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Brian W. Smith-The Man Behind Many Screens

Brian W. Smith shares with readers his endless journey of writing, mentorship, screenwriting, ghost writing, teaching and more details in how the famous character Donald "Sleepy" Carter came to be!

Brian W. Smith has been in the writing and creating industry for many years, most supporters and readers know him as the best-selling author behind the famous hit book series "The Sleepy Carter Mystery" Series. He has captivated audiences alike with his gripping storytelling and doesn't plan on stopping any time soon! We may even see him on the big screen as well. Smith tells readers who he is and what he continues to achieve from writing to even helping writers get a leg up in this cut-throat industry.


Who is Brian W. Smith-best-selling author, entrepreneur, screenwriter, ghostwriter, and mentor?

I was born and raised in New Orleans. I became a father at the age of 17 and was told by my own father, 'I don't know what you gon' do, but when you graduate high school, you're gettin' the hell out of here because me and your mama ain't raising your child.' I graduated high school in August (my 1.80 GPA, meant I needed to go to summer school to get my diploma), and by October, I was in military boot camp. I spent a decade in the U.S. Army. After getting out in 1996, my first job as a civilian paid $7.25 an hour. I was 27 years old, living back in New Orleans with a wife and three kids, and broke. One day, I got sick and tired of being sick and tired. I knew I wasn't going to rejoin the military, so I used my G.I. Bill to go to college. Within ten years, I'd earned three degrees (2 Bachelor's Degrees and an MBA). By my 37th birthday, I was making six figures. Life was good until 2009 when I got laid-off from my fancy corporate job, with no warning, in the middle of the recession.


I was so upset at how cold/foul my lay-off was handled, that I vowed to never go back to corporate America. I poured all of my energy into learning the craft of writing novels. By 2011, I signed a major deal with Simon and Schuster, became an Adjunct Professor of Creative Writing at two colleges here in Dallas, Texas, and for the past eleven years, all I do is write novels for myself, ghostwrite novels for others, and teach Creative Writing at college during the semesters when my schedule will permit.


Donald "SLeepy" Carter. The Famous Mystery Man.


The Sleepy Carter Mystery series isn't just a " mystery" series but a series filled with drama, loyalty, community, family, and above all-murder. Readers dive into the world of Donald "Sleepy" Carter, a man who takes on the toughest of cases all the while dealing with obstacles of his own life. Questions and Answers are formed, and Brian W. Smith takes you on a wild ride.


Your best-selling series "The Sleepy Carter Mysteries" series is a hit among readers and is currently being considered for a television series in Hollywood-how did the main character Donald "Sleepy" Carter come to life?


I decided to create a Mystery character called, Donald "Sleepy" Carter. And because I'd been studying mysteries since I was a child, I knew that uniqueness is what makes a mystery character stand out. So, my Sleepy Carter character is a former New Orleans Homicide Detective whom everyone thinks is dead. But he's not dead, he's homeless and living on the streets of New Orleans...and still solving the cities toughest murder cases from the shadows. More than 50 Literary Agents rejected the series. So, I got frustrated with waiting on someone to give me a break, and decided to self-publish the series. After five books into the series (all 5 books have debuted on the Amazon Bestsellers List), the Sleepy Carter series has been adapted into a screenplay and is now being shopped in.



Brian's Love for the Mystery Genre


As children and even into adulthood, we read books of any kind. Most times we pick a favorite genre like supernatural romance or horror sci-fi. Brian has always been a mystery junky!


How has the genre of mystery made you the writer you are today?


I've always been a mystery junky. Even as a child, my favorite cartoon was Scooby-Doo. My favorite board game was Clue. Anything that required me to guess the ending always intrigued me. Fast forward to adulthood.


What about the genre has given your hit series the exposure that it has?


