We welcomed onto the show Douglas WT Smith for our author spotlight episode. To start the episode, we followed on naturally from the introduction to talking about the name of his first novella, Shadow of the Wicked, and how he did a very interesting cover reveal for this on Instagram. Ashley also made an initial shout-out to southern hemisphere writers—with Douglas being the first we’d interviewed from her side of the world! She was very happy not to be in the earliest time-zone for a change!
From there we got more into the guts of the interview and asked Douglas our favorite starter question: How did he begin writing? Writing has always been a passion for Douglas, and he would write small fictional stories at a young age. In high school, he became more interested in the nuts and bolts of writing. After high school, he took a hiatus from writing and spent his time surfing outdoors before he was finally ready to begin University, where he completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing and minored in English Literature. At around the same time Douglas also fell in love with the Lord of the Rings movies and began to get inspiration for writing his own books.
Ashley followed this with a question about what Douglas found most useful about formal education in creative writing. Douglas replied that his biggest lessons were in learning the rules of writing and knowing when he can abide by them or break them. He also mentioned that in University he learned to be disciplined in his writing, and this has been a huge factor in driving him forward toward his goals. Other benefits was also the social aspect of learning with other students, where having consistent critique aided in learning the craft of writing.
Sarah asked where this education had led. Douglas has dabbled in a lot of things since leaving University. He is an English teacher at a high school, but has also done some freelance editing work as well as pursuing his own creative projects.
This led nicely into discussing his book that is coming out at the end of the year, To Wield the Stars. This is a science fiction book created in a shared universe, which he was approached by a small publishing company to write. Although the publishing company unfortunately went under, the book is still planned to come out after the editor of the series bought the rights and created a new indie press, Of Metal and Magic Publishing (OMAM). We then discussed his other book, Shadow of the Wicked, which was published in July. Douglas explained the book is about two brothers who have conflicting beliefs and they must dig deep within themselves to overcome challenges. Douglas intends to publish a series within the same world as Shadow of the Wicked, but on a slightly different timeline. Readers can expect to be thrown deeper into the magic system and the underlying foundations of the world in this planned series.
Finally, we asked Douglas about his writing approach. Douglas confessed to being a planster. Like we’ve discovered with many of the other authors we’ve had on the show, he has the main big plot events he works towards, but smaller subplots unravel on their own and he is happy to let his characters explore these subplots so long as they eventually get back on track! He also finds that including these unintentional subplots can often add to a bigger payoff at the end of the book.
If you would like to know more about Douglas WT Smith and his writing projects, or purchase his books, visit his webpage, or get in touch with him on Instagram or Facebook.