Award winning author Dan Smith, creator of Below Zero – a fresh and exciting no-holds-barred thriller – pops into My Book Corner to answer tackle our questions, including our infamous Just For Fun section.
Tell us about you in 25 words or less.
Growing up, the only thing I wanted to be was Han Solo. Now I make up and write stories, which is the next best thing.
How would you describe your writing style?
Cinematic, fast-paced, action-packed, but with a lot of heart. At least, that’s what I aim for when I write a book.
What makes you happy?
Well, my wife and children tell me I’m never happy but the truth is that they make me happy. Also, a great book, a great film, a great video game, great company, a great note from my editor, a great review, and a long walk by the sea. And pizza night on Friday! Oh, and answering question one in exactly 25 words was a special moment for me.
Where is your favourite place to write?
I wish I had such a place! I think of myself as a guerilla writer – I write where I can. Usually that means sitting at the kitchen table, but when school’s out, it can mean being chased from room to room, trying to find somewhere quiet.
What’s on your TBR pile at the moment?
11.22.63 by Stephen King, The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud, The Walking Dead Vol 28, Creepshow by Stephen King, The Sword of Kuromori by Jason Rohan, The Fireman by Joe Hill, The Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine, Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone, The Explorers by Katherine Rundell, Rivals by Stephen King . . .
What’s your worst habit?
Pssht! Don’t be silly! I don’t have any bad habits.
Your favourite word(s)?
I don’t think I’ve ever had a favourite word. Does that need to change? Do I need a favourite word?
What are your top tips for budding childrens’ writers?
Read lots of books. Write, write, write. As soon as you write something, you’re a writer. And let your imagination run wild – don’t worry what other people think (until you’re published, and then you spend every waking moment worrying about what other people think!).
Can you give us a glimpse / hint at your current WIP? (I can bribe you with cake!)
I’ll do anything for cake. Almost. My current WIP is another cold story, though not as cold as Antarctica. It’s a tale about revenge – or at least that’s how it starts out, but then it becomes a story about assumption and about how wrong we can be. There is snow, murder, survival, friendship, loss, the wilderness . . . and wolves.
Did we forget anything?
I don’t think so . . .
Just for fun
Tea or coffee?
Depends on the time of day. Is that a wishy-washy answer? I always have a cup of tea in the morning, and at 4 o clock, but my coffee cup keeps me company while I’m working through the day.
Paper books or e-books?
No wish-washy answer for this one. Paper. Definitely paper. I do have an ebook reader, which is useful for holidays, but it just isn’t the same as having the book in my hands. I also read a lot of graphic novels and they look so much better on paper. And the smell . . .
Cake or chocolate?
I have a sweet tooth, so I’m a sucker for chocolate AND cake, and anything else you can think of. I have a particular soft spot for those strawberry cables they sell in the pick n mix at the cinema.
Write or type?
I always type. If I wrote longhand I probably wouldn’t be able to read it! It also means it’s easier to edit.
Poetry or prose?
Prose. I’ve tried to enjoy poetry, but it just isn’t for me.
Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff or Slytherin?
I do love Harry Potter, but Star Wars tops it for me. I’d be a smuggler, like the scoundrel Han Solo, and he’s a lion at heart, so it would have to be Gryffindor.
Hot or cold?
Hot tea, cold beer, hot pizza, cold ice cream. BELOW ZERO is set in the extreme cold of Antarctica, but my ideal climate would be hot.