I'm writing successful standalone novels, but my bookshelf is cluttered with Agatha Christie's books. My DVR is filled with a bunch of Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, and Columbo movies. One day it hit me like a ton of bricks...other than Walter Mosley, there aren't many black mystery writers. As a matter of fact, most avid readers can't name three black mystery writers to this day. That's when that MBA that I earned kicked in; real profits lie in the areas your competitors don't exist. The black literary world is saturated with Romance, Urban-Lit, and Christian Fiction writers, but there aren't many mystery writers.



As children and even into adulthood, we read books of any kind. Most times we pick a favorite genre like supernatural romance or horror sci-fi. Brian has always been a mystery junky!


How has the genre of mystery made you the writer you are today?


I've always been a mystery junky. Even as a child, my favorite cartoon was Scooby-Doo. My favorite board game was Clue. Anything that required me to guess the ending always intrigued me. Fast forward to adulthood.


What about the genre has given your hit series the exposure that it has?


I'm writing successful standalone novels, but my bookshelf is cluttered with Agatha Christie's books. My DVR is filled with a bunch of Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, and Columbo movies. One day it hit me like a ton of bricks...other than Walter Mosley, there aren't many black mystery writers. As a matter of fact, most avid readers can't name three black mystery writers to this day. That's when that MBA that I earned kicked in; real profits lie in the areas your competitors don't exist. The black literary world is saturated with Romance, Urban-Lit, and Christian Fiction writers, but there aren't many mystery writers.



Summertime Writing!

Brian's Workshops/Teaching for all!!


Want to learn how to be a writer? Learn how to develop your characters, their storylines, and worlds? Well, take it up with Brian W. Smith! Learn from the man who knows how to do it best. Brian, who's an Adjunct professor for Creative Writing, can help anyone willing to learn the ways of writing-from forming the character dialogue to getting in front of a literary agent. He can put you on the path you need to be on with a little help and balance!.


How do you balance your everyday job as a college Adjunct Professor for Creative Writing and being a full-time author?


It's not hard balancing my life; we make time for the things we really want to do. The cool thing about being an Adjunct Professor (for those who don't know, "Adjunct" means part-time), is that I get to pick and choose which semesters I want to teach.


Did you ever think to go full-time? Would that have made any difference for you and your work as an author/writer?


You don't get that kind of flexibility as a Full-time Professor. I make a lot of appearances at literary events during the spring and summer months.


Do you ever think to give up one and fully pursue the other? How do you balance both passions?


Being an Adjunct gives me the flexibility to carry out my author duties. I've been an Adjunct Professor for ten years, and I can't see myself giving it up anytime soon because it's rewarding in several ways.


How have your teachings helped beyond the classroom setting?


First and foremost, it gives me a chance to give back to the community. We're blessed so that we can be a blessing to others. I love teaching the craft of writing to aspiring authors.


Have any of your students made it big after your teachings and workshops? How did it make you feel to know that your hard work with them made them successful?


I've had five students go on to land major book deals. There is nothing more gratifying than when my former students return to my classroom to show off their new novels. Secondly, I realized early on that teaching Creative Writing made me a better writer. My novels got better (in my opinion) after 2012.




Signed, Sealed, and Delivered to

Worldwide Shelves.


You never know, as a writer, when your books will become a household name. Any of your books can catch the attention of just one person and your life can change forever. Your talent can reach new heights. That's exactly what happened when Brian's standalone novel "Nina's Got A Secret" hit the shelves and became a best-seller. Most may know the hit series "The Sleepy Carter Mystery" Series, but this silent sweeper really brought the heat in the literary world.


Out of all your novels-"The Sleepy Carter Mysteries" series, Nina's Got a Secret, Deadbeat, If These Trees Could Talk and more, which one do you personally think has seen the most success and why?


