About D.K. Smith:
A native of Los Angeles, D.K. Smith began his writing career after getting news that he would soon become an uncle. Wanting to create stories and characters for his expected niece, he created the children’s book series “Sock n Boots Adventures.” The two characters (three year old Sock and five year old Boots) began to make names for themselves, generating downloads in countries around the world. From there, the love of storytelling blossomed into novels across multiple genres.
I’ve been asked many times how I came up with the concept for Mind Over Bullies. Well, I am a big fan of superhero type stories, especially movies. But of course, the bullying epidemic is real and in a horrifying way. For example, when doing research for the book I came across a story in the news about a young girl that jumped in front of a subway train after weeks of bullying. As I investigated further, I was shocked at the number of similar stories I encountered. Bullycide, the news was calling it. I thought, wow, what if these young people had been shown that the pain of bullying can be handled without hurting themselves or someone else.
So, the challenge became how to take such a terrible, real life experience like bullying, and merge it with my superhero gene. I wanted to make a story that was not only realistic so that victims of bullying could identify with it, but also one that had the superhero element that would make people stand up and cheer. Seeing people rave about a movie after it’s over and even having intense feelings about a well-developed movie myself has always left me with a desire to tell stories and take people on mental journeys. I knew I would never have a career in film, so writing was the next best thing for me, and I went about writing Mind Over Bullies like a director creating a film. I wanted to create highs and lows to take the readers through a range of emotions. I crafted some portions to help readers feel for the characters and other scenes that create the moment of triumph for the underdog, the kind of scene that makes a movie audience applaud.
I wanted to have a multi-racial cast of characters with a wide variety of personalities in the hope that readers would connect with one of them. It was important to me that the main character be a strong teen female, being that teen girls make up the largest population of bullying victims per most reports. My goal was to let young women, and young men, see a teen battle bullying head-on and gain strength in the process as opposed to the more prevalent alternatives of victims hurting themselves or others.
I recognize that the characters and situations in the book may not represent every bullying situation and that realistically the book won’t change the world, but I do sincerely hope that it sends a subtle message about there being life after bullying.
What inspires you to write?
In a word, life. I am always watching the world as I go about my day. I hear interesting conversations and see interesting real life events take place and every now and then something sparks my interest. Of course I have to add some color to what I see or hear to make it a good fictional tale, but life never fails to provide good ideas.
Tell us about your writing process.
My mother asked me the same question. My answer is that I let the character’s dictate the story. Each character has their own personality, so when an event happens in the story, I try to visualize how each character would naturally respond to what just happened based on their personality traits. That creates a natural flow to the action I say.
For example, if a character loses someone are they inclined to become sad or angry? Are they already dealing with another unrelated issue in the story? How will their feelings about their loss affect how they deal with their other circumstances? I ask myself questions like that, and it leads the story in all sorts of directions as I begin to write.
I try to stay true to that process even when a character develops new personality traits in the story. I think the main character in Mind Over Bullies is a good example of that.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
That kind of touches on the previous question. In a word, yes, I do listen to the characters. Ther ae some situations I want to create, but the character’s personality doesn’t fit where I want to go. So it is almost as if the character says, no, I’m not doing that.
It forces me to get creative, and it makes for some really interesting stories.
What advice would you give other writers?
Write often. Practice telling stories. Be realistic, but don’t limit your creativity. Don’t write what you think people want to read, write what touches you, and more than likely you will touch someone else.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
It was the only way. I hadn’t sold twenty million copies yet, so the larger publishing houses did what they often do and decided to pass on the story. Not surprisingly, the public has had a totally different reaction though. Time and again the feedback has been that the book is well written and well worth reading. So I just wanted the story to be told, and Khamicom gave me the chance to do that.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Honestly, I see it heading for a complete shift to self-publishing. Everything is going digital, and there are so many advantages to keeping control of your own books. Royalties are higher, and the overhead is low. Just look at the data on Amazon’s share of the publishing industry, then look at the share that Indie, self-published and small press books have of that number. The shift is already happening.
Places like Amazon make it easy to publish in paperback or digital formats, so the process is more accessible to writers these days.
What do you use?: Professional Editor
What genres do you write?: YA, Action, Myster, Adventure. (Whatever develops in my head. I’m genreless)
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.