Orsayor: Have you ever thought about naming one of your characters Orsayor? I think that is a very unique name.
Brian: Can you imagine all of the catty/messy/gossipy authors and industry insiders that would feast on both of us if I named a character after you? Lol…I don’t think either of us wants (or needs) that headache.
Orsayor: Are the names of the characters in your novels important?
Brian: They are important, but not from a sentimental perspective. This is going to sound crazy to some folks, but I try to choose unique names for the characters in each book so that I won’t mix them up with characters from previous books.
Orsayor: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in any of your books?
Brian: I don’t think I would change the endings or the storylines, but I would rewrite many of the scenes. Mainly because I think I’m a better writer now than I was when I started; therefore, I know I could do a better job of writing some of the scenes.
Orsayor: Are there any occupational hazards to being an author?
Brian: Of course! The occupational hazards in this industry mirror those in many industries: backstabbing, theft of ideas, dishonesty, selfishness, criticism, disrespect, defamation…I could go on and on. There are shady people in every industry. But, being an author has a benefit that I believe only a few careers out there offer. Primarily, the sense of gratification you feel when someone tells you how your writing has “touched” and/or “inspired” them. That feeling makes all of the occupational hazards worth dealing with.
Orsayor: How many people have you "done away with" over the course of your career?
Brian: Quite a few. Here is the thing that I’ve learned the most about people since I’ve been an author/publisher/radio show host…everyone is nice to you as long as you are doing something FOR them. They always have their hands out, but rarely bring anything of substance to the table. There are two ways to easily weed out the fake folk in this industry: 1.) ask them for a favor in return or 2.) tell them “no” when they ask for something. Trust me, a lot of people scatter like roaches when those two things happen. Once I see them flee, I put a period at the end of that chapter, and move on.
Orsayor: If you were going to commit the perfect murder, how would you go about it?
Brian: First, I wouldn’t talk about it - especially in an interview...lol. Secondly, the “perfect murder” is a myth. There are always clues at the crime scene; the issue is whether or not the investigators will find them.
Orsayor: What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
Brian: This is very subjective, but I’ll address two attributes that I believe increase “sanity”.
1.) An author MUST have thick skin! If you can’t take people spewing venom in your direction, then you DO NOT need to be an author. You’re gonna need to develop the ability to ignore the haters.
2.) You’d better have multiple hustles. Show me an author (especially a black author) that relies solely on book sales to survive, and I’ll show you a broke, frustrated, and borderline insane author.
Orsayor: How do you react to a bad review of one of your books?
Brian: I hear a lot of authors being politically correct when they answer this question. They talk about how they welcome all reviews - the good and the bad. I have no problem admitting to you that I DO NOT welcome all reviews. Why? Because, some“reviewers” are full of crap (you know what I really want to say). Now, I know that someone will read this and accuse me of only wanting 4 and 5 star reviews…that’s not the point I’m trying to make. I’m simply saying that my reaction to a review depends heavily on what’s being said, and the tone in which it is being said. If the review is constructive and the negative comments are based on things that are “legitimate” (i.e., grammar, editing, etc.) then I pay attention and try to use the commentary as a learning opportunity.
However, if the negative review is based on things that are subjective (e.g., the way I ended a book or the fact that I didn’t elaborate more on the background of a secondary character), I don’t put much stock into the review. I’ve also learned to ignore the opinions of “self-proclaimed” review experts who stand on the sideline and tear down the efforts of authors, with little to know regard for the way they deliver their message. I’ve literally seen authors in tears behind disrespectful reviews – reviews littered with words like “stupid” and “bullshit”. I believe that a reviewer has every right to voice his/her opinion, but a reviewer doesn’t have the right to disrespect an author – and I’ve read a lot of disrespectful reviews over the years. I just ignore those types of people because if you acknowledge what they say, you actually validate their opinions and feed into their egos…and trust me; there are some “reviewers” with egos that are bigger than the authors whose books they review.
Orsayor: As you know, you are one of my favorite authors, along with Donald Goines & E. Lynn Harris. I believe in the saying... Celebrate people while they are here - and since I will never get the chance to talk to Donald or E. Lynn, I make it my duty to spread the word about your books. I can honestly say... Each time I read one of your books, I can see myself in one or more of the characters (for the record – I will never tell which characters). When you started your career as an Author, Did you ever think you would make an impact on people lives through your gift of writing?
Brian: First let me say, I thank you for your support…I will never take that for granted. Honestly, I never thought people would be moved by the things that I write. Just last month, I was in Florida meeting with a book club. The book they chose was the first book I wrote seven years ago, “Mama’s Lies –Daddy’s Pain”. To hear the passion and emotion from the readers about a seven year old book, really made me realize that some of the things I write have really struck a chord with readers. That really makes me feel good.
Orsayor: What message would you give to readers that have never read a Brian W. Smith book?
Brian: If you like novels with unique and thought provoking story lines – check out my novels. If you like novels that will be hard to guess the endings and leave you shocked when you are through – check out my novels. If you like novels that are about real life situations that can serve as the catalyst for stimulating discussion between you and your partner – check out my novels…you won’t be disappointed.