Book Nerd Interview
I am an award winning playwright, author, documentary film producer and interactive writer.
My book The Wisdom of the Shire will be published in October of 2012 by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, and translated into 7 languages including Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. Kirkus Reviews praised it as "A life-affirming, must-have morsel for Tolkien's colossal fan base."
My historical fiction action/adventure Sons of Zeus will be published in 2013 from Thomas Dunne Books (first in The Warrior Trilogy set in ancient Greece).
What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
That I love bunny rabbits. Seriously! I had two when I was a kid. Snowball and Snowflake. Dandelion-eating-machines. I still think Watership Down is one of the great novels of all-time.
What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
Learning how to type in high school. I’m not being facetious here, either! That set me on the road to being a real writer. In college it was learning how to read a book that I didn’t really like and gleaning from it information I needed. Very helpful when you’re doing research for historical fiction novels.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Ah, well this advice comes from my good friend Peter S. Beagle, author of the fantasy classic The Last Unicorn. Whenever I get depressed about the struggles of being a writer he says, “But Noble, nobody ever asked us to be writers.”
What are some of the common challenges that new and experienced authors face and what advice do you have for over-coming them?
Not finishing a book or a play or screenplay. Whatever it is you’re working on. Finish it! Even if it sucks. Then move onto the next one. Closure is really important. It teaches you endurance—a trait all writers need to have in bucket loads.
For those who are unfamiliar with your novel; THE WISDOM OF THE SHIRE, how would you introduce it?
It’s like The Tao of Pooh for lovers of Middle-earth. But instead of the wisdom coming from stuffed animals, you’re getting it from Hobbits! My book makes people say, “So that’s why I love reading Tolkien so much!” It’s a life-guide for people who are enchanted by the Shire-folk.
Do you have a favorite quote that you keep visible in your work environment to help inspire you?
I think about something Bryce Courtenay (The Power of One) said once at a writers conference I attended nearly a dozen years ago. “It’s all about bum glue, people! Stick your arse to a chair and write until you can’t write anymore.”
If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
That’s a really awesome question! I would introduce the young Greek hero of my upcoming novel Sons of Zeus (Thomas Dunne Books) to Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings. They would have fun killing Orcs together.
What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I’m working furiously on the second book to my epic action-adventure called The Warrior Trilogy. The first book, the abovementioned Sons of Zeus, hits bookstores in June, 2013. It’s about a young Olympic fighter-in-training who has to save his family, city and the woman he loves from genocidal invaders. It’s based on true events and is ten years in the making.
What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?
Read. Read. Read. And then let your own voice speak to you. I am convinced that writing is an esoteric craft. Most writers will tell you that their characters speak to them. Mine do. Actually, they’re calling me back to ancient Greece right now!
Where is the best place in the world you’ve been?
A beach called Kalalau on the Nā Pali Coast of Kauai. I’ve camped there three times. You have to kayak for three hours or do a ten-hour-long hike just to get there. There’s no electricity at Kalalau. Just a big beach and a jungle with pools carved from the rock, redolent with the scent of ginger flowers. You can go naked if you want. It’s paradise on earth. I highly recommend it. The last time we departed the beach in our kayaks, a family of dolphins followed us for about half an hour. They were so close I could have reached out and touched the baby dolphin who I swear was smiling at me and winking. There was a rainbow too. Seriously. A perfect moment.
What book are you reading now?
I’m reading Harry Potter and The Half-blood Prince out loud to my son. I’ve read every other Harry Potter book to him out loud at night before bedtime. It’s one of the best times of the day for both of us.
Who was your first girlfriend?
My first real girlfriend? My beautiful wife! We met on the first day of college twenty-six years ago and have been together ever since. Love at first sight.
Tell us about your first kiss
Ahhh, yes! Well…that was a fetching girl named Molly Baker. I was in a play with her. She had to kiss me in one of the scenes. She was not pleased. But it’s one great reason to go into the theater, boys!
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
Dentist: “Are you alright?” Me: “Oh, sure! I always sweat and shake uncontrollably like this. It runs in the family.”
What's the memorable summer job you've ever had?
When I won The Young Playwrights Festival and had my first play produced off-Broadway. I was nineteen. I spent the whole summer in New York working on my play (which starred a very young Cynthia Nixon). The people at the theater taught me the saying, “The only good playwright is a dead playwright.”
What did the last text message on your phone say?
“Couple of pee accidents.” Potty training our youngest.
When was the last time you cried?
When our daughter was born on Christmas Day. Best present ever. Oh, and when my agent told me he’d just gotten me a four-book deal.
Where can readers stalk you?
On Twitter. I love it. Follow me: @ShireWisdom. It’s stalking without all the walking.
The Wisdom of the Shire draws important lessons from The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, and other tales of the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf, and the many residents of Middle-earth. Author Noble Smith shows how a snug Hobbit-hole is actually just a state of mind and how even the smallest person can have the valor of a Rider of Rohan. He explores subjects dear to a Halfling's heart, such as beer, food, and friendship, as well as more serious concerns, such as courage, living in harmony with nature, and good versus evil.
How can simple pleasures such as gardening, taking long walks, and eating delicious meals with friends make you significantly happier? Why is the act of giving presents on your birthday instead of getting them such a revolutionary idea? What should you do when dealing with the Gollum in your life? And how can we carry the burden of our own "magic ring of power" without becoming devoured by it? For fans of Tolkien's books and their award-winning film adaptations by director Peter Jackson, The Wisdon of the Shire holds the answers to these and more of life's essential questions.
The world we live in is highly complex and crazy and sometimes it will control us without even realizing it. We continue on and accept this grind that we do continuously on a daily basis. What Noble shows us in this clever book is how the Hobbits see life and mainly learning how to simplify things in life. Many people cringe at the idea of leaving what is comfortable to them. Heading off into the unknown is a frightening journey but the guide will provide enough suggestions and information to look at life simpler through the eyes of a Hobbit.
The Wisdom of the Shire is in a way a self-improvement book and will have readers engaged from beginning to end. Noble’s writing style is fun and easy to follow. He gives us his own personal experience and adding a touch of Middle-Earth that he’s picked from the Tolkien books and its film counterparts. You do not need to be a fan of Tolkien’s work to enjoy this book. It is for anyone who wants to make a serious change in their life.