Thursday, May 10, 2012

Feature: Author Interview with Frank W. Smith, author of Wolf Song, plus GIVEAWAY!!

Good morning (or afternoon or evening) y'all!  Today, my buddy Frank is here to tell us more about himself and his new novel, Wolf Song, which will be officially released tomorrow, May 11, 2012.  

In case you missed my review, you can find that HERE.

Stick around after the interview for your chance to win an ecopy of Wolf Song for yourself!!   

Author Interview
Frank W. Smith
Wolf Song (Wolf Song Trilogy 1)

GL:  Tell us a bit about yourself, sir.

Frank:  Hi Cass. Thanks for having me on your blog! Let’s see what to tell you about myself? I have done a few things over my life time. Hmm… after high school, I worked on an assembly line. Didn’t like that so I joined the Army and became an Intelligence Analyst. After that, I figured I did something for my country, so off I went and became a missionary for two years. During that time I got to live in Bangalore, India. When I came back, I didn’t have a lot of skills that I could use in the private sector so I became an exterminator and I have been doing that for almost 20 years now. But all during that time I had this one opening scene for a book rattling around in my head. So as I turned forty-three, I made myself a challenge, that this was the year I would finally get the story out. Ten months later and Wolf Song is now available. How’s that for a resume?

GL:  Now, we want to hear all about Wolf Song.

FS:  I love Wolf Song. I mean that. It became so fun to write that it almost took on a life of its own. Wolf Song is the story of modern day New York City. (I am a Jersey boy and have lived much of my life within fifteen miles of downtown.) Werewolves and Vampires have been living in an uneasy truce for years. All of those rules change one day when Jon, a werewolf living in the area, finds a vampire about to feed in his clan’s territory. He has a choice to make: turn his back on something he finds evil and wrong and go his way in peace, or do something and try to stop the situation even though he knows there will be consequences. Jon follows what his conscience tells him to do. However, no one could have guessed the consequences would be so extreme. His clan is targeted for extermination by the Vampire All-Father. As they run for their lives trying to find any place that will offer them some safety, they must figure out why? Why this over the top response? What is the reason for the All-Father’s consuming rage? Along the way they meet some other great characters like Dr. Beaumont and Father Anthony McTeague, who are also caught up in the vampire’s dark plans and together this small group must find a way to survive.

Yes, this is an old school vampire and werewolf novel. But it is more than that. I always believed if you have a good story, the ‘setting’ wouldn’t make that much of a difference. I really feel that beyond the action and suspense there are great and memorable characters that will appeal to everyone, not just fans of urban paranormal fiction.

My goal with Wolf Song was to make a story that made sense. The characters have to be well defined; the story couldn’t be saved because the main characters just turn into werewolves. I wanted to make scenes that not only have people going, “Damn now that was a fight scene!” but also had them feeling emotional at the right times. And in the end, we don’t talk about this much, if someone spent their hard earned money and trusted me enough to buy my book, I wanted to deliver and say "Thank you." Thank you for the trust; I know you will get more than your monies worth. Well, those were my goals. To say I achieved them would be pompous; that’s for the readers to decide, but so far I will say I am quite happy and proud of the results and feedback!

GL:  What was your inspiration for your novel?

FS:  Okay, are you ready for the real inspiration of my novel? Okay, here is the secret. I am VERY tired of looking at mouse poop at 5 a.m. J Sorry it isn’t something more dramatic or altruistic, but damn, I have a gross job sometimes. I have been blessed with an overactive imagination. (My teachers and parents may have used a word other than blessed, of course). I love to write and I like sharing my ideas with people and hopefully giving them a bit of distraction from every day life. That is the other side.

GL:  Who was your most difficult character?  Easiest?

FS:  This question is so easy on both ends. Most difficult was Michael Green. That character is one of the most odious characters I have ever run across. It literally hurt me to try and get into his head to write. Easiest was the exact opposite: Aldus. He is such a good and humane person that his actions were always easy. You never had to guess what he would do; there were no questions. Aldus is the best of all of us, the person we wish we were, so he was very easy to write as far as a piece of the story goes.

GL:  I really love Aldus!!  I can see how he would be easier J

GL:  Do you personally relate to any of your characters more than the others?

FS:  It would probably be Jon, the main character. Jon comes across as gruff and self-assured, but he is constantly second guessing himself. What if he hadn’t stopped the vampire, would this person have still gotten injured? Could he have saved more lives by walking out of that club? He beats himself up a lot. Being surrounded by people like Aldus and Father McTeague, who are so sure of their beliefs in life, just makes him feel all the more childish and lost at times.

