It’s been so long since I’ve done an interview, I almost feel like a newbie again! I have been so busy lately between a move, a new job, and a new release that I have had to learn to juggle a few more balls.
Today, after my hiatus from Ink Drop, I am happy to have Kenyan Smith with me. I interviewed Kenyan five years ago (You can check out that interview Here).
IDI – Welcome back, Kenyan. Those five years flew!
KS – Thank you for having me, again.
IDI – We all like to receive positive reviews. What is your reaction to a negative review? Be honest.
KS – It’s like a punch in the gut. The first time I received a negative review I felt sick the entire day. But you learn you will get negative reviews everybody does. So you have to read/listen with an open mind. You pick out what you can use to improve and shake off the rest. It’s not always easy but in order to move past negative reviews you must do it.
IDI – Think back to the first book you wrote and then the last book you wrote. In what ways have you grown?
KS – In 2011 when I wrote my first book, I was greener than grass in many ways. One of the most important ways was back then I was focused far too much on writing the book and not enough on what comes next.
Writing and marketing can’t be mutually exclusive. And marketing isn’t screaming “buy my book!” But it’s developing and nurturing relationships that can and should go beyond me as just a writer.
My writing is a reflection of who I am. But the key to attracting and maintaining my readers/fan base is to give them me. The biggest way I’ve grown has been to expand my capacity to give of myself.
IDI – What are you working on now? Can we get a peek, an excerpt maybe to tickle our taste buds?
KS – I’m currently working on my first non-fiction book tentatively titled Gurl Let Him Goooo! It’s nonfiction however it’s based on one of my real life relationships.
The book will discuss what happens when you fall in love, then realize the relationship is not good for you and the pain and process of letting go.
IDI – I’ve had one of them! (As I’m sure many of us have). The only difference for me was the pain came during. Letting go was the relief from it.
What works for you? Give us a rundown of your ‘writing process’ from beginning to finished product.
KS – It would look like this:
- Develop a concept for a book/What I want the book to say/do.
- Outline each chapter
- Write each chapter with paper and pen
- Type out each chapter
- Complete the manuscript
- Have it edited by professional editor
- Redo based on edits
- Final proof
IDI – What is the kindest comment/compliment you have ever received from a fan regarding your work?
KS – A young lady told me she felt like she was Kendra (the main character of my Young Adult Growing Pains Series). She felt as if she was reading about herself. She totally identified with her.
IDI – Favorite author, and why?-Sidney Sheldon.
KS – He was a master story teller.
IDI – What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about writing? How has this helped you as a writer?
KS – The most beneficial thing I can be for my readers is real. I believe I have something positive and valuable to offer the world and I want to share it.
It helped me as a writer because I’m not trying to be this writer or that writer; I’m being me. I have confidence in that.
IDI – How much time/effort do you give to social media as a means of self-promotion?
KS – I believe you are always self-promoting whether you mean to or not. So, I spend a lot of time on social media connecting and sharing about life in general.
IDI – Is there a particular area of your writing (getting ideas, revision, editing, et cetera) where you seem to struggle the most and how do you overcome it?
KS – I don’t like editing. For me it’s the most painful part of the writing process.
I try to take more care with the initial manuscript which can make editing a much less egregious process.
IDI – I’ve heard that more than a few times!
What’s the best advice ever given to you, and by whom?
KS – One of my closest friends told me when I was struggling with the fear of making a wrong decision, “What you think you are going to go through the rest of your life without making another mistake? You will make mistakes but you will do what you always do. You’ll learn and grow from them.”
It was one of the most freeing moments of my life. I’m free to move forward with what I know and can do at any given time. When I make mistakes I learn, grow, and move on.
IDI – That’s sound advice.
Have you ever wanted to give up? What stopped you?
KS – Absolutely but not anymore. It’s easy to give up. It takes strength and courage to keep going no matter what. That’s who I am so that’s what I do.
IDI – In your opinion, what are the biggest misconceptions new authors have about the publishing industry?
KS – The same two I had when I began.
1. If I write a great book interested readers will just somehow magically appear.
2. Social media followers automatically = paying customers. They can be but there is a process a bridge between the two and that’s developing and nurturing the relationships.
IDI – They are misconceptions many new authors have, among others.
You’ve said that editing is your least favorite aspect of the writing process, what is the hardest or most frustrating aspect of writing: ideas, getting started, writer’s block, re-writing?
KS – Fortunately I’ve never had a problem with coming up with ideas or have experienced writer’s block. The hardest thing for me is finding significant amounts of time to write. My blocks are finding blocks of time to steal away and release all the ideas and thoughts inside. When I can find the time everything just flows.
IDI – Why don’t you tell the readers a bit about your other profession.
KS – I’m also a life/relationship coach. I allowed a major wrong decision take too many years from me. I’m committed to helping people not to fear making decisions. But to have confidence in their decision making ability and to see each decision as a step forward on their path to their individual destiny.
I want to help each person I’m fortunate to come in contact with to Live Their Best Life Possible.
IDI – Fun question. Your last book is racing up the best seller list. You’ve been invited to a sit down with Oprah. Describe your reaction to the news and your preparation for the show.
KS – I scream for about an hour really I would. Oprah is my girl crush!!
Honestly, my prep wouldn’t be that much. Oprah can smell a line a mile away. I would mainly focus on staying calm and being myself. I believe that would ensure an awesome interview!
IDI – I don’t know of an author who hasn’t dreamed of sitting on Oprah’s couch at some point!
One last question, what is the single most important thing you share with others?
KS – Life is truly what you make it. We can’t sit idly by while life happens to us and then complain when we don’t get what we want.
We are the captain of our own ship. It’s up to each one of us to be accountable for our own lives, success and happiness.
IDI – Thank you so much for joining me again, Kenyan. You’re one busy lady and we wish you the very best with your current and future endeavors.
To learn more about Kenyan and her work, please visit her at the following links: