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Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Writer interview - Ian Smethurst

Indie writers and publishers are a tight group. With no agents to help them and no backing from the large publishing houses, they hang on to each other and barter for beta-reading, proof reading, book reviews and promotions.

The ease of self-publishing causes the pool of indie books to continuously expand beyond its already astronomic proportions, which makes it all the more difficult to break away from the crowd and get some success and recognition.

Ian Smethurst is easily one of the most successful indie writers I know. He is a cradle-to-grave self-published author, doing his own proof-reading, layouts and cover art in addition to writing. His achievements are all the more impressive, considering his chosen genre - hard science fiction. It's one thing for me to get into the top 100 chart in the tiny category "Siege of Leningrad during World War II". It's a whole other story for someone like Ian to get into the top 100 in the enormous, bloated sci fi category.

Ian had recently released an article about the pros and cons of self-publishing. It is a very well thought-out and well-written piece. I strongly recommend it to all indie beginners - to get an idea of what lies ahead, and to all indie veterans - as a reminder and a sanity check.

I took a moment to sit down (virtually) with Ian and chat about things outside of writing and publishing.


What is your favorite virtue?

I would say one of my favourite virtues is my patience, which is used so often in many things that I do, and sometimes in people I interact with. Also my enthusiasm, you see I am an all-or-nothing kind of person, if I am on board with something, I throw absolutely everything into what I do.

Your favorite qualities in a man.

Should I answer this…being a male? I would say intelligence, I tend to get along well with guys who can hold a half decent conversation with me, instead of just a few words.

Your favorite qualities in a woman.

Sense of humour is an absolute must for me, if a woman can make me laugh, we’ll get along just fine.

Your chief trait.

Optimism perhaps, although sometimes mixed with a dose of healthy pessimism too, I am complicated.

What do you appreciate the most about your friends?

The thing I appreciate the most, is those friends who are *always* there, the ones that stay with you through the hard times. It is easy to be a friend when the going is good and the seas are all calm, it is not so easy when the storm clouds beckon, the thunder rolls in, the sea turns violent.

My most dearest and closest friends, are those that have stayed with me, when all around was doom and gloom, when it seems that everyone else is just lining up to take a shot at you, they stay with you, and for that they will forever remain a true friend.

Your main fault.

I would say occasionally I can be a little sullen and morose, if things aren’t going to plan, I can get quite moody until I get them back on track again.

Your idea of misery.

Losing my freedom, being locked in a cage, with no hope of escape for all eternity, whether that cage is lined with bars, or your home, my freedom is one of the most important things to me. You see I did for a time lose my freedom once, my freedom to be myself, and my freedom to go where I wanted, and many people do not realize just how valuable freedom is, until they lose it.

Your idea of happiness.

Having all the parts in place, being successful in what I do, having a nice home to live in everyday, and having someone who just loves you for who you are. That is my idea of true contentment, whether I achieve it in this life, remains to be seen however.

If not yourself, who would you be?

Difficult question, because those that have known me for many years, have often said that I am so unique I couldn’t be anyone else. I would have to say either J.R.R. Tolkien, or Arthur C. Clarke, two authors I admire a great deal.

Your favorite heroes in fiction.

Oh god, there are so many, if I was to pick two I’d have to go with Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings, and Captain Picard in Star Trek. (some say I am even getting to look like him these days!)

Your favorite heroes in real life.

Captain Scott of the Antarctic, Christopher Columbus, Lord Admiral Nelson, Captain Cook. Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Ghandhi, and John F. Kennedy for firing the starting gun on the space race that inspired so many science fiction writers.

Your favorite food and drink.

A nice smooth ale, or red wine. Breaded chicken breast, with southern fried potato wedges, in a lemon and ginger sauce.

What is your present state of mind?

I would have to say pleasantly optimistic.

Your personal motto.

Never ever quit, anything is achievable if you try hard enough.


Ian Smethurst's books are available in paperback and eBook form on Amazon.com.

Images courtesy of Ian Smethurst.

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