Author Interview & Book Giveaway: The Mystery of Puzzle Bones by T.A. Smith

Welcome to Author T.A. Smith

T.A. Smith has been a non-denominational bible teacher in maximum Security Prisons, Juvenile delinquent centers, Rescue Missions, and Youth Groups for over 15 years. He has traveled from the Yucatan to working in fisheries in Alaska. As a ‘Guys study teacher’, he searched for a hard-hitting action adventure series that actually included thoughts and discussion about God. He wanted real discussions that he actually heard men and boys talk about in his classes over the years. Finally, he simply sat down and started writing stories for the guys he knew – and they asked for more stories which has led to a dozen popular tween/teen adventure books.


If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
Definitely the past; I have a fascination with history.

If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?
Abraham Lincoln, Katharine Hepburn, Steven Spielberg, Amelia Earhart and Teddy Roosevelt.

If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?
Leatherman multi-tool (if you have one you understand), NKJ Bible (large print for my bad eyes) and matches (can’t stand raw fish).

What is one book everyone should read?
Chronological NIV with commentary

If you were a superhero what would your name be?
Every direction man

If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?
Bill Monroe (missed meeting him by one month and I have always regretted it).

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
The personalities of the four boys in Mystery of the Puzzle Bones have at least one personal connection to your life that will emotionally touch you.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
Boardunders club has Mystery of the Puzzle Bones, Mystery of the Running Shadow and Mystery at Lizard Lake already published with a fourth; Mystery at Rattle Snake Ranch in the works. The Teenage and older Nic Taylor series; that starts with Mystery in Dark Island, is in print with the following 7 books of that series in Amazon ebook awaiting create space publishing and I just released a Thriller Mystery in January called Dominance the Final Secret under pre-edit view on Amazon.
My goal is to get several more books written in 2012.

What inspired you to want to become a writer?
I worked as a volunteer in a juvenile detention center for young boys and wanted to offer them action adventure novels that included characters with a relationship with Jesus but without any religious preaching. I wrote Mystery in Dark Island and they asked for more.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I received an email from a mother whose son had just read Mystery of the Running Shadow which deals with one of the boys feeling like his parents fighting is his fault. The book uses the characters to help him not blame himself. The mother sent a very emotional email saying how much it had helped her son through their own situation. I don’t think anything will ever top that.

If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world.. which would it be?
Treasure Island; adventure, sailing ships, strange islands – what a classic.

What is your dream cast for your book?
My first reaction to this question was Justin Bieber and his band. The most important aspect would have to be very real life boys.

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
Pirate Brig, still have it.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Write because you have something inside of you that needs to get on the page; not to try and become any thing special yourself but because you feel the characters are special and need to be shared with others.

What is your favorite Quote?
“It is – what it is”

If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why?
Jay Leno, he has the same jaw and personality.

How did you know you should become an author?
Still not sure about that; I’m not sure I am an author; it’s like a movie is in my mind and I write down what I see. I often have no idea what is happening next or why a character appears and I am just as excited as a reader when I’m hammering on the keys.

Who are your favorite authors of all time?
Tolkien, Clive Cussler and C.S. Forester

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
In the Nic Taylor series yes; the Boardunders series is made up of pieces and parts of boys I have talked to over the years.

What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had?
That’s a tough one to confess to, it’s in the works right now as a first person Formula One race car driver who’s a serial killer but I don’t know if it will ever get very far.

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Kathy Baxter said I would never get anything published and because I was not trained in writing would never amount to anything. Keeps me from expecting anything ever going right so when another hurtle is overcome; I’m just surprised and shocked.

Hidden talent?
When we did the BAM (Boys and Mom Tools) video everyone was surprised that it related to moms so well. Not something I expected would go well; I work better in Prison ministries or with boys society has labeled impossible to reach.

How do you react to a bad review?
I built custom musical instruments called Melobar guitars for a living for 12 years and one person would hate a model while another player would love it. I really believe our uniqueness is probably the one thing of value we all have. Which means there is no way to please everyone and the added Christian label automatically puts a large target on my back; but with all that said, we all are hurt when another persons opinion of what we have worked hard to create is trashed but…it is – what it is.

Which authors have influence you most how?
Clive Cussler’s ability in his early work to put you in the moment was amazing and C.S. Forester taking an average plain character like Horatio Hornblower and make you cheer for him inspires me, but Tolkien creating another world that you lived in – that was genius.

What do you do in your free time?
Write, Jeep into the hills and walk, Sail in the summer.

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
Lost in Life

Give us a glimpse into a typical day in your day starting when you wake up till you lie down again.
I’m a certified arborist so it’s up early traveling as far away as Montana, Idaho, Oregon or Washington to evaluate insect, disease and overall health of trees and properties. A lot of driving time which is used dreaming up plot lines, characters and sometimes seeing entire stories unfold during a five hour drive.

Who or what inspired you to become an author?
Jim Barnes my seventh grade creative writing teacher. He encouraged me to forget about spelling (which I used to be good at) punctuation and rules. Just write what I see. I actually bumped into him in a store three years ago and it was a great moment. He completely changed writing for me; although he did ruin my spelling.

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
With a shocked look.

If you had 24 hours alone how would you spend it?
Writing – I love watching a story evolve.

In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with?
Frank Peretti

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Very embarrassing to admit but I read my own books for entertainment.

The Mystery of Puzzle Bones

The Mystery of Puzzle Bones is a story about four 12-year-old boys that find a secret hideout and skateboard spot in an unused sewer between their subdivisions.
But something is leaving a strange Puzzle of Bones in the Boardunders club house. Something wants to lead them deep down into the sewers – into Hidden Town.
A place that doesn’t want to be found and people who will do anything to protect their secret. Suddenly the danger becomes extreme as they are running for their lives. Who can they trust to help them?
Puzzle Bones is the first of the Boardunders club series. The four young teenagers find a series of huge unused sewer pipes below an abandon home development and love skateboarding under ground where no one knows they are. They have a cool clubhouse with their own Play station and chairs. But then bones start to appear right at the dark entrance to the old pipes. Something is down there, something is arranging the bones.
The boys go to investigate and find a mysterious hidden town with people who do not want to be found and will protect the secret at any cost.

Blog Tour Site

Giveaway Details:
1 printed copy of The Mystery of Puzzle Bones
Open to US & Canada
Ends 4/5/12

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