Cathy Smith (as Cozy Publishing and two pseudonyms -- Zara Brooks-Watson and Sophia Watson) started writing when her brother had heart problems in grammar school. She wrote him a comic book to make him laugh. It did. She started her first novel right after high school at nineteen, but did not finish it. Despite difficulties in programming, she taught herself how to type and program so she could be a completely Indie writer. Now all she has to do is earn a living from her stories and books. Smashwords might be the clue, who knows?
Where do you get the ideas for your animal characters?
Cathy Smith has owned many fine dogs and cats. She loves horses and wild animals also, but tends to like them from afar. Her favorite dogs were the really well-trained ones, of which she has owned about three. She adopted all three when they were full grown -- Duke (a perfect dog -- who she says would have been her father if he had known how to get the newspaper every evening and bring it home) -- Stihl (the prettiest and most gentle dog she has ever known. A real gentleman) and Sparky ( a beautiful older Yorkshire terrier who really acts like he understands the English language to perfection -- although he dislikes other dogs -- not people or even evil cats -- just dogs -- go figure). The incredible intelligence of her Alaskan wolf hybrid Mitz is the prototype for her dog Zucchini in the Silver Lake Mystery Series. He was not the best behaved dog, but smart beyond belief. He also saved her life from a small but possibly deadly slate avalanche in southern Alaska.
Wild animals? You have been around them?
Yes, occasionally. So far, I have been lucky and have not been harmed. I have walked next to wild coyote without knowing it until I looked down. And yes, I freaked out quietly and the animal left. I have seen bright red fox in my back yard and made friends with female coyote that would leave their pups near my rather peaceful hybrid Mitzie in the tall grass next to my former home. I could hear the puppies complain once in a while. I once was visited by a young fawn who was with a wild rabbit. That was striking. You can read about some of my experiences in Skipping Stones (my short story). I have also been close to two black bear in Alaska on two separate occasions. Fortunately, I was with people that knew what to do. I would not advise the experience unless you are with Alaskan Natives or anyone who knows how to deal with that. Bear are not always friendly. They can kill too. Still, Nature is one of my closest companions and I always advocate learning to live with natural reality and to be careful around wild creatures.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Lack of money to pay for a professional programmer, editor or public relations person. Searching for an agent took too much of my writing time. I value that time. I write everywhere. I create long hand in notebooks. It takes about 3 hundred page notebooks to write a full length book. That way I can write anywhere I want to. . . in bed, on the couch, watching TV, on the train, anywhere. I just type it up later and that is a good time to start editing. Most of what I write makes it into my books.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Within the first hour of my posting my first short story here, I got three sample downloads. If things move along that quickly in the future, this might be my primary venue. I would love paper copies, too. And intelligent poetry enthusiasts. Personally, I like my shorts and poetry/photography the best, but most readers like my Cozies. . .so I am willing to write mostly Cozies, although I am experimenting with my short stories on Smashwords to see how it goes. Kindle, so far, is the only e-book seller that I can post my poetry in decently so that it does not look like spaghetti sauce thrown on a wall. My fault, not theirs. It just comes out better on Kindle, and I hate to get stuck in the programming. And I do sometimes, rue............
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Building a character. I love to create new worlds and the people and animals in them.
What do your fans mean to you?
A lot. I converse with my fans mostly on Facebook at the link you have here on Smashwords. What they like the most, I write about. I have great fans that just mostly happen to say the right thing. Lucky me. There was one sour grape that gave me a bad review, but I just figured she downloaded the wrong book. We all know that can happen. Eating sour grapes can happen, too...
What are you working on next?
Right now I am working on "(That) Summer in Silver Lake" by Sophia Watson (also me) my third book in the Silver Lake Cozy Mystery Series (my most popular books right now -- full length over 70,000 words). I am having a good time with it with two new teenage characters barely being good (who will make it to the good side) and a really bad cop (who will probably not get any better). And thinking of doing drone (aerial) photos of local rivers and lakes for my next poetry/photo journal up here in northern Maine...if I get enough money to do that. Who knows? I might want to get off KDP Select and post my books mostly on Smashwords. If this is meant to be...
Who are your favorite authors?
Maya Angelou, Stephen King (sometimes), Juliette Fay (author of Shelter Me) and Nick Sparks.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My dog has very small kidneys...the size of a silver dollar. That gets me up. Then he complains that he wants to eat. Yorkshires are very vocal dogs. But he is so sweet that he is hard to say no to, especially in the pee department.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Watching TV and I usually write if the show is boring. It takes a lot to keep me interested.
What do you read for pleasure?
My own work. That sounds egotistical, but I have to re-read every manuscript at least twice or more for reasons of editing...so they had better be pretty entertaining. Also, I sometimes read non-fiction. I am now watching some interesting documentaries on Netflix. I am a non-fiction reader, mostly. I am watching a documentary on sugar consumption and just finished a rather good one on women in the American film industry.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.