My latest interview is with fellow Brit, Ian D Smith. Ian’s latest book, From the Top, the third in his Merely Players series, has just been released.
First off, about you as a person:
(1) Where do you live now, and where did you grow up?
I live in Cornwall, the county in the south-western corner of England. It’s an area with a lot of beautiful spots. The “Poldark” TV series are filmed not too far away, which won’t mean anything to those who’ve not seen them, of course. My childhood started in north-west England, then we moved to the south.
I’ve spent many holidays in Devon and Cornwall – some truly fantastic scenery
(2) Which of the following best describes you:
(a) single (b) involved with someone (c) married (d) married with children
(3) Do you have a real job, or does your writing pay the bills?
My day job pays all the bills! I take my writing as seriously as if it were my main job, but sadly, I have to go off to work every day as well.
(4) Of the places you’ve visited, where was your favourite?
Montreal, which I only visited briefly and wish I’d had longer to explore. It fascinated me, as the modern areas looked like the American cities I’d seen on TV, but all the signs were in French. There’s a lovely old area, which is like a small 18th or 19th century European town, and a huge underground area of the city. And best of all, the people were friendly and the food was excellent.
(5) Is there anywhere you haven’t been that you’d love to visit?
Iceland and New Zealand. What I’ve seen of these countries in the media really appeals to me. Well, apart from the price of alcohol in Iceland.
You live in Cornwall, you loved Canada, and you fancy Iceland and New Zealand. There seems to be a common theme here for wide-open spaces.
(6) How do you spend your spare time when you’re not working, sleeping or writing?
My main hobbies are photography, archery and trying to catch up with all the great books I load onto my kindle!
Hmm… There seems to be another common theme running through these hobbies, too.
Okay, moving on to your writing:
(7) Is Ian Smith your real name or a pseudonym?
It’s my real name. Smith is such a common surname that it’s pretty anonymous. I did think about pseudonyms, but couldn’t think of one I liked.
(8) I write under a female penname, yet I’m a guy. So, Cock or Minge?
(9) How many people who know you in real life are aware that you write smut?
Very few. I’m not ashamed of what I write, but I like to keep most of my real life off social media.
(10) Do you remember your first dirty story, and why you wrote it?
Yes, it was an erotic romance novella, which I wrote for escapism. It was also an experiment, to see if I could come up with something half-decent which broadly resembled “chick-lit”, but with more detailed sex scenes. It was awful, of course! But it taught me a lot about writing, including the important fact that it takes an awful lot of practice for most people to write an engaging story.
(11) Why do you write erotica (or would you call it erotic romance)?
Why? Because it’s rather fun!
I differentiate between erotica and erotic romance, as relationships are far more important in the latter. As sex is an important aspect of many relationships, why not write about it more honestly?
(12) If someone reading this interview had never heard of you, how would you describe your stories?
I hope that they’re primarily engaging stories with characters readers can “see” in their imaginations. And these characters, on occasion, get very saucy... The series I’m writing follows the developing three-way relationship between one guy (the narrator) and two very close female friends. He was persuaded to work with them on TV drama shows, something he struggles with but grows into, and some of the stories seem to spill over into their real lives in uncomfortable ways.
(13) What’s the nicest thing anyone’s said about your writing?
That they enjoyed it and wanted to read more
(14) What’s the nastiest thing anyone’s said about your writing?
I’ve not had any unpleasant feedback about my writing so far, thankfully
(15) Do you write in other genres under other pennames?
Not yet. I have an idea for a short novel which will be far more mystery/thriller than romance, and this may well be more mainstream in the way sex scenes are written. I’ve written a first draft of about half of it, and really want to get stuck into it and see how it flows.
(16) Talk us through your writing process. Do you have definite plot-lines, or just start writing and see where the characters take you?
For my novellas, I always have a sort-of-outline for the story when I start it, but if good ideas pop into my head, I’ll include them. I try to “listen” to my characters, so I can write each of them as an individual, and this can trigger some interesting ideas too.
Short stories can build up from a predetermined plot idea, or be built around a scene which I’ve thought of. The flash fiction I write can grow from an idea, or sometimes just from the final line (which is often a twist).
(17) What’s your most satisfying writing moment?
My first and only piece of “fan mail”, which someone sent me to say they’d enjoyed reading a short story posted on the Erotica Readers and Writers Association website gallery!
(18) I know many writers of smut get derogatory comments through social media. Do you get these, and how do you cope? Have you ever been sent pictures of genitalia?
No derogatory comments so far. I’m open about my writing on social media. I suspect female writers, or anyone writing under a female pen-name, would be more likely to attract unwanted attention.
