Curious about SM Wells? Answers below.
Tell us a little about yourself
I am southern Californian born and Alaskan bred. I was raised in a land where I got to see bald eagles every morning on the way to school. It is a place of beauty and extremes and now that I’m older and little wiser, I count myself lucky to be have been raised in such a wild and free place. I left to be closer to family and to escape the cold. I am currently back in the Southern Cali area where I live with my husband, our toddler son, and our two rescued fur baby dogs, Bella and Pacem.
Where did your love of books/storytelling come from?
My mother was always and still is a big advocate of reading. I remember being read to every night, starting with books like the Dear Dragon series and Disney books. Then we moved up to the Little House on the Prairie series and books like Island of the Blue Dolphins. It was one of my favorite parts of the day. I loved being able to listen to my mother’s voice as she read those words and suddenly, I was able to be transported to other worlds, times, and people’s lives. To this day, I continue to be a more or less avid reader and make sure to read to my own son every night, carrying on the family tradition.
When did you start writing?
I kid you not, I started writing on a winter night during 6th grade. I was feeling restless and felt like I needed to move my hand. I remember sitting down at my desk in my bedroom, scanning my room for something to help release the energy. I picked up my pencil since that seemed the most local thing to do and my eyes spied a statue of a fox and her pups. I ended up writing a few lines about that statue and the fox family. I was hooked and the rest is, as they say, history.
Why do you write?
I have always claimed I never read or watch horror because of my overactive imagination. I come across a line, a song, a situation, an event, and suddenly I am hearing and seeing characters in my mind’s eye. I see them struggling with events, some mundane and others extraordinary. I write to release these characters and events onto the page. I write to explore their worlds, to explore them, to watch them grow and fail at the challenges placed before them. And through that, I write to perhaps understand humanity and myself a little bit better.
At the end of the day, I think Joss Whedon put it very succinctly when he said, ““I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of. ”
What do you write about? Genre?
Simply put, I write about people and their glorious imperfections. I write about relationships. About the need to connect and to meet goals and dreams while avoiding those things which scare and frighten us. I enjoy exploring how different people respond to challenges; how they stretch and grow in face of adversity, or not. Some of my stories end happily and others, not so much.
Genres are really just a set of specific situations and boundaries upon which to place a character in. If writing fantasy; it’s swords, forests, and magic. Urban fantasy is magic and modern technology co-existing. So on and so forth. Each one has its own deck of possibilities and challenges for the character to work with, around, and against. I’ve placed my characters in fantasy worlds, in urban fantasy landscapes, and even in the modern world just as we know it.
Panters or plotter?
I like to pretend that I plot at times. I’ve taken courses on the topic and have some even currently in progress. But I always seem to go back to being a panters. My characters always seem to take on a life of their own which, thus far, just seems defy plotting or any attempts to do so.
Energize or drain you?
Writing always energizes me. I find it invigorating to go and explore new places through my characters’ eyes.
Night owl or morning bird?
Total night owl. If given the option and ability; I’d be up late until almost 2am every night and getting up sometime in the 8 to 9 o’clock hours. I take after my grandma and dad in that respect. Carpe noctum!
What about writer’s block and what do you do about it?
Ah, yes, the dreaded writer’s block. In my experience, if I’m struggling with it, it means my characters are struggling. Either the events unfolding are not properly timed for their development, they are acting in an unauthentic way, or they are coming up on something hard for them to do; like facing their deepest fears or deciding what to do about that scary thing. To help, I go back and re-read what just happened, try changing that and see if that helps. Otherwise, I might write about another time or event in the character’s life or world. If all else fails, I’ll go do something else for a bit; adulting, working out, talking to others, listening to music, etc. One of those approaches inevitably helps jump start things again.
Who do you read? What did you read?
When I began to pick my own books, I could often be seen toting around something from Brain Jaques and his Redwall series or Tamora Pierce or Terry Brooks. From there, I moved on to the Dragonlance series, which in turn lead me to authors like Margaret Weiss and Tracey Hickman. I could go on and on about who I’ve read and grown up reading. A lot of books that attract my attention are fantasy, urban fantasy, and dystopias.
My muse is a fickle and easily distracted by the shiny type of character; so in short, everything can serve as an inspiration. I tend to get most of it from music and from sharing with friends and fans. There is nothing quite like having a conversation that starts with “what if…” to get me excited or to read something written by a friend. Writing prompts have also been a good tool for me over the years; a given phrase or situation and then just running with it. From there, it’s all fair game.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I am blessed and lucky enough to work at a job I love where I get to help people every day. When not working and left to my own devices, I can be found adulting, playing with my son, reading, working out, or hanging with my husband, family, and friends. If given more time to myself, depending on if I’m traveling to a city or the woods, I can be found in museums, used bookstores, botanical gardens, and the like, or I’m off hiking, camping, and/or backpacking.
This is the month of November. Among writers everywhere, it is also affectionately (maybe, depending, maybe not so much) as NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. All my other projects and writing has been put on hold for the foreseeable future allowing me to buckle down and try to win the challenge of 50,000 words written within 30 days. Yeah, you read that right. So what am I working on as my fingers try to set fire to the keyboard in attempting to achieve this word count? It is a novel currently titled The Water Thief’s Daughter. It is a follow up for the short All For A Drop, which you can find with the other shorts here. Want to know more about this story? See below.
How do we keep in touch?
That’s easy. Just sign up for my newsletter. It comes out about once a month, God willing and the creeks don’t rise and will keep you up to date about new stories, contests, and progress being made on the various projects. Those who sign up will also get access to an exclusive short story.