Interview with a Writer: Mea Smith

Are you interested in getting to know more of the writers who are part of our amazing community? As part of my blog series, I’ve interviewed some of the writers in an effort to get to know them better, as well as share their stories!

Today, I’m introducing Mea Smith onto the blog, and I’m so excited to share her story!

#1. What got you into writing? How and when did you first start?

My story is nontraditional, and sometimes, I feel a bit like an imposter in the author world because of it. I want to tell you that I was a voracious reader from birth, that I was a fearless child who wrote her first novel at 12-years-old, and I still have it somewhere in a box. But, that’s not how it all started for me, and to be honest, when I’m not writing fiction, I’m a terrible liar.

The truth is I was too fearful to even consider writing as more than a secret, though I loved doing it. All my poetry, songs, and stories from middle school to college remained in the shadows, growing mold and becoming earth. Four years after I graduated, I’d stagnated in my search for a career, and I was plagued by Life Things.

But in 2009, my husband had a terrible staph infection and needed to have our double bed to himself for about two weeks. I took to the couch with a grumbly attitude and a copy of Twilight. A few late-night readings later, I’d finished the series and discovered solace through literary escapism. The Twilight series housed the first books I’d read for pleasure since college. The experience made me think, I want to mold people’s emotions, give those who need it a place to breath, and get lost in a world of my own making. I will always be thankful for the series because it was the original spark that ignited my personal reading/writing/learning wildfire.

I began to broaden my reading and research writing a novel. A few months later, I typed out “chapter one”, and then the real learning began. I’m proof that one can learn to love reading as an adult and that reading can, quite literally, change the path of your life.

#2: Where do you usually get your ideas?

Mostly, in places where it would be tactless to jot down the idea. In the middle of conversations, meals, dates, work meetings, etc. I’ve gotten very sneaky about jetting off to the bathroom or something and recording quick notes in my phone or notebook. I just recently had an idea for a book today because of spam email. I also get ideas just letting my mind wander. Those are my favorite because I can give flesh to the bones almost immediately.

I guess the main thing is to be observant and to be prepared with a pen/notebook combo or note-taking technology.

#3: What current project are you working on right now? What was the inspiration for this project?

I’m working on a few of projects this summer. First, a women’s fiction novel that started as a scene in a coffeeshop (that has since been cut from the book). Husband and I were sitting around, chilling, and it just popped in my head. Couldn’t be helped. Next, I’m working on a poetry and art project. I adore poetry and painting, and the opportunity came to make both and to work with a super cool lady, so I said, “Yes!” Finally, I’m co-authoring a nonfiction born from a need discovered on this crazy cool trip toward publication.

#4: Traditional, Self-Publish, Small Press? What path to publishing are you pursuing/have pursued and why?

I’d like to be a hybrid author. I’m going to query agents for the novel I’m working on now. The nonfiction will be with a small press, Logos & Mythos Press, and I’m considering self-publishing my poetry. The publishing world is so interesting right now with all the viable options to get your words into the world. I don’t want to pigeonhole myself into one outlet because of a stereotype or lack of vision. I’ll try to pursue all options—I say “try” because it’s not up to me in all avenues—and create my own opinion for future works.

#5: What’s the best writing tip you’ve ever received?

“Whether or not you write well, write bravely” Bill Stout.
Writing/Life tip: “It takes the same amount of effort to be brave as it does to be afraid.” Maggie Stiefvater

I did most of writing craft learning online and through books and podcasts. These are still my main learning methods because of my responsibilities in this period of life, so I don’t have a lot of face-to-face… Wait! I got one “’There’ as a subject is useless. I can’t believe it exists in that context. Sentences will always be stronger without it.” Allison Chestnut, English professor at William Carey University.

#6: When are you most creative?

When I’m brainstorming and during revision

#7: What authors inspire you the most?

Today I’m enamored with Maggie Stiefvater, Neil Gaiman, Tahereh Mafi, Christina Lauren, and Patrick Ness, to name a few.

#8: What’s your most anticipated read in the next few months?

Here’s my reading tablet list (though it might take me more than a few months to finish and also I choose by mood):

The Madness Vase – Andrea Gibson (Poetry)
Behold the Dreamers – Imbolo Mbue
UnHoneymooners – Christina Lauren
Dear Martin – Nic Stone
What the Wind Knows – Amy Harmon
Body Love – Kelly LeVegue
And I’m waiting for Call Down the Hawk -Maggie Steifvater (New Release)

#9: What are you currently reading?

The Social Tutor by Sally Britton

#10: What’s your favorite book or book series?

Again, “favorites” fluctuate, sometimes, so…

Scorpio Races and All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Steifvater
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell

#11: Favorite childhood book?

Fair-Weather Love by Carla Cassidy (My aunt gave it to my as a Christmas present. I reread it so much that I swear my mom hid it. Or threw it away or something.)
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (The best school assigned reading EVER.)

#12: Biggest book pet peeve?

Physically: Price stickers on the covers that leave residue
Internally: Illogical plot points. Once I’ve noticed them, it’s hard for me to suspend my beliefs and adore the characters again.

#13: What book has made you cry?

The last book that made me cry was 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne because love is difficult sometimes.

But the one that made me sob and wonder “why, oh why, did I do this to myself?” was My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. There was no need to **spoiler alert** and make me feel like that, Jodi. (If you only saw the movie, you don’t know what I’m talking about.)

#14: Favorite writing snack or drink?

Cold coffee with almond milk. The best way to answers is to list things I don’t eat. Raw Onion.

Next question!

#15: What’s your biggest fear? Writing related or otherwise – or both!

William Carey, who has also been called the “father of modern missions”, said, “…I’m afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”

This is my fear, too. I think embracing it has pushed me to truly begin writing for a career.

#16: What other hobbies do you have outside of writing?

Painting, jewelry making, and aggravating my kids

#17: Biggest real-life pet peeve?

People who mouth the words I’m saying while I’m speaking to them. Believe me; it’s not as uncommon as you think.

#18: Any final words to aspiring writers out there?

If you’re scared to write or hardcore procrastinating, work to completion on a short project (flash fiction, short story, poetry chapbook, for example) and feel what it’s like to Finish Something. Then, learn something from it, and make something else.

All About Mea

meaMeagan (Mea) Smith lives in a wooden house on a hill where she trips over a multitude of cats while parenting her two rambunctious boys. When she mentally floats too far from home, her cherished husband ushers her back and then grills her chicken for dinner. She has a Master’s in English and sometimes scares college students with her passion for semicolons; she fell for their cunning in high school.

Mea believes love doesn’t deter hateful things from happening, but it always conquers them. Because of this, she creates fictional content tinted with hope set in contemporary and/or fantastical places. Her nonfiction focuses on writing craft for authors delivered with kindness and honesty. Her poetry is based on a true story. Always.

You can find Mea on her back porch watching fireflies flicker or on the Internet.

Follow Mea on all her socials!

Instagram: @measmithwrites
Facebook: @meathewriter
Twitter: @mea_smith


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