Saturday, January 15, 2011
Interview & Giveaway with Andrew Smith
Today I am so excited to welcome Andrew Smith here on my blog! Andrew is the amazing author of Ghost Medicine, In the Path of Falling Objects, The Marbury Lens and the upcoming Stick. You can read my review of The Marbury Lens here.
1. When did you first start writing, and was there something in particular that inspired you?
I can’t remember, honestly, when I first started writing, because I do remember that I learned to read by myself, at home, before I even started going to school, and also that I started writing stories and stuff like that as soon as I could form letters on paper. I really don’t know where the inspiration came from. It was just something that I did, that I always did, and still do (am taking time out from writing a current novel to answer these questions).
I suppose I believe, as some writers do, that there is this kind of consciousness out there that sends me stories and ideas and things that need to be written down. So, who can argue with that? I also love the way words go together – the way they look and take up space on a page. To me, words are very musical. They contain much more than their molecular components of letters and phonemes, and putting them together in certain ways creates a sort of energy, a release of something.
2. In regards to your own characters, who is your favorite and why?
This is a tough question because I am all of my (main) characters, so elevating one to favored status seems kind of self-absorbed and ignorant to other components of who I really am. The truth is that all my main characters are totally different parts of me.
Now that I say it, I realize how self-absorbed it really sounds. Oh well. I guess I can’t “be” anyone else.
I think I identify most closely with Jack Whitmore, the narrator of The Marbury Lens, but, as a reader would know, he’s a pretty messed-up guy. Well, actually, he’s incredibly messed-up. Still, what Jack goes through in the novel is very much what I went through, and felt like, when I was a teenager.
Not a pretty thing.
Jack rants about that ugliness, in fact – how much being a teenager sucks.
On the other hand, I really admire Stark McClellan, the main character in my next novel, Stick, because he has this genuinely accepting quality about him – not just toward the things going on around him, but to the individual differences that sometimes isolate people from one another and shuts them up in small cages of fear and mistrust. I think there’s part of me that can see through the fearful us-and-them kind of trap that a lot of people fall into, and Stark, who is actually a pretty heroic kid, is damned good at seeing through the bars on the cages.
3. What other genres (besides your own) do you enjoy reading?
As my own work may lead people to believe, my taste in reading is very eclectic. I do read a lot of YA titles, but I prefer to read adult fiction. Ghost Medicine is almost like a Western, I suppose. And while I can’t think of any Westerns I’ve read, I am particularly fond of the novels of William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy. I most admire the importance of setting in their work, and how setting bleeds into character, tone, and style. I guess you could say this is the most important molecular relationship in my own writing.
On the other hand, In the Path of Falling Objects is a kind of suspense-thriller. James Ellroy is one of my favorite authors who goes into these types of plotlines – very dark, very psychological, with gobs of sexual tension.
My most recent book, The Marbury Lens, is kind of my homage to Stephen King, I guess. I always wanted to write something that was really scary. I also wanted to make the style of the prose punchier and stripped-down – very minimal, which, again is a kind of iteration of my admiration for McCarthy and Ernest Hemingway.
4. If you could not be a writer, what would you be?
Unfortunately, my wife and kids like to eat. So I guess I have to keep writing.
5. As a reader I know how difficult it can be to name a ‘favorite’ book, would you mind listing your top three? (Past or present authors)
“Favorites” change for me from day to day. So, for today, based on my mood and where I’m at in my own work, I’ll list the following three:
In Our Time, by Ernest Hemingway
Child of God, by Cormac McCarthy
Light in August, by William Faulkner
6. What are some must haves when you sit down to write?
I must have absolute quiet. Thankfully, I live in a very rural, quiet location where we never hear traffic noises, sirens, and things like that. I don’t listen to music when I write, there can be no televisions on nearby (I don’t watch TV, anyway)… and generally I’m a bit of a tyrant if I’m working during the day and my family is all at home. That’s why I usually write at about 3:00 a.m., before anyone else is awake in the house.
7. If you became trapped as a character in a book or series, which would you choose and why? (Any book, any series, new or old)
Selfishly enough, I’d willingly trap myself in any of my books. As twisted as it sounds, I would really like to enter the terrible world of Marbury and become Jack in The Marbury Lens.
Andrew has kindly offered up a SIGNED copy of The Marbury Lens and will be popping by throughout the duration of the contest, so please leave him a comment or feel free to ask him a question!
Rules for entry:
- Contest runs January 15, 2011 to January 21, 2011 12AM EST.
- Open to US and Canadian addresses only!
- Leave a comment or a question for Andrew on this post and fill out the form below to enter, I will not be accepting entries through the comment section.