Well, here's my interview with author Patricia Smith who can be contacted at PATRICIA SMITH : TIMESPLIT
- Hello Tricia, to begin with can you tell me a little about yourself, Patricia Smith the person?
I live in Northumberland, England, with my husband and three cats. Whenever possible we go walking in the magnificent Northumberland and Kielder hills. I started my career as computer programmer which is a bit like story writing without the emotions. At present I work at a college helping students who are struggling with their maths and English. The rest of my time is spent writing.
- Tell me a little of that writing.
With regard to the writing of Distant Suns. At first I was totally overwhelmed, it was just too complex, so deciding on a plan of action involving breaking the story down into smaller chunks and the use of a timeline, I focused on the one piece I needed to, at that particular time.
- Distant Suns is your latest book to be published, tell me a little about it.
A story all about survival and sacrifice, a story of two astronomers who discover a cloud of hydrogen the size of the asteroid belt approaching the Solar System and realise it is on a collision course with Earth, everything in Distant Suns is a definite possibility, it could have happened at the start of our Solar System and it could happen now.
- You mention your father as a massive influence, what other things influenced/inspired you?
- Any influential books/stories?
- The scientific premise in Distant Suns is very credible, how did you research it?
- Do you have a favourite character?
- Any possibility of a sequel and, if so, can you tell me a little bit more?
- We've talked quite a lot about Distant Suns but its not your only published work, can you tell me about Time Split.
- And a little birdie tells me there is also another book in the pipeline, care to tell us a little more?
Yes, it has a working title of Islands Beneath the Sea and tells the story of what happens when 500 people, taking part in an experiment at the bottom of the North Sea, lose contact with the surface. It follows the fate of five of those brave souls who return to the surface to try to find their loved ones and to understand what has happened.
- How do we get hold of your books?
My books are obtainable from Amazon and have recently been made available on Smashwords which will allow them to be read on other formats and not just kindle.
- Given your love of cats and hedgehogs, have you ever considered a children's book featuring them?
Funnily enough, one of the earliest books I wrote as a children's book about a witch, her grandchildren and a cat.
- Any tips to aspiring writers?
Be aware that it is difficult to find a publisher, only rarely do these things happen overnight.
After many years of trying the so-called 'official channels' I decided on the self-publishing route as though I got lots of positive feedback I found it was difficult to get an agent unless you had been published and yet publishers were not interested unless you had an agent.
Always be professional: read any submission rules, invest in a good front cover, remember the title is important, and if at all possible have your work professionally proof-read even if it is just a sample but, most of all, don't give up.
- And last but not least, which book would you loved to have written?
The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe by C.S Lewis as its such a magical story.
- Anything else you'd like to add?
Generally I've been very lucky, I've been surrounded by fantastic people, who have had faith in me when I haven't had any in myself. I've been overwhelmed by people's kindness and encouragement and have been very fortunate to have these positive influences in my life.
Thanks to my father who helps me with editing, makes suggestions for characters and situations and, generally keeps me right; to my husband, Darryl, for assuring me I'd struck an emotional chord; colleague and friend, Matthew Wheeler who not only started me off on the road to self publishing but also originally designed the website for Time Split.