On The Table Read, “the best arts magazine in the UK“, poet Gary E Smith talks about what inspires his writing, and his new poetry book, A Collection Of Short Stories And Poems.
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed Gary E Smith about his life and career, what inspired him to write his latest release, A Collection Of Short Stories And Poems, and the creative process behind his work.
Tell me a bit of who you are?
My name is Gary Smith. I am the author of six novels and one book of short stories and poems.
The six novels are part of the Warren Steelgrave series of mystery thrillers. The seventh book, A Collection of Short Stories, and Poems, is a collection of twenty-four short stories and eighteen poems. Writing came late in Life. After retirement, I found the small village of my grandfather’s birth in Italy. Returning every year to learn Italian became important. I enrolled in an Italian college class, and it was writing essays in Italian that I found that I loved to write.
When did you first want to write poetry?
At about eight years old, I wanted to write songs. But unfortunately, I am dyslexic, and being only eight, I got very frustrated and put the idea away. At about eight years old, I wanted to write songs. But unfortunately, I am dyslexic, and being only eight, I got very frustrated and put the idea away.
When did you take a step to start writing poetry?
Years later, as a photographer, I photographed feelings other than the scene in the landscape. What I mean is I would have a particular emotion and look for the elements and objects that I could manipulate to produce a photograph that would bring back that emotion. This led to me writing a short poem about what I felt when I took a photograph.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
The first book took about seven months.
How long did it take to complete your latest book?
My latest book took about nine months.
Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write A Collection Of Short Stories And Poems?
I wanted to get away from the Warren Steelgrave series and write something different. I already had a small collection of poems and photographs. I wanted to challenge myself to write twenty-four short stories in a row.
What was your biggest challenge in writing A Collection Of Short Stories And Poems?
The biggest challenge was finding twenty-four different stories, characters, and themes. Some stories are one thousand words, some eight thousand words: I am glad I did it. I think I am a better writer today because of it.
Do you keep a theme with your poems, or just go where the mood strikes?
I do not think I keep a theme, but the poems in the book, although written over several years, seem to. So, I guess subconsciously, I do. Others have commented on the theme, which is different from what I see.
What is your favorite poem in the book, and what inspired it?
My favorite poem is Life is but a dance. Gary Zukav, in his book The Seat of the Soul, describes a type of love that is a spiritual love that feeds the soul. I was on a run and thinking about that passage when I came upon the pair of ducks enjoying each other: dancing on the water. I took the photo and wrote the poem when I got back to the car.
Does music help when you write, or is it a distraction?
Music is a must for me. So, I will write with jazz playing softly. Because I am dyslexic, the music now slows my thinking and anxiety and allows me to write longer.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did A Collection Of Short Stories And Poems need?
I do not use an editor. But because I am dyslexic, the book was proofread by four inveigles five times.
What is the first piece of advice you would give to anyone inspired to write poetry?
My advice is always the same: start. Sit now and write. It does not have to make sense. It can be gobbledygook. But it will start the process to get to what you really what to say. That’s what rewrites are about.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
I have a new book in the Warren Steelgrave series next month. It’s titled To Hunt Men.
I have also started another book in the Warren Steelgrave series.
And finally, are you proud of your accomplishments? Was it worth the effort?
Yes, I am proud that two of the books, A collection of Short Stories and Poems and Vengeance, can be Deadly, won national awards. I enjoy writing, so it is worth the effort.
Web page www.garysmithauthor.com
Face Book The Willing by GSmith Author.
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