Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Found by Jason Smith Interview


Not all the good in the world is known - the same can be said for the bad. People, places and events that seem random, really aren't.

How are we to know whose lives will be affected, or destroyed? Will one wrong move make the difference? Will one bad decision end somebody's life?

No one knows what will be lost - or who will be Found.

About the Author

Jason Smith began his career in television production before becoming both a network TV and radio personality. He has spent the last dozen years with ESPN, the NFL Network, and Fox Sports Radio. He currently hosts "The Jason Smith Show", heard nights on FSR and iheart radio.

His other highlights include an Emmy Award for his work on 'Sportscenter,' marrying well, memorizing "Caddyshack" and the '86 Mets. And not necessarily in that order.

And he's glad Revis is back.

Found is his first novel.

Connect: Twitter @howaboutafresca


1) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? I don’t know that I ever thought I would ever be one, specifically. I had written for sports web-sites before, but the biggest thing I ever did was a long-form magazine piece for ESPN.com that was probably about 3,000 words. Once I had the idea for ‘Found’ it sort of dawned on me that I might be able to do it. I still wasn’t sure I could, until I had 7 or 8 chapters done. Then it felt normal. I’m already getting the itch for my next book.

2) How long does it take you to write a book? If I could just concentrate on writing, I think I could write a book in a few months as long as I had the ideas flowing. But being a TV and radio broadcaster during the week pays the bills, so I have to parcel my time out. I would guess in my current schedule it would take about a year. 

3) What is your work schedule like when you are writing? Usually I write one of two ways - if I have a chunk of time in an afternoon where I can devote three hours or so to it, or late at night after I come home from my radio show, I’ll spend an hour writing what I’ve thought about during the day, which usually equates to two or three pages worth.

4) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? I can write in many different environments. A good chunk of ‘Found’ was written at an El Pollo Loco close to my house. I would go there for lunch with my laptop, and emerge two or three hours later with a bunch of pages. And about seven servings of Diet Coke. 

5) How do books get published? The best way I can explain it is by relaying what a literary agent told me a few years ago - you just have to get one person at a publishing house to fall in love with your idea/manuscript. When you do something “creative” for a living, there’s no black and white outcomes. What people feel about a work is subjective - whether it’s a book, a piece of art, or a television show. You can be told no by fourteen people but the fifteenth will say yes. I was very fortunate to find someone who thought that way in Linda Young at MaxQ.

6) Where do you get your information or ideas for your books? They come to me at random times, which is how ‘Found’ came about. My wife and I were listening to the radio while driving back to Los Angeles from a vacation. ‘Hungry Heart’ by Bruce Springsteen came on the radio, and it starts with the line “Got a wife and kids in Baltimore, Jack. I went out for a ride, and I never went back.” I’d heard the song a thousand times in my life, but for some reason right then I thought Hey, what if someone actually did that? Just left their life and went on an adventure? What would happen? Then Pam and I started kicking around ideas and she gave me one that became one of the backbones of the book. I decided right then I would try to write this story.

7) When did you write your first book and how old were you? I first started writing ‘Found’ when I was 38. It probably took me six months or so to write the first third of it. Then within the next year both my mother and my wife’s mother passed away, and we had our first child. So life took over there for a bit and the book took a back seat. When I got back to writing, I picked it back up pretty easily, and it was probably five or six more months of writing to completion. So a year total, but it was spaced out over three.

8) What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Pam and I are big pop-culture junkies, so we’re never far from a movie theater or TV screen. I spend as much time as I possibly can with her and our daughter Zoe. I get just as much of a charge working as I do going out for donuts with them. I’ve always enjoyed the mundane, every-day things. Did I forget to say sleep? Sleep. 

9) What does your family think of your writing? My family was surprised, because I didn’t tell them I had written one until it was released. My publisher told me if I haven’t said anything during the process, then just wait until it comes out. Most of them have read it and their main feedback have been ideas of who would play each part if it was made into a movie. My aunt likes Kyle Chandler for the lead, one of my best friends says Sam Rockwell. I wish they were both movie producers. 

10) What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your books? That having one idea could bring about an entire novel. When I first started getting chapters down, I wondered if this plot would be sustainable for 250 pages or if I’d run out of story. But new branches kept forming as I wrote, including one character I didn’t even think was going to be in the book, much less the important part they turned out to play. That idea hit me in bed one night at like 2am and it was a big kick-starter for the second half of the book. I also learned I knew way less about punctuation than I ever thought I did. 

11) How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? ‘Found’ is my first novel, and I have ideas for a sequel that I will probably get down to sometime next year. I have a rough idea of the story I want to tell, and how I want it to begin, which is the most important part for me. 

12) Do you have any suggestions to help me be a better writer? What are they? There’s three things that I would tell anyone. First, is read Stephen King’s On Writing - which is a ‘How to write your own novel’ book. The best part is it’s not overwhelming, and you’ll realize you probably possess many of the things he feels you need to have to be able to write successfully. It will give you confidence. Second, figure out the best way for you to actually write. Is it in El Pollo Loco? Your computer room? On your couch? Wherever you’re comfortable and able to focus is where you should do it. 3) Just sit down and write. Don’t procrastinate, even if you don’t know what’s next in your plot. Get in front of your computer, etc. and start writing. You’ll be surprised at the ideas that come your way.

13) Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say? I get a lot of feedback on social media, and mostly it’s been positive, which I feel fortunate for. I’d feel awful if someone paid for my book and hated it. I know I can’t control that, but I would. And maybe plenty of people have, but they just can’t find me on Twitter to tell me. 

14) Do you like to create books for adults? Yes. All the ideas I’ve had so far translate to stories for adults, but Zoe has asked me twice now if I could write a book that she can read. Right now she wants it to be about kid detectives, a queen with super powers, a chemist and a ninja. So when I figure that all out at some point I think I’m going to have to do that. Do you know anyone in the YA genre who would be interested in that kind of book?

15) What do you think makes a good story? A good story can take place in any genre or style. The one thing good stories of all kind have in common is making me want to turn the page and keep at it. I may hate the narration, the characters or the dialogue, but if you’re spinning it good? It doesn’t matter. 

16) As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? In order: a knight, then a cowboy, then shortstop for the New York Mets. I realized those things weren’t happening around the age of 12, so I had to change my dreams. 

17) What would you like my readers to know? Besides the web-site on how to get the book? (http://bit.ly/foundthebook) That I worked very hard to write the best story I could and am very happy with the finished product. I hope you really enjoy it, and if you hate it, it’s OK to find me on Twitter @howaboutafresca and tell me.

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