Steve K Smy was born in Ipswich, Suffolk – a picturesque part of England. He has lived virtually his whole life there. He started writing for pleasure when he was 13 years old. he was prolific, but still had much to learn, of course. He wrote a sci-fi novel and a fantasy novel. The sci-fi never got accepted. The fantasy novel never even got typed up! He also wrote a collection of fantasy short stories, which again went unpublished.
In time, working and raising a family severely dented his writing activity. He only returned to it seriously in February 2012, following a long illness. Since then, he has written and published (in ebook form) several short stories and has been working on a major fantasy novel.
He has written and published (as ebooks) stories in two series: the “Thief” series of fantasy short stories and the science fiction “Captain Henri Duschelle Stories”. The latter, so far, consists of a short story and two newly released novelettes.
Mr Smy is also a blogger with a growing readership.
What inspires you to write?
I have been driven to write since I was 13 years old. Ideas occur and I just have to follow through with them. Not all develop far, of course, but I never dump them – you never know when they may come to life again.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m afraid I simply can’t plan everything out in advance. When I’ve tried to do so, I’ve lost the ‘spark’ and the story dies. It’s fun, too, when you don’t know what’s going to happen or where you might end up. It’s just like reading a new book. Of course, I may have some idea of direction or intent at the beginning, but it’s frequently hazy enough to let just about anything happen.
For a long time, I couldn’t use a computer for writing. I found it too ‘soulless’ after decades of writing either by hand or manual typewriter. Now, I appreciate the power that computers provide. Errors are easier to fix, editing is much less painful, and you need never lose anything again (if you’re careful). Then, too, there’s the ebook revolution and self-publishing. Before those, you had two choices: wading through piles of rejections or paying insane amounts for ‘Vanity publishing’.
I do still keep little notebooks. They’re invaluable for those moments of inspiration when you don’t have access to a computer!
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I certainly hear their thoughts and conversations! Without that, any story must surely lack something of the ‘intimate’. You have to be able to put yourself ‘there’, with your characters. You might BE one of them, or you could be an eavesdropper.
What advice would you give other writers?
Writing is a very personal matter. There are no real Rules, whatever you may read, beyond the very basic ones concerning language. As long as what you write makes sense and doesn’t drive your reader away, then you can do far more than some would have you believe. That said, you can’t go absolutely wild. For example, I’ve seen works that are simply a single, unbroken stream of words – no capitalization, no punctuation. That kind of thing is just unreadable!
Beyond that, all you can do is write, write and write.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I can’t afford to spend large amounts of money hunting for an agent or publisher, nor can I afford the time. I have already experienced the traditional path, many years ago. Now, I’m at the wrong end of the age range to waste time. Self-publishing allows me to do the ONLY thing I’ve ever wanted – to share with anybody who is willing to give me a chance. I don’t want fame or riches (fortunately). Of course, I DO ask a small compensation for any ebook longer than a short story, but that’s really more for the time and effort I’ve given to a story.
If you want to go the traditional route, I think you do need to be below a certain age, unless you’re truly determined and have the stamina for the hard graft of agent/publisher hunting. Self-publishing is a good place to learn about the business. You have more options and fewer restrictions. You also tend to have better royalty rates and more control over your works – if you’re careful. Whatever route you choose, do your research very carefully and don’t just jump straight in without ensuring that your rights are respected and protected. And don’t be afraid to combine both traditional and self-publishing, if the opportunity presents itself.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think we’ll have five kinds of publishing for years to come. The traditional, the self-published ebook, the self-published hardcopy, the traditional publisher produced ebook, and vanity publishing. The first will last because the majority of avid readers still have a love affair with ‘real’ books – the feel, the look, the smell. The second will remain the combined province of dedicated authors looking to share with the world and the less scrupulous out to make money for all manner of schemes or by scaremongering. The third will tend to feature the authors who have had some success with ebooks and now want to fulfil an ambition to have their books in print, though a few undesirables may also choose that route too, even though I suspect it is less suited to their kind of stuff. The fourth represents the desire of the big publishing houses to exploit the ebook revolution, though they frequently get it wrong – overpricing being their worst fault (why buy an ebook that costs MORE than a ‘real’ book?). The fifth will probably continue for academics in particular, who desire to have their works printed without it being obvious that they are paying for the privilege – because they generally have a very limited marketplace but are rather hidebound and don’t truly understand all the options they now have.
What genres do you write?
Multiple genres, including some mixed ones! Mainly sci-fi, fantasy and mild horror.
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print