Columbus novelist talks new book

As a writer, Michael Farris Smith is not one to get ahead of himself.

“I’m not the kind of writer that works with an outline or a plot,” Smith said during his visit to the Columbus Exchange Club on Tuesday at Lion Hills Center. “Each day, I just write down a sentence or two about what I think needs to happen next and pick up from there. What I want to do is find a character and follow him around, go where he goes. To me, once you outline the story, you’ve robbed the characters of their free will. As I write, I am excited to find out what happens next, so I am discovering the story along the way. I figure it’s the same with the readers.”

It’s hard to argue with Smith’s approach.

His first full-length novel, “Rivers,” was published in September 2013 to glowing reviews. Now in paperback, the novel landed Smith with a handful of literary awards, as well as a new contract with publisher Little Brown.