Author Randall S. Smith discusses his fiction collection “Willful Women”.
Interviewer: Randall, your book “Willful Women” recently received a very favorable commentary from the Midwest Book Review. Congratulations!
RSS: Thank you very much. I was pleased with the five-star rating they awarded it on Amazon.com. It’s a collection of great fiction and reassuring to have it recognized.
Interviewer: I notice you have it categorized as adult fiction. Why is that?
RSS: It’s actually fairly tame, but I felt it best to err on the conservative side. There’s no profanity other than what Hemingway used, and the sex and violence are neither graphic nor explicit in my opinion. It’s even been approved for purchase by the local Sarasota Library.
Interviewer: What inspired you to take up creative writing?
RSS: One night I had a dream in which I was walking through the fall-colored hills of New England. In the dream I had just written and published my second book and was relating the experience to the spirit of my late mother. When I awoke, I had such a great sense of fulfillment I knew I had to pursue it. Also, I often have other dreams with great material for my stories.
Interviewer: What’s an example?
RSS: One night I dreamt of a large spherical arena in Earth orbit. It served as a place for bands to perform in its center, with the fans seated around the inside of the outer wall, and space sleds shuttling patrons back-and-forth. I wrote that into my science fiction story “Lost in Space-Time”.
Interviewer: Do you plan out your story lines ahead of time?
RSS: I did for the first story, “About SAM”. I had a flow chart initially and pretty much knew where I wanted it to go. All the subsequent stories took on a life of their own. I do most of my creativity on an outdoor balcony in a rocking chair. This allows my mind to wander more freely and it’s as if I’m in some imaginary place watching a story unfold, merely writing down what I’m observing.
Interviewer: Do you do much research for your stories?
RSS: Yes, I feel that good fiction should based on an extrapolation of fact where feasible. For example, when i wrote the sci-fi story, I researched a lot of details on the Internet. Stephan Hawking is the greatest physicist since Albert Einstein, so I read up on some of his commentary, as well as many blog comments from various physics sites, on wormholes and blackholes, space warp, the fourth and fifth dimensions, general and special relativity, and extraterrestrials, and then imaginatively incorporated all that into an easy-to-read story. Things I refer to in the collection, such as government acronyms, go-fast boats, six-guns, and assassin model Glocks were all researched first.
Interviewer: Have you crossed paths with any interesting people along the way?
RSS: Yes, there have been several of interest. There are a few great local clubs for writers. The one I have personally gotten the most from is the Sarasota Authors Connection. When I was first getting started, I was having great difficulty finding my way. I emailed friends and family regularly for feedback on my initial fledgling attempt at creation. There were very few who responded, so I was getting discouraged. Then I ran into an editor who was speaking at a club meeting, Leah Dallaire (911editing.org). She was very passionate about literary efforts and provided me with excellent commentary and inspiration when I needed it most. If not for her, I probably would have given up on writing at that point. She also gave me the idea for the cover photo.
Interviewer: You mentioned several others, too?
RSS: Other club speakers included several best-selling authors: John Lutz who wrote the story that later became the movie “Single White Female” and David Hagberg who has written numerous best-sellers under several names. Separately, I had some correspondence with the famous Richard North Patterson, a very nice fellow who clearly loves writing. They were all inspirational.
Interviewer: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?
RSS: Statistically, most readers are women, so I’ve tried to gear my stories to the woman who wants to escape her daily routine and kick some butt and drift into a romantic fantasy. The buyers have so far been evenly divided between both genders though.
Interviewer: Your story collection has a good variety of genres. Is there one that you prefer?
RSS: The book includes a mix of action-adventure, mystery, satire, thriller, western, fantasy and science fiction, so there’s something for everybody. Each tale includes an engaging combination of conflict, adventure and romance. My personal preference has become the action-adventure genre. Interestingly, the story I have gotten the most ‘Loved it’ feedback on is my thriller “That Old House on Delaney Street”.
Interviewer: Where can one find a copy of this fine collection?
RSS: It can be found at www.willfulwomen.info, on the Amazon website, on the Kindle, and is available through your favorite bookstore. Ask for it by name, “Willful Women”.
Interviewer: Thank you, Randall, and best of luck with your book!