By Teena Myers
Rev. Allen Smith was born in the town of Neoga, IL in 1951. He was saved at the early age of 12 years, and started preaching when he was just 15. He has been preaching and teaching now for 46 years, 30 of those years as a pastor. He has been a featured speaker at camp-meetings and conventions down through the years. In addition, he spent 3 years as president of International Bible College and Seminary in DeSoto, Missouri, where he authored 9 different syllabi for the Seminary. He presently holds a Master’s Degree in Religious Education, a Doctor of Divinity Degree, and a Doctor of Theology Degree and has published several articles, in nationwide religious publications.
From October of 1993 until July of 2010, Rev. Smith published a nation-wide Southern Gospel news magazine called SGN Scoops Digital. He is currently the founder and President of Lighthouse International Ministries which is a missionary outreach ministry.
SCW: What do you think prepared you or qualified you to write in your chosen genre?
ALLEN: I have been a minister now for 48 years. During that time, I have written articles for many religious publications that have been local, regional, and national. I also spent 14 years publishing a national Southern Gospel news magazine. That magazine is still in publication today. It is the first magazine of its type to go from print to digital.
SCW: Tell us a little about your Non-writing life?
ALLEN: I have been a pastor for over 30 years of my life. I am no longer a pastor, but I still work in my local church, where I teach the Adult Sunday School class, and I also preach on a regular basis. I am married, and I have 2 married daughters, who are both in the ministry with their husbands, I have 7 grandchildren, and 1 great grandchild. I write non-fiction Bible based books for the most part. My inspiration comes from God. I do have a lot of health problems that need to be dealt with, which makes my life very hectic at times. Because of this, I cannot spend as much time writing as I would like. However, when I am out, I do have a tablet and an Iphone with me, which allows me to do research, that does help out my writing. My wife, Susan, does help me out quite a bit. I often run things past her. She helps me proofread, and she translates some of my books into Portuguese. She was raised on the mission field in Brazil, South America, so we do all we can to reach the people of Brazil with the Gospel.
SCW: Tell us about things you enjoy — what you do for fun or personal satisfaction?
ALLEN: I do a lot of Bible study. That probably satisfies me more than anything. I am totally devoted to my wife, and I do everything I can to make her happy. Our church work is a total joy to me. In fact, I do not personally receive any royalties for my books. The royalties are set up to go into a church fund for missionary work. Of course, I do watch some TV. I especially enjoy the Sonlife Broadcasting Network. They have what I consider to be the best Gospel music and preaching anywhere.
SCW: Tell us about working with any people who help you create your books —Hire an editor or proofreader? How do you get your covers?
ALLEN: I have already mentioned my wife. She helps me more than anyone else. I am both a reader, and a person who enjoys doing things myself. Because of this, I read a lot of do it yourself books. If it is something I can do myself, I will do it. If I can’t do it, I do find someone who can.
SCW: What do you think works for promotion. What are your thoughts on ebooks versus print books and different ways to let people know about you and your books?
ALLEN: I believe one of the best forms of promotion, is to have more than one book available, and letting those books cross-promote each other. I also use Facebook and Twitter. In addition, I am a member of several groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Goodreads. I also have a blog, that is starting to get a lot of attention. There are a few other things I would like to get into, but I do not have the time for them.
SCW: Have you done anything writing-related besides your books, that seemed to get a lot of positive response? Something that encouraged you?
ALLEN: I have already mentioned the articles I have written, and the Southern Gospel news magazine that I used to publish. Some of the things I post on Facebook attracts a lot of attention. The same can be said about my Blog. I do my best to help as many people as I can through all of my posting, and that seems to attract attention.
SCW: What is the “message” of your writing?
ALLEN: For the most part my writing encourages Christians to get closer to God. I also add a “Sinner’s Prayer” to each of my Bible based books. That way, if someone who doesn’t know God, reads one of my books, they will have direction on how to come to God.
SCW: Tell us one place you visited or person you met, that made a big impression on you, and why.
ALLEN: In 1974, I went on a missionary trip to the country of Haiti. I spent a week there, visiting little churches and orphanages. That week literally changed my life. I now encourage every Christian to take at least one short term missionary trip during their life.
SCW: Tell us one place you want to visit, or person you want to meet, and why.
ALLEN: My heart’s desire has always been to visit the land of Israel. I pray that I will be able to make it someday. I would also like to make a missionary trip to Brazil. My wife was raised there, and she has a brother who is still a missionary there.
SCW: Share something that makes you laugh, with just plain humor, or happiness, or because it’s so stupid.
ALLEN: Seeing someone being blessed by God gives me so much joy. At times, it can be so joyful, that I simply cannot help but laugh.
SCW: Share something that’s amazing, touching, or that makes you angry.
ALLEN: The most amazing thing to me is how God can take someone who the world considers the worst sinner, and turns them into His child.
SCW: What’s the worst trouble you ever had with getting a book written?
ALLEN: I have had books that I have been working on, that all of a sudden, everything seemed to go wrong. It did not matter what I did, whether it was typing, or saving, or anything, it simply did not do what it was supposed to do. It gets very frustrating, especially when you are almost finished, and you are looking forward to the finished project.
SCW: What’s your next project?
ALLEN: My next project is actually a secular book. I started writing in May of 2013, which was on my first Kindle edition book. I wanted to do all the formatting and publishing, and marketing myself, so I began downloading Kindle how to books. I soon found out that most of them were almost useless. A few had a little information here and there. It was disappointing. I decide then, that when the Lord allowed me to, that I would write one that people could actually use step by step to format and publish a Kindle format book. I now have 20 chapters of that book written. It will be finished in just a few more weeks. Its title is “The Ultimate Guide To KINDLE PUBLISHING Using Microsoft Word”.
SCW: How many books do you have out?
ALLEN: I now have 9 Kindle books, and 3 paperback books: A Daily Devotional called “One Day At A Time – A Daily Devotional Guide For Each Day Of The Year”, which is available on Amazon.com. Four of my Kindle Ebooks are available on Amazon.com. They Are: “Why? – Answering Questions About The Crucifixion”, “One Day At A Time”, “The Sacrifice”, and “Porquê?”, a Portuguese translation of Why?
SCW: What are your future projects?
ALLEN: I have a plan to write a book on the Apostles, explaining where they ended up ministering and dying. Also a book on why Allah is not the Christian God. I am also working on a second daily devotional that will include both morning and evening devotions.
SCW: What is your favorite book/character?
ALLEN: My favorite book is the Bible. My favorite character is the Apostle Paul.