Author interview – KR Smith

Dear reader,

I shall be engaging in a number of interviews with independent authors. May you find these informative, entertaining, and perhaps even inspiring to go out and locate their books!

This interview is with author KR Smith.

Dear author, can you offer us a little insight into who you are?

The adventures of the deliriously happy but slightly insane…

What is the reason that you started writing? When did you start writing?

I started writing when I was 13 years old and it was my escapism from life’s many dramas.

Are you writing under a pen-name, do you use your own, or is your work out in both ways?

I always publish under my own name, or should I say my initials, but on writing websites I also have the username onaya3.

What, do you think, is your best book? And why is that?do you like best?

I haven’t written my best book yet, everything so far is hopefully progressing towards this.  I have favourites, though.  I’m currently writing a twelve book sci-fi, paranormal romance series and my three favourites so far are Scent, Sororate and Small Fry.

Naturally, after the best book, what is your worst, if there is one? And why do you feel that way?

Maybe everything I’ve written so far is my worst, as I continue to experiment and hone my craft.

How do you think your writing has changed over time? Did it change at all?

Yes and it’s still changing.  It’s similar to when I started out writing fanfic and at the moment I feel the most comfortable writing in first person.  Occassionally, I’ll switch perspective to third person, or from fiction to non-fiction, or making my fiction sound non-fiction.  I’m experimenting all the time.

And can you say that writing has changed you?

I don’t know if it’s changed me, rather it’s defined who I am.

What is the most daring thing you ever did or tried in your writing? In which book did that happen?

I wrote a mock scientific report on the Different Breeds of Werewolves I use in my series and put two of my characters as the authors.  A few months later, I found websites where people have taken it as fact.  Some kids used it in a school report and others used it for a role-play game.  I even joined a Werewolf Community site to tell someone that there’s no such thing as the Lokoti Tribe, when he was trying to track them down in Alaska.  Then he turned around and said, “You’d better tell this girl Elisha that, who’s writing about them!”

And, if your feel up to it, what is the most daring thing you ever did in your life? Feel free to skip this one, not everybody is up to revealing much about themselves…

I travelled around Europe by myself on a Contiki tour.  I left behind a boyfriend I was living with and I was originally going to travel with two best friends on a different tour.  But I wanted to see something that their trip didn’t include, so I thought, “Bugger it, this girl’s doing it for herself!”  When I landed at Heathrow and had to find my way to my London hotel, I wondered what the hell was I doing?  Now I look back on it as one of the best experiences of my life.

Is there something you still want to have a go at, in your writing life? Is there a challenge you envision that’s worth pursuing?

The challenge I’m pursuing is to one day make a living from my writing.

Do you have one or two favourite books (written by someone else)? If so, what are they, and why do they appeal to you so much?

I have LOTS of favourites, but some are Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park, X-Files Book of the Unexplained by Jane Goldman, Flowers In the Attic by Virginia Andrews, The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer by Jennifer Lynch, Less Than Zero by Brett Easton Ellis, The Norton Anthology of Poetry, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis… etc etc.  These are books I can read over and over again.

Which book you ever read would you label as least readable book, so far? Feel free to comment as liberally as you want to the why.

Again, there are lots.  If it doesn’t grab me immediately, I won’t finish it.  I’m exceptionally picky in this regard but once I find something I like, it turns into an obsession.  I’ll read samples online or stand in a bookstore for ages, reading, before I buy.  It’s why I don’t offer to review books, because I don’t want to tell the author who sent me a free copy, “Sorry, it bored me and I couldn’t finish it.”

Is there a book that you know of that should never have been published, in your opinion?

No.  I may not like a book, but the way I look at it is, who am I to judge on quality?  Somebody could hate my work and say it should never have been published.  A book is a book, it’s either an inanimate object, or letters on an electronic screen.  It’s people’s reactions to them which animates them, with emotions such as love or hate.  What is one person’s trash could be another one’s treasure.

Is there a writer that you would love to co-write a book with? And what genre would you like to write in then? Something you’re familiar with?

I once co-wrote a short story with Maryann Hicks on Writing.Com and it was a pleasure.  I wouldn’t say no to co-writing with her again.  It’d most likely be a sci-fi since we’re both Trekkies =/\=

 Let’s see… is there something in the realm of ‘wise words’ you once picked up that you would like to share? This does not have to be limited to writing, there is more to life than writing. At least, I heard there is. ;-)

Two things; one is that you can’t please everybody and you’ll drive yourself crazy if you try.  Two, everyone makes mistakes, it’s human, so learn from it and move on.

And as a last question, what is cooking with you? What’s your work in progress? Is there a tip of a veil that you can lift for us?

