Interview with Tracy A. Seiden, author of “Stardust and Fire”

When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?

Talking with a friend one day about life’s passion, he asked if I was doing what I really loved.  It was an interesting question and made me think.  My answer was that I didn’t think I was.  He then asked the more difficult question of why not?  Honestly, no one had ever asked why and I don’t think it’s anything on which many of us think.  I had to take a bit of an awkward look at myself and decide if I wanted to be content living as I was, or did I take a chance at really finding what made me passionate and work toward that goal.

Soon after, I reconnected with a friend from the past and began writing letters about my childhood and growing up and how experiences shaped who I became.  I realized I truly loved writing and so began to write poetry.

 

What inspires you to write?

The usual things really – love, relationships, nature, dreams, self-discovery. I enjoy writing about finding that one thing that makes it all make sense.

How hard was it to sit down and actually start writing something?

Since I had gotten comfortable writing letters, the decision to write was pretty seamless. I began writing about the heartbreak of first love and it grew from there. I wrote for about two years before the opportunity to publish came along.

What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?

There’s a lot out there about love and relationships. For me, the hardest thing sometimes is getting out of my head and into my heart. Learning to think less about structure and more about the connection most wish for and succeeding in getting the emotional connection down in print.

Any advice you would like to give your younger self?

Dance more. Seriously. I love to dance. It’s good exercise and it’s joyful. Things get so serious so quickly in life. We could all benefit from a little less serious and a little more joy. And don’t be afraid to be who you are, whoever that is.

Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?

Write until it scares you. And then write a little more. Put it all down on the paper. Be vulnerable and open.

How much of yourself to you put into your book?

I think every author puts a little of themselves into their book simply by the process of it coming from their imagination, if nothing else. Most authors write to get it out on paper. Life experiences, thought process, passion in telling a story are all a part of the person writing.

I put part of myself in my words, experiences and perceptions of love I’ve learned and felt.

It is often believed that almost all writers have had their hearts broken at some point in time, does that remain true for you as well?

Of course it is. All of us get our hearts broken. Some of us write about it to ease the mind or to help others relate and understand they aren’t alone.

In my case, I could never let heartbreak stop me from dreaming of one day finding that connection with the right soul.

Writers are often believed to have a Muse, your thoughts on that?

Absolutely. I think a Muse can be a person or the feelings they inspire, or nature, or simply yourself when a thought just springs up in mind that begs to be expressed on a page. I think our souls are truly the Muse in most cases.

Given the chance to live your life again, what would you change about yourself?

Stop letting others dictate what I want out of life. Find that inner child again and not let her go so easily. I believe we only grow old when we stop having fun. Laugh, be happy from every moment and don’t wish your time away. It goes faster than we realize.

How did it feel when your first book got published?

Surreal. Really I was just writing down my thoughts on love and relationships and finding a connection and it’s a little overwhelming to be accepted and celebrated with a published work. I’m very grateful for my publisher. I can’t wait to write another one.

Do you think you still have a story to tell to the readers?

Yes, I think when you write about love, there’s always more to say. I’d like to explore more aspects of it as well. Loving yourself and being ready for a relationship is just as important as finding the right soul with whom to walk.

Does it get frustrating if you are unable to recall an idea you had in your mind some time earlier?

Oh yes. Sometimes I’ll be at work or driving and get an idea and if I don’t write an outline or key word pretty quickly by the time I get to a place I can write it has disappeared. The ideas seem to not come back the same way twice. I’ve learned to have a notebook handy, though using it is still a work in progress.

Ever learn anything from a negative review and incorporate it in your writing?

Yes. I think all feedback is important. Its’ never easy putting your baby out for review and wondering if it’s dressed right for the party. But, it’s important for growth as an author to improve oneself and any feedback is taken seriously. When I began to write I received some very valuable advice about sentence structure. I always try and remember that.

It is often said that in order to write something, you must believe in what you are writing. Do you agree with that?

Certainly. Someone who writes about love hopefully feels it deeply, either in heartbreak or happiness. I believe romance stories or poetry should move the reader, be relatable and be written with passion. I’m not sure that would come across if the author didn’t believe in it.

If you were given the opportunity to form a book club with your favorite authors of all time, which legends or contemporary writers would you want to become a part of the club?

Oh what fun. Yes, I’ve invite Stephen King, Emily Dickenson, Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, Edgar Allan Poe, EE Cummings, Anne Sexton, Peter Straub. It’ll be a mixture of horror and love, just about perfect.

Leading and intelligent women from different generations and a few contemporary greats I read as a child. Edgar and EE – wonderful wordsmiths from whom I’d love to learn.

Do you need to be in a specific place or room to write, or can you just sit in the middle of a café full of people and write?

It depends on the piece. Some of them just jump at me like a neon sign. Those I can write just about anywhere. They burn to be on the page. Other times I sit quietly and write in a comfortable room in the house. Silence is best, however, I can write in a crowd if the idea is strong enough.

What weather inspires you the most, in terms of bringing out your literary best?

Oh I’ve always loved nature. Thunderstorms, lightning flashing, thunder rolling, rain dancing on the trees and the window. Something about the energy of the rain inspires me. Autumn and winter are my favorite seasons. I’ve been inspired to write about the world turning colors and being covered under blankets of white.

Have you ever turned a dream or a nightmare into a written piece?

Yes. Dreams are the mind’s way of working through things. There is a lot of great material for writing in dreams. At times, I write passages that come straight from dreams and then full them out into some great pieces. Nightmares – yes, at times. Fortunately I don’t have many of those, but yes, I’ll write through some things I see there.

What is the dream goal you want to achieve before you die?

I’d love to retire early and live in the mountains somewhere and just write. Maybe there’s a novel in there, or maybe a series of progressive poetry works. I’m not sure where this takes me, but I am sure I finally found what I’m passionate about and I love writing.

Thank you for reading and dreaming with me.

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