Brent C. Smith
Music and Poetry, flash fiction, Issue 31, June 1, 2015
The Stars We Reach, flash fiction, Issue 35, June 1, 2016
When did you start writing? I had written in high school and took every English elective I could in college as a computer science major, but never took it seriously until the urge struck me about 4 years ago. Even then, I had no idea what I was doing. About that time, I read Storyteller by Kate Wilhelm about the early years of the Clarion writers workshop. This caught my interest, so I did some research on Clarion, and in the process found the Odyssey Writing Workshop, which seemed more to my style. At that point, I had written a grand total of one speculative story--a retelling of Hansel and Gretel--so I sent it off on a lark, and miracles happened. I was accepted, and attended in the summer of 2012. It was there that I learned what being serious about writing even meant, and I've been working at it ever since.
When and what and where did you first get published? My first sale (and my second, and my fourth) were to Daily Science Fiction. You can find the first two stories on their site (dailysciencefiction.com) and the last will be appearing later this year. I've also sold a story that will be upcoming in Alex Shvartsman's Unidentified Funny Objects 4 anthology later this year, sharing a table of contents with Neil Gaiman, George R. R. Martin, Piers Anthony, Mike Resnick, and lots of other amazing writers. And he paid me to be in it! (I would have paid him to be in it, but don't tell him that!)
What themes do you like to write about? I don't tend to start with theme when I begin a story, so this is a slightly difficult question. But, if held to the fire, I'd say a common element in many of my stories is the loss of innocence. Also many of my stories (which probably explains why I seem to do better with flash) involve intimate looks at just one or two characters.
What books and/or stories have most resonated with you as an author? Why? How do these stories and their characters find expression in your work? Another difficult question, and again, not one I think consciously think about as I write. I could talk about the stories that made me fall in love with fantasy and science fiction as a kid--Zelazny, Moorcock, Donaldson, LeGuin, Eddings, King--but those were the stories that I grew up on, that became part of me, but not necessarily who I try to emulate as an adult writer. I guess these days, because I focus primarily on short stories, my writing tends to be most influenced by short story writers such as Aliette deBodard, Henry Lien, Kij Johnson, and my all-time favorite, Flannery O'Connor.
Brent Smith lives in Portland, Maine where he develops software while dreaming of haunted lobster traps and black bear zombies. He fiction has appeared at Daily Science Fiction and will soon appear there again as well as in Alex Shvartsman's Unidentified Funny Objects 4 anthology. He's a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop and can be found online at brentcsmith.net