Our Military Life Blog

Author Interview with Noble Smith

My name is Noble Smith and I come from a long line of veterans (Civil War, WWII, Vietnam). I was actually born on an Air Force base during the Vietnam War and my dad, who did two tours in Vietnam, ended up retiring as a major in the Air Force reserves. I had a grandfather who spent 3 years in the Pacific in WWII, and a great uncle who won a bronze star at the Battle of the Bulge in the European theater. Plus my family has all of these old diaries written by my ancestors from the Civil War days. I think that’s why I’ve always been fascinated by military history and the notion of what it means to be a warrior. I’m sure that’s why I ended up writing my Warrior Trilogy (set in ancient Greece).


What are your ambitions for your writing career?

You know what? I’ve always just wanted to be a working writer. I never did it for the money. Believe me, there’s no money in writing books unless you’re Stephen King or J.K. Rowling! I just love to tell stories. I have to do it or I start to kind of go crazy with all of these ideas that fill my head.


Which writers inspire you?

I love J.R.R. Tolkien and wrote a book about the insights in his works. It’s called The Wisdom of the Shire and was published by Thomas Dunne Books and translated into 8 languages. I also love this author named Patrick O’Brian who wrote an epic series about a British naval captain and his surgeon during the Napoleonic Wars (in the early 1800’s). It’s brilliant and regarded as one of the greatest works of military fiction.

So, what have you written?

Well, I had a play produced off-Broadway when I was a teenager. That was 28 years ago. After that I wrote a Monty Python sort of historical fiction comedy called Stolen from Gypsies. When nobody would publish it my mom, dad and I made up a fictitious publishing company and produced it ourselves in hardcover! That was a lot of fun and long before the days of Kindle. I taught myself about the publishing industry, and we even sold 3,500 copies which is a decent amount for a first-time author. I wasn’t published again until The Wisdom of the Shire (in 2012). Part of that book deal with Thomas Dunne Books was my Warrior Trilogy. The first two books (Sons of Zeus and Spartans at the Gates) are out now. Book 3 (Sword of Apollo) hits the stores this December.

What are you working on at the minute?

Right now I work as a narrative designer in the video game industry. I’ve been writing a game for the new holographic viewer (the Hololens) for the past ten months, and soon I’ll start work on an Xbox One title.

What’s it about? (*if relevant)

I can’t talk about the project for Hololens, because it hasn’t been announced yet, but everything that people have read about the device is true. It’s a magical, wild experience. Like nothing you’ve ever seen before. These holograms look like solid objects that appear in your room, and you can walk around them in 360 degrees. It’s just crazy!

What genre are your books?

The Warrior Trilogy is definitely action-adventure. It’s the story of a young pankrator (the ultimate fighters of ancient Greece) whose small city-state is invaded in a sneak attack. He has to save his family, city and the woman he loves from this genocidal enemy.

What draws you to this genre?

I’ve always loved action-adventure. The Lord of the Rings had a huge influence on me, as well as Star Wars. My favorite TV show right now is Vikings. There’s no better way to show a character’s true heart than to put him or her in a life or death situation.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

When I’m writing a novel it’s a full-time job. Right now I’m working full-time as a narrative designer for Xbox, helping to craft stories. So I don’t have any time at all to work on my books.

Where do the ideas come from?

For historical fiction you have to do a ton of research. And then you need to come up with some great characters. After that, well…this is going to sound kind of weird, but the characters actually start talking to you. If you’ve done your groundwork the whole thing just plays like a movie in your head. You don’t even need a holographic viewer.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I do detailed outlines for all my books. Otherwise it would be like setting out on a long road trip to a foreign country without a map. Action-adventure needs to be like a big old truck just blazing down a freeway with its wheels on fire. Die Hard, I think, is one of the greatest action-adventure films ever made. It’s just perfect and it stands the test of time. Or Raiders of the Lost Ark. You watch those movies now, decades after they were made, and you’re still on the edge of your seat. They have these great quiet moments interspersed with the action (which is something I try to do in my books to give the characters a chance to breathe), but those kinds of movies just rock your socks off. And that’s what I want to do with my fiction.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Sitting on your butt for so long. It’s awful. Hemingway used to write standing up. I’ve tried that too. But it doesn’t really help. Hemingway also drank a lot. Maybe that helps!

What is the easiest thing about writing?

There is nothing easy about writing! My old friend Peter S. Beagle (author of the Last Unicorn) told me once, “Nobody asked us to be writers, Noble.” What he meant was that you don’t write because it’s fun or because you think you’re going to make a bunch of money. You write because you have to. And you don’t complain about how hard it is because you made that choice. I could have become a dentist or something, and I probably would have been really good at my job. But that wasn’t what called me. Books were always the siren song.


TWITTER: @shirewisdom

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGEhttp://www.amazon.com/Noble-Mason-Smith/e/B001K7XLQC/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0





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