Interview with Rob Smith

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in England in 1941 in a pretty town called Cheltenham Spa (I know it was and still is pretty having re visited the place several times) My parents emigrated to New Zealand when I was eleven years old and in retrospect I can now say that it was the best thing my parents ever did. When we first arrived in NZ we were constantly reminded as to how young the country was and again in retrospect I now agree that this was a correct statement and probably the overwhelming reason for the pioneer spirit which was almost the national agenda - a country full of individuals most of whom could turn their hands to anything while in no way being impeded or directed (as in European countries) by the social ladder. In NZ in the 1950s everyone was more or less equal. The country's founding document was signed in 1840, so they were right, it was only 112 years old when my family arrived and is still relatively young at 173 years and has a minuscule population of only four and half million souls.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing when I was an electrician - other members of the company would come to me and ask me to write business letters on their behalf and I often got ribbed for using such 'long' words as 'perceive' or' amortize' in their letters - many of them never using such 'big' words (Yes I do have my tongue in my cheek)
I later went onto producing in depth reports in respect of electrical and electronic matters and when I left the electrical industry to take up hydroponic technology seriously (mid seventies) I started writing for magazines - the highlight being writing for the USA published 'Growing Edge' culminating in writing the editorial in the final years of the hard copy magazine.
What's the story behind your latest book?
After working for some years on my own in the development and production of a range of electronic meters and controllers for hydroponic use, I teamed up with Lon Dalton and we established the company 'NZ Hydroponics Ltd'. We soon became aware that there was a need for a down to earth text book for those wishing to get into hydroponics and then later realising that there was an even greater need for a book that would assist those wishing to get into a hydroponic growing situation as a career. One may have thought that an academic should write such a book however, we had 'hands on' experience with the knowledge coming from the actual experiences of many growers - my job was then to put all their knowledge into an easily digested form - I am not trying to sound superior here, it is just that the reality is that most people who are good on the land or in the greenhouse are not necessarily highly, technically adept. I am very pleased that both books offer in depth information without intimidating the reader — one of the problems I often found when studying electrical journals.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
The commercial book 'Hydroponic Crop Production' was a very expensive book to produce - I wanted a physically easy, to read book with good photography, of sufficient size to show detail - large typeface, making easy reading in pump rooms or workspaces that were not highly illuminated and all these requirements built the production cost. In order to reduce the final price one has to look at printing enough copies to make it cost effective - this means an outlay of thousands of dollars. With the last print run fast disappearing I had to make a decision about an updated book and the associated production costs of a new edition. The realization that I could not only get a high quality book published by Smashwords, but also had the advantage of updating any new developments without having to discard hard copy stock made it a ' no contest' decision.
What do your fans mean to you?
I don't actually think of those who read my books as fans - most of these people are hard working individuals that want to know the answers to a particular problem in everyday language and without any frills. The result in most cases is that these readers become friends, knowing that any time they need help with a problem that is unique to them they can email me and I will respond ASAP.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
When I was younger I was a real night guy - however as I got older I started to realise that this life is not a trial run and that every minute counts, so I started burning the candle at both ends and got into the habit of getting out of bed while the day was still brand new. I am still an avid musician which means I still have many late nights but I would think the latest I have been out of bed in the last 25-30 years would be 7:30. 'Why' you may ask - too many people die in bed!
Describe your desk
Usually a mess - with several jobs on the go at a time!
Published 2013-08-30.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Hydroponic Crop Production
Price: $10.99 USD. Words: 152,330. Language: English (New Zealand dialect). Published: May 30, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Science and Nature » Agricultural science, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Development / sustainable development
how to use hydroponic growing for commercial advantage, this book provides in laymans language what you need to know about commercial hydroponic growing and how best to design systems and structures to make the best use of all those advantages. how to propagate and grow plants with 'best practise management' for optimum yield and quality for maximum dollar returns and much, much more.
Hydroponic Gardening
Price: $3.49 USD. Words: 29,220. Language: English (New Zealand dialect). Published: May 8, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Home and Garden » Gardening, Nonfiction » Education and Study Guides » Non-formal education
this book will get you started in hydroponics. more than just a discussion of the topic, ‘hydroponic gardening’ provides the reader with complete background information on hydroponics, explains the different systems and how they work, then shows the reader in a step by step guide, how to set those systems up. a growing guide is included showing you what to grow and how to grow it hydroponically.