Congratulations to Hayde, Rai, and nerdgirl1115! They won an ebook copy of Driving Me Mad by LT Smith.
Check it out! LT Smith dropped in to answer some questions and to give away some ebooks! Yep, she’s that cool. She’s giving away three ebook copies of Driving Me Mad, her new release, to be specific. Drop a comment into the space below to enter. I’ll draw the winner this weekend, Sunday Feb 14.
Introduce yourself to the rest of the class. Who are you and what makes you tick?
“Good morning, class. My name is Linda T Smith, but you can call me Miss.”
I felt quite at home saying that as I am teacher after all – secondary students. Teens. Teens with attitude, teens with hormones, teens that can make me laugh and cry within the same short space of time, teens with the ability to filter out the sound of my dulcet tones but still give the appearance of listening. A true gift, I hasten to add. I am also a writer and have been plinking and plonking the keys to my laptop for over ten years now (I started at a very tender age …).
What makes me tick? Now that is a difficult question to answer. The main thing I need to happen in my life to make it ‘tick’ (and tock) is to find time to do what I want to do rather than using time to do what I have to do. That change in verb usage makes all the difference.
What does it mean to you to be an author? What makes a writer a writer?
Being an author, or classed as an author, always takes me by surprise. For me, writing is an escape, a wonderful activity that keeps me out of trouble – well, for the most part. I love to indulge in writing when that elusive concept of time (mentioned previously, and will probably crop up countless more times throughout) gifts me with the opportunity to download all the ideas swarming inside my head and onto a hard drive.
I believe a writer is a writer when they truly believe they have a story that needs to be written. A tale that can entertain, shock, educate, titillate, anger and placate. A writer should illustrate love in its dysfunctional glory, as well as displaying hatred at its basest form so we can learn how to overcome. To be able to pen a story that could eradicate negativity and ignorance is always a target – the ability to move people from inertia to action because of the ideas held within the words read. Now that is a wow moment.
Me, however: love, life, lots of laughter, and a bit of smoochy thrown in for good measure. Oh, and a dog. Got to include a dog.
Are you promoting a specific book? Tell us about it. Include the book blurb if you’d like.
Driving Me Mad is a very different book to my usual offerings. My previous stories have focused mainly on romance, but this one is definitely not just about two leading ladies who find their ‘Ever After’. This story began as a Halloween Invitational for the Academy of Bards a couple of years ago. The characters would not leave me alone, and even though I thought I had finished with them, they had not finished with me. In a way, they haunted me. Quite fitting considering this tale’s main storyline focuses on things that go bump in the night.
I have attempted to combine a sense of the Gothic, paranormal, mystery, love and humour within this tale, and I truly hope I have achieved it. Sometimes the subject matter is a tad darker than I would usually set out to do, but the decision to include what I had to include was not taken lightly. This story needed it. Honestly.
The blurb? Here you go:
For Rebecca Gibson, her journey to a work convention will be one she’ll never forget. After driving around for four hours, Rebecca stops to ask for directions at an isolated house on the outskirts of Kirk Langley, Derbyshire.
Her initial meeting with the house’s attractive owner, Annabel Howell, seems strange and unsettling, but at her hostess’s insistence, Rebecca spends the night.
Plagued by nightmares, Rebecca senses that her dream world has blended with what she believes is reality. When she leaves the next day, her life has changed.
Can Rebecca solve a mystery that has been haunting a family for over sixty years? Will she find love along the way? Or will the events drive her mad?
Tell us about your biggest guilty pleasure. For example, do you sit naked in your pantry in the middle of the night and eat Nutella with your fingers?
It seems as if everything I love to do is classed as a guilty pleasure these days, especially since the advent of ‘Dry January’. I rarely drink alcohol – I can get a hangover whilst nursing a glass of wine. But it isn’t just the booze that people are expected to feel guilty about consuming post-Christmas. It’s everything and anything that is sweet, fattening, moreish … I’ve never caught myself drooling out the words “Oh my. More tofu please. I. Just. Can’t. Get. Enough.” Or humming happily whilst piling up the salad. Not happening in my kitchen.
So. Guilty pleasure. Chocolate, a comfy place to sprawl, loads of time, and a bloody good book. Not necessarily in that order, but definitely together. Perfect.
Tell us one thing that you’re passionate about. For example, would you strap yourself to an oil rigging a la Lucy Lawless with a Greenpeace sign in your hands?
If you have read my work before you may have noticed that usually, not all the time, but often, dogs will be a part of it. I can’t help it. They are part of my life, part of the person I am. Therefore, my passion flames the rights of our furry, short coated, feathered, scaled, or whatever else covers them, friends. Definitely. I cannot stand the thought of animals mistreated, whether it is for food, for sport, or for entertainment purposes. Animals have the right to a life, to feel safe, to live in an environment that suits them, as do we. Don’t get me wrong, I am not declaring that people who eat meat are murderers. Far from it. But, hopefully, in this day and age, there are humane ways to fulfil this dietary need.
