In the first of a series of weekly interviews, Mark Anthony Smith talks us through his writing process…
Hi Mark! Tell me about yourself, and when did you begin writing?
Hi David, I’m Mark Anthony Smith from Hull, UK. I started tinkering in my 20’s. But I’ve only recently taken in more seriously in the last few years. I’ve always loved reading so I’m aware of the power of a great story.
How many hours a week do you spend writing?
It varies. I try to write 500 words a day. But that’s a guideline rather than a hard and fast rule. I don’t pop myself in the naughty corner if I don’t deliver. I try to be disciplined though. I’m a firm believer that writing can happen when you’re reading or washing up. But it helps to sit down and write proper though.
You have published a book of poetry, have written real life social commentaries and are becoming rather prolific in the horror genre – what do you put your impressive range down to?
What do I put my range down to? Asking questions. And recognising there may be more than one answer. Different themes require different ways to explore them. I ask lots of questions and test myself.
Are there any genres you haven’t tried your hand at yet that you’d love to give a go?
I’m just a big fan of Horror and Social Commentary. I’ve had poetry published. I’m just happy to do Horror at the moment.
What was the first book you can remember having an effect on you that nothing had hit you with previously?
Black dogs by Ian McEwan was really influential. I got it from a train station in my 20’s. I love the micro interactions and the Proustian ways in which McEwan’s prose is succinct and exact. The Rats by James Herbert was probably the first Horror novel I read.
Do you think writers have to feel emotions strongly to write or not?
Absolutely! It helps to put your reader there if you can try and empathise. It can be draining. But it’s usually more truthful.
What’s the best money you’ve ever spent as a writer?
What are your completely ‘no-go’ writing areas/genres/scenes?
I don’t have ‘no-go’s.’ I do have social responsibility though. I’m open to exploring anything really.
Finally, what are you writing aims for 2020 and what do you have on the immediate horizon?
I’m hoping to get a Novella published and get some more Horror out. I just want to become the best by studying other writers and continuing to ask questions. Thank you for interviewing me, David. And thank you, reader, for errr… thank you.
Mark Anthony Smith was born in Hull. His writing has appeared in Spelk, Fiction Kitchen Berlin, Nymphs, InkPantry and others. In 2020, some of his Horrors will lurk in Eerie River and Red Cape Publishing Anthologies. ‘Hearts of the Matter’ is available on Amazon.
Facebook – Mark Anthony Smith Author
Twitter – @MarkAnthonySm16