I’m close to finishing Sororate and I’m trying hard to have it ready for publication in June.  Then fingers crossed, Small Fry will follow in December…fingers crossed, legs crossed, intestines crossed.  Sororate was meant to be published last September, so it’s only nine months late… *flinches*

Thank you, for your time, and for sharing your words with us!

No, thank you Paul! :-)

Tales of writing

Dear reader,

Today I thought I’d share a few things with you that are off the regular posts that you can find here. A bit more personal, although nothing too revealing (I hope). It’s about characters. And yes, I refer to the characters that appear in some of my books. More precisely the Hilda the Wicked Witch books.

In each book there are new adventures, so there are new characters. Many of them come from the depths of my mind, a place where many a thought dreads to go. At times however, I base a character on someone alive. Someone I know, more or less in person. Hilda herself, for instance, found her role model in a very dear person who stole my heart, many years ago. She did so again a while ago and now she refuses to give it back (does that sound like Hilda or not?).

If you have read Hilda – Lycadea, you may remember Maurizio Blunt. Maurizio is based on a Italian man I worked with, long ago, whose first name was indeed Maurizio. (Due to privacy reasons I am not going to divulge his last name.) Real life Maurizio was a very kind man, large of figure and boisterous of voice, and he was the perfect model for Moro Blunt.

Now we step to Hilda – Back to school. Many names and characters there are based on living people. Lesley the Looney, Carolyne and her pegasus, they are people I know and care about. Even Hepatia Strunk, the WIC, is based on someone I know, although I did change her name very much. If you have read the book and recall Irmgard and Cornelia, well, these are people I know as well. Good people with slightly different names.

The interesting and fun thing with modern means of communication is that it is very easy to have contact with fans of my writing, or should I say “fans of Hilda and William”? And some of these fans have asked if they can appear in a story as well. As I don’t know many of these people in person, it is difficult to add them into a good position, but so far I have managed it. For the new Hilda book, number 10, a new group of people will appear, most of the magical ones. I hope to fulfil many appearance-requests here; two positions are already filled up. I hope that “Ranee” and “Crystolyne” will recognise their names.

A nice little twist with names happened in the book which still has the working title Bristol Dream. I was talking to two ladies at the reception of the office where I work, and they both mentioned that they wanted to appear in one of my books. Again the problem that I don’t really know them, but in Bristol Dream I had a vacancy coming up, so I combined their names into one person. One of them already knows what I concocted and she loves it. The other lady has fallen ill, so I shall have to wait before I can bring the shock to her.

Finally, I shall address a question that has been asked several times: On whom is William, Hilda’s partner, based?  My honest answer: I don’t have a clue.

Indie promotion

Dear reader,

How time flies. Again it is Monday, so here is a new Indie Promotion:

Tales of Aradia The Last Witch – Volume 1


by L.A. Jones

Ebook Short Description: Unknown to the humans who hanged innocent people at the Salem Witch Trials, real witches of the hidden race were slaughtered on the belief that they had betrayed the hiddens to the humans. Not one witch survived the genocide, or so it was believed for more than three hundred years. Until one day a girl named Aradia moves to Salem, Massachusetts, and all that changes.

Warning. Tales of Aradia contains content considered unsuitable for young readers 17 and under, and which may be offensive to some readers of all ages. For more information, see the Support FAQ on Smashwords.

Where to find.
You can find the e-book on Smashwords.com where it is available for free. It is ready for download in all the common e-book formats, like epub, Kindle’s .mobi, pdf, etc. And while you’re there, why not get part 2, 3 and 4 as well. (Note that these 3 are not free, but very reasonably priced.)

Book review – Retribution Falls

Title: Retribution Falls
Author: Chris Wooding
Genre: Steampunk
Rating

Welcome aboard the Ketty Jay, and meet its raggedy collection of crew members. The Ketty Jay is an airship, commanded by Darian Frey. Although ‘commanded’ is, especially in the beginning, an overrated word.

Frey and his crew are set up to kill the son of an important person, and then half the world falls over them in pursuit. It takes the crew of the Ketty Jay a lot of hardship and work to turn the tide.

Retribution Falls is a story with a lot of action, a good eye for details, and Mr. Wooding did an excellent job of telling the reader about the background of every crew-member on his ship. I enjoyed the book thoroughly, with its well thought out plot and very interesting and also endearing characters.

Easons to Launch eReader This Year

May 23rd, 2012 by Nate Hoffelder · via The Digital Reader who in turn got it from Independent.ie.

 There’s news this week that some booksellers are going over to the dark side, but there’s also one Irish bookseller that is not. Earlier today Easons, a chain of 40 corporate and franchise bookstores, announced plans to release their own ereader.

Details are still scarce on the price, release date, specs, or even the color of the device, but an Easons spokesman did give some idea as to their plans. “We are not getting into bed with Amazon, that is for certain,” he said.

