10 Questions with Douglas W.T. Smith
Douglas W.T. Smith is an Australian author of speculative fiction and short stories. His short stories have been published in a variety of magazines such as Movement, SuckerCo, Tertangala, and Needle in the Hay. Smith was shortlisted in the 2015 Historical Faction Award and the 2015 Science Fiction Award. His first book, Shadow Of The Wicked, was self-published in July 2021. When Smith isn’t enjoying the Australian outdoors with his wife, son and dog, he loves to share his writing journey and insightful writing advice on his blog. To follow, visit www.dwtsmith.com.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself! Where do you call home and what do you write?
Hey everyone, I’m Douglas W.T. Smith. I am an Australian author of fantasy, and I live in Port Macquarie, which is on the Mid-North Coast of New South Wales, Australia.
2. What drew you to that particular genre and/or age group?
I have always had an interest in fantasy. Growing up, I devoured the Harry Potter saga and I played a lot of fantasy games like Final Fantasy. As I grew older, I still read books but I focused a lot of my free time on surfing and that fantastical part of me subsided.
After a few years, I made my way to university, but I was unsure of what I wanted, and at the time, a friend had convinced me to re-watch Lord of the Rings. I had watched it when I was younger but after I watched it as an adult, it resurfaced my passion for fantasy and storytelling. A few days later, I sat down with the university guidance counsellor and weaved my degree into Creative Writing, Sociology major, and a minor in English Literature.
Over the course of my degree, I learned about all the theories of story building, the rules and structures of character and plot developments. I fell in love with these ideologies and telling stories. During my degree, we had to write stories, critique other stories and edit long novels. While we were writing, we also had to criticize our own work.
All these analytic questions pointed to my specific writing theme and genre–family and fantasy. Something about my writing always drew in the family drama of siblings and external threats on that family within a fantasy world, which I believe Game of Thrones was essentially about.
The biggest thing that attracts me to these themes is the depth of character the story can delve into. Families can bring the best and worst out of us and that is what I love and also dragons, magic, and epic battles.
3. What’s your best known work?
My best known work and my only book for sale is Shadow Of The Wicked: A Three Kingdoms Novella. Below is a short blurb for it.
Twin brothers—a sorcerer and a warrior—are each tortured for their opposing convictions. Jaromir wakes up chained to a table filled with dread, while Talmage is thrown into an underground labyrinth. Both brothers must escape from their wicked fate, identify their outgrown relationship, and swallow their pride, before it’s too late.
If one of them fails; they both suffer.
I am currently working on two books. One book is set in a shared universe and published by Of Metal and Magic Publishing; and another book is set in the world of The Three Kingdoms.
4. What inspired you to write it?
As mentioned in the previous answer, reading when I was younger instilled the love for fantasy and stories but as I grew older I was able to turn those nostalgic feelings into a potential career. Once I began to write, I developed a story that I wanted to tell. Writing a story that you would want to read inspired and motivated me to finish the first draft of my first novel. Those ideologies apply to all projects that I’m writing and have written.
5. Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter, pantser or somewhere in between? How do you research?
I’m all of the above. I plot out where I want my characters to start and head in their arc and plot but as characters do, they take their own way to get to those plot points and some of them never make it there. I research as I write. Sometimes I might get to a specific point in the scene where I feel I don’t have enough acquired knowledge to complete it. So, I jump to Google. It’s fascinating how there will always be someone in the world that has posted something you need for a scene. Which leads to my next answer.
5. What’s the strangest or most interesting thing you’ve researched for your writing?
Off the top of my head, the strangest thing I’ve researched is 'what do rotten teeth smell like?'. I know what bad breath smells like but I needed it to be specific for a character who had his rotten teeth knocked out and my protagonist picks them up.
Thank God for Google, I now know what rotten teeth smell like—sulphur and rotten eggs if you’re curious.
6. What’s the most personal story/scene you’ve written and why?
The most personal scene I’ve written was the death of a character in one of my stories. I actually cried while I was writing it. I think it was so personal to me because I recently lost my father so it was strange to write about these characters and pour so much of my personal life into it.
7. Who are your literary influences? In what way?
The authors and books that probably give me the most inspiration for my writing would be Tad Williams' Memory, Thorn and Sorrow Saga; George R.R. Martin's Song of Fire and Ice; and Raymond E. Fiest's The Magician. All these books have exactly what I love about storytelling and character development, which I hope to one day mimic their skills and reputation in the literary world.
8. What books are on your bedside table right now?
I’m trying to re-read the first book of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jorden before the series premieres and Raymond E. Feist’s A Kingdom Besieged.
9. Last and most important, where can we find your books/stories?
You can find my book, Shadow Of The Wicked, on Amazon in paperback and kindle unlimited.
Follow Douglas on these platforms!
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