Tuesday, 5 September 2017

IWSG - September - a fascinating insight into the life of author Glynis Smy.

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing one of my favourite authors, Glynis Smy.
Glynis is a very popular author with a great demand for her books, and it is always good to hear what another author has to say about the process of creating a novel and the work entailed in achieving recognition. 

Thanks, Carole, for inviting me along. My name is Glynis Smy, and  I live in Dovercourt, Harwich, Essex, in England. It is a coastal town and I love nothing more than pondering the next chapter of my novel when beside the sea. I am married, have three adult children and two granddaughters. I care for my elderly mother and write novels. 

What events in childhood, or in later life, Glynis, led you to decide to become a writer? How did you begin? Can you remember? And who read these early writings. Were they private, or did you share them with other children or adults? What form did they take?

I've always written poetry and short stories, but while living in Cyprus, an online friend in a writing forum challenged me to turn a short story into a novel, and Ripper, My Love was born. I kept my poetry to myself, but ten years ago, when I was fifty, I decided to publish a poetry book and gift it to the few folk invited to my birthday celebrations. It was my coming out celebrations and a sharing of my inner feelings. 

When you were a child, did you have a favourite author who gave you a love of reading and the idea of becoming a writer? Are there authors that influence your writing today? As many well-known authors advise, do you read others’ work, and write, every day if possible? 

Enid Blyton was my favourite! She could tell a story and I envied her talent. I wanted to be her. Today, I admire many authors, but I aspired to write like Catherine Cookson. I read other writers as a beta reader, and I read for pleasure every day. Each day, no matter how little time I have, I like to write no less than 100 words. This makes me stay focused, no matter how few words I bash out. Every word has to count towards my current projects though - they cannot just be anything, or that is a waste of my valuable writing time.

Do you write for a certain genre? For a niche market? Is your work fiction, non-fiction, or do you write both? Or perhaps you write for the eBook market, in addition to your printed work, or only produce eBooks?

My genre has always been fiction in the form of Historical Romance Suspense / Historical Romance / Romance, mainly set in the Victorian era. In 2016, I also added crime to my list, writing about a detective Morag 'Rags' Blake. It is a current project of what I hope to be a series. I write for digital and print-on-demand paperback readers. 

 Is it easy for readers to discover your work, and how do you increase sales? Do you sell online? Are you in independent bookshops and in bookshops such as W.H.Smith? I’m sure the beginning writer would be interested to know a little about how you went about achieving this.

At the moment I use mainly Amazon for my sales. It works for me both in paperback (Createspace) and eBooks. I've never approached independent bookshops, but do sell at book signing events. However, I am hoping to approach stores when I've completed my detective novels. 

Beginning writers would be fascinated to know how you find your writing ideas, your inspiration.  

Reading historical romance inspired my earlier books. A conversation about who might have loved the murderer of prostitutes, Jack the Ripper, sparked an idea for the two books about Kitty Harper. Maggie's Child was inspired by a 

Romanian programme about women giving up their children due to their desperate circumstances, and I wondered what it must be like to give up a child, despite wanting one so very much. The Penny Portrait was about a young girl in my home town, a coming of age story of a creative pathway in her life. Folk wonder if there is a little of me in the character, as she also leaves and then returns with a new career under her belt. Heels and Hearts is a medical romance with a difference. I set it in the UK and Cyprus. I lived in a Cypriot village for eight plus years and used my memories of the village as a setting for the story. 

Are market trends important to you, or do you write to please yourself? 

I write to please myself and hope that at least one person enjoys my efforts.  Earning money from my work is great, but I do not put pressure upon myself to make that the ultimate goal.

Have you attended writing courses, taken online courses, writers’ retreats, or do you think you might do so in the future?

I have taken a few courses and attended events, however, I feel now that writing time is so valuable I need to focus on my projects. 

Social media is my marketing platform and is valuable to any serious author nowadays. I set aside time to communicate with the outside world. I undertake book signings when asked, and yes, my books are in local libraries. I've presented one workshop but do not attend book festivals as an active participant, simply as a leisure event enjoying the hard work of other authors. 

Do you find social media helpful? Or just time consuming?

I try and connect via my Facebook page and use Facebook Ads to work out the age range and sex of my readers. 

Do you have a publisher, or are you self-published? How did you go about seeing your book in print? 

I'm a self-published author and use Createspace for paperback copies. I still have a hankering for an agent or publisher but time will tell if that dream comes true at any point. That said, self-publishing is more popular nowadays, so the road I've chosen is not a bad one.

Do you belong, or have at some time, belonged to a writers’ group, and did you find this useful?

I attended one for one day. It wasn't for me. I've decided I'm a hermit writer - only coming out for social gatherings. 

Do you use libraries for research, online resources, or both?

I use both. I also use the knowledge of others in the wide world. It is amazing what feedback you get when you ask someone in a job that you need to learn more about for a character.

At what stage did you begin to think yourself, or call yourself, a writer? 

When I was short-listed for the UK Festival of Romance - New Talent Award in 2014. It hit home that I'd achieved something as a self-published author when I stood beside well-known traditionally published authors.

 Do you read ‘how-to’ books, and are there any you would recommend for the writer who is just starting on a career? 

Ooh, Jessica Bell's In a Nutshell, Self-publish Your Book, Collins Complete Writing Guide, and From Pitch to Publication by Carole Blake, all sit beside me.

Could you tell me could you tell me what you are working on at present, and what direction your writing will take in future? 

I've just written The End on a novel called Whitefoam. It is a thriller with a detective lead character and is set in my home town. I aim to write three more in the series. I am also writing a sequel to Maggie's Child called Maggie's Men. Maggie's Child is the novel that reached #1 in the Victorian section of the paid listing for Historical Romance on Amazon, and recently made the top 100 again and sat with the likes of Barbara Erskine, Josephine 
Cox, Danielle Steele, and Dilly Court.

A great achievement, Glynis! And finally, could you provide a list of online sites where you can be reached and where readers can find out about your work in progress and future publications?

I also send out a newsletter. Do visit my blog and subscribe. 

Thank you so much, Glynis. I'm certain that your comments will be of great interest to other authors beginning the craft or who are some way along the road.  


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