Tommy B. Smith is a writer of dark fiction and the author of Poisonous, Pieces of Chaos, and The Mourner’s Cradle. His short works have been featured in numerous publications to span the years. He previously worked with Morpheus Tales as editor of both the Dark Sorcery and Urban Horror special issues of the magazine.
He currently resides in Fort Smith, Arkansas, along with wife Carrie and their cats, of which they have a few.
KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?
I enjoy the brisk autumn weather when it actually occurs, and I’m seeking the proper beverage to accompany it. As yet, my efforts have not seen fruition, but I’m thinking some form of cider might do.
I’m also an author. I’ve long been creatively-inclined. I’ve had numerous short stories, a horror novella, and a short story collection published previously, and this year, Crystal Lake Publishing released my new novel, The Mourner’s Cradle.
KR: What do you like to do when not writing?
I enjoy live music, reading, and traveling. Lately, I’ve been looking at some horror graphic novels. I appreciate the artwork as well as the story.
KR: What is your favourite childhood book?
It isn’t easy to choose a single favorite. I’ve had lots of favorites. In younger days, I read books with a range of topics, not necessarily ones only suitable for children. A children’s book that leaps out at me immediately is The Phantom Tollbooth, though. I found it to be an imaginative tale with interesting angles.
I would say the same of several of Roald Dahl’s works. Other favorites were the Lord of the Rings books and mythological story collections, all of which I read when I was young.
KR: What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?
Again, choosing a single favorite wouldn’t be accurate in my case. I mentioned a Katatonia album in another interview so I’ll go with another now: The Fall of Hearts. My wife gifted the special edition of it to me when it came out and it’s become one of my favorites of theirs.
Alice in Chains: Dirt is another album that resonates with me today.
When I’m writing, however, music tends to fall into the background, as the process of writing is such an immersive experience for me.
KR: Do you have a favourite horror movie/director?
You can’t go wrong with John Carpenter. Some of his films are among my favorites.
KR: What are you reading now?
Digitally, Tailchaser’s Song by Tad Williams. In paperback, Kitty’s Greatest Hits by Carrie Vaughn.
KR: Who were the authors that inspired you to write?
Roald Dahl, J.R.R. Tolkien, Washington Irving, John Coyne, Richard Bachman—or as a few people know him, Stephen King—and numerous other horror authors whose works I read in anthologies way back when.
KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
I rarely outline. I may make story notes if matters become extra-complex. Often I carry the stories with me wherever I go, even if they aren’t committed to paper yet.
KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
It varies, but I researched outdated materials for The Mourner’s Cradle. Research documents and books from the 1970s, to be exact, to pinpoint the views and developments of that period and achieve a balance between factuality and authenticity. I said this not long ago while on a panel at a writer’s conference: It’s important to be accurate, but you don’t necessarily want to give your readers an extensive lesson.
KR: Describe your usual writing day?
Drink a cup of coffee. Write.
KR: Do you have a favourite story/short that you’ve written (published or not)?
As we’ve witnessed, I can never give an easy answer when it comes to favorites. Of my own work, The Mourner’s Cradle is one of my favorites. As a published work, it’s the closest to where I am now, as an author. As far as short stories go, Patient #37 is a special one, as it spearheaded my burst of creative output some years ago.
KR: Do you read your book reviews?
I do on occasion, as I’m interested in others’ thoughts and interpretations of my work. I’ve gotten a variety of different reactions, often sharply differing from my own perspective as the author. It’s interesting to observe those differences.
KR: Any advice for a fledgling author?
Be consistent and persistent. Learn with an open mind. It’s important to distinguish constructive criticism from destructive criticism.
KR: What scares you?
It’s a good question. These days, fear doesn’t do much to motivate my actions, but there are definitely things I like and don’t like. I realize that’s vague. I do have some issues with trust. I know too well what betrayal feels like and I’m not anxious to experience it again.
KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?
All three. With hardback, I enjoy compact collectible versions, but not gigantic tomes. E-books help me to conserve space. Many paperbacks I read are those I’ve found at bookstores or at various book-related events.
KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?
The Mourner’s Cradle is a tale of rain, ice, and dead legends, the journey of Anne Sharpe. Her husband, an independent researcher, became transfixed by the ancient world and the obscure Peruvian relics in particular. He’s spent the last months of his life obsessing over this, and now he’s dead.
Anne finds herself alone in an empty house without answers. When an unwelcome visitor shows up at her husband’s funeral, things begin to unravel. Anne’s fury comes out and ignites her desire to unearth the dubious answers she seeks.
KR: What are you working on now?
It’s a dash of dark comedy, thriller, and horror elements into a boiling cauldron of the United States southwest.
KR: You find yourself on a desert island, which three people would you wish to be deserted with you and why?
You can choose…
a) One fictional character from your writing.
From The Mourner’s Cradle: Tabby Reinhart. The voice of reason. Friendship.
b) One fictional character from any other book.
From Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl: Willy Wonka. The voice of chaos. Storyteller and candy-maker extraordinaire.
c) One real life person that is not a family member or friend.
Thor Heyerdahl. On the famous Kon-Tiki expedition, he navigated thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean on a primitive raft. That’s the sort of person you want on your side when trying to escape a deserted island.
KR: Thank you very much Tommy.
To find out more about Tommy by visiting his Official website www.tommybsmith.com
You can follow Tommy on Twitter @PenOfChaos
Visit Tommy’s author page here
The tale of a widow’s harrowing journey through grief and peril into the cold remnants of a dead world.
Damon Sharpe had in part found victory, he believed, in his battle to unearth a truth obscured by time. By autumn, he was dead, leaving to his wife Anne a house of unfulfilled wishes, remnants, and the key to the enigma of his obsession, the Mourner’s Cradle.
A journey through grief and peril delivers Anne Sharpe from her home in St. Charles to the faraway skeletons of a long-dead civilization where she will find the desperate answers she seeks…or die trying.
This book is a collision of ink and paper and an awakening of possibilities. Captured within are fragments of glass, metal, bone, ice, dreams, visions, and lives. Inside its pages, you will read of a lost village and the burning affliction of its people. You will share in an engineer’s unveiling of a hidden conspiracy. You will visit with a child confined to a tiny rectangular world on the brink of dissolution, and you will follow a girl on her trek from a home of crime and poverty across barren fields of ice to where an unspeakable force dwells. These are but a few of the works you will find among this collection of fourteen tales which blends the cosmic, the psychological, the human, and the inhuman in bringing together the essential dark fiction from author Tommy B. Smith’s pen of chaos.
Following the Quake of ’79, a terrible force came to the city of St. Charles. This was the Living Poison. In Lilac Chambers, it may have found the perfect host. As she finds herself changing, becoming increasingly dangerous to everyone around her, it becomes apparent that her state of being is no accident of nature. She is becoming a prime vehicle for the Living Poison’s destructive swath through the streets of St. Charles.
Detective Brandt McCullough has seen the Living Poison’s brutality. John Sutterfield, ringmaster of Sutterfield’s Circus of the Fantastic, is discovering its malignancy festering within the very circus he founded. These two are the only ones who might stand in the way of a force greater than anything they have ever known, one which threatens to wash the streets in red and swallow the city into chaos, but the stakes may be higher than either of them can imagine. St. Charles – indeed, the world – may tremble.