Monday, December 22, 2014

Interview with Eric Smith

Yes, this is really happening: a blog post from me. Some of you might be aware that I've been slacking on posts lately. Some of you (not going to mention any names here) might've already pointed this out to me. Like, several times.


(Cue the excuses)

I had a deadline, which butted up to an extended European vacation, which butted up to another deadline, which butted up to...well, right now. 

Anyhoo, this post was worth the wait because I was lucky enough to recently chat up the charmingly funny Eric Smith, author of INKED, which is due out on January 20th.  


Here's a little bit about INKED:

Tattoos once were an act of rebellion. Now they decide your destiny the moment the magical Ink settles under your skin. 

And in a world where Ink controls your fate, Caenum can’t escape soon enough. He is ready to run from his family, and his best friend Dreya, and the home he has known, just to have a chance at a choice. 

But when he upsets the very Scribe scheduled to give him his Ink on his eighteenth birthday, he unwittingly sets in motion a series of events that sends the corrupt, magic-fearing government, The Citadel, after him and those he loves. 

A high-octane fantasy adventure, perfect for anyone who has dreamed of being different… only to discover that fate is more than skin deep.

Awesome premise, right? Right. 
Check out the interview:

Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

Sure! I grew up in Elizabeth, NJ, a city just outside of Newark and not too far from New York City. I grew up a total bookworm, and ended up going to Kean University for my BA in English. I moved to Philadelphia to get my MA, with the goal of one day being an editor, teacher, writer... anything that let me fuss with words. Eventually I found my way to Quirk Books, an indie publisher in Philadelphia, where I do social media marketing, while writing during my free time. Something they certainly encourage, considering they put out my first published book, The Geek's Guide to Dating, in December. 

What drew you into the young adult genre?

I grew up reading a lot of YA, but what really set it off was something at work. We had started prepping to market Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, our first YA book, and I felt like I need to get to know the genre. So I read a few. And then some more. And then OMG MY BOOKSHELVES ARE FULL. I fell in love with a genre I hadn't read in a long time, and thought maybe this was the genre I should be writing in. I gave it a go, and now here we are. 

What is your writing process like?

I can really write whenever, but I do enjoy sitting in coffee shops, being the cliche. :-) I generally dedicate Sundays to a full day of writing, working on my blog posts, essay ideas, and bookish stuff the entire day. I write during the week too when I have time, but Sundays are my one full day a week, and I try to get a lot done. 

Where is your favorite place to write?

A place called Coffee Bar in Philadelphia. It's quiet, the staff are great. It's a bit of a ritual, and I like it. I also love my undergrad's library. I'll go home to NJ for a week of vacation, to write and relax over there. 

Is there anything in particular that gets you in the writing zone?

Good music helps! And chatting with my writer friends. 

Do you ever get writer's block? Any tips to get past it?

But of course! I like to cure writer's block by reading something great. I'll pick up a new book, snuggle up, and usually that does it. Or browsing around in my favorite bookstores. 

Who are some of your favorite authors?

These days I'm reading a lot of John Scalzi, trying to catch up on his sci-fi books. I really love Cory Doctorow, Daniel H. Wilson, Cheri Priest, Ben H. Winters, Susan Dennard (who I read as research, and now we're friends)... I really dig sci-fi and fantasy. I'll also read anything and everything Rainbow Rowell, John Green, and Nick Hornby write. And in terms of classics... Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. Always. <3 

What advice would you give your younger self?

Read even more! And don't do that thing where you compare yourselves to others. Jealousy doesn't help anyone. 

What inspired you to write INKED? 

Reading a ton of YA, and my pal Brian. He's a tattoo artist from the area, and gave me my first tattoos (quotation marks on my wrists). He made some comment about how he is covered in tattoos, and how basically, he'll be a tattoo artist for the rest of his life. "What else am I going to do?" He asked. Now, he LOVES his work and he's great at it, but my mind started spinning a bit. What if he didn't? This was around the time I was trying to think of a fantasy novel idea, and it all just sort of mashed together. 

What was the hardest part about writing this particular book?

Trying to get the voice right. Sometimes it felt too old, sometimes it felt too young. It's a tough thing! That and trying to make sure my characters were strong. 

Can you tell us a little bit about your hero/heroine?

Sure! Caenum. He's a headstrong, nervous teen who gets caught up in things way bigger than he is. I like to think he reacts to things the way most teenagers do, when thrown into extraordinary circumstances. He's skeptical of a lot of what is happening around him, to him and those close to him... but tries his best to adapt and move forward, helping those along the way. 

What other projects do you have coming up?

Trying really hard to write a sequel to this book! :-) And writing essays whenever I can. 


Eric Smith is an author, blogger, gamer, and publishing geek living and writing in Philadelphia
His latest book, The Geek’s Guide to Dating, was published by Quirk Books in December 2013, and was an Amazon 2013 Best Book of the Year selection in Humor. He still can’t believe that happened.
His first Young Adult novel, Inkedwill debut with Bloomsbury Spark in January of 2015.

You can preorder INKED on AmazonBarnes and NobleGoogle Play, and Kobo.  And/or add it on Goodreads.

Say hello to Eric on his website and Twitter

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