“I was sixty years old when I self-published my first novel, and sixty-six when I was finally published by an independent press. Now I’m sixty-eight with a third novel coming out.“
— Brenda Marie Smith
A member of the Writers’ League since 2006, Brenda lives in Austin, TX.
Scribe: Welcome, writer! Tell us — what do you write?
Brenda Marie Smith: I write true-to-life apocalyptic science-fiction thrillers set in the current day–unique apocalypses with no zombies or aliens, but real families trying to survive without power, cars, phones, or running water. If the Light Escapes–Book Two of my current series–came out August 24, 2021. The first book is If Darkness Takes Us, and I’m working on the third book, as yet untitled. I also have a paranormal thriller out, Something Radiates, and I’m developing a novel that will be a departure for me in the realm of women’s fiction, with a thriller edge. All my novels have a Southern literary bent.
Scribe: If you could choose one author to blurb your book, who would it be, and what would you want it to say?
BMS: A blurb from Margaret Atwood would send me over the moon. But I couldn’t do better than the blurb I got for If the Light Escapes from top-selling author Mae Clair: “Gritty and powerful… takes the reader on an emotionally charged and adrenaline-fueled journey that lingers long after the last page is read.”
Scribe: You have one book you’re allowed to push onto all of your friends, and they’re forced to read it to remain your friend — which one would you choose?
BMS: First, I would never willingly do this. Some of my favorite people on Earth don’t read at all; others don’t read my kinds of books. But if someone put a gun to my head and made me do it, the book would be The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran–a message of peace to whoever has a gun to my head, lol.
Scribe: Tell us your WLT story.
BMS: At WLT’s 2006 Agents & Editors Conference, I won fourth place in the sci-fi category in the manuscript contest. That was a thrill, but I was still having a ton of trouble figuring out how to boil the book down to a compelling pitch. I met a young woman at the conference who talked the book through with me and came up with the perfect pitch. That was really instructive to me.
Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?
BMS: I was sixty years old when I self-published my first novel, and sixty-six when I was finally published by an independent press. Now I’m sixty-eight with a third novel coming out. I have at least three more novels that I’m burning to write. I’m just hoping to live long enough to get them all done. If I can attract a nice-sized readership, that would be even better.
Scribe: Here at the WLT, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one book that has come out within the past few years that you couldn’t put down? (Bonus points if the book is Texas related!)
BMS: A few months ago, I read “Foreshadow: Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading and Writing YA.” So many great stories, but I was particularly taken by a story called “Pan Dulce” by Austin writer and WLT member Flor Salcedo. It’s about teenage girls from El Paso having a night out and crossing the border for fun. Such a great, evocative story about a situation I had never considered but could totally relate to.
Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion!
BMS: My current series couldn’t be more timely. A solar pulse destroys the U.S. grid and all the cars with internal computers. The characters are left to farm their South Austin subdivision, scrounge for water, and survive in an increasingly dangerous world. Months after If Darkness Takes Us came out, we were plunged into a world-wide pandemic, leaving us isolated, just like my characters. As I was working on edits with the publisher for If the Light Escapes, we had the Texas Snowpocalypse and had to use many of the same survival skills that my characters used. I couldn’t help but wonder if I was a conjurer of doom and gloom, but I’ve decided that I simply have a knack for seeing it coming.
All my thanks to the Writers’ League of Texas for being such a wonderful organization, always helpful and supportive to its members. You inspire me, you really do.
Scribe: Where can our readers find more of you?
BMS: Website: https://brendamariesmith.com/