Featured Author: Tommy B. Smith
Story: Stealing Sight
State of Horror: Louisiana Volume I
Tommy B. Smith is a writer of dark fiction and the author of Poisonous and Pieces of Chaos. His work has appeared in numerous publications over the years to include Every Day Fiction, Night to Dawn, Black Petals, Blood Moon Rising, and a variety of other magazines and anthologies. He has previously worked with Morpheus Tales as editor of the magazine’s Dark Sorcery and Urban Horror special issues. His presence infests Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he resides with his wife and cats. More information can be found on his website at http://www.tommybsmith.com.
Synopsis: “Stealing Sight” from State of Horror: Louisiana
Tarantula is kind of a creepy figure lurking in the French Quarter of New Orleans. She made a shady supernatural deal earlier in life and now reaps the benefits as well as pays the price for it. She sees a girl and sees something special in her. Soon Tarantula is stalking the girl. Tarantula’s decision to stalk the girl will set both on a path they didn’t expect to be on and a price will be paid—but who will pay it?
We all have evil in our souls, she reflected, and some far more than others
Time to Meet Tommy B. Smith
Charon Coin Press: What inspired your story in State of Horror?
Tommy B. Smith: New Orleans is a distinct and unique city. Well-known is the French Quarter, also a popular tourist spot, and the various voodoo and occult shops in the area. Within them you may find various trinkets and charms including a Turkish charm of protection known as the Evil Eye. From the stories surrounding the Evil Eye, and from my own time spent in the French Quarter of New Orleans, came the inspiration for the story “Stealing Sight.”
CCP: Is there a reason this particular state appealed to you?
TBS: Of the many states in the southern United States, parts of Louisiana possess an identity and a sort of culture that you will not find elsewhere. There is also a rich abundance of folklore. It’s an interesting place to lose yourself in, and a prime setting for tales of darker persuasion.
CCP: What do you look for in a horror story as a reader?
TBS: Intensity on some level. Originality in some form. Personality. A story that is well-written and evocative.
CCP: What is your favorite writing snack food?
TBS: Do liquids count as snacks? Coffee or water, mostly.
CCP: What other works do you have out there?
TBS: Poisonous, the urban horror novella, and Pieces of Chaos, the short story collection. I have also written many short stories over the years for a multitude of magazines, webzines, and anthologies.
CCP: What is one important thing the readers need to know about you?
TBS: I am fire and ice. I am stardust and oblivion. I create and I step away to pour myself a tasty beverage. In many ways, I find the creation more important than the creator, and the readers validate the creation. As I have said before, without readers, an author is just a person who scribbles.
CCP: Who are your favorite authors?
TBS: My list of favorites is ever-changing. I’m looking at my bookshelf and I see Shirley Jackson, Douglas Adams, Dante Alighieri, Ray Garton, Roald Dahl, Richard Matheson, Algenon Blackwood, and Madeleine L’Engle, all excellent for different reasons.
CCP: What drew you to State of Horror?
TBS: I first met Jerry Benns, founder and editor at Charon Coin Press, at MidSouthCon 32 in Memphis. He mentioned to me the forthcoming revamped line of State of Horror titles, among other things. I appreciated the new direction of the concept as well as the energy and quality of efforts in all things Charon Coin Press, and became ensnared.
CCP: Do you have a favorite state or state you are waiting to open?
TBS: I will probably try my pen at an Arkansas or Oklahoma-based story at some point, as I currently live in Arkansas but right on the Oklahoma border. In fact, Oklahoma is almost right up the street from me. I have done a number of book-related events in Oklahoma, most in Oklahoma City, and they were largely successful ones. I have some excellent readers there.
CCP: Music or no music when writing?
TBS: I’ve done it both ways. I have a high appreciation for music, but while writing I become quite focused. If music is playing, I don’t seem to notice it during the writing process.
CCP: If you could go anywhere in the world right now where would you go and why?
TBS: Choices, choices. As much as I might like to bounce around the globe, I’ve been trying to get down to Florida to visit some people and just can’t seem to break away for it, so I might do that first.
CCP: What was the hardest part about writing your story?
TBS: Deciding which part of it not to tell. There is much of the story’s primary character, Tarantula, that is not revealed in plain sight, but for the story’s sake, this isn’t necessary. Sometimes there is value in leaving certain details to your readers’ imaginations.
CCP: Do you have any writing rituals?
TBS: Coffee and solitude. I don’t need much else.
As always, it is a pleasure to chat with Tommy B. Smith. If you want to learn more about Smith, you can follow him on Twitter @penofchaos or on his Facebook author page. Also keep up to date at his website, TommyBSmith.com. Come back throughout the day to meet more of the authors from the State of Horror series.