Midland author publishes his first book

Midland native Stephanie Smith has been working on her first novel for seven years.

That hard work paid off – Smith, under the pseudonym Stephanie Caye, released an urban fantasy adventure novel, “The Flaws of Gravity,” on April 1.

“I’ve been writing novels since I was a teenager, and even trying to get some of them published,” Smith said. “I love crafting a story and getting to know the characters and working through their arcs and conversations. I always have a story floating around in my head.”

“The Flaws of Gravity” tells the story of a half-fairy woman who is recruited into a war against the human and magical worlds. She is confronted by an old friend who betrayed her, causing conflicting emotions.

“The Flaws of Gravity” can be found in paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound and Bookshop.org. It will also be available as an e-book starting this month.

Smith was born in Midland and has spent most of her life growing up in the local community, graduating from HH Dow High School in 2000. After earning a BA in English from the University of Michigan in 2004, she lived in Midland until she was around 24. Her parents still reside in Midland and she visits a few times a year although Smith now resides in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

“So happy to see one of our own local community members succeed,” said Amy Murphy of Midland, an avid reader. “I can’t wait to read this book and hope to get an autograph one day.”

When Smith visits Midland, she likes to visit Espresso Milano where she worked after graduating from college. His favorite place, however, is Dow Gardens.

“I really enjoy visiting Dow Gardens in any season,” Smith said. “They always do something new and beautiful there. Also, I have my old watch spots that I like to see, like the sprite statue of Frank Lloyd Wright and the little waterfall where my friends from l primary school and I used to try to catch ducklings.

She describes herself as a voracious consumer of books, movies and TV shows, citing that she loves all kinds of different stories and gravitates towards fantasy, sci-fi and horror. Smith loves the works of Martha Wells and Rebecca Roanhorse. She enjoys reading “The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson and “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek” by Annie Dillard.

After winning the University of Michigan Summer Hopwood Prize for Excellence in Essay Writing in 2004 after one of her professors encouraged Smith to enter the competition. She says winning an award has helped her increase her writing confidence. The experience also helped her realize that her work could be useful to more audiences.

Smith has been with longtime partner Jonathan for 15 years and the couple share two cats. Smith likes to plan routes for long walks to explore various parks, trails and neighborhoods in Montreal. She explained how her walks inspired her to set up her book in Montreal.

She explained that she tried to find a literary agent who loved “The Flaws of Gravity” as much as she did. However, she eventually decided to self-publish after realizing that the fiction market was not very interested in urban fantasy at present. There are many positive reviews online supporting “The Flaws of Gravity”. Among the positive reviews is Jeff Bailey, author of the military thriller “The Defeat”.

“She asked me to ‘change her gravity,'” Bailey said. “I always appreciate a new twist on reality.”

Frankemuth’s Garret Cross, who enjoys reading thrillers, expressed his pride in Smith.

“Who would have thought that someone could measure ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’, ‘Faerie Wars’ and ‘The Matrix’ on ice until they were well chilled, and pour ‘The Flaws of Gravity!’ Cross said, “It’s not just a thrilling novel of the imagination of Stephanie Caye, but a thrill to see such talent from a Mid-Michigan girl!”

Smith admits that she received constructive criticism, which she found beneficial. She joined an online writing workshop and received advice on her work from other writers. She also hired a development editor when she decided she was going to self-publish, who later told her that “she had never seen an author revise a story so thoroughly”; Smith found this to be inspiring and positive feedback.

She continues to work on books and aims to complete another novel. She also spends her time connecting with other writers in the community as well as her readers.

As for offering his own advice to writers, Smith said it’s important to get feedback but also to stay true to his voice.

“Write the story you want to write and don’t be afraid to take (constructive) criticism,” Smith said. “Sharing with early readers, other writers, or editors can help make your story stronger. But remember, it’s still your story and your voice.