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Interview with Kim Smith, Author of Avenging Angel: A Shannon Wallace Mystery

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avenging-angelKim Smith was born in Memphis Tennessee, the youngest of four children. After a short stint in a Northwest Mississippi junior college, during the era of John Grisham’s rise as a lawyer, she gave up educational pursuits to marry and begin family life.

She has worked in many fields in her life, from fast food waitress to telephone sales. “I always got the seniors on the phone who were lonely and wanted someone to talk to. My boss couldn’t understand why in the world I spent so much time talking to them and not enough time selling. That was when I realized I love people and care deeply about their lives.”

After the birth of her two children, she gave up working outside the home for the more important domestic duties of wife and mother. When her kids decided they wanted to pursue theater as an extracurricular activity, she gave up her free time to drive them to rehearsals, training classes, and plays. During those years, she found herself bored with nothing to do to while away the hours stuck in a car. She began thinking of stories to entertain herself and pass the time. Before long she started telling her husband about her stories and he assured her she could write a book if she really wanted to. She put the idea away once she landed a job as a network administrator for a small corporation, and together the Smith’s started their own video production company.

Writing was a dream, hidden but not forgotten, and soon Kim began to talk again of trying her hand at it. She played with words, and wrote several poems, one of which was picked up for an anthology

One day in the early nineties her husband came home with a desktop computer and sat her in front of it. “Now you have no more excuses,” he said, and she realized the truth in his words. Procrastination, now no longer an option, she took off on the pursuit of penning her first book. Though that book, a young adult fantasy, was lost due to unforeseen circumstances, she kept going, writing a historical romance, and another YA.

When she decided to try out her hand at mystery writing, she discovered her true love and niche in the writing journey. She has since had four short stories, and her first mystery novel accepted for publication.

Kim is a member of Sisters in Crime, and EPIC. She still lives in the Mid South region of the United States and is currently working on her second book in the mystery series.

You can visit her website at www.mkimsmith.com.

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Kim. Can you tell us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published? Can you give us the title(s) of your book(s)?

Avenging Angel, a Shannon Wallace Mystery is my first published book, but not my first book per se. I have written three other books, although I decided to keep working on them rather than seek publication.

What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

The Realm, my very first book, was never published as it was not publish-worthy. I do not even have a copy of it anymore, and that is probably a good thing as my writing has improved dramatically since then.

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

More than ten, maybe less than twenty, and all from agents. When I gave up trying to get an agent, and began submitting to small publishers (who accept submissions direct from the author) I was accepted straight away.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

Initially, the rejections stung a bit. I was not mature enough to know that they were not rejecting my writing, but the book instead. I believe that if I were to seek an agent today, rejections would not bother me at all.

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

Avenging Angel was published by Red Rose Publishing, and I chose them upon a recommendation by someone who works for them. I have never regretted taking their advice.

How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

I have to tell you, it felt wonderful. I kept going back to the buy page just to look at the way MY work looked to the public. I went out to dinner and celebrated with good food, good friends, and dessert.

What was the first thing you did as far as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I didn’t wait until my book came out to begin promoting. I think that is something that a lot of folks do that is a bad idea. I set up my website, streamlined my blog, and began joining every social networking sites I could. I belong to 35 yahoo groups, and seventeen other groups like Facebook, Myspace, and Gather.

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

Yes, my journey was a little different with this book than most authors have to travel. I actually pulled this book from my very first choice publisher and took it to Red Rose Publishing. I would advise authors to investigate your publisher thoroughly.

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

Yes, I have had the next book in the Shannon Wallace series accepted, titled Buried Angel, as well as a novella, A Will to Love, and a short story, Love Waltzes. I believe that I understand the writing process and the publication phase of the writing process better now and that has “grown” me as an author. I would tell aspiring authors to be sure and remember that there is nothing you write that doesn’t need rewriting.

What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

I wasn’t really devoted to getting an agent, and so I spent a lot more time researching them and waiting on them to tell me that they didn’t want my book than actually trying to get published. I would not do that again. I believe that your work will find a home if you are devoted to sending it out.

What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

Avenging Angel made it to the publisher’s number six spot on the bestseller list, and that was a big deal to me. I would love for the cover to win and award, or for it to final in a contest.

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

I do have another profession, in fact I have two. I am a network administrator for a small remanufacturing company and I am a professional videographer/ photographer.

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

I could never give up writing, no matter what happened. I have tried, and it wouldn’t let me alone. So in answer, I believe that I have accepted that writing is not something that I do, it is instead, a part of who I am.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

Old. Old as dirt, in fact, but wiser, a whole lot wiser. I will have a LOT of work out there for my readers and fans, and I hope in ten years they love me even more.

Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Keep going. There is nothing stopping you from being published, but you. It’s like I tell some of my brides(as a videographer)- if you can’t wait to find a place to get married, go see a JP. You are still just as married. If you are unsuccessful at finding an agent, or a NY publisher, try a small press, go the ebook route. You are still just as published.


6 Comments

  1. Welcome to Beyond the Books, Kim! Thank you so much for touring with Pump Up Your Book Promotion and I’ll see you in the group!

  2. Great inteview ladies. Congratulations on taking a spot on the publisher’s best sellers list. That’s always great news.

    I’m glad you stayed committed to your dreams, Kim.

    Cheryl

  3. I have one of those first books also that will not see the light of day. The main thing is learning from mistakes. Glad you made it over the hump!

    Morgan Mandel
    http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

  4. LOL, don’t we all have one of those books secretly hidden in some box in the attic somewhere? I’d love to find it but I shudder to think what it would look like.

  5. Suko says:

    You are an inspiration to aspiring writers, Kim. Thanks for sharing your stories.

  6. Kim Smith says:

    Thank you all for being such great supporters!

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