I’m influenced by fantastic stories. Books that take me away, teach me something new and keep me turning the pages, are books that I would love to mimic.
A.K. Smith – 13 May 2017
The Back Flap
What was her husband hiding in the jungles of Mexico?
Rocked by her husband’s tragic death, Kendall Jackson strives to put her life back together. But Ryder, her nineteen-year-old stepson, is bitter and wants nothing to do with her. And she can’t keep the grief at bay. Sometimes, it’s so strong, she wonders if life is worth living.
A call from a cave diver in Mexico gives her hope of mending the relationship with her stepson. Before his death, her husband arranged a diving expedition as a birthday gift for his son. Kendall persuades Ryder to honor his father’s last wish.
From the campus of Western Maryland College to the woods of Camp David and the caves of the Yucatán, Kendall and Ryder take a journey to discover what her husband worked so hard to hide, and to protect his treasured secrets from falling into the wrong hands. The choices they make will decide their fate and the future of others. Will they risk everything for the truth?
About the book
What is the book about?
A Deep Thing is a suspense novel full of adventure, conspiracy and What if’s?
When did you start writing the book?
I started writing this book about two years ago. It was after a wonderful vacation, my husband and I took, to the Riviera Maya in the Yucatán in Mexico.
How long did it take you to write it?
It took me about two years to complete the book from rough draft to finished product.
Where did you get the idea from?
When I was visiting the Riviera Maya in the Yucatán in Mexico I kept hearing the word CENOTES. I had never heard of these caves before and I wanted to go see one. My husband and I hired a taxi driver to take us out to the jungle so we could explore several different cenote’s. Upon first seeing them, I thought they were magical. Gorgeous, iridescent, blue- green water holes in the middle of the jungle. Most of them are fresh water and on private land. The Maya thought they were magical, I agreed.
Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?
I did a lot of research regarding the area around Camp David. I struggled with what was fact or fiction.
What came easily?
The story came easy. My husband and I were hiking in Phoenix, Arizona around Lookout Mountain and during the hike, I told him the whole plot from beginning to end.
Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?
My characters are entirely fictitious, but sometimes they are blend of people I know. I might use part of one person and part of another person and create a unique individual with traits I’ve witnessed from others, but now they’re mixed together. Sometimes I’ll use first names or last names to help remember certain characters, but it doesn’t mean they are anything like their fictitious characters, in fact, it usually is quite the opposite.
We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?
I’m influenced by fantastic stories. Books that take me away, teach me something new and keep me turning the pages, are books that I would love to mimic. I love a plethora of authors for so many different reasons: Blake Crouch, Nicholas Sparks, James Patterson, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Grisham, Jodi Piccoult, Judy Blume, VC Andrews, Sidney Sheldon, Gillian Flynn, Jane Austen and the list goes on, I could list 50 more.
Do you have a target reader?
My target readers are men and women who like suspense with a little adventure. Readers who like the what-ifs? Readers who are looking for a suspenseful story that makes you think.
Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?
I generally write in my office at home. Recently, I purchased a new laptop and I’m going to try to use the laptop for writing on the go. My goal is to find the perfect iPad that you can use for writing.
Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?
I do a brief summary of Act I, Act II, Act III. I know the beginning and I know the end.
Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?
I edit a little bit while I’m writing the first draft. But I definitely edit more at the end, and edit, and edit.
Did you hire a professional editor?
I had an editor with my publishing house.
Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?
It depends, if I’m writing on the go, I put my headphones on and I play classical focus music to block everything out. If the house is empty and I’m writing, I typically write in silence.
Did you submit your work to Agents?
I queried a few agents and then attended the Las Vegas Writers Conference and pitched my novel to an editor/publisher of a small press. They asked for the full manuscript and they were the first ones to read my entire manuscript, except for my beta readers. They offered me a contract and I stopped querying. I am querying for my second novel right now, it is a young adult story, but I’m torn about self-publishing it.
What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher?
I decided to go Indie because a small indie press offered me a contract.
Was it a particular event or a gradual process?
It was a particular event.
Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?
My book cover for, A Deep Thing, was professionally done.
Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?
I have a marketing plan that I devised from books and blogs, but I’m new, and I’m not sure if it is a successful plan. I learn by trial and experience.
Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?
If you’re considering going Indie there are three things I would highly recommend. One, get a professional cover. Two make sure it is professionally edited. Three set up a marketing campaign for Indie authors, get reviews, do your research, and plan your book launch several months in advance.
Where did you grow up?
I’m from a small town in Western Pennsylvania and I am the youngest of six children. I graduated from Shippensburg University with a BA in communication/journalism and I graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a MA in Student Affairs in Higher Education.
Where do you live now?
I live in Arizona and in a beautiful little charming sea town in Mexico called Puerto Penasco.
What would you like readers to know about you?
I love questions from readers. I’m also available for any book club that wants to schedule me to answer book club discussion questions by Skype, Zoom, text or phone during their book club meeting. We would have an awesome time!
End of Interview:
Get your copy of A Deep Thing from Amazon US or Amazon UK.