Today we're priveleged to have author Nicole Seitz with us here at Writers' Rest!
CW: HI, Nicole, Welcome to Writers' Rest!
NS: Thank you, Cathy. What a pleasure it is to answer your questions. It's always nice to learn things about ourselves as authors through interviews.
CW: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
NS: I'm a happily married mother of two children, ages 3 and 5. I work from home and make time for writing and painting. I've been blessed beyond belief and try very hard not to take things for granted.
CW: When did you know you wanted to be a writer and when did you start to pursue publication?
NS: I knew I wanted to write when I was pregnant with my second child and the story in me couldn't wait to come out. I wrote and wrote and within five months had a book and a new baby boy. I sought agent representation immediately after and found an agent through writersmarket.com. My first novel, The Spirit of Sweetgrass, sold about eight months later in a two-book deal.
THE SPIRIT OF SWEETGRASS, ISBN:1591455065, Mar 2007
CW: I really enjoyed Trouble the Water. How did you choose the topic of breast cancer, can you share how that book came to be?
TROUBLE THE WATER, ISBN:1595544003, Mar 2008
NS: Thank you, Cathy. That was my second novel that came out this March, and it was a difficult book to write at times. Trouble the Water is not really about breast cancer, but about the undying devotion between sisters, blood or otherwise. It was a book I had to write, not necessarily the one my agent or publisher wanted me to write. You see, my aunt Bonnie passed away in 1996 and did not tell us, her family, that she was ill until the very end. My mother and I were with her when she passed, and it shook our worlds. I needed to "become" my aunt for a short while to examine the reasons why someone might keep a secret like that. Although the book is fiction, there is a chapter in the middle that was written by my aunt in some of her unpublished short stories. In a way, we wrote this novel together, and when it was done, a lot of healing had taken place in my own life where Bonnie was concerned. The book is about healing and learning to live again.
CW: You have a new book coming out in March 2009. Tell us about A Hundred Years of Happiness.
A HUNDRED YEARS OF HAPPINESS, ISBN:1595545026, Coming Mar 2009
NS: Thank you for asking. I'm very excited about this book. It's a cross-gender, cross-generational book about the lasting effects of war on families and next generations. It's an important story for me to tell because my stepfather is a Vietnam veteran, and last year some events occurred with him, letting me know that war never really ends for those who were there. In that vein, I needed to explore what parts of my own psyche and personality had come about as a result of living with a man who held so much inside, and in fact, what I might pass along to my own children. I know this book will hit home with many people with similar stories. In writing this book, I also wanted to honor my stepfather and let him know how much I love him. Here's the back cover copy:
A beautiful young woman. An American soldier. A war-torn country. Nearly forty years of silence.
Now, two daughters search for the truth they hope will set them free and the elusive peace their parents have never found.
In the South Carolina Lowcountry, a young mother named Katherine Ann is struggling to help her tempestuous father, by plunging into a world of secrets he never talks about. A fry cook named Lisa is trying desperately to reach her grieving Vietnamese mother, who has never fully adjusted to life in the States. And somewhere far away, a lost soul named Ernest is drifting, treading water, searching for what he lost on a long-ago mountain.
They’re all longing for connection. For the war that touched them to finally end. For their hundred years of happiness at long last to begin.
From the beloved author of The Spirit of Sweetgrass and Trouble the Water comes this generous story of family, war, loss and longing . . . of the ways we hide from those we love, and the ways that love finds us anyway.
CW: What are you currently working on?
NS: I just turned in the manuscript for my fourth novel. I've not heard back from the publisher, so I won't share any details on that one just yet. I am under contract for a couple more books with Thomas Nelson. My next book is due in ten months, so I'm taking a tiny breather, enjoying family and painting. I have an art showing in Asheboro, NC next month and am preparing for that.
CW: I read you do the paintings for the covers of your books, which is really cool by the way, and a wife and mother. How do you juggle your time between all the jobs you have?
NS: I think I'm a stress junkie. I always seem to be going a million miles a minute...at least in my head! I'm not sure I've really got a handle on it all though. When I'm writing, I'm in my own little world for months on end, and I find it hard to stop working or thinking about work when I'm supposed to be doing other things.
CW: What has been the hardest part of your journey to publication, and what would you say has been the most rewarding?
NS: The hardest part is probably trying to separate art from business. By this I mean the art and inspiration of writing. I try hard not to think about market or anything regarding numbers when I'm deciding what to write. I struggle to write what God would have me write at each stage, daily even. The most rewarding part of publication is the readers, by far. Hearing that one of my books has touched someone in a profound way that I never even anticipated, fills me with awe and only encourages me to keep writing my heart and not to market.
CW: What advice would you give to new writers, something maybe you wish someone had told you?
NS: I would tell new writers that if they have the desire to write, do it. Don't stop writing. Earlier this year an author friend of mine passed away, Red Evans, author of On Ice. In the hospital he told me to "Always keep writing." And I plan to. I tell every writer I meet the same thing because it's truly important to put your heart and soul on paper. You never know who might need to read those words.
CW: Thanks for stopping by Writers' Rest, Nicole, may God bless you and your work!
NS: Thank you, Cathy. He's already blessed it immensely. I hope you and your readers will "always keep writing."
Nicole Seitz, Author/Artist
PO Box 2073
Mount Pleasant, SC 29465-2073