Every workday, New Jersey construction worker Bud Smith has a coffee break and a lunch break. That leaves him 15- to 30-minute intervals to type up the ideas swirling around in his head.
That’s how Smith, 40, came to write his novel “Teenager,” (Vintage Books) a Bonnie and Clyde-esque teenage love story — which he wrote on his iPhone, mostly while sitting in his work truck, a Chevy Silverado 2500. (“Even at the end of the day when everyone is in line to get out of the parking lot, I sit a little longer and write,” he said.)
The first drafts of all his stories have been born through this process. “Generally, I’ll just use the best tool I have at hand — my phone — because I’m always trying to work on something. It’s all about using everything you have.”
The Jersey City resident has worked in heavy construction since his early 20s, but writing is his lifelong passion.
“I come from a family where everyone has some sort of art project. My parents are blue-collar people too, but they were always working on something in the evenings, even just arts and crafts,” he told The Post. “I just followed the same path and took up writing little punk rock things.”
In his upcoming novel, he follows Kody and Tella on their journey across the United States, escaping abusive home lives in pursuit of a warped American Dream. It’s a witty story of teenage love and self-discovery, accompanied by original illustrations by his wife, Rae Buleri.
“Working together on the book was amazing. It was like a home arts and crafts project,” he reflected. “We got to work on it during the pandemic, and it just got us through the worst days of it.”
“There just weren’t any other books like this out there,” Smith said. “I like when a book balances a dark subject matter with levity — something that’s moving but really harrowing at the same time.”
Meanwhile, his construction coworkers are cheering him on: “I’ve known some of these guys for 15 years, and they’ve always known me as a writer. Now they’re all excited to see where this book goes.”