We’re introducing you to people who are part of the Betterwrite world.
Welcome to CHRISTIAN SMITH.
Christian, what’s your connection with Betterwrite?
Betterwrite provided a development edit and copy-edit for my very first novel, Hunting For Caracas, a contemporary thriller. I was delighted that they agreed to work with me. The whole process was a great experience.
Tell us about your work.
I’m a private chef, currently working between Switzerland and the south of France. Writing has now taken over all my spare time.
What writing are you doing, or planning, at the moment?
After publishing my first book, the plan is to keep going. My first draft of Hunting For Caracas was so long I had to remove one side of the story. That’s now become its own book, and it’s nearly finished. I also have most of the outline for two sequels to HFC. And I’m working on a cookbook. Now I just need to find some time to write them!
What do you like about your writing?
The freedom of it, both in being able to do it anywhere, and that it’s a creative outlet for my imagination.
What don’t you like?
Olives. They taste like licking a battery.
Have you got a personal bugbear?
Nothing springs to mind.
What has pleased you in your work?
Working with editors on a story I created from absolutely nothing. Also finishing a full book, with a beginning, middle, end and everything, and enjoying it so much that I went straight onto the next project.
What didn’t please you?
Constantly having to stop writing and go back to work. It can be difficult to find time and motivate yourself. In my experience, there’s such an enormous process between having an idea for a story and having the completed book on file on your computer.
What amused you?
I was surprised by the insecurity I felt sending my work to an editor for the first time. It took years to get my story together, writing whenever I could, then I suddenly realised, “I have no real idea if this is any good! If they just laugh and send it back, this is a colossal waste of time.”
Whose writing do you enjoy?
Roald Dahl would be one, who gets extra points for being a fighter pilot. Eeeeeveryone says Shakespeare (can’t think why …). George R.R. Martin is another. But finding new favourite authors is perhaps the most enjoyable thing.
I honestly don’t have one. It changes so often.
What do you like about George R.R. Martin’s writing?
I love the effort he puts into his plotting, and the twists he creates. Of course, Shakespeare was good at this too. When I read a story I never try to figure out where it’s going, or what the secret might be. I just let it wash over me. When an unexpected twist hits you it’s the best, and the more you read, the harder it is for an author to surprise you. It’s a great skill.
Give us a quote.
“To be or not to be” – just kidding.
“The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass”,
from the poem ‘The Guy In The Glass’ by Dale Wimbrow.
What’s your favourite word in English?
I quite like furious.
Any other quotes?
I’d happily quote the whole poem the above quote comes from.
“Learn by doing” and “Less haste, more speed”.
Apart from work, what plans or ambitions have you got?
Travel, travel and travel. The world is an ace place. I love just being outside, whatever the weather, doing stuff and meeting people.
How will you do that?
Quit my job, win the lottery (or rob a bank), live the dream. Obviously.
What have you learned about life?
Don’t take it too seriously. We all come and go. Do what makes you happy. And England are NEVER gonna win the World Cup again.
What have you learned about people?
I’ve learned that 99.9% of people are good and kind and just trying to find their way.
Tell us something quirky about yourself.
I used to be a firefighter.
Finish with a story, true or false, with beginning, middle and end, up to 30, 60 or 120 words.
- A Very Good Day
When I wake up it’s raining. I love the rain, so I go for a long run. In the afternoon, I have lunch with my wife. We have no plans, so we just sit and drink all afternoon, talking absolute nonsense. (41)