Easons has been working for some time now to add ereaders to their stores. Last November they completed a remodel of 25 stores which added both new ereader stock as well as a petting zoo where customers could try before they buy. And that’s not all they’re doing. “As part of a €20m plan to modernise our entire chain, we will be providing live wi-fi in our stores from this summer and dedicated e-book areas which will permit customers to download e-books from our website. The next phase of this process is to launch our own Easons branded e-reader.”

And when they do, Easons will have a lock on the market. Ireland has a population of 4.4 million, making it an ebook market which is too small to draw the interest of any of the major ebookstores.

One million e-books for Africa

Logo
From the press release:

Worldreader (worldreader.org), the non-profit transforming reading in developing countries by distributing digital books to children with limited access to literature, kicked off a campaign today with support from renowned soccer team FC Barcelona (Barça), asking people to help send 1 million e-books to students in sub-Saharan Africa. Using new technology and digital platforms, a $5.00 donation to Worldreader provides students in Africa with access to books that educate and inspire, so they can improve their lives.  Donations can be made through millionbooks.worldreader.org.

Having already put more than 100,000 e-books into the hands of 1,000 students in Africa, Worldreader is committed to further increase access to digital books in developing nations.  Children in the Worldreader program have access to materials ranging from hundreds of local African textbooks and story-books, world newspapers, and classic literature from around the world. For the first time, students in these areas can read books from African authors like Meshack Asare and Chika Unigwe, experience the imagination of Roald Dahl and the joy of the Magic Tree House stories, and learn from local Ghanaian and Kenyan textbooks.  With immediate access to books on health and science students are discovering how to better diagnose, treat and prevent diseases in their communities.

“Worldreader is committed to putting a digital library in the hands of all children throughout the world’s developing countries, and we’re thrilled with the support of FC Barcelona to send 1 million e-books to students in Africa,” said David Risher, CEO and Co-Founder of Worldreader. “Together Worldreader and Barça are connecting students with their heroes to awaken their passion for reading and improve their lives.”

Together Worldreader and Barça hope to use the popularity of the world’s most famous soccer club to inspire students to continue reading. Appealing to the students’ love of Barça, some of the team’s biggest names including Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez, Eric Abidal and Seydou Keita, send encouraging messages to students inspiring them to read more and “score big.” Students in the Worldreader program receive messages from their favorite soccer heroes beamed directly onto their e-readers.

With plans for continued expansion around the world, Worldreader is already operating throughout sub-Saharan Africa with projects in Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda, and soon Rwanda. Beyond granting student access to literature, Worldreader’s unprecedented work also helps provide local authors and publishers access to new markets. The organization works with African publishers and writers to help digitize books and bring their stories to a broader audience. By giving students access to a plethora of books by both local and international authors, Worldreader is changing the way students view the world.

“We’re so excited to be able to give our students the well-deserved opportunity to read a wide variety of classic and cutting edge literature by renowned authors,” said Jacqueline Abiso Dzifa, a teacher at Presbyterian Primary in Kade, Ghana. “Worldreader has not only given us unparalleled access to books, the program has motivated my students and instilled a joy for reading that never existed before.”

A U.S. and Europe-based non-profit social enterprise, Worldreader launched the first iREAD project in Ghana in November 2010. The project was the first pilot study to ever involve classroom use of e-readers in underprivileged areas. Independent monitoring and evaluation done by Worldreader and funded by USAID revealed that primary school students receiving e-readers as part of iREAD increased performance on standardized test scores from 12.9% to 15.7% (depending on whether they received any additional reading support).

Donations can be made at millionbooks.worldreader.org.  Donations starting at $5.00 are sufficient for Worldreader to send one e-book to students in Africa.  For more information, please visit www.worldreader.org.

About Worldreader

Worldreader is a US- and European not-for-profit organization that aims to put a library of digital books within the hands of children across the planet. Founded in 2009 by former Microsoft and Amazon executive David Risher, and former Marketing Director at Barcelona’s ESADE Business School Colin McElwee, Worldreader works with device manufacturers, local and international publishers, governments, education officials, and local communities to bring books to all.

Book review – Gods behaving badly

Yes, another book review. I did a lot of reading on my vacation!

Title: Gods behaving badly
Author: Marie Phillips
Genre: Humour, mythology
Rating

What do do when you are a mythological God and the people who used to believe in you are faltering in their beliefs? Gods behaving badly lets you peek into the life of a house full of ancient Gods who have reached all but the level of the gutter. Encounter Apollo. Artemis and Zeus in ways you may not have dreamt possible, and see how it is for mortals to interact with Gods who have tumbled from their pedestals.

A highly entertaining read that made me laugh out loud many times.