Drop and Give me 20: 20 Hard Questions for Hard Authors
Pre Question - So, who are you?
I’m Veronica Smith. I’m 51 years old and I live in Katy, Texas (it’s a suburb west of Houston). I’ve been married to my husband for 27 years and we have a son who just finished college who also writes. I am a computer drafter for an engineering company for over 25 years. I do both 2D and 3D drafting. I love horror of all kinds, especially the kind with that unexpected twist.
1. Are you “An Author” -or- “A Writer”? What’s the difference?
I believe I’m an author. To me a writer is someone who writes but not necessarily tells a story. A journalist for the news is also writer. They tell stories but they are telling the news, not making stuff up. At least they aren’t supposed to but it’s the news so who knows what you are getting! I like to tell a story; I want to entertain.
2. What is your biggest failure?
Waiting until I was almost 50 years old to actually try to get anything published. I’ve written stories and poems since I was about 13 but never did anything with any of it. Of course, self publishing nowadays makes that much more possible than back then.
3. What is the worse lie you ever told?
I’m a terrible liar. I don’t have a poker face at all, so everyone can tell if I’m not telling the truth. So the worst lie I would probably be telling someone I wasn’t going to be home so they wouldn’t come over.
4. Do you Google yourself?
Haha! I hadn’t thought of that yet but now I’m going to before I’m done with this interview.
5. How would your friends describe you? And what about your worst enemy?
My friends see me as more outgoing than I really am. I don’t like crowds or to be the center of attention. Honestly social media is great. I can let people see only the parts of me that I want. My worst enemy is myself. I constantly berate myself if I get a rejection or don’t have time to promote my writing. Working full time with an hour commute each way kind of cuts into the time of what I really want to do – write.
6. What is your creative Kryptonite?
Writing at home when my husband is home. He wants to watch TV and there is a lot of shows in the DVR that we haven’t even started. I can’t get hardly any writing done while he’s home.
7. What popular movie/book/music which others adore, do you secretly despise?
Oh god, anything with Will Ferrell. I don’t know why but I can’t stand that guy. The only thing he’s done that I like is Zoolander. Everyone loves that guy and I just don’t get it.
8. What is the worst criticism you ever received? How did it make you feel?
That I can be a cold hearted bitch sometimes. I can read a sad part in a book or watch it on TV and bawl my eyes out but other times I put myself apart from it. I appear cold but it’s really just a defense thing.
9. What is a secret you’ve never told anyone?
Shh. It’s a secret. If I told you then I’d have to kill you. Haha. Actually, (and I know I’ll get bashed for this one) but I really don’t like pets. Animals smell and leave me “presents” around the house. I don’t have patience for an animal that trashes my house but my husband has forgiveness overflowing. So naturally the dog is “his” dog, not “ours”.
10. How long/how many rejections did you get before someone gave you your shot?
My first short story was accepted on the first submission but I think it was one of those that took anyone. Still didn’t dampen the thrill of it. After that I’ve had a lot of stories that got rejections then accepted somewhere else. I have one story that has been rejected four times. I’m giving it one more shot then I think it’s time for a re-write. Update! That story has now been rejected for the fifth time. Goes to show that just because I think it’s good, doesn’t mean it really is. Re-write time.
11. What was the last movie/book which made you cry?
The Green Mile – both book and movie make me bawl, no matter how many times I read or watch it. Armageddon too.
12. Can you describe a single, personal moment in your life which made you, you?
When I was young and read Nancy Drew books, I had grand plans of being a cop. I had already researched the police academy and courses. I was writing even then though, making my own version of teenage detective stories. When I was 15 I worked at Baskin Robbins and got held up at gunpoint. Yeah, I know, who robs an ice cream shop? He only got about $50 but he took more than money that night. He took my plans in law enforcement. That scared me more than anything I’d ever gone through and I decided that very night I didn’t have what it took to be a cop. I know, a little hard on myself considering I was only 15 but it changed me completely. I really had no clue what I planned to do with my life until I graduated high school and got a job. I’ve been working, started a family, still wrote, and now my life is what it is. I still wonder what it would be like if that man with a gun hadn’t come into my life.
13. On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your writer’s ego?
If 1 is the lowest I’d have to say 3. I think I’m a pretty good author. Someone must like my writing for my stories to get accepted. But I just feel wrong actually saying it, like I’m being too cocky. If I ever won an award I don’t know if I’d post about it. I’d think to myself that I sound conceited.
14. Have you ever been in a fight/punched in the face? How did/would you react?
Not unless you count my husband rolling over in his sleep and whacking me in the eye. Haha. But if someone did it on purpose I’d hit back. I don’t take shit from people (oh can I say shit? If not, just swap it out for another word – haha)
15. What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters with sexual identity different from your own?
Imagine what they are thinking. I try to imagine my husband, son, or other guys I know in those places and that helps me write from a man’s perspective.
16. What do you feel the most pride in? And what makes you feel the most shame?
Pride: I’m organized as hell. Maybe I’m OCD but I like lists and references. I used One Note when I wrote Salvation and it made it so easy. I even created a spreadsheet with columns set up like the aisles at our grocery store. It really does make for faster shopping but I’ve never heard of anyone else doing this so I think that makes me a little weird.
Shame: That I am so organized but messy and a horrible housekeeper. You would think that being OCD like that would make me clean my house constantly but I never have time and I can’t keep up with family as well as the two cats and a dog.
17. I see you are from Texas. During my time in the military I was stationed there for 6-months. What are some of the pet peeves you have concerning the Texas stereotype?
Now this one brings back memories. When I visited my grandmother in Buffalo, NY many years ago my cousin used to tease me about my accent, saying y’all, and all claimed I looked like Daisy Duke. They assumed that I lived on a ranch and I should be awestruck at the “big city” that was Buffalo. A lot of people hear Texas and think it’s all farmland and oil rigs. They just didn’t believe me when I told them I lived in a city much larger than theirs.
18. How comfortable are you with writing sex/sensual scenes??
Actually I've never written anything explicit. I have a romance going on in my novella, Chalk Outline, but everything is subtle and assumed. That might be something to try on my next project. I'd be comfortable with it, just never tried it.
19. You are driving down the street when something SMASHES into your car, knocking you onto the side of the road and the airbags go off knocking you unconscious. When you wake up it is night and getting out of your car you see things flying through the air. The creatures land 20 feet away and you see they are people. Or were. Their skin is pale, their teeth are pointy and you get a severe vampire vibe. Then you realize you have a lot of blood on your face from the airbags and the vamps look hungry. You can have one weapon of your choice, three books and one luxury item...what do you do?
Sit them down for an interview? Just Kidding! I wouldn’t give in (that not taking shit thing again). If I was allowed a weapon of choice I’d get a short sword made of silver (we are talking about vamps after all). I don’t think my gun or taser would do jack against that. Three books? Harder to choose. I’d have to pick one for reading pleasure, Swan Song by Robert McCammon, a book map (do they still have road atlas’ anymore), and a book with survival skills. Luxury item is easy – toilet paper, better yet, toilet cleansing wipes. Imagine life without either of those in a couple of years, even if you aren’t a blood donation by that time.
20. What would you like fans and potential fans to know about you as a person?
I love European metal and listen to it while I write. I like American metal too but prefer European. I read and watch any kind of horror but my favorites are post apoc, and not usually zombie related.
Thank you so much Veronica! To know more about her, please check out her links below!