Guest Author Interview: Smoky Zeidel
Hello! Thank you, Smoky Zeidel, for visiting my blog today. I’m looking forward to hearing the gems you have to share from your writing journey! First of all, what is your favorite genre to write in and what is the age range you generally write for?
I write historical novels with a romantic bent to them, meaning they aren’t traditional romances, but have a strong element of romance to them. Two of my three novels also involve magical realism, so I guess it wouldn’t be wrong to say I write historical fantasy. My books are written for adults. On the Choptank Shores (formerly titled Redeeming Grace) has one graphic sex scene in it, so it’s definitely not for kids. Mature teens have read and enjoyed The Cabin and my latest novel, The Storyteller’s Bracelet.
How did you get into writing for this genre and age? What makes it fun and interesting to you?
I write what I like to read, so writing for adults who enjoy historical novels was an easy choice. Because my stories just sort of come to me out of nowhere, I don’t have any control over what era in history I’m writing about. On the Choptank Shores is set in the 1920s. The Cabin is set in both the Civil War Era and the current age, and The Storyteller’s Bracelet is set in the late 1800s. My work in progress, The Madam of Bodie, is also set in the late 1800s.
What I find most interesting about writing about different eras is researching the details for the story. For example, while writing On the Choptank Shores I had to research what kind of undergarments women wore in the 1920s. They were vastly different from what we wear now! For The Storyteller’s Bracelet, I spent many long days doing research on the government mandated Indian schools, which is where much of the novel is set. That was both fascinating and heartbreaking to learn about.
What is your process of developing the plot for a story?
I’ll write out a short synopsis—maybe three of four pages—of what I want to happen in the story. Then I sit down and start writing, fleshing out each paragraph of the synopsis into a book chapter. Sometimes I know what will happen in a chapter as I sit to write it. Sometimes, I do not, and I let my fingers figure it out as I type. I find when my characters take over like this, it is usually best to let them. They seem to always know their story better than I do at this point in the game.
How do you go about coming up with your characters?
The characters come with the story idea. For example, with my latest novel, The Storyteller’s Bracelet, I knew I needed the male character who owned the bracelet and a female love interest—those became Otter and Sun Song. I knew I needed another female love interest once Otter was at the Indian school, someone who wasn’t Indian—that was Wendy. The other characters—the teachers, the headmaster of the school, and Wendy’s family—sprang out of the story itself.
What do you find is the hardest part of writing a novel?
I love to write both novels and short stories; coming up with ideas has never been a problem, so that’s not it. And I don’t have trouble coming up with interesting characters, or appropriate settings, so those aren’t a problem either. I guess the hardest thing is finding enough time to write. Time seems to be every author’s nemesis, doesn’t it?
What do you find is the most enjoyable part of writing a novel?
Getting into “the zone,” that place where the story takes over and I block out all that is around me. My studio, my family, my cats and dog vanish, and suddenly I’m there with my characters, living what they are living, feeling what they are feeling, doing what they are doing. I can write for hours like this, and often do. When I’m writing like this, my family knows to leave me alone unless the house is on fire or someone is bleeding profusely.
What writing tip would you like to share with us?
It seems like everyone thinks that because they can read, they can write a book. Judging by all the crap on Kindle these days, clearly that isn’t the case. My tip? Study your craft! Writing is an art form, just like playing the cello or painting a masterpiece is an art form. You wouldn’t sit down at a cello for the first time and expect to play like Yo Yo Ma. Neither would you pick up a paint brush for the first time and expect to pain like Matisse. There are literally hundreds of how to write books out there, including mine, Smoky’s Writer’s Workshop Combo Set. Buy one. Study it. Or take a writing class at your local community college. But learn what you are doing before you try to publish.
Thanks Smoky. Great advice. Would you give us a summary of one of your latest books or upcoming new releases?
My newest release is The Storyteller’s Bracelet. It is the late 1800s, and the U.S. Government has mandated native tribes send their youth to Indian schools where they are stripped of their native heritage by the people they think of as The Others.
Otter and Sun Song are deeply in love, but when they are sent East to school, Otter, renamed Gideon, tries to adapt, where Sun Song does not, enduring brutal attacks from the school headmaster because of her refusal to so much as speak.
Gideon, thinking Sun Song has spurned him, turns for comfort to Wendy Thatcher, the daughter of a wealthy school patron, beginning a forbidden affair of the heart.
But the Spirits have different plans for Gideon and Sun Song. They speak to Gideon through his magical storyteller’s bracelet, showing him both his past and his future. You are both child and mother of The Original People, Sun Song is told. When it is right, you will be safe once more.
Will Gideon become Otter once again and return to Sun Song and his tribal roots, or attempt to remain with Wendy, with whom he can have no future?
Thanks so much for sharing with us! Were can my readers find out more about your books online?
Here are all the places you can find me online. I hope you’ll stop by and become a fan on facebook, and follow me on Twitter:
Website and Blogs: www.SmokyZeidel.wordpress.com
Facebook Fan Page: www.Facebook.com.Smoky.Zeidel.Writes
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/mUvjpC
Goodreads Author Page: http://bit.ly/pGXAXq
Smashwords Author Page: http://bit.ly/qan6Nx
All Romance Author Page: http://bit.ly/p6pR9O