Elvis and the nature of drama with Michael Farris Smith

DJE_08252013BY M. SCOTT MORRIS DAILY JOURNAL

COLUMBUS – Author Michael Farris Smith lives in Columbus with his wife, Sabrea, and their daughters, Presley, 8, and Brooklyn, 2.

Elvis fans might have picked up on the first child’s name.

“Sabrea and I just liked the name,” Smith said. “We are Elvis fans, and we kind of dug the name for a girl. That was the first name we picked.”

When the pregnancy due date was tantalizingly close, the couple wanted to hurry things along.

They put on an Elvis greatest hits collection and danced in their kitchen.

“It worked,” Smith said. “A couple of hours later we were on the way to the hospital.”

In addition to providing a fine anecdote, Presley and her sister gave their dad something special.

He’s convinced they’ve made him a better writer.

Before fatherhood, his characters were always free to pack up and leave their problems behind them.

“It’s different when you have this beautiful child that you wouldn’t leave for anything,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where yoy run to, you can’t run away from what you feel.”

When he’s writing these days, Smith is inclined to make his characters face their problems, no matter how sticky they might be.

“It’s more dramatic that way,” he said, “which is what you want.”