Laurie Smith (a/k/a L.W. Smith) is my Guest Author and Blogger today: Medium, Healer, Ex Army, Prison, Police and Defence Security – a fascinating Crime writer and Blogger
Today I am very happy to be able to share the second of my Guest Author and Blogger features with you all.
Laurie Smith – also known as L.W. Smith
Crime writer and prolific blogger,
a Medium and Healer with former careers in the Army, Prisons, the Police, and Defence Security.
Someone with a lot to say and what he has to say is enthralling.
His life experiences leave you breathless.
His writing is raw and real with no holds are barred.
Sit back, strap yourself in and have a stiff drink on hand; you’re going to need it at the end of this ride.
Hi Jane, thanks for taking the time to promote my writing.
What this all boils down to is, I want to make people aware of my novels in the Death Series. I wish to sell to the masses, have the world-beating a deep and well-worn path to my door.
The last couple of years of blogging, for me have been reminiscent of a hack reporter at work, belting out copy for the reading public. Sweating blood into my trusty portable Remington Travel-Riter, it sounds better than keyboard. I have hopefully entertained and amazed my reading audience, and I might add the enjoyment from this labour of love on my part has been boundless.
My original intent for the blog was to promote the Death Series. Then I realised people want to be entertained.
In July 2012 I began A Policeman’s Lot. which ran for 18 weeks, at first a humorous look at the life of a copper. Then it became a little darker and somewhat philosophical.
I followed up with A Turnkey’s Tribulations. This too had its moments of humour and pathos, with some insights into crime and punishment.
Then, You’re in the Army Now. About my time in the Australian Army then quickly followed by,
A Medium, or just well done? Yes, I spent about 15 years working part-time as a psychic/medium and believe me there were plenty of stories to tell. On average for the four series, I’ve written about 215,000 words.
They may not be great words but they seem to have hit a chord amongst most of my followers.
The blogs aren’t in sequence; my careers ran like this, Army, Prison then Police taking up 20 years.
The remainder of my working life involved security with the defence department.
Security work in essence can be boring; this gave me time to study and work at one of the high points of my life, as a Medium and Healer.
Like most things I’ve done it had a use by date, I’ve since retired as a Medium, except for the occasional late night visit, or desperate call for help. As to the healing aspect, I’m my biggest customer.
You may well ask, what have the above blogs to do with my novels?
Plenty! The old saying of write what you know rings true here.
My first novel, Mountain of Death burst into life from my time working in prison.
Whether you like it or not, jail rubs off on you.
I have a bulging storehouse of characters, all participating in a riot to get out and be noticed.
“All right you lot, settle down or there’ll be no television tonight.” Sorry about that.
The story begins in Wacol jail with Jack Hardy on his last night inside. He’s done a hard 10 years for armed robbery, naturally he can’t sleep and we learn about the people and events that brought him there. If he thought doing a lagging was tough, then there are surprises in store for him when he gets out.
If you’ve read my army series you will note that Kings Cross, in Sydney became a second home for me.
Jack Hardy lived and worked there until a chance meeting with ex-jockey, Eddie Barnes changed their lives forever. Sydney in 1969 moved to a new beat.
It’s sleazy, dangerous heart, Kings Cross long known for crime and corruption had something new happening, R&R. It’s denizens, always eager to make a dollar looked upon the influx of the Yanks as sheep, ready for the shearing. Shear them they did, from the prostitutes and massage parlours, to the strip clubs, cafes and souvenir shops.
This story will lead you to places you wouldn’t normally visit.
There are no white hats and black hats; they’re mainly a grimy shade of grey. I haven’t had to invent the nastiness you’ll come across inside, it’s there on our nightly news or the front pages of daily newspapers.
By the time Jack hardy gets out of jail he’s a hardened criminal. When he comes up against Hans Draheim and his family he finds out what true degradation and evil entails.
This story isn’t all about crime, violence and sex.
There is an underlying ancient story at work here, that of the battle between good and evil. The players are human with all their foibles, faults and stories. The stage is the dark alleyways, dimly lit upstairs offices and jail cells.
You’ll get a taste of Australia, from Sydney to Adelaide and Broken Hill to the Gold Coast.
