Mike Devlin – Smith

So, tell us about your book.

Smith tells the tale of Albert Smith, a very (very) average man, who wakes up one Sunday morning to discover he is destined to become the most important person ever to have lived.

It is a comedic tale, set against a sci-fi backdrop – but the only reason for that was to give me much more artistic license to run wild with the story. Readers have compared it to Hitchhiker’s Guide, but they have told me it is much more of a human story and therefore better, which because I have never read Adams’ books, I cannot comment on.

Tell us something about yourself.

I was born and raised in Manchester, England, but now live in Germany, with my much better other, Gaby, and son, Samuel. I class myself as the anti-author, because although I do read, it is something that I don’t do often, and my mother is still speechless I have written a full novel that is being enjoyed by complete strangers.

What inspired you to write this book?

The idea came to me as if remembering a dream, only this was an entire story from beginning to end entering my head in the blink of an eye. I was currently experiencing the worst and lowest point in my life, and the story gave me something to cling to, and I really owe my life to this book.

How did you choose the title?

The story had to be about Albert Smith – he had to be the center of it all. So it seemed only natural to name it after him (it is also a simple title which mirrors his simpleness).

Why comedy?

Because that’s who I am. You write what you know, and although I wouldn’t say I am a joker, I do find amusement in virtually everything and anything, and of course, going back to what I said about experiencing the worst time of my life, it took my mind off my situation, and kept me laughing.

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

I always thought writing a book would be a relatively easy affair, particularly if you have the story in your head in the first place. I was wrong. There is so much more to it than getting the story down, and it was a big learning process for me to understand that a book’s ebb and flow is just as important as the plot, the characters, and a thousand and one other things. It was fun, but it was definitely hard work.

However, once finished, the task of finding an agent arrived – that was fun. I lost count of how many I sent it to, and I got absolutely nowhere. One well-known agent, who shall remain anonymous, personally told me that although he enjoyed it, I was totally wasting my time because of the genre and the Global economic downturn. This was very hard to take. However, Gaby and my mother refused point-blank to accept that no one was interested and so we went the self-publishing route. Not for self-gratification, but because we truly believed in it.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I have since learned that many authors must do certain things to write, and I discovered I was no different: Drink too much the previous night, don’t get enough sleep, get up early and write whilst still groggy. No idea how it works, but it does.

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

The sequel to ‘Smith’ is finished, however, it requires a lot of work, because it is only the first draft – but it does explore many of the questions that I have since been asked arising from the first one.

I also have a couple of other projects going, but promoting ‘Smith’ takes up a lot of time.

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

Everyone, and I mean, everyone, will offer you advice, and usually the first ones to do it are those who have never published anything, or even written a word since High School. I suggest you take everything they say with a pinch of salt.

Oh, and don’t follow my bad example of ‘writing rituals’.

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

I guess it is anyone who doesn’t want a book to be time and brain consuming. I have tried (and hopefully succeeded) in writing a novel that is enjoyable and a page-turner, but at the same time is not taxing; something you can pick up, simply enjoy and laugh along with.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

The first port of call would be www.storyofsmith.com, where I am trying to throw in all sorts of things that are an extension of the book – and it is about the book and not about me, so if anyone was hoping to learn more about the author, they are going to be disappointed (or pleased, depending upon their point of view).

Naturally there are links to Amazon but you can also interact and talk with Albert Smith on Facebook.  Yes, he is now a real-life fictional character who is gaining friends all over the Planet, even though he normally talks complete nonsense.