Jane Dixon-Smith, known as JD Smith in the writing world, inhabits a space that almost exactly mirrors my own. By day, she’s a highly successful graphic designer, specialising in book jacket design. But in her spare time, JD Smith puts her fingers on the keyboard and taps out splendid novels. (That’s the bit I’m trying to catch up on…!) Jane’s stories are based in the ancient world, with her favourite heroine ruling the kingdom of Palmyra. One of the best quotes I’ve seen to give you an idea is “…”Zenobia, Queen of Palymra, can now take her place beside a couple of other picturesque and photogenic fictional queens – Danerys and Maergery from Game of Thrones. The difference is, Zenobia really existed.” If that doesn’t make you want to read JD Smith’s novels, nothing will! Part of the Triskele Books collective, Jane has also published an excellent non-fiction work, The Importance of book Cover Design and Formatting. Naturally, it’s a book I heartily endorse!
This series gives me the excuse to ask my guests six questions that I hope go to the heart of why they choose to earn – or attempt to earn – their living as writers. I’m featuring a different writer every week, some of whom you will probably have heard of, and some of whom may not have hit the best-seller lists yet, but are beavering away to produce the highest quality work they can. Likewise, some are self-publishing indies, whilst others are ‘traditionally’ published, and yet more – like me – ‘hybrids’ spanning both paths. The series is growing to represent a wide cross-section of authors, revealing how they ‘tick’ to aspiring writers and fellow authors alike. Do join in and leave your comments below.
1. What sort of writing do you most love to do? Include as much as you like – fiction (including genre), non-fiction, blogging, copywriting, academic, courses, poetry etc.
Fiction writing has to be my favourite. I’ve always had a passion for stories in many formats, be they television, spoken or written, and to be able to create my own worlds and an assortment of characters to play out my tales is a wonderful escape from the everyday.
2. How long did it take to earn your primary living from writing (if, indeed, you do) and what were the major obstacles you have had to overcome?
I don’t, mainly because I don’t write quickly enough and I doubt I would ever be able to write full time. Whilst I take my writing seriously, I love my day job [as a much sought-after cover designer] too much!
3. Briefly describe your writing and editing process. Are you primarily a plotter or a ‘pantser’?
I’m currently writing a six book series. I think I probably lie somewhere in between. Because my work is primarily based on historical events, I have a loose framework already written for me, and an even looser plot strung onto that framework which I use as a rough guide. After that I let my imagination take over as I’m writing.
4. Which writers, living or dead, do you most admire and why? (As many as you like, but just a couple will do.)
Bernard Cornwell for his amazing accuracy to historical detail. I’ve loved his novels since I was a kid. And George RR Martin. I have never been so sucked into a fictional world as I am his.
5. What advice do you wish you had been given when you set out to become a writer?
Tricky! Don’t expect to make millions?! Ha! In all seriousness I think writing for me has always been a part of my life and it’s organically progressed as I’ve developed my technique over the years, so there isn’t really any one thing I wish I’d known right at the start.
6. Why did you decide to take the indie route?
I like to maintain creative control. I also don’t really want to write for specific markets or have to tailor my writing to suit particular audiences. I like writing what I want to write, and if people like my books, then great.
Where to find JD Smith:
JD Smith’s website: www.jdsmith-author.co.uk
JD Smith on Twitter: @clarefly
JD Smith on Facebook: www.facebook.com/jdsmithauthor/
JD Smith Book Links:
Jane’s Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/2qZd8Kv
Thank you for your time and honest answers, Jane!