Ironically, although the Sleepy Carter Mystery series is what's grabbed Hollywood's attention, those novels do not sell as well as my standalone novels. In terms of sales, I'd say that Nina's Got a Secret has sold the most copies. I first published that book in 2008 under my own publishing company and sold close to 8,000 copies. The book landed on the Dallas Morning News bestsellers list and in O-Magazine on the "What to Read" list. That caught the attention of a Literary Agent. In 2011, I signed with that agent and within three months, she had multiple offers from publishers. I sold the rights of the book to Strebor/Simon and Schuster. They repackaged the book (re-edited it, changed the cover, etc.), and re-released it. The re-release debuted on the Amazon, Target, Dallas Morning News, Walmart, and Black Expressions best-sellers list. Needless to say, thousands of more copies of that book were sold.


Hittin the Big Screens!

Brian's Journey to Screenwriting.


Many writers/authors dream of their works hitting the big screen! Becoming a screenwriter behind your own novels isn't an easy task-just ask Brian! He made that dream a reality when writing the screenplay for his novel " Quagmire", putting his name in new areas of talent and success. With the right motivation and juice of a "battery" as quoted by Smith, your written dreams can come alive in a whole new way.


What films and or tv shows have you screen written for? How was the experience?


It was always my plan to turn my novels into movies. The problem was, that I didn't know how to write a screenplay. In 2018, my literary brotha, Booker T. Mattison (who is an author, filmmaker, and College Professor of filmmaking at the University of Georgia) put the battery in my back. LOL. He kept telling me, "B, you can write a novel in your sleep and that's harder than writing a screenplay. Trust me, you can do this." I've appeared on stage next to every big-time black author in the business; you name the person and my name has been on a flyer right next to theirs.



How did the support from others get this project up off the ground?


I name-dropped Booker T. Mattison because, during my nearly 20-year career, there have been VERY FEW authors who have gone out of their way to hype me up and encourage me to take a leap. That brotha's encouragement not only led to me learning the craft of writing screenplays, but that decision enabled me to spot another business opportunity. One day, after finishing writing the screenplay for my novel, Quagmire, I realized two things: 1. I'm sure most authors feel their stories are better than most of the crap on tv; and 2. Most authors struggle to learn the craft of writing a novel, so they don't have the time and/or desire to learn the craft of writing a screenplay. Ding, ding, ding...there's the business opportunity.


How did you start your screenwriting company? How can your company help writers and authors get their work on the big screen?


The first thing I learned in my MBA program is that the key to running a successful business is to identify a need in the market that is not being met and fill that need at an affordable rate. So, in December 2020, I opened a new company called, The Script Repository. The company specializes in adapting author's novels into screenplays for an affordable fee. We guarantee a 90-day turnaround and offer payment plans to make the process affordable. We also provide our clients with the Treatment and/or Pitch Bible (the items needed to pitch a screenplay to producers), so that they can immediately start shopping their script to Hollywood. For anyone interested, go to www.scriptrepository.com.



A writer's work is never done and Brian is just getting started! Through a long and fulfilled career, Smith has released novel after novel, best-seller after best-seller, and now with Hollywood eyeing his talent and him venturing more into screenwriting and TV, his work is bound to continue to excite readers and audiences worldwide.


What's next for you? What can writers look forward to for the rest of this year and into the next?

I am in the process of writing my first Sitcom and I've started writing the screenplay for my 2020 best-selling novel, "Paper Bag". As for my company, The Script Repository, my goal for 2022 is to double the number of screenplays written last year. As of this interview, we are on pace to do that.


What advice would you give to new and unknown writers and creators who see you as the ideal example for written/literary success? Did you ever receive advice when you first started writing as well?


If I had to offer any advice to aspiring and/or young authors, it would be: PRAY: so that God will hear your desires and put you in contact with people and places you need to be to grow professionally. STUDY THE CRAFT: so that you'll be able to write mechanically-sound books that people want to read. Authors should read at least 6 novels a year. The more you read, the better you speak, and the better you speak, the better you write...it's all relative. SELL THE BOOK: Customers buy products from people they like. Therefore, you have to ditch the "shy" routine, find some personality, get your butt out there and sell the damn book.


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