Interview with Ida Smith

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Oh, yes. I was in third or fourth grade and tried writing a story about a lost Dalmatian running around the neighborhood. I don't think I understood the whole art of "story" at that time, but the idea of adventure and the unknown was already pulsing through my veins.
What is your writing process?
It's kind of been all over the board, though, for sanity's sake, I'm trying to be more focused. Once I get an idea, which can come from a newspaper picture, a random comment someone makes, or strange musings in the middle of the night, I'll usually brain storm ideas and then dive into research--where I sometimes get terribly lost and distracted. When I do emerge from the fascinating world of research I either jump right in and start writing--only to kick myself because I'm all over the board--or, on those days when patience and logic reign, I'll go back to my ideas and take the time to outline my story. The later is much more effective and usually yields a better story.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
First, I'd have to say the "Bible." It doesn't matter what I'm going through, I can always find hope, wisdom, and stories of real people facing issues just like I face. Besides, how often do we get to hear straight from the all-powerful creator?
Second, "Sir Gawain and The Green Night." I can't get over someone holding their own head in their hands and challenging the man who lopped it off to meet up again--and all the mystery that goes along with the story.
Third, "The Cross and the Switchblade." I read this as a young teen and was challenged by David Wilkerson's bravery to enter the streets of New York City and reach out to teenage gang members.
Forth would be, "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," though I love the whole series. C.S. Lewis's masterful storytelling and imaginary worlds as well as the deeper metaphorical meanings. Truly a classic.
Fifth, would be Franz Kafka's "The Metamorphosis." For the same reason as number four. His stories really make me think.
As you can tell, my reading is pretty varied and if you were to ask this question on a different day, I'd probably give you a different list. I have a hard time defining "favorite."
What do you read for pleasure?
Fiction, usually historical suspense and/or action-adventure. Sometimes I read thrillers or classics. I also enjoy reading fiction from other cultures. Which reminds me of a few I could have added to the last question. D'oh!
Describe your desk
Two long tables that are a mess. And of course, right now, I'm sitting at the dining room table. I really do try to be organized, but I'm like a computer, constantly interrupted. Someday--nah. Who am I kidding?
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Spokane, Washington. Though I wouldn't say my hometown influenced my writing, I'd say the home and family I grew up in did. My parents read a lot and had lived some interesting adventures before my sister and I came along. I grew up listening to those tales which only fueled my love for story. We also spent a lot of time camping and visiting historical sites which ignited my interest in history.
When did you first start writing?
I really started writing seriously about 25 years ago, but I bounced around all over the place, trying to figure out what I wanted to write and learning the craft.
What's the story behind your latest book?
"Deciphering Invisibility," which is a sequel to "The Invisible Cipher," was a desire to see if Neil could keep himself out of trouble, especially with all the enemies he'd made.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
That's funny, because I used to say, "I'd never self-publish." (But that was when self-publish authors had to buy a garage full of books.) I actually tried to find an agent and publish traditionally but after spending a year researching agents, creating queries to fit their prerequisites and most of the time hearing nothing. I also heard that many publishing houses were cutting back on how many fiction titles they were publishing, especially from new authors. In addition, even if you did get published, it was on the author's back to do most of the marketing. Then, when I read an interview from an agent who said she didn't even read the majority of the queries she received I thought, "Why am I wasting my time?" Needless to say, I got fed up. About that time, self-publishing really began to change so I threw in my towel and here I am.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love discovering a story and seeing it come together--especially the parts I didn't know about that just show up. Characters I didn't plan who just leap off the page and become fun friends I want to know better. Even though I try to plan out my stories, there are still moments of surprise.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans are a huge reason I write. Writing is a solitary process. As writers, we work months, sometimes years to conceive, write, and edit a story. Then, like a mother bird, we take it to the top of a high cliff and give it a nudge, hoping it will take to the wind and fly into the hands and hearts of readers--taking them on a flight they've never experienced before.
Without fan correspondence, I don't know if I've touched them. I love book signings where I get to meet and talk with readers. I've made some wonderful friendships. Everyone has a story and it's a privilege to get to hear the stories of some of my fans.
What are you working on next?
I have a novel, tentatively titled, "Freedom's Secret Song," about an African-American slave family's attempt to gain their freedom and the life-and-death choices and sacrifices each member makes. I'm working to get it edited and published in 2017.
Published 2017-04-18.
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Books by This Author

Deciphering Invisibility - A Neil Gatlin Thriller - Book 2
Series: Neil Gatlin Thrillers. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 25,830. Language: English. Published: December 26, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Christian » Suspense
Released from prison, but nowhere to go, Neil accepts a job from his only ally, Leonard Black. But not everyone is happy to see Neil free. Vilified by townsfolk, under suspicion by police, tracked by prison nemesis J.R.’s gang, and hated by others, Neil soon wishes he were invisible. How will Neil escape?
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 31,170. Language: English. Published: October 9, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Historical, Fiction » Historical » Classical Greece & Rome
One man, one hope—two very different paths. When 9-year-old Uzziel discovers a small child in a Bethlehem manger, he knows he has found something amazing. Piecing together the ancient prophecies he comes to the conclusion this child is the long-awaited Messiah. When he believes the child killed by Herod, his hatred for the Romans is cemented and so begins a life-long search for a new Messiah.
The Invisible Cipher - A Neil Gatlin Thriller
Series: Neil Gatlin Thrillers. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 26,630. Language: American English. Published: April 18, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Christian » Suspense
In a world where secrets hide in codes, a terrible fate rests in the quiet echoes of the night. Neil Gatlin's bad choices and even worse luck only multiply when he stumbles upon a murder. Now he’s in a fight for his life trying to decipher clues to the hidden truth before others’ lies and deception entangle him for good.