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Kindle Author Interview: Jeanette D. Williams-Smith

Jeanette D. Williams-Smith, author of Snap Shot, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Snap Shot?

JEANETTE D. WILLIAMS-SMITH: Snap Shot is my official published prose work. There have been many other ideas and works that have flowed from my pen to paper but Snap Shot was the first novel that made it this far. As a college student, I had an idea about writing a story involving an undercover detective and a witness in protective custody hooking up. However, my two characters Rosaline and Hollister ended up so far out in left field in the first version story, I had to bring them back to reality. Rosaline and Hollister find themselves intertwined together by a set of circumstances that led to something good in the end.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

JEANETTE D. WILLIAMS-SMITH: I developed Hollister, Rosaline, and other characters in a manner mirroring my life. For example, relationships are a big thing in Snap Shot and my characters had to learn about relationships the hard way. My husband Jeromy and I separated for a year before we reconciled. Rosaline and Hollister go through their own period of separation to find themselves and find their individual inner peace. Names, nicknames, and colors are a few ways I differentiate characters. Skin tone, eye color, the actual names, colors the characters wear, etc. all carry a distinct meaning. So I beg the gentle reader to forgive me if they hear thirty mentions of Rosaline’s hair color because the actual color is more than just red. It’s her persona—fiery, impulsive, and passionate.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

JEANETTE D. WILLIAMS-SMITH: Ideals are just that, ideals. I hope that the people who want to read Snap Shot are looking for healing. Two broken people inside of this story are seeking healing from everyone and everything else but from within—within God and within themselves. I know my novel has that dirty word “romance” connected to it. I want people to read it for more than just a cozy read by the beach, I want them to feel better and love better after they read it.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

JEANETTE D. WILLIAMS-SMITH: I have taken a long emotional journey with Snap Shot that is still going. I have been writing every since I was in the first grade, going from cute stories to angst-filled teen poetry to serious fiction. Snap Shot forced me to make change especially when the changes hurt my soul—or pride. I have gained an understanding about writing as a business and as a process. And Snap Shot has healed me of my fear of sharing my words with anyone.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

JEANETTE D. WILLIAMS-SMITH: Writing process??? I don’t really have one (laugh). I spent a year writing Snap Shot down in composition notebooks from chapter one to the end then type out the story. Of course, Snap Shot changed several times between editing from my editor Anne Younger and my revisions.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

JEANETTE D. WILLIAMS-SMITH: I think Zora Neale Hurston has given me a great deal of inspiration. “Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board…” from Their Eyes Were Watching God said a world of things to me, a woman wrapped up in rainbows also. The poet in Toni Morrison’s words also inspire me to find new ways to say things daily, news observations about life and people.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

JEANETTE D. WILLIAMS-SMITH: Heck, I wish I would have written The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I would have been paid! Oh, yeah, and that small thing about contributing something artistic and all of that jazz would have meant something (smiles).

DAVID WISEHART: How did you create your cover?

JEANETTE D. WILLIAMS-SMITH: The cover was created by Brandon Morgan, a cartoonist whose work I saw on LiveJournal.com one night. I can only picture things in finite head so I employed his skills and got something wonderful. The cover contains symbols key to Snap Shot—a butterfly (Hollister’s late mother) and a rosary (faith) resting on a camera (Rosaline’s talent). As you read the novel, you’ll learn how these three objects tie together.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

JEANETTE D. WILLIAMS-SMITH: Marketing/promotion has been mainly word of mouth. I give big thanks to one of my readers, Roz, for loving the novel from the start and promoting me so heavily to others. I have a Snap Shot product page on Facebook and finally keep a blog (Ms. J is Jeanette, http://msjisjeanette.blogspot.com). The Amazon Kindle message boards and websites maintained by authors like David Wisehart (wink-wink) have been the second biggest waves of promotion for me. I hope to enlist the aid of a publicist soon as well.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

JEANETTE D. WILLIAMS-SMITH: Publishing on Kindle was very DIY and easy. I also saw good turn around once people became aware of my work. I can make changes and upload my work again whenever needed.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

JEANETTE D. WILLIAMS-SMITH: My advice to any desire to self-publish on Kindle: patience. You have to be very patient. Just like in traditional publishing, don’t expect to be an instant bestseller. Family, friends, coworkers, guys walking down the street—people have to be aware of your existence and interested in what you write. Also, make sure your work is polished. If it’s not edited and formatted correctly, forget the sales. Your readers won’t get pass the typos enough to love you.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeanette D. Williams-Smith (1983 - present) is a Jacksonville, Florida native. She has had a passion for the written word since age seven. The middle child in a family of four, her imagination led her to compose poetry and prose under the pen name "Ms. J." She graduated from Paxon School for Advanced Studies then went on to receive her Bachelor in Science in Biology at Eckerd College. The author is a medical technologist in her home city as well as an active church member. She is married to her husband, Jeromy, an aspiring chef and minister.

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