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My Story

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Hi. I’m Mark Wm Smith.


The other Mark W. Smith. The less successful one. The one you've heard less about. The less factual one. The slower one.


An overeducated, blue-collar cowboy, I grew up on along the banks of the Yellowstone River in Eastern Montana. Raised by a long haul trucker and a bartending waitress, I learned the hard ways of the modern frontier, scraping life from the unforgiving high chaparral. On occasion, I lived down the street from the last whorehouse in the West, spit dust from the end of a trail drive and stood beside the hardened lawmen facing down anarchist rebels. My stories are composites of people I know, exaggerated by the thrills of a good tale.


Reading mystery and suspense fiction kept me sane while growing up. Writers of this style of fiction gave an order to the chaos of my world. They saved me from despair.


I write to make sense out of uncertainty.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Lawrence Block, Ed McBain, Tony Hillerman. Louis L’Amour just to spice it up. L’Amour and Hillerman set my mind on writing with place in mind. Block encouraged me to focus on characters whose personal troubles deepened conflict in a realistic manner. These and hundreds of other great authors pulled me into worlds defined by justice. 


They threw me a lifeline and their stories burned hope and vision into my desperate soul.


Years of fighting against expectations of failure battled my efforts to creates stories that people wanted to read. Persistence born out of the stories of my heroes eventually birthed a novel. Murder of the Prodigal Father is an attempt to incorporate genre and literary fiction into a single narrative, in the spirit of Ed McBain/Evan Hunter’s Candyland.



This website is still in work. I work on it and set it aside... and then I work on it some more. I'm not actually sure what will change from one day to the next.


Hang in there. I will have something stable, and useful... eventually.


Oh, and say Hi to my wife, Brenda.


Your friend,


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