Today we’re excited to introduce you to another local author, talking to someone some of you may already know – local author John L. Smith. In case you’ve missed previous articles, we’ve learned that there are nearly two dozen authors locally here in town. But, there doesn’t really seem to be a way to easily find the books they’ve written or any local source for them to promote their work. We created this series to share the authors stories and to let all of you – prospective readers – get to hear about their works. (If you’ve missed our previous columns, we’ve got links for you at the bottom of this page.)
Please share a short bio to introduce yourself.
I am a native Nevadan born in Henderson with family roots dating to 1880 in the state. I am a proud father of a grown daughter, Amelia, and the husband of the writer Sally Denton. I am a freelance columnist, investigative journalist, and the author of more than a dozen books ranging from biography to short fiction.
Please tell us about the book(s) you’ve written and a short synopsis.
My latest books are two short histories for children, Sarah Winnemucca: A Princess for the People and Snowshoe Thompson: Sierra Mailman. My latest book for older readers is due out in January. It is titled Saints, Sinners & Sovereign Citizens: The Endless War Over the West’s Public Lands.
What inspired you to write it?
The children’s histories have long been a goal of mine as a writer. I believe Nevada’s youngsters can benefit from knowing the stories of some of the great people who helped move the Silver State forward. They are part of a series I am in the process of writing.
Saints tells the story of the battle over public lands through the investigation and trial of the Bundy ranching family of Bunkerville.
What do you hope your readers experience or learn from reading your work?
I hope the books find readers and that they are enjoyed.
When and how did you publish it?
The children’s histories are published by Keystone Canyon Press, an independent book company owned by Alrica Goldstein. She is an experienced publisher of books for all ages, but specializes in books for young people.
I published my first book in 1995 and have been a writer for many years. I have written thousands of articles and columns, contributed to two dozen books and anthologies in addition to those I have published under my own name.
What events in your life contributed to your becoming an author?
I lived for much of my youth with my grandmother Catherine Curtis in the Victory Village government apartment project in Henderson. She was a voracious reader and taught me the love of the language. It just sort of started from there.
Did you take any formal or informal classes or seminars in writing? What would you say to other would-be authors about the process of writing?
Throughout my life I’ve tried to add to my education. From high school and college classes to my personal reading list, I’ve found this is helpful to a writer. I benefited from writing classes in college and improved my skills by working for many years as a journalist, most of those were spent at Las Vegas dailies.
I try to work every day. I do not rely on inspiration. For me, perspiration brings better results.
How long have you lived in Boulder City? What do you like most about living here?
Sally and I have lived in Boulder City at various addresses for much of the past five years. As native Nevadans with a love of history, we really enjoy the community. The best part is being able to be close to Sally’s mother, Sara Denton.
Boulder City is a special place that to be preserved for future generations must be respected and protected.
Any other thoughts you’d like our readers to know about you or your work?
At this point in my life, I try to keep things as simple as possible. I enjoy my life and cherish my family and friends. I wish everyone health and safety in these difficult days.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this visit with John! If you’ve missed any of our other interviews in this series, you can see all of these authors stories here: