Sunday, April 9, 2023


I want to thank Jes Smyth for taking the time for this interview!


Jes Smyth is a writer at heart, a poet by accident, and the author of contemporary women’s fiction. 

With a background in psychology, and a lifetime stuck in her own head, Jes uniquely explores the often misunderstood emotions of change and growth in her debut Time for Once. 

When and how did you know you wanted to be a writer?

My love for writing began when I was fourteen. At the time, I was obsessed with this alternative rock band and began writing fan fiction. I know, so nerdy! But I loved it and even had a few readers through AOL.

The stories were uploaded onto a website that no longer exists, unfortunately, but the notebooks I wrote the stories in are right behind me, on my bookshelf.

Did you have any influencing writers growing up?

I can’t think of specific writers while I was growing up, but there was definitely an influencing genre, and that was chick lit, which I believe is an outdated term now!

Are any of your characters based on people in real life?

Yes, absolutely. The foundation of Time for Once came from my formative years.

Where do you draw your book inspirations from?

I’m drawn to the exploration of emotional journies many of us, as humans, experience at one point or another in our lives.

Do you use have a basic outline when starting a new story or do you let the characters lead the way?

My first book, Time for Once, did not have an outline, which was an organic decision but one that made revisions so frustrating! 

For my second book, I spent much more time outlining. It’s not robust by any means since the need to write took over, but it’s something I go back to when I’m stuck.

When you are picturing the characters in your book, do you have a cheater photo for inspiration?

I don’t! Those beautiful vision boards some authors put together before or during their drafting process usually happens for me after I’ve written the first draft!

Many people read as a form of escape and relaxation.  What is your favorite way to sit back and relax?

Reading, of course! I also reset my mind through hikes and painting rocks.

Who are your favorite current authors to read?

I cannot say enough wonderful things about Barbara Linn Probst. She has three stunning novels that made me feel like I was looking up at a brilliant night sky jammed with infinite stars.

What are your favorite books by others?

In Five Years, by Rebecca Serle has been a constant since its release a few years back.

I also adore reading independent authors and am currently reading Twenty-Seven by P.L. Hernandez which I know will become a favorite.

Do the locations in the stories have any meaning to you?

The settings in my stories are based in the Midwest since that is where I grew up.

Do you write in single or multiple POV?

Multiple third-person POV

What do you find to be your best research tool?

Google is the most convenient! 

If I’m able to immerse myself in the environment I’m writing about, I have found that’s the best way to research.

Do you write under a pen name?  Also, do you write under more than one name?

I do write under a pen name. Just one. Jes Smyth.

What genre do you write and why is this your preference?

I write contemporary fiction/women’s fiction, which is what I prefer to read.

Tell me something about yourself outside of writing. Jobs, accomplishments, family, quirky trait...what led to you being you?

I have a rather substantial whiskey collection and write reviews for fun on social media.

What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

It’s simple. Just write the damn thing. Everything else that follows will be waiting for you when you’re ready. 

But you have to WRITE IT FIRST.

How do you deal and process negative book reviews?

I allow myself to feel whatever comes up while reading it and then search for the growth I know is buried beneath that gut reaction.

What is the most difficult part of your writing process?

Not thinking I’m a good enough writer to keep writing pops into the process when I’m pumping out a first draft. 

Yes, I tend to alliterate without meaning to as well. Another quirky trait.

What do you need in your writer’s space to keep you focused?

Coffee. Snacks. Music. And someone I can vent to that will send me a funny meme in response.

What is your naughty indulgence as you are writing?

A glass of really good bourbon.

If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose?  And why?

Rebecca Serle. I enjoy her writing style and think she’s leveraged her success remarkably well. I could learn a lot from spending a day with her.

What is your schedule like when you are writing?  Do you have a favorite writing snack or drink?

I write in the morning or evening mostly. 

Coffee and whiskey both get those creative gears turning. Too much of either can have the opposite effect!

Do you listen to music when you write – what kind of music is your favorite?

Yes. Instrumentals or jazz or “coffee shop” playlists. Music that blends into the background. 

There are a few magical songs that reach inside me and fuel a scene, but that’s the exception.

Have pets ever gotten in the way of your writing?

I used to have a cat that loved to sit on my lap and watch me type. I miss those in-the-way writing snuggles.

What is your kryptonite as a writer?  What totally puts you off your game?

When I focus too much energy on things I cannot control in my own life. That sucks my creativity dry.

Have you ever killed off a character that your readers loved?


How do you celebrate after typing THE END?

A good cry.

I hope you enjoyed this interview!

Check out all my interviews/reviews for Jes Smyth! 

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