Daniel W. Smith – Asim: Servant of Two Masters

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

Asim: Servant of Two Masters is a period piece set in 1453 at the begining of the Ottoman Empire. The new empire sends a trade envoy to Spain and Portugal to open trades routes. A female member of the Islamic envoy is murdered in King Alphonso’s castle and an Islamic body guard is directed by his superiors to conduct the investigation however he has to get permission from the Pope in order to investigate any crime that involves a Christian. By the popes direction he is not allowed to detain any Christian involved but by the direction of the Ottoman ruler (Mehmed II) he must bring back anyone involved or at least their heads.

Tell us something about yourself.

I am from a small town in New Jersey named Mount Holly. Mount Holly played a pivotal part in George Washington’s “Battle of Monmouth”. We tied up some of the British forces so they couldn’t reinforce the troops at Monmouth giving the Rebels a fighting chance. We got pounded but served the greater purpose,lol.

I was in the U.S. Army with the 82nd Airborne Diovision for 15 years and have worked and lived in N.J. most of my life.

I have been writing since I can remember. Poems, Op-Ed pieces in school news papers and letters to the editors but I got interested in writing books when my ideas expanded and after a few adventures of my own. I have served as a civilian contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan since June 2008 and am still going so I have a lot of adventure still left in me at 50 years old.

What inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to see a story that has not been told about the cooperation of Islam and Christianity rather than always se the conflict that exists . That is all we see in the news, on television and in the movies. I wanted a hero of Islam that everyone could identify with in his sense of right and wrong.

How did you choose the title?

The book named itself really. The main character “Asim” is trying to serve the direction of two masters; Islam and Christianity without disrespecting either religion or betraying the trust of either.

What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?

I think the biggest obsticle was time. I work in a war zone so I was stifled a bit. The people I worked with at “Happy Guy Marketing” ensured my obsticles were minimal. The concept of the novel was mine and I have a two part story but they put they put my thoughts to words and communication with them was critical even though it was difficult at times because of me being in Baghdad and some times our communications systems were out. Some times we would take on rocket or mortar fire and that would leave me out of the loop for days at a time. So I guess my personal obsticle to get over was and is trying to survive hostile attacks and stay focused.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

I knew I wanted to be a writer after I had read the complete works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Homer, and Alexander Dumas. I knew I had ideas for stories that could rival those adventures even though I do not think I can write as well as they do but again “Happy Guy Marketing” bore the brunt of that portion of my effort.

Do you have any writing rituals?

Only that I keep a note pad near me at all times. If I get an idea I have to write it down because I have so many of them that I want to keep a train of thought. I have several books started but they are all on ledgers, note pads, and even “Post-It” notes,lol.

How do you come up with the names for your characters?

People I have met usually. I have a scren play that every name of every person in it is some one I have met or related to me. Not their entire name but I will usee their first or last name.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?

I learned that self publishing is expensive,lol. But unless you are famous already it is really tough to get a publisher to take you on and some of them won’t even give you a look.

If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?

I would have started out long ago instead of just three years ago.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?

I love reading ther classics. Dumas, Homer, Steinbeck, Hemmingway. If not a classic novel then it has to be a classic setting for me. They detail was different with the classic writers. Arthur Conan Doyle did more with small detail than probably anyone. The rest for me was the color of the read. I like to be taken away when I read, I like to get lost in a book.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

My next book is a crime mystery. It is a murder of a young bank executive that comes back to take revenge on his murders which are the board of directors that killed him to cover up their housing loan fraud. If I tell you naything else it will spoil the tail because their is an important twist to the story that again, I have not read so it is unique in its concept.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Be patient. Don’t rush yourself or your story.

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

The perfect reader of “Asim” would be the person who likes a good swash-buckler, an adventurist. If you like Errol Flynn you will like Asim, lol.