About Darian Smith:
I'm a New Zealand based author writing fantasy mixed with mystery. I live with my wife (who also writes) and our cat (who doesn't). I've won the Sir Julius Vogel Award and the Koru Award and was a finalist for SPFBO. I'm a qualified counsellor and a member of the NZAC and I work with people who have neuromuscular conditions as my day job. I can also be seen getting killed by Spartacus in the TV show of that name.
What inspires you to write?
I've always written. I was a kid who turned in 20 pages to other kids' 1 page when we were given creative writing assignments at school. Ideas come from all sorts of random places, often while walking, driving, or just relaxing in the bath – so generally when it's hard to jot them down! Some stories are inspired by personal events, others by things I've seen, songs, or just pop into my head for no reason.
What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
I have a range of authors that I love and it's really hard to narrow it down. In my teen years I was a massive fan of David Eddings, Melanie Rawn, Mercedes Lackey, etc. More recently, I'm loving Jim Butcher, K. D. Edwards, and I'm discovering a swathe of fantastic indie authors through the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off.
Tell us about your writing process.
I am a planner but I don't like to plan. Which sounds strange, I know, but it's true. I love to benefits of having a plan but the actual process of it…not so much. I have learned that I write faster and more creatively if I don't have to use up my brain-space on figuring out the broad strokes of what comes next so planning is good. I write using Scrivener but prefer to plan with actual sheets of paper spread out across the kitchen table…and then across the floor. There's something about having it tangible in front of me that helps the process.
I also do create character sheets that cover what the characters are like and how they relate to each other. I come from a counselling background so I find that training useful for doing this. I actually wrote a book to help other writers use these kinds of theories to develop characters and plot. It's called The Psychology Workbook for Writers and summarizes psychological theories along with worksheets to simplify the process.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don't often engage in conversations with my characters but I do get a strong sense of who they are and their tastes etc. I have sometimes bought an item because I knew one of my characters would like it.
What advice would you give other writers?
Remember that writing is part inspiration and creativity but also a skill you develop with practice and something that takes time and work. Try not to compare your output to others but keep working at it all the time.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I had won some short story competitions and had a few short works of fiction published and my novel manuscript also won a competition and I managed to get an agent so I was aiming to publish traditionally. Then the long wait started. Traditional publishing is a slow moving machine. Like a snail with a walking-frame and a sore foot level slow. So when I saw a grant opportunity I figured I'd apply and leave things up to fate. If I didn't get the grant, I would wait for traditional publishing. If I got the grant, I would use the money to publish myself. I got the grant.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
The future is super hard to predict and things can change quite quickly. I think indie or self publishing is going to continue to be strong essentially for that very reason – it's more adaptable to change.
What genres do you write?: Fantasy, mystery, paranormal romance
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.