Interview with Eric Smith author of Don't Read the Comments
About the book:
1. How did you come up with the story Don’t Read the Comments?
There was a lot behind the inspiration there. I play a lot of video games. A lot. And I also read a lot of video game websites, where quite a few friends of mine write. And it's there I found a lot of the inspiration, as it was written during a time (and that time I still ongoing) where a lot of video game journalists, namely women, people of color, and folks in the LGBTQ+ community, in the gaming community, were under attack by a lot of trolls. What would it be like to have that digital space ripped from someone like me? I'd gone through my own share of harassment online, and I kept thinking about that experience, as a teenager. Digital spaces are supposed to be safe spaces, right? Well, sometimes they aren't.
2. Which POV was your favorite to write about and why?
Probably Aaron. There's a lot of me written into his character, from his frustrations in wanting to pursue his art, to his love of collecting dead computers from the garbage. I... did that a lot as a kid. Plus, I set him in Philadelphia, the city that's my home, a place I love so terribly.
3. What is the meaning behind Don’t Read the Comments?
To ignore the comments! :-) On social media, in blog posts, and the like. They can get toxic and painful. Don't give the trolls what they want.
4. What part of the book was easy to write? Beginning, middle or the end?
I knew how I wanted the book to end the second I started writing it, so probably the middle was the hardest. I had this place I wanted to get to, and it was stressing me out a little bit, trying to get to that place. Originally the novel was... oh boy, maybe 20,000 words shorter? My editor pushed me to really dig into the story, and I'm grateful for it. I think it's a better book for that. I was in a rush to get to the end, and she got me to take my time.
5. Where can readers purchase this book?
Anywhere books are sold. Amazon, your local indie bookseller, you name it.
6. Do you have any upcoming books/writing that you can tell us about?
I do! I co-wrote a novel called Origin Story with romance novelist Summer Heacock that will be out in 2021, and I co-edited an anthology called Battle of the Bands with my dear friend Lauren Gibaldi, which will also be out in 2021. I will... be a busy person.
1. What do you like to do other than writing?
I play a lot of video games? And then... well, I guess I just read a lot?
2. How do you spend your free time?
Hah, video games. Also, I love spending time with my friends and family. I have a toddler, he's two and adorable.
3. What has been your favorite 2019 reads?
Last year's favorite reads are tough, there were so many great ones! Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan was my favorite novel of the year. I also really adored Rosiee Thor's Tarnished Are the Stars, and Nic Stone's Jackpot.
4. If you could write with another writer, who would it be and why?
I'm already doing that, luckily! :-) Though if there was another author I'd love to co-write with... maybe Ashley Poston? I'm such a wild fan of her space operas and her brilliant mind. Please go read Heart of Iron. It's the best sci-fi duology I've read in forever.
5. What 3 things would you bring if you were stranded on an island?
My multitool shovel (I have one in my yard that turns into a bunch of things, perfect for survival stuff), my iPhone w/ it's solar charger case (I have one, because I think about this a lot), and I guess a fishing pole? :-) I love fishing and I'd need to eat, ya know?