5 Question Interview Series with Dominic Smith

The Beautiful Miscellaneous is the sophomore effort by Dominic Smith. His writing awards include the Dobie Paisano Fellowship from the Texas Institute of Letters, the Sherwood Anderson Fiction Prize, and the Gulf Coast Fiction Prize. In 2006, his debut novel "The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre" was selected for the Barnes and Noble Discover Great News Writers Program. It also received the Steven Turner Prize for First Fiction from the Texas Institute of Letters.

Today Dominic Smith graciously agreed to take part in my on going “5 Question Interview Series”.

1) Is this book autobiographical in nature? The book is not directly autobiographical, but like everything I write I use details and stories from my own life. I don't have an overbearing scientific father or an old world mother, but the characters are compilations of people I've known and heard about.

2) If it is proper to ask, may I ask what your relationship is like with your father? I have a good relationship with my father. He lives in Australia, where I grew up, so we don't see each other all that often. He has always been very supportive of my writing.

3) Photography, meditation, and hiking are listed as interests to you on your My Space page. Can you explain how they influence your writing style? That's an interesting question. Photography definitely makes you see things in a different way. You look at objects and the way they interact with light. Taking pictures makes me better at describing things. Meditation keeps me grounded and reduces the stress and white noise in my life. I write immediately after meditating and I like to think it makes me focused when I go in to face the blank page. Hiking is something I like but not something I do very often. Being in nature helps me get clarity about my life and my work.

4) Will you tell us about your style of meditation, and how long you have been practicing meditation? I have been practicing Transcendental Meditation for ten years. It's a really important part of my life and something I'm very grateful for.

5) Since this blog is mainly a photography blog (your 1st novel is about a photographer going mad)any advice for the photographer (to keep us all sane)?
Not sure I have a whole lot of practical advice for photographers. I think that photography is a lot like writing in that you have to find your own "voice." We each have a sensibility and learning to trust and hone that is an important part of our development as artists. I remember hearing George Saunders says that he learned to write stories that only he could write and this was a huge turning point for him. The same applies to all art. Find a terrain and a style that feels organic to whom you are. That's your strength.