Interview with James Smith, author of A Grandfather’s Gift
1. Tell us about yourself. Please share a short bio with us.
James Smith was born in Knoxville, TN 3/18/1944. My father was working on the factory that built the Atomic Bomb that ended WWII. In 1945 we moved to Jefferson County, MS near Fayette, the county seat. After graduating high school I studied electronic technology at Hinds Community College in Raymond, MS. My first real job was installing and servicing security systems, nurse call systems and fire systems in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. I established my own business in Jackson, MS in 1976 doing the same type work and relocated to Brookhaven, MS in 1997.
In 2003, after our son, Jim, and daughter, Kim, finished college and settled in Germantown and Cordova, TN we moved to Olive Branch, MS to be close to them and our five grandchildren. My wife Ruthie and I married in 1965 and are still married today. I’m now semi-retired and run the business from here with a staff in Brookhaven. I like enjoying time with my grandchildren, hunting, fishing, attending their sports games and other things they do.
2. Tell us about your book and where it can be found, can be a blurb,
an excerpt etc.
The book can be found Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million,
Book Sellers of Laurelwood in Memphis, TN and at my site,
A Grandfather’s Gift
My book, A Grandfather’s Gift, was written to pass my life events on to my descendants, especially my grandchildren. All my life I wondered about how my grandparents got things done with animal power in the fields and traveling via wagons, buggy and horseback. How they kept food from spoiling without a refrigerator. How they contacted people without telephones. So, that inspired me to write about my young life and explain how we managed with dial type telephones on party lines. Washing clothes in washtubs and clothes on lines. How we gathered food from gardens, fields and wild fruits from pastures and woods. How we managed without a freezer. The part-time jobs we kids did to accent the family income. Cars without automatic transmissions, air conditioning, swimming in the creeks and ponds. TV’s with two channels and no remote control for volume and channel change. Hunting and fishing in the streams, ponds and lakes. How people helped each other, how they swapped time and materials with each other to help a friend in need. I included humorous things to make the book as interesting as possible. The book is more like short stories of the family members and things I wrote for a biography.
The book (in hardcover or print version) can be found Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, Book Sellers of Laurelwood, Memphis, TN and at the book’s site CLICK HERE
3. What age did you discover writing? What is your earliest work about?
This is my first book. I began by writing a journal and later formed the journal into a book. I started the entire thing when I was about age fifty. My work is about my life in the mid twentieth century. Also included are stories that my family told about the late eighteen hundreds. I’ve included life on the home front during WWII, excerpts from the Civil War and my family members who served in those wars. The book is about the clothes we wore, the foods we ate, the price of things during that era. Candy bars, double-dipped ice cream cones and soft drinks for a nickel each.
4. Who has inspired you as an author? What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your book(s)?
First inspiration came from my wife, she encouraged me by telling me how much the grandkids would enjoy reading this later in life. I was also inspired by a statement made by P.L. Travers who wrote Mary Poppins. Ms Travers stated; “A writer after all is only half his book, the other half is the reader and from the reader the writer learns”. I took that to mean that anyone can write a book or anything else if he writes something someone else enjoys reading. No matter what he writes.
I have received many different comments like, “How it jogged memories about the reader’s life and how they would like to write things for their descendants”. Readers have been very interested in my maternal Grandmother Ada Love Klar Beesley. One reader asked, “When the movie comes out, who’s going to play Grandma Love?”
People have made comments about how easy it is to read, and how the writing flows and they liked the way it’s written in southern style writing and conversations.
5. What would you tell an aspiring author that you wish someone had
A. Be specific on scenes, keep the reader by your side to keep them in complete understanding of what is going on. Describe the scene, color of the sky, flowers and/or lawn, describe the character’s including clothes, approximate age, etc.
B. Commit to a certain amount of writing per day. Commit to at least one page each day. It’s not really necessary to start with an outline of what you expect to write, but it is helpful. After you lay out an outline of the things you wish to write about, you just fill in the blanks.
C. As you write, do not interrupt yourself by reading over what you just wrote and checking spelling and grammar. Just write whatever comes to mind and don’t bother with what people will think about misspellings, grammar, and order of the stories by time and date, etc. Just write your
book and leave all the editing to be done and changes and order of events to be done after the book is written.
A Grandfather’s Gift
Be sure to check out Mr. Smith’s book, A Grandfather’s Gift, and find out more about him at his website A Grandfather’s Gift