Friday, April 13, 2012
FEATURED AUTHOR: Aretha C. Smith
Born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Aretha's passion for writing began at the tender age of nine. Growing up in a home without a television sparked her love of books where she would spend hours reading, caught up with the characters and their fictional worlds. So fascinated with how a series of words strung together could create imaginary characters and bring them to life, she decided she wanted to write fiction more than anything. Over the years she has written numerous poems, short stories and full-length novels. Hard at work on her next novel, she looks forward to coming up with more compelling characters, and sharing future stories with her readers for many years to come.
Hearts of Time
Isn’t it funny when the thing you want the least becomes the thing you want the most?
Olivia Putnam is a fiercely independent, twenty-nine year old career woman. Having survived her mother’s untimely death eight years ago, she's managed to raise her younger sister all on her own along with fulfilling her dream of becoming successful corporate attorney. She has lots of money, designer clothes, and the other luxuries of life. The man in her life, Theo Griffin, wants her for a lifetime and would gladly marry her on the spot, but two things stand in the way: Olivia's reservations about commitment and her obsessive work habits. She's torn between finding time for her relationship and devoting time to growing her career. But when she meets successful realtor, Alistair Davenport, at her best friend's wedding, her ideas about love and commitment are met with change.
Although falling in love is the last thing on both their minds, Alistair's chance business proposal to Olivia proves to be the catalyst that ignites their passion for each other…
How did you start out your writing career?
My writing career was born out of an intense love of reading. I learned to love reading as a child and fell in love with the idea of being able to write stories. The whole creative aspect of thinking up characters and plots woven with drama and conflict resounded with me. I decided at a very early age that writing fiction was something I wanted to do.
What did you learn while writing this book?
Writing Hearts of Time helped me learn to trust the characters’ instincts and let them be who they want to be, regardless of how hell bent I was on following my outline. The characters know themselves better than I do, so I learned to just let them be and tell the story on their own terms.
What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
My goal for writing Hearts of Time was to show that sometimes the things we fight against the hardest are what we need the most. The irony is the realization that the thing we spurned becomes something we now wonder how we ever lived without.
What came first with this story, the characters or the plot? Why?
The characters came first. I pictured career-driven individuals who had it all, money, power and success—everything but that special someone in their lives to balance everything out. The idea of plotting a story around these characters appealed to me. I've written other stories where the plot came first and then the characters fell in line afterward. Sometimes it varies. Writing is so intuitive that I've learned to just go with the flow and let the story come together. Sometimes the story doesn't fall into place all at once. There have been times where I’ve had to leave a story alone because it wasn't coming together. Then, coming back to it at a later date with fresh eyes proved invaluable for breathing new life into it and getting things moving along again. During my time "away" from a story I remain in tune to the story since the characters have a habit of popping up in my head out of the blue to give me new perspective for telling their story. I keep a notebook in my purse so I can jot down new ideas any time they come to me.
What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
The biggest surprise about becoming published is the sense of community among us authors. It truly is a close-knit community of genuine “togetherness”. I've grown to appreciate the way authors’ network with each other. Social media is the medium that links it all together in that it allows authors to share tools, tips and advice with each other to help enhance our writing experiences. I am pleasantly surprised at the lack of competitiveness between us authors. With so many of us out there one would think we're all stepping on each other's toes to get where we want to be, but it’s not like that at all. The general sentiment is that we're all in this together, and ultimately the only thing that really matters is writing great stories to entice, entertain and affect our readers.
What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
The creative aspect of writing keeps me giddy with excitement. When I set out to write a story, thinking up plot ideas and characters is the icing on the cake. The sense of power that comes with creating characters and surrounding them with drama, conflict and triumph is something I enjoy immensely. Being able to write intriguing stories that capture the interest of the reader gives me a true sense of accomplishment. I feel honored to have been blessed with the gift of writing fiction. It's one of the things that make me who I am as an individual.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
I wish I hadn't been plagued by the editing demon for so many years. For many years I couldn’t get past the hurdle of editing every chapter to perfection before moving onto the next chapter. It was a vicious cycle. I was bogged down in the details of making the story perfect along the way that it hindered me from completing any of them. I wish I’d had more faith in myself and hadn't compared myself to other writers. I used to think my writing wasn't good enough and that no one would want to read my stuff. That insecurity forced me to keep my writing "behind closed doors". For many years no one even knew I was a writer. Writing makes you feel naked and exposed. Sometimes it’s hard to come from behind the curtain and unashamedly say, “Hey world, here I am, I’m a writer…now come and read this story I wrote!” I feared people would think what I wrote was stupid. Thankfully, I’ve since learned there’s nothing to fear about putting your words out there.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
One “do” I would give to aspiring writers is to let your characters tell their stories. Sure, you may be the one doing the writing but your characters ultimately know their stories better than you, so trust them to do the telling. My “don't” for up and coming writings is not to compare yourself to other writers. Just be the writer that you were meant to be.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
I wish non-writers could understand that we writers take our craft very seriously. Meaning, when we say we can’t go on that outing to the mall or hang out with you today because we're busy writing—we really mean it. Non-writers should understand that when writers are dedicated to their craft it means they sometimes have to make sacrifices.
Tell us something few know about you?
I am an unapologetic, diehard, professional wrestling fan. Enough said.
When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
My other passion is health and fitness. When I'm not writing, I usually have my head buried in the pages of fitness magazine reading articles on staying healthy. I love donning my workout gear and delving into a sweat-inducing workout, whether it’s pumping iron or intense cardio. Few things are as invigorating as finishing a workout, being covered in sweat and feeling like you've accomplished something. Working out refreshes me and makes me feel brand new again. Staying strong and lean is my recipe for defying the process of aging.
What do you do to interact with your readers?
I interact with my readers mostly via social media.
Our theme for this month is Ebooks. Do you own an ereader and if so, what the last book you downloaded? If you don’t own an ereader, do you see yourself purchasing one in the future?
Ironically enough, even though my book is being published as an ebook, I myself do not yet own an ereader. But the good news is I am on the hunt for one and busily doing my research to find the one best suited for my needs.
Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?
One thing I know for sure is that timing is everything; when the time is right, everything falls into place exactly the way it's supposed to be.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
My next book is an interracial romance entitled, Embracing Fate. Its premise is that sometimes, bravely stepping forward and trying something new means you get more than what you bargained for. But the trails and tribulations you face along the way make the end result all the more special. The publication release date is unavailable at the moment, but please stay tuned to my blog for updates!
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
Readers may contact me through the following formats:
Twitter : https://twitter.com/#!/acthewriter
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