Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I never try to write myself into my characters. My characters simply show up and present themselves fully or else I get to know them slowly, but I never try to base them on me. That would be terribly boring. What is interesting is that at the end of a book, usually when I’m out promoting it, I will get a better look at a character and realize there was a bit of me in there. Usually, I add little facets of people I know or have loved to craft a character. The best characters, while wholly unlike me, teach me something about myself and my world.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
When I went off to college my freshmen year, I was blown away by the freedom of thought and all of the activities one could participate in. My first week of school, I had heard about a Walk for Peace, and that sounded exciting and right up my alley. However, I set out to find the walk and could not on the new large campus. Undeterred, I went back to my dorm room, drew a peace sign on my forehead and walked my own “Peace Walk” alone on campus. My sister was a senior there, and when she found out what I did, she nearly disowned me. I’ve been walking my “own walk” ever since.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I discovered I was a writer when my first character, Essie Mae Laveau Jenkins, of my first novel, The Spirit of Sweetgrass, began to write her story through me. I have not looked back.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love reading books in which I can travel to foreign places and see universal qualities in people who are very different than myself. I’ve enjoyed Khaled Hosseini, Amy Tan, Lisa See, but also wildly different authors such as Harper Lee, JK Rowling, Elizabeth Kostova, Sara Gruen, River Jordan, Sue Monk Kidd. I also enjoy the books that I blurb as they are not always something I might normally pick up for myself. Right now, I am reading a legal thriller that takes place in the Lowcountry, and finding it lots of fun.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Lately, I’ve started running literally, and I’ve found that the slow pacing and endurance I’m learning on the road is a nice metaphor for my life. But daily you will find me in prayer. As my grandmother used to tell us “Always go first class,” meaning, put Jesus at the wheel.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I often change the original names that I give my characters. It’s sort of like naming a pet. You’ve got to get to know them a little before a name will fit. Often, somewhere in the writing of the book, I will hear a name or read one that seems to fit my character better and then do a Find and Replace on the whole manuscript. In my new novel Beyond Molasses Creek, my character Vesey
Washington was named after a
man who attempted a slave rebellion in Vesey.
I wanted a name to capture the strength and courage of a man who ultimately
must face hardship. Charleston,
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
One of the best things I ever did was to try to put God first in my life. After doing this, he gave me a wonderful husband and two children. I am most pleased with being a mom and husband to the people I love the most in the world.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I would definitely be a cat. I love them, understand them, and as a child I would daydream about being a cat and being able to nap and have my back rubbed instead of going to school.
What is your favorite food?
I love ethnic foods of all kinds—sushi, Indian, Mexican—basically anything that I can order SPICY!
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
When I wrote my fifth novel, I turned it in to my publisher and they had issues with it, one of them being the age of my characters. Up until then, there had been no real issues with my other books. It shook the ground beneath me. By this point, I thought I knew what I was doing. I had to pick my self-confidence off the floor and find the courage to write a whole new novel—with the same characters. Thankfully, I persevered and The Inheritance of Beauty was published the following year. I have learned to never get comfortable or rest on my past experience. Every new book is a challenge, and honestly, that’s pretty exciting.
Tell us about the featured book.
Beyond Molasses Creek is the story of love and friendship in the confines of social barriers. It’s about captivity and freedom, running away and coming home. Ally Green has been running away as a flight attendant her whole life but must now come home to the Lowcountry of South Carolina to bury her father. When she discovers his last wishes for her to finally stay put on Molasses Creek and rekindles a deep friendship with Vesey Washington, the black man across the creek, once her childhood friend, she wrestles with staying or fleeing again. In alternating points of view, we dive into the story of Sunila, a young woman a world away in
who has just escaped a stone quarry where she has worked her whole life in
indentured bondage. She has taken a sketchbook that she believes holds the key
to her future and questions from the past. These three lives become intertwined
and weave together a tale of redemption on the banks of Molasses Creek. Nepal
Please give us the first page of the book.
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” – Michaelangelo
When I was a girl, I would lie on the banks of Molasses Creek with soft green grass beneath my back and look up into the sky, dreaming of being there. In my upside-down world, the clouds were pieces of land that I would hop to and the vast blue sky was the river, the ocean that would beckon to transport me far, far away. That vast blue sky has taken me to all sorts of foreign lands since then. Sometimes the most foreign place is home.
I’ll be flying again in just a few minutes, cloud-hopping back to a city I never thought I’d see again.
I close my eyes and imagine myself feeling weightless again, my body traveling at five hundred miles and hour yet perfectly still. Someone clears a throat. I open my eyes and see a woman before me in uniform, standing at the podium. She’s holding out her hand. “Oh, yes,” I say. I reach in my bag and pull out my wallet. Through the airport window, a jet leaves the wet runway and rises into thick gray rain.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I love to connect with readers. You can visit my web site at www.nicoleseitz.com or find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Nicole-Seitz/121816365611 and on Twitter, twitter.com/#!/nicoleseitz . Hope to see you soon!
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Beyond Molasses Creek - paperback
Beyond Molasses Creek - Kindle
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