AJ Smith is another of those writers I’m happy to know through the 0s and 1s that come into my house.  I’m definitely going to steal her idea of a camera outside my office, once I get an office door that is. 🙂 Enjoy. 9781938108433

1. Tell me about your latest project.

My latest project just came out in December! It’s called Dying Embers and is the second but prequel in my first series about James Matthews. This book follows Addison Lee and the start to her life in Norwich. It might be the prequel to Forever Burn, but it is definitely the second book in the series.

2. What role, if any, did books, writing, and reading play in your childhood?

I didn’t actually read a lot as a child. *hides under the desk* I really hated it. I’m a slow reader, and I have to read every single word in order for it to make sense. Throughout college, I got a bit faster at reading, simply because I had to, but reading was never something I thoroughly enjoyed as a child. I did, however, love to write in my teen years. I used it as a way of expressing my emotions and working through some bad juju that I had. I’ve always seen writing as therapeutic for me and as a stress reliever. And I do actually read for pleasure now, unlike when I was a kid—meaning I read for pleasure when I don’t have hundreds of pages of reading each week for class.

3. What is your writing practice, your writing routine?

I wish I had one! I typically write NaNoWriMo style. This means that I write a lot in a very short amount of time and most of my time on a novel is actually spent editing it. I’m very good at keeping all the information in my head at one time, so I don’t really write anything down. As I’m going through a novel, I don’t go back and edit. I’ll fix the little red lines and some of the green ones, but normally I just plow on through it from start to end. I also don’t skip around in the writing on a novel. I’m a very linear and logical thinker, so to skip around would get me so jumbled up that I wouldn’t be able to keep with it all.

For the basics of a writing routine, I tend to do it on my bright red couch. I flip sides on the couch about every 3-4 hours, and I usually only have music playing in the background. If I find the music too distracting, I’ll turn it off and write in silence. The television is never on if I want to get a decent amount of writing done. During this process, I rarely eat or drink, but I always have something nearby as a distraction. I’m always on Twitter for the little distractions and don’t really respond to anyone on there when writing. It’s mainly to give me something else to write for about two seconds before I go back to noveling.

4. Who are you reading now?

Books you don’t want to know about because they’re for school? =P For pleasure, I’m reading Geonn Cannon’s Riley Parra Season Two and Kristin Duvall’s Femme du Chaos. I’m also in the middle of Evangeline Anderson’s Found, which is from her sci-fi erotica series—not sure if I’ll finish that one or not.

5. What are three of your all-time favorite books? Why do you love those?

Three? Oh crap… I loved The Giver by Louis Lowry, and I still do. I recently re-read it and continued on with the rest of the series, but the first book is still by far my favorite. A second one is actually a children’s book, but I can’t resist the story and the colors. It’s called King of Another Country and tells a beautiful story of how people change. As for the third favorite book…I have no clue. I’ll have to think on that one a lot.

6. How do you balance “building a writing platform” and the actual writing to set on that platform?

I think the answer to this is I don’t. If I’m immersed in writing, the platforming goes to the wayside and vice versa. I think it’s really just a matter of finding what works for each individual person. I do try to not be on so many social media sites because I simply don’t have the time or the energy for it, and I will definitely say that in the last six months my writing has severely been lacking. I do set aside specific time for writing each week, but lately that seems to have turned into editing time instead. I got backlogged on editing because writing is more fun.

7.What is a typical day like for you?

I’m not sure you can ask that! Lol. If you’re talking a typical writing day, I’ll wake up about 7am (I like my sleep unlike a slew of authors I know.), and I’ll get onto my social media for about an hour. Somewhere between 8 and 9, I’ll start writing (or as is the case for the last month and a half, editing). I’ll typically go straight through until dinner or even until bedtime. This schedule becomes complicated by the fact that I have two other part-time jobs, and I’m a full-time student, AND I have a significant other that requires my time. So I take it more week by week rather than day by day. Mondays are, however, my designated writing day.

8. Describe your dream writing space?

Sound proof walls are a MUST! I would love lots of sticky notes and a bulletin board right in front of where I sit, so I can write crazy notes to myself. I would want a great sound system and about three locks on the door where if I have a do not disturb button it’ll shock anyone who dares come within ten feet of the door or perhaps even the room. Clearly this room is not in a building but a building of itself otherwise people would be getting shocked all the time. I’d also want a security camera that no one could see outside so I could tell if the person coming to knock on my door was worth my time or not.

9. What is the hardest writing critique you ever received? How did you respond?

Hardest critique? Probably one that I recently got. It was a review, actually. The review wrote many things about the book they didn’t like (for example, it started too slow and paid too much attention to detail), but then the reviewer would come back not a sentence later and say the part they didn’t like was necessary (It was necessary for the detail to get to know the character and the banter between the two characters in the scene was excellent). This is a hard critique because I’m not really sure where to go with it. It actually has me feeling a bit down about my writing, but I’m working on ignoring that part.

This critique is good in that it explains what the reviewer did not like, but when it comes back to the parts that the review didn’t like being necessary to the story, I’m lost. It’s as if the review is saying I didn’t like it, but I liked it at the same time without going into further detail. It’s hard to know where to go with it and what I can change if something is bad but necessary to the story. It is clear from the review that the reviewer was not a fan of the story in general; I think it just wasn’t their cup of tea, which I wish the review would have made more clear. The review isn’t a bad review by any means, but it does have me in this weird “what am I supposed to do with this” limbo.

10. What is the best wisdom you have to share with other writers?

Keep writing. Look for people who can honestly critique you and push your comfort zone. Develop a skin that is thick but can still be broken. Be open to other people’s opinions.

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Adrian J. Smith, or “AJ” as she is often called, is a part-time writer with an epic imagination, sharp wit, and kind heart that gets her into a bit of trouble when it comes to taking in all the neighborhood stray cats. Being obsessed with science fiction, Smith often goes off on tangents about the space-time continuum. She is also a part-time lunatic with a secretive past. It’s been rumored that she was once a spy for the government, but anyone who has gotten close enough to know the truth has never lived to tell the tale. When traveling around the world on various classified tasks, Smith requires the following be provided: buffalo jerky, mimosas, and eighty-six pennies. This is all we know about the reclusive woman.  

At least 10% of all proceeds goes to Sanctuary For Kids. It’s a fantastic organization that sends money to help children around the world. Charity and children are an extremely important part of Adrian’s life and supporting them in any way possible is magnificent. Please check out their website to see what they are doing and consider donating to them yourself.

Find AJ on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and on her own blog.