Today I am pleased to welcome Laney Smith on to the blog with a quick interview! She’s come up with some fascinating answers!
What is your favourite thing about writing books?
My favourite thing about writing books is that you can do anything. You can go anywhere and you can take others with you. You can dream up amazing people and you can introduce the world to them. You can dream up incredible scenarios and adventures and you can take the world on those along with you. Life is structured and there are so many thing we cannot change. For me, writing gives me a freedom to create the world I want to live in. When you write, if you don’t like the way something happens, you can press the delete key and change it all. Life doesn’t give us the same ability, and sometimes that is for the better. When you write, you can’t mess up. You save copies as you go. You save the edits so if you regret deleting them later, you still have the option to go back to them. Writing is so different than life. That is my favourite thing about it.
Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
Derrick Decker is my favourite character. He’s a good-looking guy with authority. He’s got this coolness where he uses his intelligence over his muscle. However, being the sheriff, sometimes he has to use his muscles and he’s OK with that, too. He’s subtle, but there’s a lot that goes on behind his pretty blue eyes. He’s a good man, but he has a bad boy side that makes him a lot of fun. This will sound completely insane, but in my mind, I have a mental room where it is bland, boring, quiet. There’s a desk, a window, and a door. Beyond the door is a hallway – like a school hallway – and characters shuffle around in that hallway, always passing the doorway. Sometimes, they stop and pop their head in my little mental writing room. Then, they tell me their story and I write it. When Derrick shows up in that doorway, I know it’s going to be a good day at work. He leans his shoulder against the doorway, locks one leg over the other, crosses his arms across his chest and he smiles. He wears this, “Game on,” expression. I love it when he does that! He’s so much fun!
What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
My favourite drink to consume? Hmmm . . . I drink coffee and tea like they will never make it, again. As of late, I’ve been trying to drink more water. Every now and then, however, it’s nice to have a cold beer, or a margarita or two.
Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
I have a few, actually. First of all, sometimes, here in the real world, I accidentally employ the emotions that were created in the fictitious world. So, say I’m writing an intense scene and I get pulled away from my writing, for some reason – in the real world, I’m locked in this intense response mode. I’ll catch myself, zipping around town, hurried and nearly frantic to get somewhere. Then, when I realize I’m acting as though I have to get somewhere, right away, I start questioning why. Then, I realize I’ve brought the mood of the scene back to the real world. That’s always fun! When a character dies, if I stop writing at that point, I’m sad in the real world. These aren’t real people, but as a writer, they may as well be. You spend so much time with them. You know them. You put them in situations and scenarios. Then, you kill them off. The loss hurts, sometimes. So, that is one bad habit. The other bad habit that came to mind is when I write, I hear things happening around me. I store them in a short-term, holding box. I deal with them when I’m ready. If my family is talking, I hear them and I appear to have them shut out. However, I can tell them everything they said. I just don’t always respond right that second. I hate being pulled out of my story. So, I keep going with the story and hold on to the other stuff until I’m take a break. “Mom, I need field trip money for Thursday.” I hear it. I keep it. I get the field trip money. I just don’t jump up and do it right that second. So, apparently, this is frustrating for people who have been put in my little holding box. But, it works great for me while I’m working. Then, I get to impress my family with how much I really did hear that they thought I missed.
How do you research your books?
I write a lot of stories involving law enforcement. Thankfully, I have met a number of police officers, near and far, who are kind enough to help me when I have questions. So, I have that. I also try to draw a lot from personal experience. When that doesn’t work, I turn to Google or You Tube. I may go to a bookstore if I need a considerable amount of information. I watch movies related to the subject matter. I do everything I can think of to absorb as much information as I can get, until I feel like I’ve got what I need.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I am a pantser! Hands down! Before, I mentioned the doorway where the characters pop in and tell a story. Sometimes, they stand in the doorway and tell me their entire story. I can start a book and have it ready to publish within a couple of months when that happens. Sometimes, they start strong and we get a good way into the story. Then, another character comes and knock that character out of the doorway and starts telling their own story. So, I start writing that one. Sometimes, the previous characters come back and pick up where they left off. Sometimes, they don’t. I have tons of stories that were started and will probably never be finished. I have some stories that stalled out at eighty-thousand words and are waiting to be finished. Until those characters come back, the rhythm just isn’t there. I can’t force it. So, I am a pantser. If I were a plotter, I’d probably be able to release fifteen books over the next few months. I admire the plotters. However, being a pantser gives me that freedom that I love about writing. So, I’m happy to be a pantser.
If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
I would live in Lock Creek. Actually, to be more specific, I would live on Decker Estates in Lock Creek. There is something very appealing to me about having my own, private eight-hundred-acre lake. I love nature – trees, animals, and water. I like the thought of sitting on my porch in my pajamas and not worrying about neighbors seeing me. However, I like being able to run to the store, if I need to make a quick trip. So, Decker Estates would be an amazing place to live. It’s the best of every world, rolled into one world.
If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
I would probably befriend Luke Spencer from my novel, Ripples. He’s the fun-loving, devil-may-care boy trapped in a man’s body. He’s always doing something fun and crazy. He doesn’t care that he’s an adult, he’s not willing to give up having fun like a child. He lives life to the fullest and there is never a dull moment in his life. His approach to fun is the way I think we should all be. We should never risk good times, smiles, and memories out of fear of what someone may think. Instead, we should make sure we drag everyone around in on the fun, as well. Luke is a loveable guy with a boyish charm. However, he knows when and how to be a man. The only thing about Luke that I would cause reservation is the incident he’s involved with in Ripples. Is he a good guy? Is he a bad guy? Did he do the right thing? He doesn’t care. He has no regrets and he’d do it the same, if he had it to do over, again. He made peace with his decision and he’s willing to face whatever comes because of it. He’s a genuine person and happiness is his priority. Who doesn’t want a friend like that?
About the Author
Laney Smith, the mother of two sons, is an American author who was born in Little Rock, Arkansas and raised in Texas. In her teen years, she and her family (including two younger brothers) moved to Colorado. Laney has also lived in Mississippi and currently resides in Southern California. Since a writing career seemed to persistently tug on her shirt tails, Laney eventually decided to try her hand at the art, writing news articles for a local newspaper. After numerous front page features, a new passion was born and the storyteller decided to try her hand at fiction. Her debut work, Lock Creek: One Year’s Time is still one of her most popular, frequently read works, proving that she managed to escape the “first is the worst” curse. In fact, Smith’s Lock Creek series won a “books-to-screen” contest and is currently being adapted for a television series, with other potential “books-to-screen” projects looming on the horizon. At the time of this publication, Laney currently has eight novels to her credit, as well as short stories in two anthology projects (no longer in print). She also released one novel under another pen name. Looking back, Smith’s only regret is that she did not start writing, sooner. When she is not submerging herself in her fictitious worlds, conjuring up riveting stories, Laney enjoys spending time with her family. Whether she is in the mountains, hanging out at tide pools, watching a sporting event, or enjoying some form of art, the writer’s mind is always dreaming up the next page-turning tale. Having accomplished so much in such a short time (Lock Creek: One Year’s Time, her first work, was published July 2014), Laney Smith has found her passion and her calling. The author, with her feet firmly planted, guarantees her readers that she is here to stay.