Wednesday, March 21, 2018

#Author #Interview - John M W Smith / The Wacky Stories With Twist Endings

Book Description :
The Wacky Stories Series comprises 7 books of short stories with twist (or surprise) endings. The stories have strong women as the main characters who are trying to overcome unexpected problems in their lives, and the methods they employ to find solutions to these problems are unorthodox and imaginative. Some idea of these stories can best be had from a description of the contents of Volume 1 in the series. Here they are:

Everything about Andy is too good to be true, so what is his secret? Has Joan really got everything that a woman could possibly wish for? Cathy is in no mood for the attentions of a cocktail -bar-Romeo, and it looks as if he’s about to turn nasty! What on earth is it that Gina’s boyfriend wants her to do to make him happy? Just what is included for Becky in this supermarket’s not to be missed special offer? Is Alison going to simply stand by while another woman walks away with her hard-won prize? How can Julia’s husband Harry possibly hope to compete with all those other candidates who have applied for The Job to die for? Paul is always putting her down and Living In The Country would be Ali’s idea of heaven if only she could get rid of him. But how?

They are eight carefully crafted stories designed to surprise and entertain you, the reader, and at the end to have you say, ‘well, I’ll be……! I never saw that coming!’

What inspired you to start writing, and when?
When I was growing up, I would read anything, anytime. My mum’s magazines, the small print on medicine bottles, the ingredients on food packets, advertisement hoardings, never letting go, always reading everything from beginning to end. It was my world. People would bang on the door to query my welfare when I got engrossed in a book ( yes, even while I was in the loo!). Words intrigued me, their use, their sound, their texture. How they could make me feel. How they could manipulate me. But above all, I was fascinated by writers (yes, even by those who were employed to write instruction manuals for vacuum cleaners) who could write in a way that would compel the reader to go on reading. Un-put-down-able. Writers who would make me want to turn the page. And I became their disciple, learning from their talent, their ever-dutiful student. And I found that more often than not the most intense feelings and emotions could be expressed in the simplest of words. Plain language and choosing the words carefully. That is all that it ever takes to communicate effectively, and you can get to anything that you want to say.
What is your preferred genre?
I do not have one. I write for women, I write for young adults/teenagers, and I also write thrillers for adults. As long as I believe I have thought of a story which will live on in a reader’s memory for quite a while, I will take pen to paper straight away.

How many books have you written?
18 in all. I have three series: The Wacky Stories With Twist Endings Series, The Sandy Brown/Matt Black series, and The Dictator Thriller Series. I have also written one book of short stories for children, and one book on philosophy entitled A Layman’s guide to the Meaning of Life and Death. I am very proud of them all.

Tell us a little about your book.
The Wacky Stories series comprises short stories with twist endings. The trick is to make them appear easy to write, when actually they are infernally difficult to come up with, time after time. They are written in very simple language and have female characters who are immediately identifiable as someone you know, a friend, a work colleague, an uncle, an aunt, a sister…..or even yourself! And the problems they face are ones that most women have to face at some point in their lives, but the ways in which these characters choose to solve their particular problems will shock and amuse you, and make you wonder….

Do you have plans for a new book?
I am currently working on an eighth book in the series called More Longer Wacky Stories With Twist Endings, which is due out in 2018.

Is there an Author that you would really like to meet?
There are two, actually. Fay Weldon and Hilary Mantel

Was there an Author that inspired your writing?
As far as the Wacky Stories series is concerned, my inspiration came from reading the stories of many authors who were published in the women’s weekly magazines. I read them and said to myself, “I can do that. In fact, I can do better than that!”  But I do admire Jeffrey Archer and Roald Dahl.

Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants?
I do in a way. I will start reading a lot, all the time looking out for that one sentence which will trigger off a train of thought in my own mind. And given time, it happens, I find it. This method has never let me down!

Did you have an editor edit your books?
No. I am my own editor. I worked for an academic publisher for ten years and consider myself more than capable of handling this task myself (and saving a lot of money!).

Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?

Where do you prefer to buy your books?
On Amazon

Are you a self- published (Indie) Author?

What books would you like to read again?
Anything by Somerset Maugham, Arundhati Roy, or Salman Rushdie.

Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version?
I’d have to say that movies and books have their own different formats distinct markets, and I would not be able to choose one in preference to the other. Movies are a visual experience of images where one’s own imagination is not needed as everything is there, right in front of us. Books require the exercise of one’s own imagination. It just depends what you are in the mood for, the movie version or the book version.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)?
Tell Tale, by Jeffrey Archer, in hardback.

Who designed the cover of your book?
I did, after input from my readers.

Do you find yourself intrigued by the cover of a book enough to buy it? 
No. I open the book and read the first couple of pages.

Do you have any advice for other writers starting out?
Writing is not easy. Good writers just make it look easy. Unless your readers have given you cause to think that you write well, give it up after year and try something else. And above all, don’t give up your day job!

Do you write under a pen name?
No. I use my own name. John M W Smith.

What are your pet peeves? 
Bureaucracy and red tape. Untalented people with too much power.

You are trapped on a tropical island - who would you like to be stranded with?
Nigella Lawson.

Pick one - Wine, Chocolate or shoes?

Cats or dogs?

Tell us about someone or something that just made your day –
My Russian translators and publishers saying that they are very much looking forward to reading my next book in the Wacky Stories Series, called More Longer Wacky Stories with Twist Endings, with a view of translating it into Russian as English language teaching material! They have already done the same for all my other books in the Wacky Stories series.

What is your favourite food and beverage?
Well made sandwiches and coffee. Smoked salmon and cream cheese/roast beef and mustard/egg and tomato/sardine and cucumber are some of my favourites.

How many hours per day do you try to devote to research and writing?
I still work 60 hours a week at my day job, and I have to take what time I can get to do my writing in between. So I have to snatch whatever time I can get for doing research and writing.

What are 3 things you never leave home without (apart from keys, money, and phone)?
A set of clean underwear, some sanitising gel, and a bottle of drinking water.

Sleep in or get up early?
Get up early.

Laptop or desktop for writing?
Ruled A4 paper and pen. And later, Dragon software for writing on-screen.

Your favourite gadget?
My Kindle.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
At home, early morning or late at night.

Your thoughts on receiving book reviews - the good and the bad -
I hardly ever receive bad reviews, but when I do, I do not have a problem with them if they point out something I have neglected and are constructive, thereby giving me the chance to make corrections. 

Do you have a bucket list?

One of your favourite quotes –
If you cannot see where people are “coming from”, then you will never understand where they “are going”.

What is a movie or TV show that you watched just recently and really enjoyed?
Judge Judy.

Where can your readers stalk you? Your social media links:   (USA)       (UK)
Is your book in Print, ebook or both?

Do you give free ebooks away in exchange for honest reviews?

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview and allowing us a glimpse into your writing world. 

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