However, there could never be a humane way to chase an animal until it is nearly dead, or terrifying the poor creature until it bends to our will. Not that I can think of at any rate, even if I thought about it continuously until the end of time. Animals need to be shown for what they are and not what many people view them to be. Living, breathing, loving creatures who give us so much for so little in return. Therefore, if we are supposed to be the superior race, let’s all start acting like it.
I bet you’re sorry you asked now.
What’s your writing process? That is, do you have a particular place you write and/or time of day? Do you have any particular things you do before you write? (e.g. do you listen to music, drink coffee, take dance breaks…)
Writing sessions starting through interpretative dance … I like your style, although I doubt you would say the same if you saw my attempt at it. Check out the courtship dances of a Bird of Paradise and the Blue Footed Booby bird, mix their moves, and that would be me just before I write.
Seriously, though, it may be boringly repetitive, but time is always an issue of late. I did make it my New Year’s Resolution – WRITE MORE! STUFF WORK! Let’s see how that nugget works out.
I can write at any time of the day and pick and choose where I sit depending on my mood. It could be lounging on a bean bag or seated at my desk. Whatever floats my creative boat at that given time. Playing music will come with my mood, although I prefer not to have it on for the most part. Creatively, it gets easier the later it becomes – probably because it has taken that long to get the verbal juices flowing whilst, at the same time, kicking the idling muse awake. Lazy git that she is.
Therefore, the process of writing for me does not include any rituals, Satanic or otherwise – well, when I am hashing out the bulk of the tale that is. I do, however, have to make sure the whole house is tidy and crap free when I am about to write the last scene. If not, I become distracted and end up procrastinating even more than I do already. In my head I believe everything has to be perfect or else it will go boobs up. Yes. A euphemism.
Tell us something that most people don’t know about you (unless you’d have to kill us, in which case tell us something that some people don’t know).
I had to come back to this one. I can’t think of anything interesting enough to divulge. Maybe it could be that I never envisioned myself as a writer? Writing fiction, romance especially, had never come onto my radar. Hearts and Flowers Border just seemed to come from nowhere, although they do say we all have a book inside us.
I know what to divulge.
When I attended teacher training, we had to write so many different essays in so many different styles. This was just part and parcel of becoming a teacher, just part and parcel of the training program. Then, about four essays in, the teacher asked us all to write in the first person and ‘talk’ our way through our ideas. I had no clue what I was doing – it was so difficult for me to do. I am ashamed to admit that the teacher gave me my work back and asked me to reconsider the formality of my piece, stressing that I should write in a more conversational style. I wonder what she would think if she read any of my books. I think the effing and jeffing might finish her off.
Is there a book by another author that you wish you had written?
The only book that I wish I had written could only ever have been penned by the literary goddess herself, Sarah Waters. The book? Fingersmith of course. This book revived my love of reading, and without my love of reading being given the kiss of life, I doubt very much that I would have ever written anything more than essays, shopping lists and targets on student’s work.
I had the privilege of listening to Ms Waters speak last year at the Norwich Playhouse. I even got my original copy of Fingersmith signed by her whilst I grinned stupidly. It was a perfect opportunity for me to tell her that she was the reason I became a writer. I could have even slipped her a copy of one of my books. But I didn’t. I gave her a copy of another one of my favourite books – Charity by Paulette Callen.
In retrospect, I am unsure whether Sarah’s gob smacked expression was because of the gift or my bumbling adoration. I like to think it was a little of both.
If time and money were no problem, where would you most like to go in the world?
There are so many different places I would love to go, so many sights I want to see. To pinpoint just one, even with a pocket full of cash, is so difficult. One place I adore in England is the Peak District, especially the Roaches, a place mentioned in DMM. But I can’t just go back there again, even if the question is hypothetical. So I’ll ‘update’ my response.
Kilimanjaro. A bigger, meaner version of my favourite place. I would love to get to the top of this beauty. One day, eh?
And finally, what sorts of writing projects are next for you?
I have just started a prequel to Driving Me Mad. This tells the story of Annabel and Ellen, how they met and fell in love in a time that was not as accepting as today. The story will be a challenge as I want to nail the historical aspect, and considering I was not about in 1949 – 1953, it means research, and lots of it. Weirdly, I am looking forward to doing this, and feel enthused about the outcome. Maybe it will never see the printing press, but it will quell this urge I have to create Annabel’s and Ellen’s world. I feel I need more of their story to fully understand the impact of Driving Me Mad. Don’t get me wrong, DMM is a big girl and can stand on her own, but I just wanted more. Writing sequels and prequels is something I usually avoid, but sometimes it has to be done. Fingers crossed that I succeed.
L.T. is a late bloomer when it comes to writing and didn’t begin until 2005 with her first novel Hearts and Flowers Border (first published in 2006).
She soon caught the bug and has written numerous tales, usually with a comical slant to reflect, as she calls it, ‘My warped view of the dramatic.’
Although she loves to write, L.T. loves to read, too—being an English teacher seems to demand it. Most of her free time is spent with her furry little men—two fluffy balls of trouble who keep her active and her apologies flowing.