Welcome! Pull up a seat and enjoy a chat with Today’s Tease Greg Smith
Your Name or Pen Name you use: Greg Smith
Links where we can find you: http://gregsmith-writer.weebly.com
Other Special Talents we should know about: I’m a full time graphic designer. Commissioned portraits are something else I do.
Welcome GS…I, LH have some questions for you 😉
LH: I wanted to be a ballerina, race car driver and a private detective when I was little. What did you want to be when you grew up?
GS: I wanted to follow in my Dad’s footsteps and work for Qantas, Australia’s international airline but that wasn’t meant to be. I think I’ve always wanted to be an artist of some sort and never failed to be egged on by family and friends to keep drawing. But a time traveller … that was, and still is, the top of my dream list.
LH: This is easy for me…I’d invite Johnny Depp and I would not discuss movies! Who would you invite to dinner, living or dead, and what one topic would you NOT discuss with them?
GS: I’d find it intriguing to have dinner with Steven Spielberg. His movies would NOT be the focus of my attention because he’s a fabulous storyteller and avid historian – that’s what I’d be dying to talk to him about.
LH: I personally think that there is way too much sex and violence everywhere in society these days and that Hollywood is one of the biggest contributors. It’s kind of ironic that we’re in the business of selling sex and violence. Ever feel conflicted and if so why?
GS:It’s not so much the sex and violence per se, but the quantity of it that pervades our lives. Both are intrinsic to our existence and way of life. As an author I always struggle to keep a tight rein on those sections of any story involving either subject. I don’t believe anything is achieved by being excessive in describing sex or violent scenes. The trick is to play to the reader’s imagination. A person’s mind is more than capable of filling in the blanks left by a writer.
LH: I’m a huge softy and by no means a beauty queen… lol but, I truly would want world peace in the blink of an eye if I could make it happen…If you could change one thing in the world, in the blink of an eye, what would it be?
GS:Wow, that’s a heavy question. There are so many things I would love to change if given the power but I guess I’d go for the chance to give every person the inspiration to find the answers to world hunger. There is almost an infinite number of ways we could solve world hunger if only we were all able to focus our collective mind and talents on that one problem.
LH: A little birdie told me you are a graphic artist…in fact; I know you did a beautiful book cover for my book “Me, Myself & I.” How did you get into that and is that your only artistic talent?
GS:Back in the Stone Age I used to be known as a commercial artist. Now we’re tagged as graphic designers or artists, but I view that as “work-related” talent. If you visit the web site devoted to my artwork you’ll see that I love painting faces, animals, and women. I’d be intrigued to hear from people what medium they think I’ve used for some of my artwork. The answer generally surprises a lot of people. But all in all nearly everything I do on paper or computer is one form or another of art. It’s something I’ve been interested in ever since I was able to hold a quill … computers have only broadened an artist’s horizons.
LH: My mother was a wonderful artist; I however, cannot draw a stick figure! Where did your artistic ability come from or are you self taught? Will you indulge us with some of your favorite work?
GS:It’s funny that nearly everyone who views my work says that they can’t even draw a stick figure. Would you believe that’s exactly how I began – with nothing but plain old stick figures? Later, I began collecting art books and taught myself a rough or basic understanding of anatomy. It helped that I was born with an artistic bent, but apart from those high school art classes, I am otherwise self-taught. When I do a portrait I generally work from photos supplied to me mainly due to the fact that I might work all sorts of strange hours and could never expect to call someone at 2am and ask, “I’m ready to work on your portrait. Can you pop over now for a couple of hours?” As to my favorite work, that’s easy. It’s anything that involves hair, eyes, a mouth – those are the magical elements for me, personally. Then there’s the figure. Women are such fascinating creatures; with so many facets (some visible, most invisible). For me they make ideal subjects.
LH: I can remember wanting to write as a kid. When did you decide that you wanted to start doing covers?
GS:That began centuries ago when I was in high school, back when music was restricted to records (LPs, 45s, etc). I had myself quite a collection of singers, musicians, bands, etc and one day I found the jacket to one of my favorite LPs had been damaged, so I sat down and set about making and designing myself a new jacket. I still recall the group – The Shadows. Wow! That brings back fond memories. Thanks for asking that question. One thing led to another and soon I was trying my hand at book covers, etc. Mind you, this was way before the word computer was even included in the English language, so the task of designing was far more painstaking than today.
LH: I love to see if I can see myself in a character. What interests you most about a story?
GS:Naturally it’s the characters. I’m a fiction writer and therefore find it extremely hard to imagine attempting to write anything without involving at least one or two characters. I regard them as the windows into my stories for the reader. Sometimes you can visualize a scene through the eyes of the character; sometimes it might seem you are looking into a mirror and either seeing the character for who she or he really is – or you might actually see yourself! But giving your question another glance, something else that fascinates me about a story is experiencing the writer’s imagination for myself. I guess that’s why I so fond of historical fiction, and why I’m tackling my own historical fiction novel right now.
LH: For me, I just get hit with this whole movie in my head and start writing. How do you come up with your cover ideas?
GS: Imagination and inspiration. I am never short of ideas for almost anything when it involves my writing. And being a graphic designer, I only want to extend that to include designing my own book trailers, covers, marketing material, etc. An idea can be, and usually is, sparked by the most innocuous things that can confront me; a word, a sound, a color, music … anything and everything.