(19) If someone was going on holiday and could take only one book by each author with them, which of yours would you recommend, and why?
That depends on their preferences. If they wanted a more conventionally romantic story, I’d suggest “The King’s Captain”, but my latest “From the Top” has more of a mystery feel about it.
(20) Are there any subjects you wouldn’t be comfortable writing about or including in your stories?
I don’t think I could write stories involving incest or non-consensual sex, unless that was only part of the backstory for a character. And there’s a lot of the kink world I wouldn’t want to write about, simply because I don’t know enough about it to tell a plausible story.
(21) If you could act out any scene from one of your stories, which character would you play, and what does the scene involve? Why does this particular scene appeal?
I think it’d have to be a short story called “Re-Entry”, published in an anthology called “Love and Lust in Space”. Two astronauts, one male and one female, with a long-standing platonic friendship despite each finding the other attractive, are trapped in a small space-craft in an almost-certain-death situation. They each admit their feelings and decide that, given the circumstance, well, why not? It was great fun thinking about this scene, particularly about describing love-making in weightless conditions.
It appeals because (a) I’d be in space and able to see the Earth from orbit and (b) weightless sex seems like it’d be rather fun!
I see you’re combining the common themes from your travel and your hobbies now…
(22) Do you set yourself targets? What are your long-term writing goals?
Yes, but they’re more about motivation than beating myself up. There’s almost always something else going on, or cropping up unexpectedly which gets in the way of my writing. As it’s a leisure-time activity, it would be ridiculous to set rigid targets and expect to achieve them.
I want to complete this series, which will probably take 18 months, and it’d be great if the two spin-off novel ideas I have are published too. Then there are all the other stories filling my head... I’d love to earn enough from my writing to be able to go part-time on my day job, to have an extra day every week for writing,
(23) What are you writing at the moment?
I’ve started on the fourth novella in my series, but also have an idea for a short paranormal story I want to get out of my head!
(24) Last Question: For twitter, I’ve invented my own hashtag, #bmbtaf, which stands for Buy My Books, They’re About Fucking. What hashtag can you come up with to help your sales?
I quite like the “literary porn” label, even though my stories are neither! Maybe something like #gsfs – good, steamy fun stories
Thanks Ian. Great to have you on here, and good luck with your latest release.
People can find out more about Ian’s work from the following links:
Regular Facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/Dr.Ian.D.Smith
Facebook author profile: https://www.facebook.com/ian.d.smith.writer/?ref=settings
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ian-Smith/e/B00Q060KCQ
Books and Blurbs
The Merely Players Series
My plan is to write six novella-length stories with the same characters, following the development of their relationship as they work on a variety of TV drama shows, and cope with the odd incident which arises from them, as well as keep up with their “real lives”.
Paul, a lonely widower, meets best friends Becky and Hayley, who recruit him and his jousting team to work on a TV show. A gentleman at heart, he finds it hard enough being attracted to both of them, but they're clearly both very interested in him too. Helping a damsel in distress and jousting are far easier than figuring out what's going on in this emotional triangle...
Paul, now Hayley's leading man and lover, finds acting and portraying a hero on a period TV show take far more than a suit of armour. He's totally out of his depth, personally and professionally. But he learns he can be a real-life hero when life overshadows art. When his trust in Hayley and her best friend Becky is threatened by a secret, he has to decide if it's braver to walk away than take a chance.
Paul, working with his lovers Becky and Hayley, feels deep-ended. He's acting in his first studio production—a slightly mad family-friendly TV show where amateur Egyptologists find a hidden tomb and temple, with a very realistic mummy on set.
They want to keep their developing three-way relationship private, while surrounded by people who love to gossip and just might let things slip to the media. Time is tight, working with a professional stunt team and egotistical actors is stressful, and Paul and Becky get some unwanted attention.
Adding to his anxiety is the important question of where their relationship can go.
Then there are his terrifying, painfully realistic, and very life-like dreams about nasty accidents. On TV, he can have another take. Real life only gives him one go. But it's almost as if he's getting a chance to change how things work out.
Contributions in Anthologies
Two astronauts could easily die when their prototype space capsule malfunctions in orbit. Their only hope for survival involves a risky spell with no radio contact. Total isolation is a time for honesty about their feelings for each other. With no guarantee of living until the next day, this last chance may be all they have.
Two stories included in Elemental Desires, a charity anthology edited by Derendrea
Fire From The Air
A fighter pilot protecting a no-fly zone and a volunteer doctor at a refugee camp find love and duty in 2047 Africa.
Unexpectedly grounded in England after an Icelandic volcano eruption halts flight, Claudia and Michael have to entertain themselves for a couple of days.