South African Suspense Thriller writer Jesse Smith spends most of his days as a ship’s captain, sailing all over the world. Jesse has been to over 100 countries! But in his free time, Jesse’s also a writer–his book THE MEGIDDO REVENGE was published here on Book Country in September. We chatted with him about his writing while he was on his holidays before going back out to sea.
LS: You must be so excited to see your book, THE MEGIDDO REVENGE, for sale online. Tell us all about it: writing it, revising it, and publishing it. What was your process for all three?
JS: Seeing the book in eBook and paperback format was awesome. Since I was a child I had this hankering to ‘write a book’ and this was a dream come true. The writing of MEGIDDO took roughly five years from the Prologue to the Epilogue. That being said, over the last fifteen years or so before the manuscript was formally started, I had written several random pages and unnumbered chapters as I had ideas about characters and events for what I hoped would be a complete novel. These random notes eventually gelled into the final book.
In a book such as MEGIDDO which is based very much on ‘real time’ international events, revision of some aspects of the plot was almost continuous but eventually I had to freeze time and type The End. For instance, I regularly sail in the Gulf of Aden pirate area and have had several close encounters with pirates. The modus operandi of the pirate groups evolved and changed since the book was started in 2008 so the early chapters had to be suitably revised and adjusted before I decided to finally finish. Regarding revision, during the writing process I always knew where I was coming from and where I was going to. The plot I thought was okay but I had a lot of work to do one characterization and here my #1 editor and advisor, my wife Fran, was able to help a great deal. I went to sea when I was 17 so consequently missed out on a formal literary education. Fran, on the other hand, was educated in England at several rather grand well-known girls schools where English Literature was the most important subject and without her input, the manuscript would have been gibberish. Continue reading