An Interview with M. Louis, author of Secondhand Smoke from BooksGoSocial
Today we’re chatting with M. Louis, author of Secondhand Smoke
Tell us something unexpected about yourself!
Prior to college, I was a football, basketball and baseball competitor and fan. At the beginning of my sophomore year at Oregon State University, having played one year of intra-murals, I was dared by friends to try out for the OSU soccer team. I did, made the team, and lettered for two years. Of course I was a goalie, so many might argue I wasn’t truly a soccer player.
What kind of books do you write?
I write books that attempt to be witty, romantic and exhilarating. I want the reader to be able to relate to the characters. That requires that the characters be flawed and change with events and the passage of time. I want the reader to be engaged; to find it hard not to turn the page and read the next; or to finish one book and be anxious to begin the sequel.
What inspired you to write?
I love to read. As I do, I often find myself critiquing books and I’ve noticed that even seasoned authors occasionally struggle with their craft. After reading a couple of books by acclaimed authors that weren’t up to their past standards, I concluded I could do just as well. I decided to challenge myself to write a single novel so that I could say I had. In the process of completing the first book, which was the second book published, Secondhand Smoke, I discovered that writing was cathartic. I am incredibly entertained by the journey of starting off with a blank white page and marking it with characters in an organized fashion. And I enjoy the intellectual challenge of crafting something that others might enjoy.
What makes your writing stand out from the crowd?
I am very fortunate to be married to my best friend. I see others that aren’t so lucky and are constantly looking for happiness, comfort, security, passion, etc., sometimes in all the wrong places. I think my characters are on the same path we all take. They make mistakes with the wrong people, but they keep looking and keep trying to find their partner. This is the story thread in my books that I enjoy the most and personally feel is the most important.
What is the hardest part of writing – for you?
I have to take care to share the right balance of me. I believe every book contains a bit of the soul of its writer. Successful writers include enough, but not too much, of themselves in each of their characters. Recognizing that line can be very difficult at times. Particularly if challenging events are happening in my everyday life.
Where do you like to write – what is your routine?
I like to write in the mornings in my office. I tend to get into the office early, before anyone else. It’s quiet, the phone isn’t ringing and my mind is free to roam. That having been said, when I’m in the middle of the heart of a book, I’ll dream about it. Sometimes my connection to the story is so close, that I’ll dream in enough detail that the next morning I’m just writing down what I dreamt the night before.
What do you do when you are not writing – do you have a day job?
I’m a CPA and own a public accounting company. I employ 13 fantastic professionals and together we provide tax and financial solutions.
Do you work with an outline or just write?
I tend not to write out an outline, though I always have one in my head. As a manuscript increases in length I begin to create an outline of sorts, but not much more than a table of contents. I find I want to flow, and an outline feels confining to me. An outline can feel like a required direction.
What advice would you have for other writers?
I imagine that every writer does so for very unique reasons. Each writer’s particular reasons would influence what I might say to them. For me, it is all about the experience. At first the experience was just about creating a single novel. The greatest advice I received at this point was to write every day and write to please myself. The second stage was to publish and market. The greatest advice has been to trust the professionals and to engage with potential readers. But at all stages, a writer should embrace criticism, constantly evolve, and take risks.
How important is marketing and social media for you?
I’m new to marketing and social media. My public accounting practice advances almost entirely by word of mouth. But the books are a different animal. I’m excited to learn how to succeed using modern technology and communication methods to sell my books. I’m so very new to it that each step is an intriguing learning opportunity. One that I’m enjoying.
What’s your next step?
I believe my first two books honestly advance the main characters. I’m currently working on a manuscript that will continue that trend and experiment with different methods of storytelling. I want to evolve as a writer and engage readers more so with each book. Each book needs to be better than the last. I don’t think there will ever be a “best”, but every book is an attempt at that.
Secondhand Smoke by M. Louis is available here It’s free on Kindle Unlimited.