Interview with C. R. Smith

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
It's varied and depends very much on how much spare time I have. I've been playing roleplaying games (RPGs) for over a decade now and it's a rare moment that I'm not thinking about or preparing for games to run. I've also taken up photography in recent months, mainly architectural. I've lived in London my whole life and it's changing a lot right now. Taking photographs is a great way to record the changes.
What is your writing process?
I hesitate to use the word "process" as that implies there is something logical about what I do! My experiences with RPGs actually comes in handy here. I start with the "hook" - the concept - which is usually an idea or a scene that interests me. Then, I play around with the idea in my head until it either works or has changed into something else entirely. My favourite ideas are the ones that pop into my head fully-formed. They are the ones I get most excited about and even if I don't decide to use them, they are fun to play through in my head.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I think the first story I ever read was one of the Meg & Mog books but as great as they are, I couldn't say that they had an impact on me. Those books are numerous: Others and Domain, by James Herbert; Thud, by the late, great Terry Prachett; The secret diary of Adrian Mole, by Sue Townsend; Hell is what you make it, by R.Chetwynd-Hayes....far too many to list but each have either opened my eyes to a way of writing or been a great story that has stuck with me for years.
Describe your desk
My writing desk (or, as my girlfriend insists on calling it, the dining table) is an utter mess. It's covered in scraps of paper, notepads, pens - both chewed and unchewed - writing books, games....essentially anything and everything in one huge pile.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I'm currently working on a vampire story in the vein of the hardboiled crime stories of Raymond Chandler. Samuel Davies is a vampire who used to used to keep the peace within London's undead community before becoming disillusioned and resigning. Several years after his final "case", he picks up a young woman called Nancy to feed from only to find out she's considered the private property of a dangerous vampire Davies has gone up against before. Davies orders Nancy to leave but quickly finds out she's gone missing and he's being blamed for that. Desperate to save himself, he goes looking for Nancy and in doing so, might actually find himself again.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Getting it finished! Writing an odd mix of misery and elation - you move from panic and feeling that it's impossible to pride and joy when it's finished. Regardless of whether it is "good" or "bad", you've stuck at it and created something brilliant.
What do you read for pleasure?
Science-fiction or factual books, mainly. I'm a big fan of post apocalyptic science-fiction, especially those exploring how humanity recovers. I'm very interested in the Cold War and international relations, mainly because understanding how nations interact with one another can really improve your own world-building.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have an iPad, which I purposefully bought to read PDFs while travelling but I'm too much in love with traditional books. E-readers are great for transporting large quantities of books but I'm not convinced they are the best way to read them. I guess I just like the smell of books too much!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I've lived in London my whole life and as a result, my writing seems to always be set in urban environments. Maybe it's because I'm getting older but I've started looking at London - and the chaos and everything else - in a whole new light. When we are young, we tend to see the world today as how things always have been and always will be but in fact, we're only seeing what will ultimately be a very small part of London's history. It's difficult for that changing view to not change the way you write.
When did you first start writing and what have you learnt about the art of writing as you've gotten older?
I've been trying to write since i was very young - perhaps as young as 6 - but it's only been in the past few years I'm really sat down and understood how to write. Perhaps it's due to having watched more films and/or reading more books as you get older but I think you absorb so much that eventually you reach a "critical mass". For example, you start to understand how techniques such as foreshadowing works and why it can be so effective. Ideas start to take shape in your head and what's more is that you understand how to bring them to life.
What motivated you to become an author?
Do you know, I honestly have no idea. I think I've just wanted to create characters and watch them play out in front of me, whether via RPGs or fiction.
Published 2015-04-21.
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Books by This Author

Fragments
Price: $1.50 USD. Words: 23,020. Language: English. Published: April 18, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
Eight creepy stories perfect for bedtime reading. From the perils of internet dating to ghosts on the international space station, C. R. Smith and Victoria Snelling's stories are deliciously disturbing psychological tales of horror that will linger long after you finish reading.