In less than a week, the first novel in the DI Graves Series, The Demons Beneath, publishes with Panther Publishing. The Demons Beneath publishes on the 1st June 2019. When a bloody corpse is discovered in a North London park, Detective Inspector Daniel Graves is the man tasked with finding the killer. With no clues and no suspects, it seems like a dead end. Then another body turns up and this time it looks like it could be his fault. Has his investigation caused the murderer to strike again? Is he dealing with a serial killer?
We interviewed WD Jackson-Smart to get a glimpse at the writing process.
Can you tell our readers just who you are? What does WD stand for? Why Jackson-Smart?
I'm a horror and gamer geek pretty much, originally from Birmingham but now an official Londoner, having lived in London for 10 years, which I think is the rule before you can call yourself a Londoner. I come from having quite a creative education in art and literature so it's perhaps not a surprise I write.
With my name, W and D are my first initials, nice and simple. I thought it sounds a bit more authorial than just my name. As for my surname, that's my married name. I'm a recent newlywed!
What is your earliest writing experience?
I think the first time I actually recall enjoying the act of writing some sort of narrative was at school. I was probably about 13 or 14 and had to write a short story that was all about evoking atmosphere. I liked writing it but also realised that I was fairly good at it. I think I was way more into writing than the rest of the kids in my class to be honest.
What are you interests?
As previously touched upon, horror films and gaming, and any books that are horror/crime/thriller related.
I'm a real horror movie addict. I drag my husband to just about every horror film that comes out at the cinema, regardless of reviews, and we watch a lot of horror films and tv shows too.
Gaming is a big part of my life too. I really love playing computer games and I work in game marketing outside of writing so even when not playing, I'm reading about new games, the industry and more.
And of course books and reading. My parents instilled in me the desire to always be reading something and that's been true my whole life. I read on my commute mostly but I'm lost without a good book.
What music do you listen to?
A massive range of music if I'm honest, but pretty much always upbeat music. I range from cheesy pop to shouty rock, and I'm currently really into quite a lot of EDM, though the more chart friendly tracks than hardcore. I find it depends on my mood. At the moment I listen to Loud Luxury a lot, Kim Petras, Amber Mark and I'm also quite obsessed with Lizzo right now too. I like a lot of Ariana Grande's new music but then also I'll switch to something like Bring Me The Horizon, which couldn't more different.
What's your writing process?
Generally I know my key beats of a story before I start. I know the beginning and the approximate end, and a few moments in between, but I let my stories evolve fairly organically between these beats to allow for a nice flow.
Whenever I write I always read what i wrote last time and edit, and then I continue on, which I think gets my brain into the right space to successfully write more narrative, and it avoids my writing from seeming too fragmented between sessions.
Do you find it hard to sit down and write?
Yes and no. When I actually sit down to do some writing, I mostly find that it comes quite easily. I'm quite good at shutting my surroundings out and writing a good block of pages that I'm normally quite happy with.
However I do sometimes struggle with the motivation to sit down in the first place. I'm always so busy and have a lot of different things filling my days, so sometimes I'm just in the right frame of mind. I don't often force myself though because normally if I do this, the quality of my writing suffers. That said, I reckon there are times I could definitely just be less lazy and get on with it!
What have you wrote in the past?
My previous books have all been horror or crime related. My first ever book was called Loose Ends. Despite it selling surprisingly well as a self-published effort, it really wasn't very good, so it's not available to read now. It was a kind of revenge thriller, and had some great moments in it, and I think I learned a lot from writing it.
My second novel is called Red Light, which is about a six year old girl who can predict death. It's a mixture of horror and science fiction, and actually ends up with some story beats that echo the likes of X-Men.
My third novel Slasher is a full on slasher movie combined with a detective story and I love it. It's about a killer targeting actresses who have played final girls in slasher movies. It's everything I love about slasher movies and crime stories and I think it's really fun.
What do you plan to write in the future?
I'm currently working on book 3 in the DI Graves series, which is going well so far. I see a good few future books in this series, though I've not decided on a final number yet.
I will also be writing a book for Panther's Point Horror-style series, which will be an anthology series with stand alone books written by Panther authors. I have an idea for that already that will very much be a slasher-style whodunnit, or rather who IS doing it, but it'll come after Graves book 3 I think.
Lastly, I've been sat on the starting point of another stand alone book for a while now. I wrote about 10,000 words and then put it to the side but I love the concept so that'll come back. I can't reveal what it is yet though!
The Demons Beneath will be available June 1st 2019, in ebook and paperback. Pre-order now!