Interview with James Smith

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Travel. My writing is based heavily on observation - colourful characters, places, events - and so I like to move around. I rarely sit at home agonising over a blank sheet of paper and I love the freedom and travel that being a writer enables.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on a thriller set in Andalucía. An Englishman gets caught up with some shady dealings involving dangerous factions of the international Mafia. I hope to publish it here soon!
Who are your favorite authors?
Although I love writing fiction and I do read novels, I tend to read a lot of non-fiction - memoirs, autobiographies, and autobiographical novels. Bill Bryson, Stephen Clarke, David Baldacci are some favourites and I am a big fan of Mark Bowden (author of Black Hawk Down).
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
All things creative, plus the natural world, thunderstorms, caffeine and alcohol.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I like to travel, observe, surf, and compose music (guitar).
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I follow some authors on Twitter and get recommendations that way. Other than that, I tend to search for topics on Amazon and keep an eye on the charts.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I started writing a novel about fighter pilots when I was in my early teens (I was into model aircraft at the time). This went down in smoke and is lodged as one of my unfinished projects - probably a good thing, as it was pretty bad.
What is your writing process?
I structure the premise and basic flow in a form of 'treatment' of about 20 pages. I then write when I feel like it and I don't follow any rigid rules so long as the story remains roughly within the bounds of the treatment.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Dr Doolittle, as I remember. It seemed to fire my imagination, and I became absorbed and felt as if anything was possible.
How do you approach cover design?
If a professional designer is not within budget, I take a long time to design it myself - constantly comparing with chart toppers.
Describe your desk
Following the examples of Churchill and Hemingway, I use a stand up desk. I rarely write anything seated.
Published 2013-08-30.
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