The First Two Pages: Fire on the Island by Timothy Jay Smith

In April 2015, B.K. Stevens debuted the blog series “The First Two Pages,” hosting craft essays by short story writers and novelists analyzing the openings of their own work. The series continued until just after her death in August 2017, and the full archive of those essays can be found at Bonnie’s website. In November 2017, the blog series relocated to my website, and the archive of this second stage of the series can be found here.

Publishers Weekly called Timothy Jay Smith‘s new novel, Fire on the Island, “the perfect blend of intrigue, romance, and travelogue.” And that’s just among the latest of the accolades the book has received. Though published just last month, Fire on the Island won a Gold Medal in the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition for the Novel, and Smith’s screenplay adaptation of it was named Best Indie Script by WriteMovies. And these too are just the latest of an even longer string of honors. Smith’s other novels include The Fourth Courier, which was a finalist for Best Gay Mystery in the 2020 Lambda Literary Awards; A Vision of Angels, which won the Paris Prize for Fiction (now the Paris Literary Prize); and his debut, Cooper’s Promise, which Kirkus selected as one of the Best Books of 2012.

And if all that seems a distinguished career, just check his website for a bit more about his earlier work in foreign policy and his many adventures around the globe.

In addition to reading Smith’s preview below of Fire on the Island, you can connect with him on Twitter and Instagram as well.

Please use the arrows and controls at the bottom of the embedded PDF to navigate through the essay. You can also download the essay to read off-line.