Like most young men Jack’s desires lead him to make decisions that older, more prudent men wouldn’t make. Women and the need to remove the taint of poverty from his life drive him onwards. These same needs lead to his downfall.
I suggest you follow the link to Amazon and see what readers have to say about it.
In 1981-82 I worked as a constable at Fortitude Valley, an inner Brisbane, riverside suburb.
Actually it’s a flow-on from the city and is known as Brisbane’s Kings Cross.
It has its entrenched gangs, sex clubs, nightclubs, drug dealers-runners and the like.
Its train station, and at the time interstate bus depot made it a terminus for runaway kids and crims on the run. An inordinate amount of street people, mental patients and the curious made for a mixed bag of humanity.
I also came up against official corruption, which to my mind is one of the worst crimes.
Valley of Death is not an easy read; it would be if all of the victims were adults. Sadly they aren’t.
In Australia the age of consent is 16 years old, so there isn’t much of an outcry when children that age and over are known to be addicts or sex workers.
Children as young as 10 and 11 make their homes in the streets. They don’t stay there too long, usually ending up in the clutches of perverts. They’re preyed on by drug dealers and find themselves living in small gangs.
Valley takes up 15 years after the gripping ending of Mountain.
Annie Leeson is a uniform constable at Fortitude Valley police station.
She’s young, with a head of bright, copper-red hair, attractive, bi-sexual and the adopted daughter of an ex-Detective Sergeant. Her life is complicated by her inherited wealth and the jealousy of others.
After her part in the conviction of a child rapist she finds herself working as a plain clothes officer, in the then, Juvenile Aid Bureau. Not convinced that the death of a street kid is an overdose, she begins to dig into the girl’s background and associates.
It leads to a group of paedophiles with international connections and no compunctions about removing nosy coppers. Some children die in this book, a sad thing yet it happens daily in every country.
Type child prostitution into Google and see what you come up with, unfortunately I didn’t need to.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I was rented out as a child on occasion. At the tender age of 9, I personally witnessed the murder of two small girls, victims of a group of perverts.
Perhaps that’s why I have no trouble writing about these events.
Their story, albeit slightly rearranged is there in the book, so perhaps they will now always be remembered.
It isn’t there in a gratuitous way, it does however fill in the antagonist’s back story.
You can’t have a character turn up on a page and be evil incarnate, he needs a starting point.
The characters develop and grow, beset with challenges of violence, death, love and family.
Annie, a broken, abused child herself, is taken to the brink and beyond and shows grit, determination and gives a glimpse into the strength and resilience of the human soul.
I like to throw my people in the deep end of a pool, and then throw them a cinder block to hang onto.
River of Death is set once again in Fortitude Valley, south-east and northern Queensland, 5 years after the end of book 2.
Annie Leeson is back, a little older and a lot wiser.
She’s toughened up and doesn’t take crap off anyone.
Working out of Homicide, she finds herself seconded to the Valley after the discovery of a young woman’s body hanging in a shipping container.
We meet Simon Fynch, a new Detective on the block. He becomes the perfect foil for Annie. I can’t say too much here as it will spoil the endings of book 1 and 2.
Suffice to say you will find yourself in the mind of a perverted killer, on a downward spiral. Why does he prefer his victims to be young, pregnant, green-eyed red-heads?
A murderous prison escapee is also on the loose and Annie has more than herself to worry about. Blood is thicker than water and family connections are brought to the fore.
Needless to say, there is violence, death, sex and adventure, relationships are made and lost, and we say goodbye to some old friends and welcome new ones.
Cape of Death, is set mainly in Queensland’s Cooktown and Cape York Peninsular.
I’ve finished this book, I’m holding off for a few more months before releasing it to the clamouring public.
Annie is back, along with the team from River, investigating the deaths of several refugees and smugglers on a lonely beach.
The story takes us from Afghanistan via Indonesia and West Irian to the Cape.
As it unfolds you’ll find yourself alone, naked and terrified on a muddy rainforest track fleeing from horror to….?
Or perhaps you’re a wounded Taliban terrorist living alone in a cave, subsisting on wallabies and burning inside with revenge for mankind in general, while nature wreaks havoc outside.
