of gold, and most appreciated. When a guy has been moved to tears by Cowboys Can Fly, or another has said the book is the best book they have ever read, I know I have done my job. Some reviews have moved me to tears with the kindness from the reader. To know that your book is truly loved is worth more than any amount of sales. The first thing I do of a day is check to see if there is a new review to read. So, if you have written one, then thank you. But, if you are wondering should you write one, please do. It WILL be read.
Published 2014-02-20.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Ganges Boy
By
Price: Free! Words: 6,270. Language: English. Published: October 6, 2011. Category: Nonfiction » Gay and Lesbian » Entertainment
A true account of my first weeks in the Royal Navy.
Run Naked, Run Free
By
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 73,040. Language: English. Published: October 1, 2011 by Lethe Press. Category: Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica
Follow the further adventures of sexy Brad, the randy, frustrated, cute, lovable, playful young man. When Simon develops a crush on Brad, an elusive chase begins. In pursuit of love with the "dreamboat" sailor, Simon encounters hunky farmhand Liam and Brad engaged in some serious fun, and soon a chase begins.
Pink Triangles
By
Price: Free! Words: 8,060. Language: English. Published: September 8, 2011. Category: Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica
The lives of three young men are brought together in this tragic tale of lust, love and hatred. A gay erotic short story that is moving and disturbing when Paul, Naresh and Luke's lives unexpectedly intertwine, and we witness both the love and hate unfold.
Dive Into My Shorts
By
Price: Free! Words: 31,190. Language: English. Published: September 5, 2011. Category: Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica
A selection of short stories and novel extracts that guys have asked be made into one handy ebook.
Navy Days
By
Price: Free! Words: 11,120. Language: English. Published: August 31, 2011. Category: Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica
An erotic and camp romp below decks that will have you in stitches and in a sexy mood at the same time. Cover Art © REBEL Comx at Deviantart  
Going Down
By
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 61,080. Language: English. Published: August 29, 2011 by Lethe Press. Category: Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica
Luke is hitching from Scotland to Dorset. Losing his virginity is not foremost in the young sailor's thoughts but continually crops up when he meets the likes of the lusting Ruth, butch biker Tex and the delightful and delicious scout Dominic, as he heads ever southward, his vivid imagination conjuring a variety of delightful sexual scenarios.
Virgin Sailors
By
Price: $5.55 USD. Words: 48,340. Language: English. Published: August 28, 2011 by Lethe Press. Category: Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica
Join Mike, Dave, Danny and Smudge, four virgin sailors, on their first reunion since they left training. Smudge is gay but what of his mates. Will he find the courage to come out of the closet? Will their reunion be a success or will it end in disaster?
Riding the Big One
By
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 68,900. Language: English. Published: August 28, 2011 by Lethe Press. Category: Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica
Eighteen-year-old Sandy has just lost his virginity to Pip. It's all hands on deck in this naughty, nautical novel. School's over for our young hero and a new life in the Royal Navy introduces this horny lad to outrageous night-time encounters and sailor on sailor fun. There's sex aplenty to be had by Sandy, both on board and ashore, in his bid to ride the big one.
Cowboys Can Fly
By
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 59,530. Language: English. Published: October 12, 2010 by Lethe Press. Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Gay & Lesbian
Young Toby spends his days exploring the backwoods surrounding his UK country home. His imagination not only supplies adventure but also the exciting promise of lustful embraces and kisses with the handsome field hand. When Toby's mother, a nurse, brings home a sickly yet handsome youth, Cymon, to recuperate, Toby finds himself drawn to the older boy. Their friendship, awkward at first, blossoms.