A Conversation with Joshua Smith

The surprise book of the year for me has been “Spineless,” the debut book by author Joshua Smith. Spineless is an unpretentious auto-biographical account of Smith’s perseverance and persistence in the face of a crippling disability caused by a snowmobile accident when he was just 12 years old. One could anticipate, even excuse, a bit of self-indulgence with this subject matter, yet this book is lyrical, moving, and unexpected; a raw & honest depiction of a child who found ability in disability. Though written to teens and preteens, this book resonates with any reader. It is serious, it is at times humorous, it is always human.  With the release of the book, we would like to welcome Josh to the blog with this interview. Like his book, his answers are sometimes surprising, sometimes funny, always worth another look. Be sure to follow the link below to Joshua Smith’s live author signing event February 21, 2021 at 5:00pm EST. Check out his book on Amazon

What inspired the idea for your book?
The trauma in my childhood I was forced to overcome. I thought about the wisdom I gained from such a horrible life experience, and it was something I thought would be of use for the next generation to be able to fall back on.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in writing this book?
How healing the writing process can be, but how incredibly difficult it is for feelings like this that have been buried away for so long, it wasn’t easy to get all this darkness out.

What does it mean to you to be called an author?
It means a great deal to me. What does an author do? What does an author provide to the world? Books are very valuable and sought after. I feel like a pretty cool fellow that’s for sure.

How do you define success as an author?
If when you go to bed at night, if you know someone out there is reading your book while you’re tucking yourself in at night, that’s success to me.

What was the defining moment that made you say to yourself, “Today, I am going to write a book that I will publish.”?
I bought a pad of paper a week before January 1st. I was planning on starting my self-help memoir on the first to start off my resolution which was to write for 30 minutes each morning… I sat there in the parking lot of the Dollar Store thinking… who starts a self-help book, tomorrow? That’s the person who needs my book?! That is what I thought!! So I stayed right there in the parking lot for three days. slept in my car and wrote my book. because talk is cheap and procrastinators start tomorrow.

How do you interact with your readers?
 However I can. Whenever I can. Usually email: spinelessauthor@gmail.com

What has been your favorite reader feedback? 
Basically, my whole entire support group, friends, and family have left me without words. I am completely set back in amazement at the incredible positive feedback I’ve been receiving. My favorite feedback has been, people have been encouraging me to keep it up and continue the writing. My favorite feedback is when someone can’t put my book down and they are blowing me up trying to contact me all night!

Do you have any quirky writing rituals?
Yea, I always fight my writing process. It’s kinda funny. My writing process will tell me to wake up and write at the oddest times. I always am fighting with the process of telling it to go back to bed; if it’s worth it, I will remember it tomorrow… but usually, the writing process wins the fight and I am up at 3 a.m. writing my book

What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?
Baby steps! Just focus on writing for 30 minutes a day. Don’t be too critical on the content in which you come up with, just write for 30 minutes in the morning. Stress kills!

 

What is your author spirit animal?
Wolf with black obsidian fur and glowing yellow eyes. He can also fly around with ease and doesn’t have wings. I take this seriously and summon him before I fight in my tournaments. Call me crazy!

Describe yourself in as few words as possible.
Rad! 

As an author what do you think makes a good story?
Something true. I think a true story makes it good. Something we all can resonate with on a REAL level. That’s good!

What do you look for in a story as a reader?
Fun. Alice in Wonderland was fun to read. Remember how the pages looked when she fell down the rabbit hole? Reading that was fun! I like books to be more than a book. I like to get lost, and it helps when the author has a little fun.

If you had a secret room that opened by pulling a book on a shelf, what book would you choose?
Some book nobody would ever grab off the shelves… like ‘How to do Math for Dummies’, or something like that.

What would your dream library look like?
Like the one on Beauty and the Beast.

What are you reading now?
Robinson Crusoe

Name three fun facts about you or your work.
1) I am 10 muscle ups away from the Guinness Book of World Records, being able to pump out 20.
2) I love eating breakfast for dinner!
3) I am proud of my Polish heritage!

Aside from writing or reading, what are your hobbies or interests? 
I train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu over at The Base/Chekmat. I recently received my purple belt during the 2020 pandemic from Professor Chris Dealy.

Doctors said I would never walk again after a horrible spinal cord injury that, left me in a wheelchair with a severed nervous system. I not only walk now, but I compete in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournaments against able-bodied opponents and win. I recently received my purple belt from, Professor Chris Dealy at The Base/Chekmat in Vancouver, Washington. During the 2020 COVID pandemic I decided to use the quarantine time wisely and got to writing a few books about my life. I thought the next generation might find my books helpful. I hope these books find a forever home in your heart, and help carry you through tough times you might come across during your life.

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