You could be the Russian crime boss with a nose for gold, stolen Nazi gold and with no compunctions about who gets hurt in the process.
Jack is back big time here and leaves his mark as only he can.
There are: IED’s, big crocodiles, a murderous pair of bastards – Ipswich locals, who hunt more than wild pigs, a beautiful woman doctor with needs that only Annie can attend to, and a new Sydney crime boss from the Cross with an axe to grind.
Throw in a cyclone and a manhunt across the rugged north and I guarantee you’ll need a holiday afterwards… so you can read, Bay of Death. We move to Sydney for this story, I’ve nearly finished the first draft.
Set between Sydney and Thailand it deals with terrorism, biker gangs and arms smuggling. Annie is still with us and all I will say is, this book will re-invent her and I will also add, she’s bloody tough.
I have to make mention here that although I write about subjects that may be distasteful to some, I have to stay true to myself and write it as I see it.
Sometimes I’ll call a spade a spade, other times it’s a fucking shovel.
Since the beginning people have: loved, made love, lived, killed, enslaved, hurt and demeaned others.
You’ll find more than this in my books, you’ll find triumph over evil, family love, loyalty, justice, both natural and man-made, grief, happiness and up-liftment.
There’s physical pain and suffering, debasement and torture.
I have inserted a physic element into the series, usually through Annie’s troubled dreams.
There we have it, a little drum beating and flag waving, it also highlights what I said earlier….. Write what you know.
For those who may be thinking what does he know about debasement and torture? I can assure you that I do.
Wow, what a life, what background for your books Laurie.
Do your stories write themselves, or do you plan and outline in advance, every aspect about your character and their life and exploits?
I tend to write by the seat of my pants and often surprise myself with what turns up. I tried to plan my first book out, bad move. Had to start again after five chapters of rubbish, now I let the subconscious mind work it out. Apparently that’s its job.
Setting for a character and their story is important. What make you decide upon the setting you have chosen? Is the setting fictional or one you are familiar with?
I chose all of the main settings because of my familiarity with them. Either because I lived, visited or worked there. Keeping them mainly set in Australia is a bonus, because my readers here can identify with the locations. As to my overseas readers, well it will give them a taste of life down-under.
Is your life style similar to your character’s life style? Similar background/family/occupation/profession, education?
I share a common past to a degree with Annie as far as the abuse goes and being a police officer.
Other than that I’ve kept away from armed robberies.
Would you like to be one of your characters? What do you like/admire about them the most?
If I were a woman I’d like to be Annie. I admire her tenacity, dedication and strength of character.
What is the most dislikeable aspect of your character’s personality? If there is one.
I think other women are jealous of her and she has that tendency to be bitchy. But hey, who doesn’t?
Tell us briefly about yourself and why you write, and why you write in this particular genre. What is your inspiration? What is your next project?
I’m retired from the workforce due to health reasons and basically write as a hobby. With my first two novels I wrote constantly, perhaps twelve hours a day, sometimes into the early hours of the morning. This is where retirement is good, you don’t have to get up and head off to work.
When I started on the third book I tended to be more restrained and worked about five hours a day. You may stop physically writing but your mind still plots, your characters vie for attention and you wake up at odd hours with, ah-ah moments.
To combat this I took up another hobby, photography. It definitely takes you away from writing, to the extent that I have to make sure I don’t replace one with the other.
I used to be inspired but now I’m not quite sure, all I know is I have two more books in the Death series to finish.
Cape of Death set in far north Queensland looking at the issue of terrorism, smuggling, bikie gangs etc.
This will be released later this year.
Bay of Death set in Sydney and South East Asia goes into domestic terrorism, plus a stand-alone novel.
Laurie, thanks so much for such an interesting interview and for such enlightening extracts from your work.
I hope my friends here will enjoy your Guest Blog as much as I have, and that they will leave their thoughts and comments for you here, and they’ll visit your blog and find out more about you and your books.
Meantime, I am sure you’ll find you need that stiff drink.
Many thanks, Jane.
Readers and anyone interested in Laurie and his books, as well as his fab blog which has the most wonderful photographs alongside his writing, please follow the links below.
Laurie has hard copies of his books available for postage in Australia only, $16.00 plus P&H. They’re also available on Amazon, see the links below.