GL:  If you could be a werewolf, would you?

FS:  Now that is an interesting question! I would have to say no, and no for one reason. Having an extended life and watching those around me age quicker and die sooner would just hurt too much in the end. The power wouldn’t be worth the pain.

GL:  I was thinking more about being hairy...  Hahaha...

GL:  Can you give us a little hint about where the series is going from here?

FS:  Sure, while the ending of Wolf Song is concrete and wraps the story up nicely, it is by no means the end of this story line. The war has been started. The first story, if you strip away all the bells and whistles, is about what happens when you get hurt bad. Trying to survive that time when life hits you so hard you fear you will never get up. The second story Night Song, already being written, is about what you do after the initial pain is over. Some people become angry, brooding and dark; others crawl into a fetal position or a bottle and never come back. This next part is the story on how the wolves try to retain their humanity while living in the midst of a war for their extermination. Of course, when you read those sentences, please add in multiple explosions, limbs being ripped off, and a dash of humor and you’ll get a better picture of Night Song.

GL:  What are some of your favorite books of all time?

FS:  Here is another question where people are going to groan. Hear me out please because I am going to come at this from a different angle than you are probably expecting. The Bible. For a second so we are all on the same page, I am going to ask people to forget about the 'do unto others' and 'thou shall nots.' Let’s talk about the literature and the stories. (We can leave prosthelytizing for another time). The story of Nathan confronting King David is an amazing thing. The entire story has a better plot than anything coming out of Hollywood and the twist ending is superb. The story of Elijah on Mt. Carmel confronting the Baal worshipers is better than most action movies, and the antagonists are ‘better’ characters than anything else you will find. So that’s my two cents on that.

Other books: Armor by John Steakley is my all time favorite. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. The first three books by George R R Martin in his Song of Ice and Fire series are simply some of the best fiction I have EVER read.

GL:  Which author(s) has influenced your writing most?

FS:  I like wordy people. Go fig, lol. T.S. Eliot’s writing always awes me, minus the fun cat poems. As did an author called A A Attanasio. In his Arthor series his prose was so dense it took me days to slog through it, but because he did not dumb it down, it was some of the most beautiful, thought-provoking writing I have had the privilege to read.

GL:  Which upcoming movie are you really looking forward to?

FS:  AVENGERS!!! You may have guessed I like action!

GL:  Me too!!  As soon as we can get a babysitter…

GL:  I know you have some interesting talents/hobbies.  Please share with everyone J.

FS:  Ha… I collect hobbies, lol. Right now, my favorites are international cooking. Cooking is awesome, you get to be creative then eat it afterwards! Can’t beat that. Also, I love natural semi-precious stones. The variety and beauty they posses is bewildering. So I enjoy making handmade jewelry. I just wish the prices of the stones hadn’t more than tripled in the last few years. And lastly, I am dabbling in photography right now. I am not good at it yet. I just know if I take 100 pictures, I will luck out and get three good ones to share.

GL:  Even the best photographers end up with a bunch of duds J.  See ladies, this is one well-rounded man!

GL:  Most interesting place you've ever traveled?

FS:  Interesting? I would have to say taking supplies to a leper colony in India. An eye opener and something that expanded my heart past what I believed it could handle.

GL:  Mountains or beaches?

FS:  I love beaches when there isn’t a crowd. And I’m a bit on the pasty side, thanks to my Irish/German side, so I avoid the place in the summer. But mountains, especially rugged, desolate landscapes like the pics I see of the Grand Tetons in Wyoming or the Badlands in the Dakotas have always drawn me in. So mountains for me!

GL:  I prefer the mountains as well.

GL:  Coffee or tea?

FS:  I am not a huge fan of either. Funny thing is I do not like hot drinks. But of the two, plain black tea is my favorite.

GL:  Well, you know here in Alabama, we like our tea iced and SWEET! J

GL:  One item from your bucket list you've yet to accomplish?

FS:  Learn a language other than English proficiently. I learned early in life mechanics, languages, music, and math are not my strongest subjects. But I would love to learn German for some reason. When I try to speak German right now, I sound like a pug with a bad sinus problem.

GL:  Bahahahahaha!!!  Thanks so much, Frank!  You are an awesome guest, and I wish you all the best with Wolf Song and the entire trilogy! And...


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