Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Author Brian W. Smith

Brian W. Smith is the author of several best selling novels (Mama’s Lies – Daddy’s Pain, The S.W.A.P. Game, and Donna’s Dilemma). His February 2010 release BEATER, made the Dallas Morning News Best Seller list after its first week of release. His 2008 release, Nina’s Got a Secret, made several best seller lists and was featured on the Oprah Book Club list.

Brian is also the owner of Hollygrove Publishing (www.hollygrovepublishing.com). The company specializes in producing books that cater to a predominantly African-American audience in the Contemporary Fiction, Christian Fiction, Erotica, and Business genres. In January 2010, he debuted an on-line literary magazine called, THE GROVE. The magazine has received stellar reviews and features Brian conducting interviews with some of America’s most prolific African-American authors: Kimberla Lawson Roby, ZANE, Mary B. Morrison, Victoria C. Murray, and many more.

Brian’s educational background consists of two Bachelor of Science Degrees (Business Administration and Criminal Justice) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Dallas. Brian is a native of New Orleans, La., and currently lives in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas.

-       What genre do you consider yourself?
-       Answer: I consider myself to be a Contemporary/Mainstream Fiction author, but I’ve contributed to an Erotica Anthology and Christian Fiction Anthology.  Those who have read my fiction novels know that I have several different genres fused into each novel. Some chapters are more erotic than others; some are more edgy like Urban Fiction; and some chapters are more romantic and intimate. My books are a melting pot of styles.

-       Give us a synopsis of your most recent book in 3 paragraphs or less.
-       Answer: My most recent novel, BEATER, addresses the sensitive topic of domestic violence. But, rather than tackle it the way most authors do, I decided to put a little “Brian W. Smith” twist on it. This story is about a young man who gets engaged to an older more affluent woman. She spoils him rotten, but physically abuses him. His friends and family don’t know.

-       Titles of all of your books
Answer: The S.W.A.P. Game (’06); Mama’s Lies-Daddy’s Pain (’06); Donna’s Dilemma (’07); Final Fling (’07); Nina’s Got A Secret (’08); My Husband’s Love Child (’09); Donna’s Comeback (’09); and BEATER (’10)

-       What made you decide to become an author?
Answer: I didn’t start writing until I was 35 years old. I’ve never taken a formal class on writing. I started venting on paper about a personal issue in my life. That venting evolved into a novel – my first best seller, Mama’s Lies – Daddy’s Pain.

-       What do you enjoy most about being an author?
Answer: Writing gives me an outlet for all of this creative energy I have bottled up. I love the freedom that comes with making up fictitious characters. That freedom is compounded by the fact that I own Hollygrove Publishing, and I don’t have anyone censoring what I write.

-       If you could meet one author, who would it be?
Answer: Hands down it would be Ralph Ellison. His classic novel, Invisible Man is my favorite fiction book. Also, I would like to meet and pick the brains of Brian Tracy – he writes a lot of business motivation type of books.

-       How are you giving back to the literary community?
Answer: Wow, that’s a loaded question. What I consider giving back may not qualify as giving back to others. I’d like to think my willingness to publish books by debut authors in this economic climate is a form of giving back…I know my account would say that…lol. I also believe that my magazine THE GROVE is giving back. Readers get to read about multiple best selling authors (their struggles, concerns, and accomplishments) in one magazine.

-       Give one tip you would give new authors?
Answer: It takes a few years to build your “brand” so temper your expectations. Life rewards those who are willing to work hard. If your work ethic is poor, you won’t last past the first year in this business. If you are afraid to speak publicly – you won’t make it. If you don’t know how to “grind” – you won’t make it. All new authors quickly learn that writing the book is the easy part; getting someone to spend their hard earned money on your book – especially in this economy - is very challenging.

-       What is the biggest lesson you've learned since becoming an author?
Answer: I’ve learned that God is the only person I can place total faith in. That’s something I always knew instinctively, but it wasn’t until I started running my company that I saw actual weekly proof of that.

-       What is the one thing that irks you about the literary industry?
Answer: This industry is very “clickish”. Sometimes it reminds me of high school. A lot of black authors forget where they come from once they think they’ve “made it”. Most of them are just one bad book away from begging the white person who owns the publishing house to not drop them from the label. It’s true that money only makes you more of what you were when you were broke. A jackass on Monday will be a jackass on Friday.

-       Who, What, When and Where is your next event?
Answer: I start a 20 city book tour (February – April of 2010) to promote my new book BEATER. The tour will take me through several cities (Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans, Houston, Richmond, and many more). I will be at the National Black Book Festival (Houston, TX – May ’10); a feature author at the Black Book Club Rock Awards (Washington, D.C. – June ’10); and the National Book Club Conference (Atlanta, GA – July ’10).

-       Suggest a preferred literary service.
Answer: I would recommend: Cupcake Creative Studios and/or Odd Ball Designs for book covers; EBM Services for editorial services; and Catawba Publishing for print services. I’ve had good experiences with these companies.

-       Where can readers find your work?
Answer: Readers can find my books anywhere books are sold. If the book isn’t on the shelf, the Store Manager can easily order it from their wholesaler. All of my books are sold via my website for 15% below the retail price.

-       Contact info
Answer: Readers can visit my website: www.hollygrovepublishing.com. They can email me at bsmith@hollygrovepublishing.com or they can reach me on Facebook.

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