Good morning folks, as I type up this session of Meet the Author, i’m drinking coffee, enjoying the last (hopefully) of this years sunshine through the window and listening to Brothers Osborne, if that isn’t autumnal enough for you I give up. Anyways, happy Orentober Q&A day, todays guest of honour is one of Orenda Books debut authors, Eve Smith, whose deadly dystopian hit shelves earlier in the year just as we all begun to wonder if we were actually in a dystopian novel. The Waiting Rooms has become one of the most unforgettable reads I’ve ever read, I remember that I was sat in my favourite lunch place reading it and it’s still absolutely a 5 star read for me. You can find my review here!
So, let’s get to know one of the new authors on the Orenda Books block a little better, shall we?! Thanks so much to Eve for answering my questions and being all around awesome!
Just for fun, as always, we started off with a lightening ‘either – or’ round!
Tea or Coffee?
I’ve begun to be a bit of both at the moment, all the coffee in the morning and then de-caff tea after 4pm. So, good choice!
Morning bird or Night owl?
Bookmark or corner folder?
Bookmark, always!! Books are sacred!
But what if you’re stranded on a desert island with no available bookmark like material? What would you do then, huh? Welcome to the dark-side!
Tidily organised or Organised mayhem?
Hmmm, probably have to admit to the latter…
Could you share a photo of something that makes you happy please?
My absolute nutter of a dog: husky-collie cross we got from a rescue centre, called Mishka. I spend most walks trying to work out where she’s gone. Don’t be fooled by this photo.
I fail to believe that Mishka is anything but angelic and adorable! She’s beautiful and I bet that she gives THE BEST cuddles!
What is your favourite childhood book?
The Lord of the Rings. I was 12 when I started the trilogy and it blew me away. I didn’t want it to end.
What did you want to be when you grew up? Was it always an author?
No. I hadn’t a clue what I wanted to be. Being an adult always seemed so far away when you were young.
I agree, I’m 30 and adulating is so hard, let alone choosing what life paths to take!
If you could choose only one season to last forever, what one would it be?
What is your current read?
Just finished Next by Michael Crichton which I absolutely loved.
What do you enjoy doing outside of writing?
Hobbies etc. I love walking with my dog, travelling to see wildlife with my family and reading.
How many books have you written? Do you have a personal favourite? What is it and why?
Only one so far… But cracking on with number 2!
*Happy dance for book 2*
When writing a series, how do you keep it fresh? Is the second in the series always more difficult than the first?
I’m not a series writer, sometimes I wish I could be. It’s a new idea each time.
When researching for a novel, do you always have all the research before beginning or do you research as you go? What is the process?
Both. I do a lot of research before I start. And I mean a lot. I write issue-driven stories so that informs the plot. Once I’ve got a handle on the subject I scope out my framework. But I actually keep researching as I write because I tend to pick subjects that interest me but which I am not necessarily an expert in, so I have to keep on top of latest developments as things change so fast. I use expert readers to check my ideas and my writing and that means the edits continue as the novel progresses.
Could you describe your typical writing day for us please?
When my daughters are at school, I try to get to my desk by 8.00, after drop-off. I’ll pick up any social media first then get into the writing or edits until lunchtime when I clear my head and walk the dog. I find the walking really helps process thoughts and I often text myself random ideas. Unless the dog runs off after something, that is… I then carry on until circa 4.30 school pick-up. That all tends to slide a little later in the holidays!
Describe your publishing journey in 3 words.
Volatile. Challenging. Exhilarating.
Do you have any writing quirks / needs? What are they?
I do need a quiet space to work. I’m lucky, I live in a sleepy village, but my writing desk is in a snug that adjoins the kitchen so isn’t exactly tucked away. I love it, though, as it looks out over the garden and I can get those coffees in extra fast! If my family are at home, and I’m still working, I’m pretty anti-social and make them go in another room!
If it gives no spoilers, what is the hardest scene you’ve had to write?
Hmmm. Tough one. From a technical perspective, probably the court scene, as I had no personal experience of trials or the justice system other than TV dramas so I had to research those from scratch. That included visiting my local Crown Court where I witnessed a particularly difficult case involving historical child abuse.
Then, from my own emotional perspective, it would be the death scenes.
Oh my gosh I couldn’t even imagine the raw emotional impact that had you!
What do you find the most enjoyable / difficult thing about writing?
I would say that the most enjoyable thing is also the most difficult thing to get right!
I love it when you are able to nail a particular feeling or thought with exactly the right words, and then you find out afterwards that readers really connected with it. The thing that still amazes me about writing is being able to make people think or feel something. It’s like a super power.
What is a publishing highlight for you?
Getting The Waiting Rooms published during a pandemic! I owe Karen and the wonderful Orenda Books team everything for managing that. And the Guardian review by Eric Brown just after launch. That really meant a lot.
Can you give a one sentence teaser for anything you’re working on if you’re allowed?
Absolutely. Be careful what you wish for…
Any question you wished I’d asked but haven’t? *Eve* What have you learned about the process of getting published?
Persistence, resilience and the support of friends and family. Without those I’d never have made it. I owe a lot to the people who believed in me, even when I was doubting myself.
Well, fear no more, we are all here rooting for you and championing you along, we really can’t wait for more of your bookish creations. Thank-you again so much for making me fall back in love with dystopian thrillers and for letting me question you *swings light* you’ve been a star!
If you’ve not read The Waiting Rooms yet, you can purchase here, I must warn you though that tissues are required and you really should cancel all plans before beginning because you’re not going to want any disturbances! You can thank me for the recommendation later.
Until next time,