Thursday, 21 May 2015 10:19

Swift Current author flying high with success of book series

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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A Saskatchewan writer is enjoying international success with a book series that has been expanded from three to six after a positive response from readers.

Madelon Smid, who lives near Swift Current, is pleased with the reception of the first two books in the Daring Heights series.
Climbing High was published in November 2013 and High Ground was released in early February by Wild Rose Press.
“The response to Climbing High was very good,” she said. “There were very good sales out there worldwide as digital books and hard copies, and the response to the second book has even been better.”
The second book has been receiving five-star reviews from customers on Amazon. She believes there are various reasons for the positive reaction from readers to these romantic suspense novels.
“First of all they like a strong female character and they like the fact that they’re learning something new,” she said. “I don’t think either one of the books have been reviewed without them noting that they learnt a whole bunch about climbing or about computer spyware or Zen philosophy, which is in the second book High Ground. I think they like my writing style. I’ve been called an intellectual writer and that I create unique pictures with words.”
In Climbing High the main character is a wealthy businessman who saves a woman, a forensic accountant, during one of his mountain climbing adventures in France.
The main protagonists in High Ground are a security software expert who is the target of an assassination and his female bodyguard, a former U.S. Marine. It is important for Smid to have compelling female characters in her books.
“I won’t read a book if the female character isn’t a strong woman and a very competent woman,” she said. “That’s what I expect from the women around me and my friends and I know we all have the potential. So it’s very important to me and my readers, because I’ve had a lot of comments from online reviews and others that they really like my strong female characters.”
The third book in the series, High Seas, will be published later this year, either late summer or early fall. It will reflect her interest in kayaking and the story is set on the Gulf Islands off the Vancouver coast.
“I’m really hoping it will come out in the summer because it’s about kayaking,” she said. “It would be terrific if it could be out when people are still actively doing the sport.”
She has already written the fourth book and submitted a copy to her publisher in late April.
“Book five is in my head, ready to go,” she said.
She was initially planning to write a trilogy, but then her publisher suggested a six-book series.
The proposal came as a surprise, but she was not concerned about finding ideas for three additional stories in the series.
“I already knew the story for book four,” she said. “It surprised me that they wanted to expand and I think it was just very obvious from the first three stories that it could easily expand. The way my mind works I’d already written the next story.”
Smid achieved success as a non-fiction writer before she returned to writing fiction a few years ago.
“I don’t regret it at all,” she said. “A lot of the same things are needed. The intense research for fiction and non-fiction and following through a storyline, whether it’s about a person in real life or somebody you’re making up, but I just get so much more pleasure personally from writing fiction.”
She has created a system that allows her to complete the writing process in an effective manner.
“I set aside two months of the year and in each month I write a book,”she explained. “I’m a very fast writer because these books are 76,000 word books and that works very well for me. It’s my top priority that month; nothing else gets in the way. I’m totally immersed in the project. So it just flows out of you at that point.”
She has no trouble to come up with new ideas that she will develop into story lines.
“They just come to me,” she said. “Then I develop them for my own pleasure. In that case what would be happening, who would be the villain, what would be the conflict. You just start filling in the blanks and in no time at all you have a story in your head ready to be written down.”
One side of her desk is lined with files, each one containing information for a book. She is already thinking about a new trilogy after a visit to three locations in the United States last winter.
“I’m going to set a story connecting three sisters in each one of those different places, and each one is involved with aircraft,” she said.
The first two books in the Daring Heights series are available online in digital format and hard copies are for sale at Pharmasave in Swift Current.

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