Meet the Author: Russell Smeaton

What was the inspiration for your piece ‘Overtime’? 
Like most things, I get my inspirations when I’m relaxing in the bath or walking on the beach. I’ll mull it over in my head for a bit, see if it works and sounds plausible and then start to write it out. I like to try and write the basic story in one go when I’m writing flash fiction. Once I’ve done that, I’ll probably spend a stupidly long time editing, shifting words and phrases around, having a break, and then going back and starting all over. I can almost never finish a story!

Are you a plotter or a pantser when it comes to writing, or somewhere in between?
I’m more of a dreamer so who knows? I like to mull things over in my head for as long as possible before sitting down to write it up.

How did you celebrate your first story acceptance/publication?
I didn’t really dare believe it until I had the physical copy in my hand. It was only then did I believe it was real! Sadly, I then spotted a phrase I had subsequently changed since submitting that particular story! Not that anyone but me would have noticed, but it sorted of ruined the euphoria a little. Not too much, mind you!

Do you find writing is energising or exhausting?
Both. Getting that idea pop up, working it out, drafting out the initial story is my favourite part. It’s the editing and re-editing that I find exhausting. Even now, after 3 years of writing, I find it hard to let a story go. I’m always going back to a story and tweaking bits here and there.

Do you think someone has to feel emotions strongly or be highly empathic to be a writer?
Not really. I think there’s a style for everyone. Different styles come from different people, so no, I don’t think so.

How many unfinished stories do you have?
I daren’t look! Far too many – and I have about three or four versions of those unfinished stories as well. One of these days I’ll get to them.

Which book(s) inspired you to begin writing?
I’d go with writers rather than books, and of those, there are too many: Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Kurt Vonnegurt, early Stephen King, Clive Barker to name but a few.

Are there any books that you are currently reading and why?
I’m slowly making my way through Stephen King’s back catalogue. I read them all when I was younger, and probably skipped bits so now I’m taking my time and thoroughly absorbing them.

‘Overtime’ by Russell Smeaton features in Tall Tales & Short Stories Volume One.

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