Meet Dr. Bill - A self interview with William Leverne Smith (Homeplace Series)
Bill Smith in 1978
As other writers here have noted, I enter on this challenge with some trepidation… also on several levels. This writing challenge came from Jen, or Availlavision on HubPages.
The challenge has resulted in some exceptional articles by a number of my favorite writers here on HubPages and these have encouraged me to give this challenge a chance. However, I must start with two caveats. First, I am a “writer” in retirement. I have chosen to be a writer during my retirement years. I do not need to make money from my writing, but it is (certainly would be) nice to earn some extra spending money (and satisfaction from having earned it) from my writing.
Second, my writing here at HubPages falls under three titles - good on the first hand, confusing on the second hand: DrBill-WmL-Smith, Homeplace Series, DrBillSmith Writer. The first is entirely my "Weston Wagons West" series of short stories, wherein the fictional Weston family interacts with my actual ancestors across the USA. The second has become home to "The Homeplace Saga" series of stories. The third is my transfer account from Squidoo (family history/genealogy as well as heritage tourism and miscellaneous) plus a number of original essays written here.
As a writer, I would like to be known as the creator of “The Homeplace Saga” of the family saga, historical fiction series of stories in many formats and on several platforms. It currently consists of four novels, a novella, a short story collection, an ebook, and over a hundred hubs (under all three names) - source material for at least 3 forthcoming ebooks. The stories now cover the period of 1833 to 1997 in the Southern Missouri Ozarks setting with extended families and friends in the Oak Creek valley (a fictional branch of the Current River system) and the town of Oak Springs.
“Dr. Bill” is a tradename I’ve adopted, first for my blogs, over the last 10 years, and then in other writing, as a way to distinguish myself from the generic "Bill Smith" - that is so common. I’ve written my fiction novels under my real full name William Leverne Smith. Whether that was a good or bad decision is probably worthy of a separate article of its own. I became Dr. Bill at the university from which I retired as a business school professor in 2009. We had three Dr. Smiths - Faye, Barry and Bill… we became Dr. Faye, Dr. Barry and Dr. Bill, more or less by default… but, I kind of liked it. Now you know! ;-)
My first and still the best novel... if you haven't yet read it, it is brand new, to you!
Video Book Trailer - what fun! ;-)
Bill enjoying the rippling sound of a Colorado mountain stream
I’ve recently passed my 75th birthday, having been born and raised on a family farm in west central Iowa (near Coon Rapids). I am the oldest of five boys spread over 16 years. We had loving and caring parents, Dad worked very hard as a farmer, Mom doted over her five sons. As the oldest, I went off to college before the other boys had hardly grown at all, it seemed. The younger ones were more contemporaries of my three daughters than brothers, in those early years. My wife and I knew each other our entire lives, grew up on farms with a small rural church as the social center, attended all the same high school classes (after different one-room country schools) and then went off to different colleges. We married two years later, and my wife taught school a year while I finished my undergraduate degree (Math).
We had a widely varying next 30 years, living all over the United States, including three years with the U.S. Air Force, several with General Electric Corporation, with a small business conglomerate, a national management consulting firm and LOOK Magazine. I served as a personal assistant to the governor of Iowa, for two years, and two more as Deputy Commissioner of the Iowa Department of Social Services. For eighteen years, we owned and operated a nationally franchised accounting and bookkeeping service for small businesses. After age 50, I attended the University of Arizona and earned my PhD in Business Management. I was a Business School Professor (and Department Chair the last six years) for fifteen years leading to retirement.
The latest book in the series...
Bill pondering the world we live in...
Actor’s Studio Questions
What is your favorite word?
Distinctive. A favorite English professor said to use distinctive rather than unique. It has worked well for me.
What is your least favorite word?
Anything that would be considered a “curse” or “cuss” word… (precludes a later question)
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
I am a very positive person. Positive, uplifting stories and experiences are what I find most inspiring. Good results from positive, hard work.
What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Negative things. Conflict, war, disagreements. [And I want to be a writer??? ;-)]
What sound or noise do you love?
Generally quiet. But, I do seem to need “white noise” on most occasions.
What sound or noise do you hate?
Agree with billybuc, Loudness. I do not like loud noises of any kind.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
You may have noted, I’ve actually been privileged to try many of them. I did, in fact, love being a university professor… guess I finally got it right. Writing has been my “other than” choice.
What profession would you not like to do?
I am very risk-averse (physically). Anything with physical danger would fit this category, Law enforcement, firefighting, anything on water, etc.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“Welcome, Bill. Are you as surprised as I am?”
In the film version of your autobiography, who would you like to play yourself?
I’d like to have chosen James Garner, but Tommy Lee Jones is probably more likely…
What quality or talent do you wish you could cultivate?
I’d like people to read what I write and enjoy it.
Who is your favorite fictional character ever?
No way I could mention just one character. Many different characters in many different stories, for sure.
If you could have the career of any author, who would it be?
Again, not possible to mention any one.
What inspires you?
Stories of accomplishment, overcoming obstacles, positive outcomes.
When did you first realize you were a writer?
1987. Attended seminars at The Author’s Resource Center (TARK) in Tucson, Arizona. Liked it. Led to publishing over 80 articles in a variety of trade publications. Enjoyed fiction writing as well.
Confirmed by successful academic writing during a very successful academic career.
... when I realized, recently, that I "cannot not write!!"