Angela Smith has been following her writerly path since childhood, and she loves every aspect of the journey. Welcome, Angela. Please tell us a little about yourself.
Thank you so much for having me on your blog! I work full time as a paralegal and office manager of the District Attorney’s Office. I own small acreage with my husband, where we manage a garden, chickens, ducks, deer, and cats and many other wildlife that comes up for food. I also write, and consider that my second full time job. I write romantic suspense, contemporary, and even dally in young adult and inspirational romance. We are currently in the process of remodeling our home, but by far my favorite adventure to this day is living through the pages of my novels, whether I’m reading or writing.
You have a busy life! Your books require research, which is time consuming. What is your research process like? Do you enjoy it?
I absolutely love research! I love to learn new things, and research is a great way to do that. The internet makes it super easy to do nowadays, but I still love reading books that help me learn, or I even like a hands-on approach. For instance, in Burn on the Western Slope, which is the first book in Slopeside: The Complete Collection, I started researching ammonites after a trip to Florida. My dad wanted to buy his girlfriend some jewelry made from ammonite, which is a fossil I’d never heard of. I was so irritated because we kept going to this store and I was ready to go to the beach but we were all riding together and I was trying to help him out. As soon as I saw the jewelry he picked, I fell in love. I was writing Burn on the Western Slope at the time, and it included a rare collection, but I hadn’t quite figured that all out yet. That was a turning point for me and the story, because I knew the rare collection in my book would be ammonites, and I set out to researching a lot about that. Fascinating stuff! And when research takes me into a deeper personal experience, I love that!
I love it when life experiences lead us to plot devices. Speaking of plot devices, how do you handle spicy sex scenes and relatives? Are your family and friends supportive or do they choose not to read your books because of its sensual nature?
Great question! I never had a problem writing sex scenes until I became published and everyone found out about me (including my boss). But so far, I’ve had a lot of support, and even coworkers who’ve joked about my steamy novels. Seriously, though, I’m constantly fighting to keep from restraining myself. The book I’m writing now, I skipped over an important sex scene at the beginning of the novel and became so stuck I couldn’t write that story for months. That’s when I knew I had to go back and write that scene the way it should have been written in the first place, and now the words are flowing again. But yes, I always tend to clam up when it comes to those scenes, especially if I’m thinking about it too much.
Ah, the editor that lives in our brain. Speaking of editors, when you get the edits back, how do you work through that process?
Another great question. I start at the beginning, go through each comment or accept the changes made in the order of the book. Sometimes there’s rewriting to do, minor things, and sometimes major scenes. Ones that I’m not ready for or the ones I need to think over I will skip over, and go back to those comments later. Or I’ll make a note to my editor. Once I’m in the editing mode, I actually don’t mind it at all. It’s a challenge, and I always enjoy a challenge.
Has writing changed how you read books now? How so?
Yes and no. When I read, I don’t read as a writer or in editing mode. I think it’s important for an author to read for pure enjoyment and it makes me a stronger writer. In the beginning of my writing career, I would catch myself trying to edit in my mind, but now what I do is make a mental note of wonderful things that were done or ways in which great emotion was used so that I can challenge my own strengths.
How do you balance writing, marketing, promoting, bookkeeping, family and work?
Honestly, I’m not sure I do balance all this. Work has to come first because it’s what pays the bills, but there’s usually something that falls by the wayside. I’m not great at marketing, so that often does fall by the wayside. And sometimes, it’ll end up being the housework (dirty dishes, dirty floors, etc.) But the best way to balance it all is to make writing or marketing or bookkeeping, etc. an appointment with myself and just do it. I try to get up early to write and feel best when I write first thing in the morning, but sometimes I’m rushed with other chores, etc (or oversleeping, unfortunately!). So balancing…that’s something I’m still working on. It’s a daily work-in-progress!
Do you keep a notebook in your pocket, briefcase, purse, or on your bedside table to write down ideas that come to you right away so you don’t forget them? Have any of these ideas developed into a successful piece?
I have forgotten many ideas! However, nowadays I use my phone as my notebook because it’s something I generally always carry with me and it’s super easy to open my notebook app and write. I’ve written scenes while waiting under the dryer at the salon. And if I had a longer commute I might use it as a recorder to record ideas as I ride. But I definitely recommend having some way of jotting down ideas that come to you as soon as you can. Sometimes those ideas (whether a line, word, scene, idea, character trait, etc.) float by so quickly if you don’t snatch them as they’re going by, they’re gone forever!
What is the best piece of advice about writing that you have ever heard or read? What would you tell aspiring writers today?
Keep writing! Write what you love and what speaks to your heart, and learn what advice to listen to and what advice to throw away. The money might not always follow if you’re doing what you love, but the best piece of advice came from my former boss after he found out about my writing. He said that walking along the path you are supposed to be walking on is a tremendous experience. And it is something not everyone will experience!
What a delightful visit. Thanks for stopping by today, Angela!
Thanks again for having me on your blog!
Slopeside The Complete Collection
Bundle includes: Burn on the Western Slope, Fatal Snag, and Final Mend
Slopeside is available at:
About the Author:
Angela Smith has always had her nose stuck in a book, so much so that she was dubbed most likely to write a novel during Senior Year. Although high school was decades ago, her dream first began when her mom read ‘Brer Rabbit’ to her and her sister so often they could recite it back to each other before ever learning to read. She then told her mother she’d write a story one day, and now hasn’t been able to write one yet where falling in love doesn’t come into play. Although life in general keeps her very busy, her passion for getting those stories out of her head tends to make her restless if she isn’t following what some people call her destiny.
Angela LOVES talking to readers. You can contact her in the following ways:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/authorangelasmith
Simon & Schuster: http://www.simonandschuster.com/authors/Angela-Smith/2137676386