Kim Smith was born in Memphis Tennessee, the youngest of four children. After a short stint in a Northwest Mississippi junior college, during the era of John Grisham’s rise as a lawyer, she gave up educational pursuits to marry and begin family life.

She has worked in many fields in her life, from fast food waitress to telephone sales. “I always got the seniors on the phone who were lonely and wanted someone to talk to. My boss couldn’t understand why in the world I spent so much time talking to them and not enough time selling. That was when I realized I love people and care deeply about their lives.”

After the birth of her two children, she gave up working outside the home for the more important domestic duties of wife and mother.  When her kids decided they wanted to pursue theater as an extracurricular activity, she gave up her free time to drive them to rehearsals, training classes, and plays. During those years, she found herself bored with nothing to do to while away the hours stuck in a car. She began thinking of stories to entertain herself and pass the time. Before long she started telling her husband about her stories and he assured her she could write a book if she really wanted to. She put the idea away once she landed a job as a network administrator for a small corporation, and together the Smith’s started their own video production company.

Writing was a dream, hidden but not forgotten, and soon Kim began to talk again of trying her hand at it. She played with words, and wrote several poems, one of which was picked up for an anthology.

When she decided to try out her hand at mystery writing, she discovered her true love and niche in the writing journey. She has since had four short stories, and her first mystery novel accepted for publication.

Kim is the author of the mystery novel, Avenging Angel: A Shannon Wallace Mystery and is currently working on her second book in the mystery series.  We interviewed her to find out more about her writing life and her latest new book.  You can visit her website at www.mkimsmith.com.

Thank you for this interview, Kim.  Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing? 

I am a lifelong Memphian who has been married for nearly 16 years and have two wonderful adult children. I am a network administrator for a small remanufacturing company and own my own video and photography company. My husband is my partner and we’ve shot everything from ballets to independent films. I have my mother to thank for encouraging me to write, and my hubby for actually making me sit down to do it.

What was your favorite book to read as a child?

I have always loved reading fairy tales and fantasy. My favorite books were:  Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, and then as I got a little older, The Hobbit and the whole Lord of the Ring Trilogy.

What is your favorite book at the present?

Right now in my current time of life, I love mystery with a humorous twist, like Carl Hiassen, or JA Konrath’s series. Sometimes I find that I need to be reminded to remember what it is about the writing life that I love most.

If you could trade places with one author who you have admired over the years, who would it be and why?

Diana Gabaldon. I have loved reading and rereading her books and then I bought the Outlander series on audio book and my hubby and I listened to it in the car as we traveled. I would love to have her ability to describe situations and settings and make others see it, hear it, and smell it. I think that may be my weakest link in the writing journey.

Can you tell us a little about your latest book?

Avenging Angel, a Shannon Wallace Mystery is the first in a planned series of offbeat cozies featuring Shannon, her sidekick, Dwayne, and the brooding Salvador Ramirez. Shannon is having a bad hair week. She’s been ditched by her job, dumped by her boyfriend, and implicated in his murder. When her very private video collection turns up missing from the crime scene, it’s all out war to find the missing DVDs before the cops do. But the killer took them, and he’s been watching. Now he’s placed Shannon at the top of his most wanted list!

Where do you get ideas to write your books?

I try very hard to have a constant listening ear. I get into trouble with my kids whenever we go out anywhere because I am subject to peering at people sitting at nearby tables or strolling along near me at the mall. The kids always fuss and say that I am a stalker, but it’s the best way I know of to get character ideas for stories! Plot ideas are everywhere. I can come up with a plot in just a few moments after watching the evening news.

How do you deal with rejection?

When I first began writing, I admit I didn’t handle rejection very well. I remember telling my hubby that this agent just didn’t get my writing, or that agent didn’t understand my brand of humor. But now I realize that it wasn’t that they were wrong. It was that I was too immature as a writer to listen to the rejection and turn it into a positive thing. I have to say, I did get great rejections! Some of my writing friends even commented that at least I was getting feedback!

Do you write mainly by day or by night?

I write mainly by night, but only because I work a day job. If I didn’t have to work at a job to pay my bills, I would write day and night. I would never have too much to do that I didn’t write when the muse struck me. Right now I do not have that sort of freedom and it makes me sad sometimes.

Do you ever get writer’s block and what do you do when that happens?

Yes, I do get writer’s block. I know a lot of people do not believe in such a malady, but I do. I will get so burned out with concentration on a particular piece of work that I will have to leave it alone for a bit. I will go for a shopping trip to a bookstore and visit with a friend to take my mind off it. Then when I can focus again, I am much better at putting down what I want to say. I have had times where I could not bring myself to sit in the writing chair for weeks at a time. I just don’t let it throw me. I give in to the break in writing time and go off and pursue another interest for a time. Usually it is photography.

How have they been to work with?

My publisher, Red Rose Publishing, has been great to work with. Lea Schizas, the Editor-in-Chief, is a real mover and a shaker. She gets things done, so when I submitted my book, it was just a short while before the acceptance came. I believe Wendi Felter, the owner of Red Rose, is one of the funniest women I have ever had the privilege to talk to. She has a great outlook on life and is extremely accessible to her writers. This means a lot to me, as a first time novelist. I think most writers have a little “publisher phobia” whereby they are afraid to bother their publisher. But Wendi lets us all know her personal contact methods so we can get her at any time. I don’t know very many publishers willing to do that.

Do you blog?  If so, what can you tell my readers about the advantages of blogging as a useful tool in book promotion?

Yes, I do. Blogging to me has always been a way to keep track of things, and express myself about writing and the writing journey. I have kept one going for a good many years. Now that I am published, it has been invaluable in promotions for the book. I have made a ton of friends thanks to my blogging. Most author websites are static sites that give a good broad view of the products being offered, but a blog is where the real writer’s personality often comes across.

Do you have a website?  Do you manage it yourself or do you have someone run it for you?

I have a website, and I do manage it myself. I would love to have software to be able to make it better as I am not really fond of the “template” look of my site.  But I am sort of a lazy person and now that I have it up and running, I hate to have to remake it! Making a website is a big undertaking and I respect those who do it for a living a great deal.

What’s next for you?

I am currently editing the second book in the Shannon Wallace Mystery series, and writing the third. Thanks to Nanowrimo, I have a great deal of it done already. I will be posting contests and news on my website soon, and fans can look for a short story or two next year as well.

Thank you for this interview, Kim.  Do you have any final words you’d like to share with my readers?

Thank you all very much for the kindness you have shown this poor new writer. I feel truly blessed to be able to share my work with you. In the words of Tolkien, “The Road goes ever ever on, down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, and I must follow if I can. Pursuing it with weary feet, until it joins some larger way, where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say.”

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