Author Q&A with RJ Smith
Latest Posts / April 11, 2012

RJ Smith is a journalist and an author. I recently read his wonderful biography of James Brown called The One which I enjoyed very much. I was pleased when he agreed for a short Q&A. Q. You have written several biographies and non-fiction books. How do you decide on the subject? A. I write about stuff to learn about stuff. Researching and then writing gives you a chance to focus your attention on something you are obsessed with and wonder about as you live your life, it lets you peer into other people’s lives and ask questions you would NEVER dream of asking if you were just meeting them at a party or in a line somewhere. You also have to ask the question, Do I want to have this subject living inside me for the next few years or more? If it’s a dark story, you have to consider what you will be living with until you are done. Q. How do you go about starting your research?
 A. I am big on timelines, writing huge long chronologies that grow like bamboo. I assemble subject folders on people and ideas connected to the topic. I try to read everything,…

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