Interview with Mystery Author Kim Smith

Kim Smith was born in Memphis Tennessee, the youngest of four children. After a short stint in a Northwest Mississippi junior college, during the era of John Grisham’s rise as a lawyer, she gave up educational pursuits to marry and begin family life.

She has worked in many fields in her life, from fast food waitress to telephone sales. “I always got the seniors on the phone who were lonely and wanted someone to talk to. My boss couldn’t understand why in the world I spent so much time talking to them and not enough time selling. That was when I realized I love people and care deeply about their lives.”

After the birth of her two children, she gave up working outside the home for the more important domestic duties of wife and mother. When her kids decided they wanted to pursue theater as an extracurricular activity, she gave up her free time to drive them to rehearsals, training classes, and plays. During those years, she found herself bored with nothing to do to while away the hours stuck in a car. She began thinking of stories to entertain herself and pass the time. Before long she started telling her husband about her stories and he assured her she could write a book if she really wanted to. She put the idea away once she landed a job as a network administrator for a small corporation, and together the Smith’s started their own video production company.

Writing was a dream, hidden but not forgotten, and soon Kim began to talk again of trying her hand at it. She played with words, and wrote several poems, one of which was picked up for an anthology

One day in the early nineties her husband came home with a desktop computer and sat her in front of it. “Now you have no more excuses,” he said, and she realized the truth in his words. Procrastination, now no longer an option, she took off on the pursuit of penning her first book. Though that book, a young adult fantasy, was lost due to unforeseen circumstances, she kept going, writing a historical romance, and another YA.

When she decided to try out her hand at mystery writing, she discovered her true love and niche in the writing journey. She has since had four short stories, and her first mystery novel accepted for publication.

Kim is a member of Sisters in Crime, and EPIC. She still lives in the Mid South region of the United States and is currently working on her second book in the mystery series.

You can visit her website at www.mkimsmith.com.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Kim. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I am a lifelong Memphian, married about 16 years and have two adult children. I have been writing all my life, but only seriously considering publishing for the last four.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

I wrote Avenging Angel, a Shannon Wallace Mystery as an exercise to see if I would be any good at writing mystery. It was the first book I have ever penned that flowed from my fingertips as though I couldn’t get it out fast enough. I took that to be the sign that mystery was my forte.
What kind of research was involved in writing your book?

I had to know a little about police procedural and my local law enforcement team was more than happy to supply that. Most of my research was done online, and I got a lot of help from knowledgeable people who were happy to help. Whether it was a type of gun, or a woman’s fashion item, someone knew enough to help me out.

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

I worked very closely with the artist and she was tireless in her dedication to get the look I wanted. Together we created something that I am very happy with.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

For me, it has been a long and winding road. The book was accepted in 2007, but things didn’t transpire in the manner in which I had hoped, so I pulled the book from that publisher and submitted it elsewhere. It was eventually picked up and published, so all’s well that ends well. I learned a lot of valuable lessons.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

I signed the first contract for Avenging Angel in November 2007, and signed the second contract in October 2008. The book was released on December 18, 2008, so from the first time of submission through the ultimate publication it was just over a year.
If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

I have never had an agent, and have to say that for a small press or small publisher, it is not necessary to have one.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Oh yes! Shannon, Dwayne, and Sal will be back in book two, working title Buried Angel, and as many books as they tell me they want to be in. As long as readers keep requesting a new tale, I will write them.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I love both, really, but most days only have time to write at night. I do think I have better ideas in the morning, though.

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

Someone to read it aloud and create an audio book. I am a big lover of books on tape, and think it would be cool to hear my book being read.

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

I think self-promotion is one of the most important things an author can do for her work. I have been so busy promoting, sometimes I think it is more consuming than writing! I post on my blogs, my friend’s blogs, promotional blogs, social networking sites, listservs, and websites. I also participate in writer’s forums, and workshops.
Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

I am so glad you asked this! I want writers who want to be published to know that everyone has good days and bad days. Sometimes the writing will fly out of you and you will feel so satisfied you are about to burst! Then there will be days that are cold and hard and you won’t be able to force anything to come out. Just do not get upset at this. It is your natural rhythm as a writer. Your writing mind knows when to call a halt. Listen to it. Then when you are ready, when your mind is settled and your attention is really all there, you will go to it again.

Thank you for coming, Kim. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

Yes! I am at http://www.mkimsmith.com and you can purchase Avenging Angel, A Shannon Wallace Mystery at my publisher’s site, http://www.redrosepublishing.com and you can find my blog at http://writingspace.blogspot.com and I hope you will look up my radio show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/kims where I interview and chat with authors of all genres.
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