Friday, 24 June 2016

In Love and War by E.E. Smith

E. E. (Evelyn Eileen) Smith lives close to her native San Francisco, in the "Wine Country" of northern California. She became a professional writer after retiring from earlier careers as an architectural designer and a litigation paralegal. 

Known primarily as a playwright -- her plays have been produced in Massachusetts, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and both northern and southern California -- she later became a novelist. A New Edition of her first novel, Boardinghouse Stew, along with the sequel, Times Like These, was published in 2011. In Love and War, A Memoir, was published as an e-book in 2012. A series of murder mysteries debuted in 2013, also as e-books, beginning with Death by Misadventure. Three more: Bad Blood, Russian Roulette, and Prescription for Murder followed in 2014. In 2015, all will be available as e-books, including brand new editions of Boardinghouse Stew, Times Like These and In Love and War.

Connect with the Author

She is a regular contributor to Psychology Today. To see her blog, go to

About the Book

Was World War II the last "good war," as it has been called, or is "good war" really an oxymoron?

In this memoir, spanning six decades of her life, and as many wars, the author admits that December 7, 1941, and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor left us no choice about getting into WW II. But what about the others -- beginning with Korea, which has been called America's "Forgotten War?"

Her story begins in the first full year of that war, 1951, when, as a girl of nineteen she "falls for a uniform" and hastily marries a boy she barely knows. Against all odds, the marriage lasts for 22 years, but finally ends in heartbreak. Now middle-aged, she finds love again with a man who is everything her first husband was not (strong, reliable, caring), but that marriage is short-lived and ends tragically.

As much about war as it is about love, In Love and War suggests that warfare, at least since WW II -- that last "good war" -- is folly. And so, perhaps, is love. Not everyone will agree with her conclusions, but some may be persuaded by her argument that two things (besides death and taxes) are inevitable.

They are love and war.

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

The short answer is "because I can!"

What genres do you write?

I was a playwright for 25 years before writing my first novel. ("In Love and War" is the third.) I have also written a series of mysteries, loosely called the "Discreet Inquiries" series.

What inspires you to write?

I've been a theater-lover most of my life, so writing plays just came naturally to me. After that came novels and mysteries, for the same reason, i.e. I love to read.

What authors/books have most influenced you?

Too many to mention, but in the area of mystery, alone, I would say that the single most influential author is someone that not many people even know about. Loren D. Estleman, in my opinion, is the best writer around today. Dorothy L. Sayers was pretty good, too!

When did you first consider yourself an author?

When my first play was produced, way back in 1989.

What is the biggest obstacle you face as an author and what do you do to overcome it?

Time is a big obstacle! There is never enough in the day to do everything I have to do. (I also write a regular blog for "Psychology Today," which takes a lot of time because I am not a psychologist and need to research my subjects.)

What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author?

Here's one I'm particularly fond of: A reviewer of my second novel, "Times Like These," (which is autobiographical and depicts a sometimes grim childhood), said this: "It is not so much a wonder that E. E. Smith grew up to be a great playwright, but that she grew up at all!"

Have you ever had a particularly harsh critique? How did you handle it?

I had one bad reviewer of a play, but it was obvious that he hadn't bothered to stay for the second act, unlike the others who wrote glowing reviews. You learn to ignore it.

What is the best writing advice you've ever received?

Keep reading if you want to keep writing.

What do you enjoy doing aside from writing?

I like to cook, so I enjoy entertaining friends and family.

How many books do you have on your "to read" list? What are some of them?

I want to read more of W. Somerset Maugham. My local library has about a dozen that I am taking out, one by one. They will also order some for me.

What is your writing process?

I begin with a clear picture (in my head) of my characters -- how they look, what they think and why, how they act, etc. Then I let them write the story. I am as surprised as anyone in how it comes out.

Are you a pantser or outliner?

I never use an outline, and never know where the story is going until it gets there.

How long does it take you to write a book?

The mystery series of four books was written in two years, but they are short. Averaging 200 pages in length. The longest novel, "In Love and War" took most of my life (I started it when I was 19 years old).

Do you write about real life experiences, or does everything come from your imagination?

My novels are based on real life (mine and others). The mystery series is pure fiction, and I don't know where in the world they came from.

Have you ever gotten an idea for a story from something really bizarre? Tell us about it.

I wrote a play called "God Don't Like You, Tina Flopp." The title is something I found spray-painted on a fence. Everyone seems intrigued by that.

What are you working on now?

Currently, I am only writing my regular blogs for "Psychology Today," but expect to get back to writing at least one more book in the mystery series. I already have a title: "Double Jeopardy."

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