Jan Smitowicz (Smih-toe-vitch) is a 31-year-old prison survivor, vegan, longtime activist, and the proud father of an adorable six-year-old vasectomy. His published works include the novels Orange Rain (e-book and paperback) and Redwood Falls, and the narrative nonfiction piece Kiss Me Like You Mean It, about some of his experiences doing volunteer relief work in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Visit his Amazon Author page.
Jan attended the University of California, Irvine—but only when he felt like it. He did manage to secure a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and Creative Writing, even though he spent a large portion of his classes writing or reading—in his bedroom. He did Hurricane Katrina relief work in New Orleans on two separate trips; these experiences helped shape much of his worldview. He writes in just about every medium, but literary fiction novels are his main passion. His work is filled with dark, twisted humor, an uncompromising devotion to brutal–even painful–honesty, compelling premises/plots, fascinating characters who are all flawed in deeply human ways, and social justice issues.
His debut novel Orange Rain is a darkly hilarious romp through the dark heart of mid-1980s America; legless veteran Max Wright and his Vietnamese ex-prostitute girlfriend Mai Linh Tranh embark on a wildly bizarre journey for revenge on the loathsome Monsanto Corporation, whose Agent Orange decimated their lives.
“The eco-warriors next door embark on a lightning round of vigilante justice. Orange Rain is what happens when the Monkey Wrench Gang goes Death Wish and moves from the scrubland to the streets. Literature that incites.” -Peter Young, former ALF prisoner, chief editor at Animal Liberation Frontline
The novel was published by small, independent Trebol Press in July 2014. It is available as an e-book and paperback. Not sure yet? CLICK HERE for further details, and to read excerpts from some of the myriad glowing reader reviews.
Jan has been called [sic], “An idiot savant, minus the savant.”
He published his first piece of writing at just 10 years of age. It was a scathing but ultimately retributive examination of his childhood dog Buster. Copies were sold to friends and classmates for $5 apiece in fake money.
The Author was incarcerated for two years from 2010-2012 in Illinois for Possession of x0,000-y0,000 Grams of Cannabis with Intent to Distribute, although he maintains his innocence. Jan does not dispute the fact that he committed the noted offense, yet still maintains his innocence. He also suspects the laboratory equipment used by the state legal system to determine if the cannabis was indeed cannabis was faulty, and his sentence should therefore be overturned post-facto and his two years returned in full, with interest, at a rate to be determined at a hearing which he will likely not feel like attending, and therefore should be set presently at an even 10 percent (accrued daily). Thankfully he’s producing a “badass, crazy memoir” about the experience. It’s a powerful, utterly original book tentatively called, REBEL HELL: DISABLED VEGAN GOES TO PRISON.
Jan has written 6 or 7 complete novels, depending on how you define “complete” and “novels.”
He is the guardian of two dogs, Jaime and Batty (pictured below), two cats, and an albino rattie. He lives among the glorious redwoods in California’s North Coast region with his wife/publicist Andria. Jan is an avid earth-lover. His only problem with nature is that, “There’s just too damn little of it to go around.”
Jan’s writing has appeared in numerous publications, including the Louisiana English Journal, the Earth First! Journal, and Green Theory and Praxis; his narrative nonfiction piece, “Undercover in Dairy Land, CA”–about some of his experiences volunteering as an undercover animal cruelty investigator–was the cover story for The Animals’ Voice magazine in September 2013.
The following is a scale of his mood; the black dot represents where it is on the day you read this, with 0 being Wretched and 10 being Briefly Content:
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(Jan would like to mention here that he’s been uncomfortable writing about himself in the third person, and will try to refrain in the future.)