I recently interviewed award-winning, best selling author Tim Smith. I asked questions that I felt were a little off the beaten path and got some very insightful answers. Enjoy!
Research the market more thoroughly so you know what the current trends are, and what people are reading. Familiarize yourself with effective book marketing strategies, and spend time talking with other published authors to find out what worked for them. And if you want to write erotic romance, consider publishing under a different name!
Literary success is a relative term because it’s based on your personal perception and goals, like most every other endeavor. I have a friend who self-publishes a new erotic e-book every month, and he has a big following. If his sales drop off, he thinks he’s doing something wrong. Another writer I know is obsessed with winning literary contests so she can have bragging rights on her website. Personally, if people like what I write, if I can get good reviews and make some sales, I feel somewhat successful. The nicest compliment I can hear is “I can’t wait to read your next one.” It doesn’t get much better than that!
Getting into their personality to make them believable. What helps me do it is having a particular person in mind, whether it’s an acquaintance or an actress. To be clear, my characters are not based one-hundred-percent on people I know, despite what some of them have claimed. Writing a character of the opposite sex is really no different than writing one who is your polar opposite in personality or attitude. Someone once said “We are the heroes of our own stories.” If I’m writing a mystery/thriller, it’s fairly easy to step into the hero’s persona. It’s often tougher to write the villain, because that isn’t me.
When I’m confronted with the need for an emotionally intense scene, it helps to draw on a personal experience that may be similar. While it may not be exactly what my characters are going through, I can usually find some parallels. A good example is one where a main character dealt with the murder of a sibling. I’ve not personally experienced something so traumatic, but I have lost family members and close friends, and the coping process was pretty much the same. If I’m writing a sexy scene, I can always find some personal experience to draw from.
The Florida Keys and southern Florida. I’ve set many of my stories there because of the atmosphere, scenery and attitude. When I’ve visited, it’s typically been for a week or so, but I’d like to have more time to explore. I really believe you could spend a few months in The Keys and still not see everything they have to offer.
When I’m really into a story, I’m energized. When the ideas don’t pour forth, it’s exhausting. I also tend to get a little weary during the editing and proofreading parts of the process.
In spite of the wisecracking, anything-for-a-laugh persona I project in interviews and at public appearances, I’m actually rather reserved and quiet. That’s a holdover from childhood, because I was a very shy kid. I also tend to be a homebody, and I was even before the pandemic quarantine.
Writing mystery/thrillers with a heavy romantic overtone, but in a style that’s reminiscent of classic crime writers like Chandler, Spillane and Westlake. Including explicit, sensual sex scenes in my books was also a risk, especially since I decided to publish under my real name. Not choosing a pseudonym for erotic romance is a risk I sometimes regret taking because it hasn’t always paid off.
I think strong characters are a crucial element to any good story. There’s basically a dozen or so original plots in the world, and they’ve all been used. The hook is to have characters that are unique and memorable to make your new take on an old idea workable. I like to make my characters quirky and funny so they’ll stand out. One comment I consistently hear from readers is how lifelike the characters are, and how they step off the page.
I’m currently working on a couple of books, one for each of the two series I have running. I’m also keeping busy with blogs and marketing the books on my backlist. To date, I have 28 published books out there. They deserve some attention from new readers.
Check out Tim’s website at: www.allauthor.com/author/timsmith
This content was originally published here.