Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the one hundred and forty-second, is of multi-genre author Laurie Smith.
Laurie Smith lives on a secluded property in rural Australia with his wife Lorelle. Retired from work but not from life he spends his time writing, maintaining their hideaway and travelling whenever possible. Prior to leaving school at thirteen, his only notable academic moment was to have a short story he had written, read out to the whole school. Then began a round of menial jobs until joining the Army in 1969, this fuelled his love of adventure. He saw active service in South Viet Nam as a member of the Armoured Corps.
Leaving the Army in 1975 he began a new career as a Prison Officer. This was more than a job it grounded him in the world of crime and criminals, providing a bottomless pit of characters for future reference. A career in the Queensland Police followed and seven years of dedication to a job he loved went down the drain. PTSD put his life on hold for a year, and then he returned to security work. The following ten years were low key but they gave him valuable time to read more books. Redundancy sent him back to working in jail and a series of unfortunate events over the following two years saw him retiring with ill health. His life changed in all areas and he married Lorelle, with her love and inspiration bolstering him he followed his dream and began a writing course. Now he has found his second love, writing.
And now from the author himself:
I write under two names, Laurie Smith for the Wuff and Ready series of children’s picture books and L W Smith for my adult DEATH series. Wuff and Ready is a book designed to show children, in a non-threatening way the work done by Emergency Services personnel. The characters are animals, and the first book depicts a day in the life of Wagapaw Fire Fighters when a fuel truck capsizes. The involvement of Fire, Police and Ambulance is shown, all doing their job and working as a team. The characters are created by a paramedic, Martin Smith (no relation) and I put the story together.
I don’t see myself primarily as a children’s book writer, I have a wealth of anecdotes and characters scrambling to get out in the adult zone. Mountain of Death, the first of the series started life as an epilogue to a penny dreadful / pulp fiction style exercise in writing class. The scene where a Detective Sergeant checks a series of surveillance photos brought my main protagonist, Jack Hardy to life. The story flowed on from there with people lining up in my mind to be noticed and the plot grew as I wrote. Yes the first draft was something of a dog’s breakfast, so I studied harder, read writing magazines and more importantly listened to my editor. I’ve found that the first book was indeed the hardest, after procuring a cover from a graphic artist and formatting the book myself, I self-published it on Amazon Kindle on the 12th of March this year. Then I really learned about marketing, something I now know I should have been doing for six months prior to release. The basics were in place: Facebook, a Book page on Facebook, WordPress blog. Now I have a Goodreads page and am on Linkedin.
Connecting with like-minded people is the way to go, building up a strong group of fellow writers who give good comment and advice when needed. Blogging is a wonderful way of reaching a wider audience; it’s not all about your book. I’ve found a series of humorous anecdotes from my police days has been quite popular. Word of mouth and a printed book go a long way as well. People like to hold a book, so I had a limited print run on Mountain of Death and it was launched locally with several other authors. All the feedback has been upbeat, ie, ‘When’s the next one coming out? Couldn’t put it down.’
The following two books, Valley of Death and River of Death are set in and around Brisbane, Australia. Where Mountain reflects the story from the criminal’s perspective, the sequels, already written are more police based. They are not procedurals but revolve around the life of the protagonist, a female Detective. The whole series is a darker look at crime and criminals, it is at times visceral, ugly, sexual and violent.
You can find more about Laurie and his writing via…
His blog: https://laurie27wsmith.wordpress.com where you will find samples of his writing, a couple of short stories, the continuing series of A Policeman’s Lot, plus small excerpts from the Death Series.
Facebook Page for Mountain of Death: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/DeathSeries
Link to review of Mountain of Death by Pat Garcia: http://patgarciabookreviews.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/mountain-of-death-by-l-w-smith
Link to Wuff and Ready book: http://www.tmasbooks.com.au/index.php
And Laurie’s Amazon book page: http://www.amazon.com/Mountain-Death-Series-ebook/dp/B007N66TRM
The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with children’s author and poet Sherrill Cannon – the five hundred and seventy-third of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.
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