Interview with Susan E. Smith

What's the story behind your latest book?
It began long, long, ago, in a galaxy far, far away... just kidding! Well, kidding about the faraway galaxy at least. It did begin quite awhile ago, about 5 years to be exact, with a challenge from a friend to a bunch of us writer-buddies, to write a novella that included a bunch of random items such as a crutch and I don't remember what else. I was the only one who kept at it until it turned into an actual book. I'm still not sure if the finished product, at 45,000 words, is a novella or a short novel... it depends what source you consult.
How did you come up with the title, "Guns, Fire, and Hoses"?
The credit for that goes to Daryl Martin, a friend of my partner's, who once spoke these words on Gaming night, and described them as (and I paraphrase here) "the three things a man likes best". I was struggling to find a title for the book and that just seemed to fit.
I understand all of your books include an orange cat named Hank Dayton. Is there a story behind that?
Glad you asked! The tradition of including an orange cat named Hank Dayton was started by my friend Lenny Everson in honour of his friend, Hank Dayton. Hank hated his job with a passion, and looked forward to retirement for a very long time. Six months before his retirement date arrived, he was diagnosed with ALS. He lived only a short time. We were so sad to see Hank miss out on his long-awaited retirement years... we just wanted to do something to allow him to live on in some way. So now we all include the Hank Dayton cat in our books.
When did you first start writing?
I've been writing fiction for over 20 years, starting with short stories and articles, and moving on to novels about 10 years ago. "Guns, Fire, and Hoses" is my second completed novel and the first one I have published.
Describe your desk
My desk is shaped like a giant boomerang, with legs like big flattened plungers. It is height-adjustable (I am vertically-challenged), with a keyboard tray that slides in at the end of the writing day (night?), so that there is more room in the office for the cats. On top of the desk I have two monitors, a small stainless-steel desk lamp with dual LED-bulbs, a printer shaped like a Borg ship, an old refurbished push-button land-line phone, and several cups full of colourful markers which I can't seem to stop buying. Note how I spelled "colourful": this is the Canadian/British spelling (which I use in my books as well).
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up on a farm in southwestern Ontario, Canada. The farm was (still is) bordered by a forest, a gully, and one of the Great Lakes. I was always very attached to the land growing up, and loved the abundant bird, animal, plant, and marine life in the area. In "Guns, Fire, and Hoses", Kinsie's passion for her farm, her animals, and the environment stem from my own experience growing up in an idyllic rural setting.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I would have to say: lack of interest from publishers! But, now that I have gone the self-publishing route, I'm glad I did. For a new, unknown writer, this is definitely the way to go.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I seem to have this need to create something that is truly unique and that may possibly outlive me. That is what motivates me to write, and gives me that feeling of having accomplished something worthwhile at the end of the day (night?).
Who are your favorite authors?
Douglas Adams, Robertson Davies, Earnest Hemmingway, and Connie Willis.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Thinking about what's for breakfast... I always wake up hungry!
What are you working on next?
My next book is a young adult novel called "The Graveyard Girl". Here's what it's about:
Sammi Keen is a high school sophomore who is more comfortable in the graveyard behind the home she shares with her aunt Margo than she is with other kids her age. When Margo goes missing, Sammi has only 30 days to find her before she ends up homeless or worse… in a foster home. Teaming up with a couple of amateur filmmakers she met at Science Club, the three teens set out to rescue Margo. Their search reveals the man responsible for Margo’s disappearance is up to more than just kidnapping; unless Sammi is able to discover and harness her unique abilities, humanity is in big trouble (but the birds will be way better off).
Published 2016-06-20.
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Books by This Author

Guns, Fire, and Hoses
You set the price! Words: 45,620. Language: English. Published: June 20, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » General, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
In Boothville, Ontario, everything is falling apart. The mine has shut down, the workers are rioting, and people are getting hurt. What is really going on in that closed-down mine? It’s up to an RCMP Sergeant, a spunky, red-haired paramedic, a big-city real estate agent, and a hobbit-sized taxidermist to find out, or Boothville and all of its citizens are doomed.