Saturday, 18 June 2016


Eric Smith is an author, blogger, and literary agent. His debut Young Adult novel, Inked was published with Bloomsbury Spark in January of 2015. The sequel Branded, will be out in September 2016.
Thank you so much Eric for taking out time for this interview. 

You are an author and a literary agent. What are the colors of these two hats? Which hat you enjoy wearing?
I think they are both flat caps, as that's what I wear pretty much everywhere. As for the colors... probably brown and black? Matches what I wear the most. 
I enjoy wearing both hats, but really, one of my favorite things to do is champion the words of others. So I think I probably enjoy wearing my agent hat a bit more, though don't tell my agent that (yes, I'm an agent who has an agent). Any time I have to do an interview about any of my writing, or do an event someplace, I probably spend about half of my time talking about other people, and then discussing my own work. I just get really excited when it comes to gushing about novels I adore. I can't help it. Apologies to all of my current and future publicists. This is me. 

How many senses you use when you write? Do you believe in exploring the world your characters live in?
I guess all of them? Smell is maybe my favorite. If you've read Inked, or plan on picking up Branded, nature plays a big role in my fiction. The current book my agent is planning to start submitting around in the fall... that's ALL about nature and the environment. So talking about the natural world, the smells, the sounds, the sights... that all appeals to me. I grew up working at sleep away summer camps in the mountains of New Jersey (yes we have mountains), surrounded by the wilderness. It's what I love, where my bones are. 

Can you narrate one instance when you had goosebumps while writing your novels?
Writing my own stuff? Hmm. That's tough. Maybe in Inked when one of my characters died, and I had to write that scene. I have a really great editor who pushes me to write challenging stuff outside my comfort zone, which is generally all glitter and happiness, and it's frequently an emotional experience trying to write the painful stuff. Death, trauma, etc. I'm grateful to have someone that challenges me like that though. Shout out to Meredith Rich, rockstar editrix. 

Books are the brainchildren of authors. Amongst your books, which is your favorite brainchild? What makes it stand out?
I think my favorite is Welcome Home, the book that isn't quite out yet. It's an anthology of adoption-themed stories set to come out with Jolly Fish Press in the Fall of 2017. It collects stories from a number of authors who have experience with adoption, whether it's adopting kids, working with foster children, or even being adopted themselves. I'm really proud of it, as it'll give teens a much-needed place to see themselves. Adoption stories aren't told nearly often enough. 

If you have to make a movie of your life as an author, what it would look like?
Probably relatively boring? Lots of shots of me sitting in cafes, glaring at my laptop and taking breaks to play on Twitter. The far more interesting stuff would be me hanging out with my amazing wife, Kristina. She supports, drives, and inspires me through all of my work. Maybe focus on the love story. 

If you can save only one book in a burning library, which book will you save?
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. My favorite.

At what point, did you notice you that are walking the path to become a writer? 
There were a few moments, and I'm sure every writer has them. When I was a kid my parents bought me this electric typewriter, and I'd write (terrible, ha ha ha) short stories and give them out to my friends in school. Then in college I had some fantastic creative writing teachers, as well as some absolutely awful and discouraging ones. The blend of encouragement and "you can't do this" definitely pushed me.

In graduate school though, I got to study with Robin Black, a fantastic professor and author (check out her books If I Loved You I Would Tell You This and Life Drawing), and that pretty much sealed it for me. Her guidance pushed me over the edge, and I've been writing away ever since.

What was the biggest pitfall on this path? 
Hmm, maybe being on submission? That's always a rough road. No writer enjoys it, and it can sometimes take over a year to sell something. Just gotta keep your spirits up.

The best moment of your life as a writer, something you will never-ever forget. 
I got an email from a girl who told me that The Geek's Guide to Dating was one of the first books she'd ever read in English. It made me cry. 

Kirtida Gautam is a clinical psychologist and an author. 
Follow her on Twitter @KirtidaGautam 

Friday, 10 June 2016



Marieke Nijkamp was born and raised in the Netherlands. A lifelong student of stories, language, and ideas, she is more or less proficient in about a dozen languages and holds degrees in philosophy, history, and medieval studies. She is a storyteller, dreamer, and globe-trotter.
Thanks Marieke for taking out time for this interview. 

Is your life in some way expressed through your work?

Hm, not specifically? I think my life experience and my world view definitely filter through in the way I write. I tell stories about things I’m interested in or fascinated by, and as such, it’s always going to be informed by who I am as a person. I think that’s a given. But I’m not writing about my own life. I’m writing to give voice to and understand all the stories I see around me.

Can someone who reads your novel get a glimmer of who you are as a person?

Possibly if they know me very well? But if they don’t… probably not? That’s hard for me to judge! But quite like I just mention, my novels aren’t about me, they’re about my characters first and foremost.

If a movie is to be made using the moments of your Writer’s Journey, what the movie will look like?  
With lots of agonized staring at my computer, gallons of coffee, and a great community of friends and various events. I love conventions and conferences for precisely that reason! 

What are your pet peeves? 
In stories? Characters who keep secrets from one another without a good reason. Just talk to each other!

If you can save only one book in a burning library, which book will you save and why?
THIS IS THE WORST MENTAL IMAGE. Burning libraries are a nightmare! But provided we’re not talking about libraries with the collected treasures of old… hm, I think it would still depend on what was in there. But either the most memorable book (as in, special edition or as a memoriam of some event) or the most well-loved, which in my case, would probably be Tonke Dragt’s SECRETS OF THE WILD WOOD.

Which are the social concerns you addressed in your novel—This is Where It Ends? 

Well obviously it’s a book that deals with a lot of things. School shootings, violence, sexual violence, intolerance… but I don’t see that as addressing social concerns in the sense that I’m not writing to provide the reader with a lesson. I’m writing to tell a story. 

This is Where It Ends is brutal, emotionally charged novel will grip readers and leave them brokenhearted. 
~ Kirkus Review

Kirtida Gautam is a clinical psychologist and an author. 
Follow her on Twitter @KirtidaGautam