Sunday, August 31, 2014

Author interview - Stan Smith

The Speculative Fiction Showcase interviews Stan Smith, author of The Search for Bryant Hunter.

Apple or PC?

Apple, since the very first Mac, though I've used and programmed PCs.

Do you use Scrivener or Word?

Word, unfortunately. I much preferred Word Perfect in the beginning, but since its demise, I've been using Word. I've never had experience with Scrivener, though I've heard that it's a great program.

Do you have any pets? Do they influence your writing?

My wife and I have four dogs, and have a dog sitting business on the side. We've had as many as 10 dogs in the house at one time (too many!), but I've never minded their company. I'd say the only influence they have on my writing is that they tend to distract me from it when they want attention!

Would you rather see your stories on the big screen or the little screen?

That's an interesting question. I suppose it depends on the length of the story that's involved. If the story is one that can support an extended viewing, it's only fitting that it receive the time that it merits, à la Game of Thrones. Otherwise, of course I'd like to see my work on the big screen. I graduated from UCLA as a Film Writing major, so scriptwriting is something I've always been interested in. My first book, The Search For Bryant Hunter, actually started out as a script.

Are you hooked on any of the shows on the sci-fi channel? If so, which one(s)?

We're watching Defiance pretty regularly. I like The Walking Dead and The Strain as well.

Do you own copies of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings DVDs? The extended version? Do you ever watch them?

We have the complete set of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. My favorite is The Return of the King. We don't have the extended version, but watch at least one of the films every year.

Have you seen the first two parts of the The Hobbit? Are you planning to see the final installment?

I wasn't as fond of the film versions of The Hobbit, since I was never a fan of the book. In fact, had I read The Hobbit before I read the "Rings" trilogy, I never would have picked up the latter. I found The Hobbit to be kind of a plodding read. The films are more energetic, and I enjoyed the second one; we're definitely going to see the last one.

Are you a Luddite? Or do you prefer to be on the bleeding edge of technology?

I spent 30 years working for a leading-edge technology corporation, associating with scientists and engineers who made history with our products. I always wanted to work in a scientific enterprise, but never had the skills (math) to be a scientist myself. So it was kind of a gas to be able to work with people who were world-class scientists (we built the Lunar Lander for the Apollo missions, as well as the first laser weapon capable of destroying an artillery shell in flight). "I'm not a scientist, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn…"

Are you--or have you ever been--a gamer?

I play Starcraft when I can find the time.

What kind of foods do you eat? Are you a health-food nut or is it strictly junk?

I'd say it's a bit of both. I like a good ribeye steak on the grill, but I'm endeavoring to eat more healthfully. Living in the Oregon wine country is not conducive to that effort—bread, cheese and wine…who can resist?

Do you cook? What is your best/favorite/most popular recipe?

I do cook, and enjoy it immensely. Having a daughter who attended culinary school is a bonus, as she shares a lot of what she's learned with me. I won my wife over with a chocolate mousse on the first date; does that count as a "best" recipe?

Have you ever heard of or had a green smoothie? If you’ve ever had one, what did you think about ?

Never heard of a green smoothie, and it sounds way too healthy to be good.

Do you have a garden? Have you ever grown your own food?

We have raised garden beds on our backyard deck, and have a wealth of produce growing, including onions, shallots, herbs, carrots, snap peas, green beans and tomatoes. We've been able to utilize all of that in our cooking.

Have you ever been to Starbuck's?

I have been to Starbuck's only as a companion to others who choose to be there. I worked for a small California-based coffee store chain (since expanded exponentially) called "The Coffee Bean," so I was surrounded by (in my opinion) much better coffee for 4 years. I was never a fan of coffee until I had a cup that was properly roasted and prepared. That's not Starbucks.

Coffee or Tea or Water? Espresso, Drip, Instant, or French Press? Bag or Looseleaf? Bottled, Filtered, Tap or Rainwater?

Lime Diet Coke. Red Wine. Good Oregon well water from our well.

Do you wear socks?

Doesn't everybody?

What are you wearing right now?

Levis, worn running shoes, a Costco Hawaiian shirt.

How often do you wash your hair? 


Do you do your own laundry?

My wife and I alternate; we do it when it's necessary. Sometimes it's me, sometimes it's her.

Does life fascinate you?

Life is the most fascinating thing there is. Endlessly changing, full of challenges, full of blessings, an emotional roller coaster, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

What would your animal totem be?

I've always been partial to canines, so I suppose the totem would be the archetypical "dog": a Wolf.

Do you recycle?

Doesn't everybody? Shouldn't everybody? We should all be stewards of the Earth.

Do you do Yoga? Meditation? or Deep Breathing? Does it help you cope?

I've never found the need to do anything other than live my life. There's nothing that you can't overcome if you have a positive attitude.

On a scale of 1-10, how eccentric are you?


What’s your astrological sign?

Virgo, but I don't think I'm typical.

Do you consider yourself a slave to the muse?

I'd be a lot more successful if I were. Sadly, there are too many distractions in my life that take me away from my writing.

Stan Smith has been a DJ, an ice truck driver, door-to-door encyclopedia salesman, assistant manager of one of L.A.'s largest theaters, manager of a coffee store, a title insurance officer, a copywriter for the Washington Post, and a 30-year marketing communicator for a major defense contractor. He retired to Oregon in 2012, and lives with his wife, four dogs, two goats, and two sheep. He is at work on his next novel.

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