Author Brian J. Smith - A writer’s block can put a writer’s entire schedule in a chaotic downward spiral.

By Aryeman


A brief about author Brian J. Smith

Brian J. Smith has been featured in numerous anthologies, e-zines, and magazines in both the mystery and horror genres. His novellas Dark Avenues (the novella featured in the short story collection of the same name) The Tuckers, and Three O’Clock are still available on Amazon for Kindle.

He lives in south eastern Ohio with his brother the author J.R. Smith and four dogs where he eats more than enough spicy food that no human being should ever consume. He already has too many books and buys more and doesn’t drink enough coffee to suite his palate.
His book, Dark Avenues, is available on Amazon for Kindle and paperback.

The interview:

How long did it take to get your first novel / book published?

I spent eight months, working day and night just to get everything right. I got what I liked to call “writer’s OCD” and would’ve had it done less than that because I kept taking stories out and putting them back in and putting new ones in. It was my first book and I wanted it to be perfect as it should be.
What mistakes did you make with the publishing of your first book which you try not to repeat?  

I like to think that I didn’t edit it enough. I’d written many short stories I wished I’d been more prepared and thorough about it.

Can you focus on working on two books or stories at the same time?

I’ve learned this year that I can balance both. Because of COVID-19, I’ve been putting my time into both my second novel and short stories. I used to be a one-project person but that has drastically changed over the years.

Is there a modus operandi you follow and formulate before you actually start writing your next book?

I try to follow an outline like some authors I know but I always fall off “the beaten path” as they say. I can do a lists of a character’s looks, goals, backstory and such but I can never follow an outline because something good always shows up and I would be a fool not to apply it to the story.

An author shares her Lockdown moments! 

Does the writer’s block actually exist? Any tips you would give to come out of it.

Of course it does. Rejection can be dealt with accordingly but writer’s block is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome and the worst part is it can go on for days maybe even weeks putting a writer’s entire schedule in such a chaotic downward spiral. If music, reading, taking walks or other activities don’t help me break through the wall, then I have to wait until tomorrow.

What was the book that most influenced your life, and why?

I can give you two to be precise.

The first one is a crime-noir masterpiece that has gone under the radar for so long, A Hell Of A Woman by Jim Thompson. The first time I read that book it introduced me to a different world of crime fiction. I’ve read a lot of crime fiction over the years, mostly P.I.’s and killer-for-hire types but this one was such an eye-opener. The other book is Off Season by Jack Ketchum.

I read that book when I was twenty-three and I’ve been a big fan of Ketchum ever since. It’s a visceral and brutal horror novel that opened my mind to another part of horror. It took me completely away from the conventional horror tropes such as vampires, werewolves and such (which I have nothing against) and brought a new version of horror to my attention.

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How often do you read other novels? Who are your favorite authors?

I read at night and weekends. My favorites are H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, Jack Ketchum, Brian Keene, Robert R. McCammon, Paul Tremblay, Ray Bradbury, Dean Koontz, Richard Laymon, Bentley Little, Ross MacDonald, Max Allan Collins, Robert Crais and Jim Thompson.