A writer must be ruthless.
That means being ruthless with yourself, as well as how you see the world. Serious readers – even if they read for entertainment – expect courage and insight from the writer, who, for the privilege of telling a story, has taken on the risks of seeing clearly and experiencing deeply, as well as the lifelong discipline of craft. We will make the journey to hard places, and report with tender clarity. That is the promise we make to the reader from the first sentence.
Writing is a discipline. A compulsion.
It begins with a small jolt of recognition: that’s a story. Or: that’s a character. It registers from the news or an overheard conversation. It’s tiny, and needs research to build dimension. The author goes out in the field, experiences what the characters will experience — the air, quality of light, food, street noise, smells – and hopefully puts the mosaic together in a way you haven’t seen before.
April Smith has traveled to every location she writes about in her books, from the Dominican Republic to Siena, Italy, to Meuse-Argonne, France. She takes pictures and talks to people and just wanders. Back home, she outlines the story on a white board, stepping back to see the whole, and then begins writing chapters, often out of order, according to what presents itself that day. It’s a process of both intuition and will that can take from two to twenty-five years, as was the case in A Star For Mrs. Blake.
Aside from her newest work of historical fiction, April is the author of the FBI Special Agent Ana Grey novels, a standalone thriller featuring a woman baseball scout, and is an Emmy-nominated writer and producer of dramatic series and movies for television. She has two grown children and lives with her husband in Santa Monica, California.