JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Brian W. Smith, author of Differences
Conway Jackson is a wealthy man. He has six adult children – who can’t get along. He tries to bring them together while he’s alive, but fails miserably. When Conway dies, he stipulates in his will that each child would receive one hundred thousand dollars. But, there are “strings attached”.
In order to get their money, the siblings who have the biggest “differences” must team up and go on a scavenger hunt to find their money. They have 48 hours to find the clues or their money gets donated to charity – all six hundred thousand dollars.
Once the siblings break into their respective teams, it isn’t long before the search for the money takes a back seat to discussions about the painful family secrets, betrayals, and drama that is the source of all of their problems…which is exactly what the late Conway Jackson planned.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write Differences?
Brian W. Smith: I got the idea to write Differences after watching the 1960’s movie, “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World“. I thought it would be clever to mix the scavenger hunt concept with a little family drama.
JP: What sets Differences apart from other books in the same genre?
BWS: I believe originality is what sets all of my books apart from many of the novels on the market. This industry is truly lacking originality. Major publishing houses want guaranteed success. As a result, Literary Agents are more focused on manuscripts that are “comfortable” and “easy to pitch”. That attitude filters down to the mindset of many authors; subsequently, they stifle their creativity and go the lazy route by recycling story lines that have been beaten to death.
I take great pride in the fact that my novels tackle familiar moral dilemmas in a thought provoking way. I believe strongly that Differences is proof of that claim. I addresses the topic of “sibling rivalry” in a manner that readers who are looking for something “fresh” can appreciate.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to Differences getting out to the public?
BWS: I read a lot of Business, Motivational, and Self-Help books. As a result, I firmly believe that the 80/20 rule is in full affect in this literary industry. Twenty percent of the authors out here will make eighty percent of the money and get eighty percent of the press and notoriety. The other eighty percent of the authors out here are just happy to have a book published and don’t have a clue about what it takes to build a “brand” – those authors won’t be around three years from now.
When I first started writing in 2006, I decided that I may not be the best writer in the “game”, but no one will out work me. So, when that eighty percent of authors I referred to are sleeping – I’m working on promotional campaigns. When they are going to the movies on Friday night – I’m writing multiple novels simultaneously. When they start their holiday break in December – I’m on the road in the snow meeting with book clubs. I believe my work ethic is what will earn me a permanent spot amongst that twenty percent!
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Differences?
BWS: My writing process is very unorthodox. I may sit a manuscript to the side for a few days while I’m doing other things, and then return to the manuscript and knock out 20,000 words in three straight days.
I started out writing Differences the same way I write most of my novels, I wrote the ending first. I believe its easier to get through a book if you already know how you want it to end. I guess it took me around four months to write Differences.
JP: What’s next for Brian W. Smith?
BWS: My next novel, Amnesia, will be released on December 1, 2012. It’s about a successful, arrogant, wealthy author who gets caught on the highway during a tornado. He crashes his car and smacks his head so hard that he loses his memory.
He’s discovered by a very poor family that takes him to their house to bandage him up. While he’s resting in their basement, a news flash comes on that the author’s publisher is offering a $20,000 reward for information about his whereabouts.
Once the family discovers who he is (and how much he’s worth), they try to keep him “in the dark” while the reward money keeps increasing each day…and that’s when the drama begins.
Thanks for the opportunity to interview with you. Continued success!!