Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Spotlight on Author and Playwright.

Crystal Smith-Connelly
Author and Playwright


Birth date: December 31, 1980

Where are you from: Charleston, SC

A little about your self `ie your education, Family, life etc: I was born in Melbourne, Florida and have a younger brother and sister. My husband and I are getting ready to celebrate our third wedding anniversary, and we have a spoiled rotten hamster named Bret (we hope to start spoiling a Yorkie puppy in a few months). I graduated from the College of Charleston in 2003 with a degree in Theatre and worked at a library for eight years before quitting to become a full-time writer (the fact that I became so allergic to the building that I lost my sense of taste helped me make the decision to quit).

Tell us your latest book news? I published Goat Herpes and Other Problems, my third book, in May and am currently writing a web series based on two of the plays in the book.

When and why did you begin writing? I’ve been writing since I was a child, so I don’t remember, but I do remember how and why I started writing plays. I took an Arthurian Legends class my senior year of high school, and some of the students asked the teacher if we could put on a play as our final instead of taking a test; she said we could as long as we wrote the play ourselves. I was chosen to be one of the writers and had so much fun with it that I wrote my own Arthurian play that summer and later decided to take a playwriting class in college. Once I realized that I could make people laugh with my plays, I knew that I wanted to be a playwright.

When did you consider yourself an Author? The first time I laid eyes on my book; it wasn’t published yet (it was just the proof), but seeing my name on a book cover for the first time was a great feeling.

What inspired you to write your first book? Someone who reads my plays suggested that I publish a book of them…so I did!

Do you have a specific writing style? I write short plays, and usually an idea pops into my head and I have to write it; I don’t force myself to write because it’s not going to be good unless I’m inspired.

How did you come up with the titles? For I Am Zeus and Never Trust an Angel are named after plays that are in the books, and Goat Herpes and Other Problems came from a line in the book where Ares tells Zeus that he hopes he gets goat herpes, and Zeus proudly tells him that he already has them.

How much of the book is realistic? I write about Greek mythology and Satan, so the things I write aren’t very realistic.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? I’ve written a few plays based on events from my life, but none of them are in the books I’ve published so far.

What books have most influenced your life most? Me of Little Faith by Lewis Black…I can’t think of another book that I’ve related to as much as that one. The books that have influenced my writing the most are Naked Pictures of Famous People by Jon Stewart and Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? Steve Martin…he’s my favorite playwright and just so happens to be one of the funniest people in the world.

What book are you reading now? Attempting Normal by Marc Maron and Don’t Look Back by Gregg Hurwitz

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Cory O’Brien…he wrote Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes: A No-Bullshit Guide to World Mythology, and it’s hilarious.

What are your current projects? Writing my web series and working on my paranormal blog

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members: Franklin Ashley, my college playwriting professor

Do you see writing as a career? Yes, even though I don’t make any money at it. ; )

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? No, I think it’s my best book.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I’ve loved writing for as long as I can remember…probably because reading has been my favorite thing to do ever since my parents taught me how to do it.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? This is from the first episode of the Godly Acres web series…Zeus on sex addiction:

I wouldn’t call it a problem. Hera thinks it’s a problem, but I’m fine with it.

Hera is your wife?

Yes, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be together.

There are a million reasons we can’t be together. How do you feel about Hera?

She’s okay. She’s the hottest of all my sisters, but she’s a little controlling.

How so?

She’s always telling me not to sleep with other women.

When you’re married, you’re not supposed to sleep with other women.

But I’m immortal…I can’t bone one woman for eternity!

That doesn’t mean it’s okay for you to be unfaithful.

It’s not my fault women are always throwing themselves at me. I didn’t ask for this body.

You need to learn to resist temptation. Be strong, Zeus.

I’m totally strong.
Check out my guns!

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? Linwood Barclay…his books are almost impossible to put down. His thrillers are about ordinary people, so it’s easy to imagine myself in their shoes.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? I’ve had to travel a few times to see my plays out of state; a few months ago, I went to see my play ‘Til Death Do Us Part in Hollywood, and I gave the cast and the director signed copies of the book that the play is in.

Who designed the covers? I designed all of them, and my husband added the lightning bolts and the Greek-style border to the Goat Herpes cover.

What was the hardest part of writing your books? Writing plays with a full-time job was tough…I would write on my breaks, and it was a pain to have to go back out on the desk when I was on a roll. Also, the process of getting the books ready to publish was difficult when I was working; after being on a computer at work all day, the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was get on the computer. When I was going through this process with my second book, I took a week off to work on it, and that helped a lot.

Did you learn anything from writing your books? Since I self-publish, I learned how to design a book cover and write a copyright page.

Do you have any advice for other writers? Never play it safe. Write what you want to write, and don’t worry about whether someone is going to be offended by your work. I know, shocking advice from the woman who writes Satan plays. ; )

Do your have anything specific you would like to say to your readers? Thank you so much for reading my plays and buying and reviewing my books. I’m very grateful, and I hope you had as much fun reading them as I did writing them.

Other than writing do you have any hobbies? Reading, cooking, taking pictures of the world’s cutest hamster

What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching? Arrested Development, Flight of the Conchords, Cannibal! The Musical, Walk Hard, anything with Will Ferrell (who I always picture when I write my Zeus plays)

Favorite foods / Colors/ Music: Food: pizza, mashed potatoes, quiche
Color: green, aqua (I even got married in an aqua dress)
Music: Flight of the Conchords, Jump, Little Children, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Ben Folds, ‘80s one-hit wonders, Broadway cast recordings

If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done? Work with animals…if anyone is interested in hiring a puppy cuddler, I would be great at that. ; )

Do you have a blog/website? If so please share your links.
Are you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc. Please share those links also.

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