“I think it’s wonderful the way WLT supports Texas writers and encourages us to support each other. Writers need strong support networks.”
– Brenda Marie Smith
Member of the Writers’ League since 2006, Brenda lives in South Austin.
Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?
Brenda Marie Smith: My current novel, If Darkness Takes Us, is a dystopian sci-fi thriller from a grandmother’s point of view. My first novel, Something Radiates, is a paranormal romantic thriller based on theories of Timothy Leary, Carlos Castaneda, Zen Buddhism, and Carl Jung. I think you could say that unusual character-driven thrillers are my genre.
Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them?
BMS: John LeCarré. First, I would ask him how he manages to give such full pictures of characters with such subtle strokes and spare descriptions, then I would ask how he gives international scope to the most personal of stories, again with only spare strokes. I’ve read all his books, some more than once, and I still can’t figure out how he does it.
Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?
BMS: There are so many, but I’d pick To Kill A Mockingbird, to help me have courage in the face of adversity, and also because the rich Southern atmosphere would remind me of home.
Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?
BMS: I think it’s wonderful the way WLT supports Texas writers and encourages us to support each other. Writers need strong support networks. From attending the Agents & Editors Conference, I learned so much about improving my writing and about pitching books, and I met some amazing writers, agents, and editors. I’ve also received valuable feedback from entering WLT’s manuscript contests. And I love the way you keep us informed about the great accomplishments of other Texas authors. I can’t attend many WLT events due to my disabilities, but I still feel that I’m a part of the community.
Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?
BMS: I’ve written a sequel for If Darkness Takes Us in the voice of the 18-year-old grandson, and I’m outlining a novel involving hippies living in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. My main writing goal is to have fun with my writing and get my stories out there where people can be aware that they exist and enjoy them. Modest success would be nice as well.
Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?
BMS: I’ve heard from another WLT member that Secrets of the Casa Rosada by Alex Temblador is great, and I’m looking forward to reading it. The last Texas book by an Austin author I’ve read is less than two years old, Laura Creedle’s The Love Letters of Abelard & Lily, about a teen girl with ADHD who falls in love with a boy on the spectrum. It’s beautiful, funny, and heartbreaking all at the same time. That book is one of my all-time favorites, and it sticks with me to this day.
Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion!
BMS: Yes, thank you. My novel, If Darkness Takes Us, was the winner of the 2018 Southern Fried Karma Novel Contest and is coming out on October 15th. Since the story takes place in an altered version of my far South Austin neighborhood, I think Texans will enjoy it. Here’s a short book description:
A solar pulse destroys modern life, and Bea Crenshaw is left alone in South Austin with four grandkids. She must teach them to survive without power, cars, or running water in a world fraught with increasing danger.
Also, I’m having a Book Launch Event at BookPeople in Austin on Saturday, November 16th at 5 p.m. and I hope that lots of WLT members will attend. I would love the opportunity to meet local writers.
Finally, I want to thank the Writers’ League of Texas for this interview and for everything you do to help Texas writers. We are very fortunate to have your amazing support.
Thank you, Brenda!
If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!