Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Author Spotlight: J. Gregory Smith

J. Gregory Smith has made a leap lots of self-published authors would love to emulate. His first novel, a mystery titled Final Price, won the 2010 first prize for fiction in the Delaware Press Association's Communication Contest. Under the limelight of that achievement, and based on positive customer feedback and sales information from Amazon's sites, Greg's book came to's attention. Amazon picked up the book and released it under the flagship AmazonEncore imprint, which was created to "unearth exceptional books and emerging authors for more readers to enjoy." Greg's second book, a thriller called A Noble Cause, continued to impress Amazon enough so that it was published three weeks ago under Amazon's mystery and thriller genre imprint, Thomas & Mercer. Thanks to his quality writing and adept marketing, Greg has made the transition from a self-published author to one with the support of a surging book publishing powerhouse behind him.

For those of you who've not yet read A Noble Cause, here's my brief plot synopsis: In the aftermath of his girlfriend's Antiguan disappearance and the murders of his parents in Pennsylvania, Mark Noble battles to uncover the reasons and people behind the mysterious kidnapping and deaths. The plot rushes along a track centered around clandestine mind control experiments conducted on unwitting subjects via pharmaceutically-enhanced hypnosis. Now go out and read it.

Well, not right now. First, read the latest installment in the Gazalapalooza Author Spotlight, featuring none other than Mr. J. Gregory Smith himself. Kudos to Greg for agreeing without even the slightest flinch or hesitation to make this appearance for us under the searing blaze that is the Author Spotlight. Without further ado, let's get the Klieg light fired up and see if Smith breaks a sweat.

Gazala:   In my omnipotence, I've sentenced you to be stranded alone on a desert island for offenses best left unnamed. In my beneficence, I've decided to allow you a limited amount of reading material to make your stay a little less bleak than it would otherwise be. I'll spot you your religious text of preference, and the collected works of William Shakespeare. In addition to those, name the one fiction book, and the one nonfiction book, you'd choose to take with you, and why you choose them.

Smith:   For fiction I’d pick the first edition copy of The Hobbit that my dad read to me as a child.  He received it as a boy when it first came out.  Interesting side note, the original version of the Riddles in the Dark chapter where Bilbo first finds the great ring differs slightly than in later versions after the Lord of the Rings trilogy was written.  In the original, Gollum accepts the loss of the ring and even leads Bilbo back to the passage through the mountain.  Later versions have Gollum crazier and trying to kill Bilbo. For Nonfiction, The U.S. Army Survival Manual.  Robinson Crusoe I ain’t!

Gazala:   Your latest novel is an excellent and gripping thriller titled A Noble Cause. I've read it. I enjoyed it immensely, and recommend it highly. Shockingly enough, however, from time to time my bare recommendation doesn't always motivate a book's potential reader to become a book's actual reader. Tell us something about A Noble Cause, and why its potential reader should make the leap and become its actual reader.

Smith:   Hypnosis has always fascinated me, though I've never tried it myself.  I've always heard the subjects really can't be made to do anything they really wouldn't do normally--but I couldn't let it go at that, so I came up with a sort of superhypnosis combined with a mysterious concoction that allows access to the deepest reaches of a subject's subconscious. Now we're talking power. Our hero, Mark, is caught in the middle of a struggle for what such power could offer.

Gazala:   What are books for?

Smith:   Done right, I see books as a partnership between reader and writer where the writer sets the scene and story and readers step up with their own imaginations to complete the picture and make it perfect. It is hard to do but when it works, magic happens. There’s a reason so many people will prefer a book to the movie version. They had a hand in making the story just right for them, and it can be jarring when a director substitutes his interpretation.

Gazala:   W. Somerset Maugham said, "There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are." Do you agree, or disagree, and why?

Smith:   I would tend to agree but even when I think I know what they are it doesn’t seem to make it any easier.  For me I’d say they were 1) come up with a great idea, 2) write it down, 3) make it better (and repeat #3 as needed.)

Gazala:   My car alarm is going off again. Ask yourself a question, and answer it. 

Smith:   Question -- Since you are a writer and not a “wrote”, what is next for you? Answer --  The sequel to my first novel Final Price, is coming out in March and is called Legacy of the Dragon. Right now I’m nearly finished with the draft of the third Detective Chang thriller tentatively titled Send in the Clowns.  (After it rests a bit I'll get to work on step #3.)

Now that you've indulged in Smith's Author Spotlight, you can go get your copy of A Noble Cause. A quick and easy way to order your copy is by clicking here.

1 comment:

  1. I just downloaded the book to kindle ... it sounds fascinating. Your interview here is really what prompted me to read the book - I like your statement, Mr. Smith, about starting a novel ... I'm ready to start my next one.

    You can find me at, or visit Kathleen Walker's blog, Peace love and all that other hippie crap! she interviewed me this week, as she and I have shared an understanding of the word "enigma", which is a key word in my recent book title, Multiple Sclerosis an Enigma. Almost a novel, but not quite.

    Thank you, Mr. Gazala, for hosting such an interesting author ... and I am off to read the book now <3