LH: I can’t tell you or I’d have to…lol Are you working on anything now?
GS:My latest book, THE PITS has not long been released. I’m beginning to work on ideas for its sequel, but I’m also trying to make time for my pet project, my historical fiction novel that I have been working on sporadically for the passed few years. Both projects are vying for my time and it’s hard to allocate a balanced schedule.
LH: I write for fun I don’t even dream of riches…Do you do covers for fun, an artistic outlet or money?
GS:I do them hardly for fun these days. That’s not to say I don’t have fun working on a cover. I certainly don’t do them for making a potential fortune; in fact, I quite often will put a cover together for someone for next to nothing just to help them out. I still struggle as a writer, and I know how what’s it’s like to try to stretch a meager budget when it comes to getting a book ready for the market.
LH: Some of my family members had a bit of a problem with me writing my first book “A Beautiful Liar” because the character Maggie West is basically me…to a point 😉 They had a problem with the genre and me “putting it all out there” so to speak so I took a pen name. They eventually came around as I have never cared who knows who I am what I’ve done or what they think of me. I’ve never wanted to be famous, just infamous! What has been your biggest problem when it comes to family or friends and your work?
GS:I still struggle with the specter of my first book. It was born of a dare and only took a few months to write, and I had a lot of fun working on it. But when family and friends read it for the first time I think several were quite taken aback by the story. It’s an erotic thriller; quite detailed, in fact. Strangely enough, my wife tried to read 50 Shades of Grey and thought the book boring. She actually prefers my own book, KILLING SOFTLY. I’m not sure if I’ll ever venture into that genre again, but you never know.
LH: I have never experienced writers block…I have experienced writers “don’t want to”… Have you ever suffered from “designers block and if so, how do you overcome it?
GS:Not writer’s or designer’s block so much, but more a sudden lack of drive or interest in a job. Sometimes the feeling will last only a day or so, but there have been occasions when I’ve left a job for weeks or months before being able to confront it again. Once I overcome that lack-luster feeling I quite often will work all hours into the night to get the job completed. Strange. When the sensation comes over me I try to find something else to focus on, sometimes something completely different to the job in hand. But I know for a fact that somewhere deep in my mind there is a part of me still actively working on the problem and given enough time will eventually find the answer to my sudden “block.”
LH: I would not change one thing in my life as I would not be me if I did… If you could go back in time and change one thing in your life, what would it be?
GS:Geez, another tough question. And it’s not really a fair question. There are so many things I guess I’d like to change. But I guess if I had to pick one it would be the morning I left to fly to Papua New Guinea to spend a few weeks with missionary friends among the Highland natives. No sooner had I arrived in the middle of PNG and was preparing to settle down for the night that I received a phone call informing me that my mother had just passed away. She was still half asleep when I said my quick goodbye that morning. Yes, I’d go back to the day I arranged to make that trip so that I could cancel it and then be home when Mum was rushed off to hospital. I never did get the chance to say a proper goodbye.
LH: If I could go back in time and tell someone something, I’d go back and tell the founding fathers they were doing a few things wrong…If you could go back in time and tell someone something, who would you tell and what would you tell them?
GS: Crikey! Where do you get these questions from? Let me see. Well to begin with, if we ever had the opportunity to go back and confront a person or persons about something we knew would happen, we’d be laughed at and ridiculed … unless, of course, we thought to take along evidence to back up our message. But I digress. Okay then, seeing as I’m a relatively new US citizen, I think I’d like to go back and talk JFK out of his scheduled trip to Dallas. I’d take along news clippings and photos to support my warning and make a strong suggestion that he initiate a witch hunt for those planning to assassinate him.
Thanks for that fun and thoughtful interview GS…Now… for the fun stuff!
Favorite Beverage? Hot chocolate
Exercise or Bubble Bath? A luxuriating bubble bath after a hard day at the keyboard. But don’t mention that to my mates.
Favorite Color? Bright yellow.
Take out or Dine in? Dine in with that someone special with wine and candle light.
Camping or Hotel? Depends on the time of year and what hotel you’re talking about.
Sports or Chocolate? You can’t have both? Who says you can’t!
Dogs or Cats? Dogs. I’ve always had a dog growing up. Now we have two.
Favorite Food? My Mum’s roast leg of lamb.
Favorite Song? Impossible to say.
Favorite Movie? Lawrence of Arabia, Camelot (the musical), Braveheart, The African Queen … and many, many more.
Favorite Car? Jaguar
Sex or Chocolate? (The answer “Both” is totally acceptable 😉 Both make a magical combination, especially if both a very warm verging on hot.
And now for the essay part of the interview 😉
LH: If you could go anywhere for a week, with anyone you wanted and no one would ever find out about it…where would you go, what would you do and who would you take?
GS:Boy, is that ever a loaded question. Well, a week isn’t very long at all, but I think I’d spend it on the dazzling white sands of one of the Fijian islands. Everything runs on “island time”, no hurry for anything. The woman of my dreams and I would laze around, soaking up the tropical sun and cooling off in the crystal clear warm ocean. We’d stroll hand-in-hand along the beach at night bathed in the soft pearl glow of the full moon and listen to the tropical birds settling down for the night. And we’d enjoy discovering each other.
Thank you for spending this time with us. Make sure to pick up your copy of Greg Smith’s
The Pits: A Crime Novel (Volume 1)