My words alone only carry so much meaning alone. While I like to say that my words make worlds, other people’s words have just as much power.
Therefore, I’ve interviewed a few different writers. This one was an email Interview with Lewis Ben Smith.
Lewis was my 8th grade History teacher and it’s still taken some getting used to calling him “Lewis” rather than “Mr. Smith”. Recently, however, Lewis has been more of a peer of mine, as we sometimes edit each other’s work and promote one another. I know him well and have read, in full, two of his four published novels.
His Books available at: Amazon, iTunes, Barnsandnoble.com, or electionpublishing.com
- How long have you been writing as a hobby and how long have you been writing professionally?
“I’ve been a storyteller as long as I can remember. I told stories out loud when I was in elementary school; in high school I began writing a very bad novel about a World War I flying ace that I never finished. I wrote a pretty good series of horror stories in the 1980’s; one of them got published. Then in the 1990’s and early 2000’s I wrote articles for a hobby magazine on Indian artifacts. I went online in 2000 and began writing numerous lengthy posts on religion, philosophy, politics, and history on a number of message boards. Finally, in 2014, I began writing my first novel, THE TESTIMONIUM. I now have four novels in print, one under contract releasing next spring, and one in progress.”
2. What’s your genre?
“My novels are Christian fiction/historical fiction with a Christian emphasis. My short stories are very eclectic; I still like writing a good old horror story occasionally.”
3. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
“Seriously? Probably in upper elementary school, maybe junior high.”
4. What do you hope to achieve/What’s your goal/When is ‘success’ in your book?
“Fame, an adoring fan base, a house on Lake Limestone, movie contracts, and ultimate world domination. I’m running a bit behind schedule.”
(Interviewer note: this made me laugh really hard. This is a classic Lewis answer.)
5. What’s your process?
“Block out some time, sit down at the keyboard, read through the last chapter I wrote, and then begin to put words on paper. Somewhere, a couple of paragraphs in usually, the hole in the keyboard opens up and I crawl through into my story.” (Interviewer note: I love the way Lewis frames that because I can relate.) “I may be totally zoned out, hammering away at the keyboard, for a couple of hours after that.”
6. How often do you write/Where do you write?
“Normally, I write a chapter, send it off to Ellie, [Lewis’s Beta Reader] get my feedback, take a break for a couple days, and then get after it again. This fall I’ve barely touched my manuscript after getting three chapters done in a week and a half at the end of summer. The muse will smack me in the head soon enough, and I’ll be off on another writing jaunt and slam out 3 – 4 more chapters in a month. As for where? Usually here at home, there is a big computer desk in my dining room. Sometimes at work, during my conference period, when I really ought to be grading papers (the magic of cloud storage)!”
7. What do you find is the most rewarding part of writing?
“ Getting feedback from my readers, especially when they loved the book.”
8. What is the hardest part of writing?
“Watching the best thing you have ever written sit on Amazon for weeks and not sell a copy!”
(Interviewer note: this is one of my biggest fears about writing.)
9. Have any advice for younger writers?
“In the words of Billy Crystal, from the movie THROW MOMMA FROM THE TRAIN: “A writer writes. Always!””
10. Why is writing important? How do you think this affects the rest of the world?
“Written language is the cornerstone of civilization; it elevates us above barbarians. Without writing, there is no history. Without history, how can we know who we are? We write to tell our stories, and if we do not tell them, who will?”
11. Any other comments/advice/things you’d like to say?
“Simply this: Write. Write like you’re running out of time!” (Interviewer note: this is a Hamilton reference to which I GREATLY appreciate) “Tell those stories you always meant to write down; share the worlds you create in your imagination with the rest of us, for a world without stories is a dismal place indeed.
P.S. I am accepting applications for both “adoring fans” and “crazed fans/stalkers”. Post your specs to my author page on FB.”