I read you love your tattoo's, and I'm VERY curious to know two things. One, how old were you when you got your first one (and what was it) and, which one is your current favorite?
My first tattoo was my fiftieth birthday gift to myself, almost five years ago now. (I read somewhere the second largest demographic of people getting tattoos is middle-aged women!) It’s a picture of a bear with two lightning bolts above it. There’s a story behind it, but it’s too long to relate here. Suffice it to say, I was struck by lightning twenty-two years ago, and the tattoo stems from that close brush with death. Last year, my husband gifted me with my second tattoo—a colorful rattlesnake that wraps around my wrist below the bear. It’s very beautiful, and also holds a special meaning for me.
You've written several books on writing, what made you decide to help other authors out there in such a way?
While I lived in Illinois, I taught fiction writing workshops for many years at both the community college level and online. Students often would come up to me after class and say, “You should write this all down in a book.” My publisher agreed, and my first writing book, Front-Word, Back-Word, Insight Out: Lessons on Writing the Novel Lurking Inside You From Start to Finish was born. A few years later, she asked me to put together a book of writing prompts and exercises, and so I wrote Left Brained, Write Brained: 366 Writing Prompts and Exercises. It has a writing exercise for every day of the year!
Since you do have so much to offer the writing world (thank you!), I'm curious to know what the first piece of advice you received as a novice writer was that made you stand up and think, "Wow, why wasn't I doing that sooner?"
You're entire family is artistic in some way or another. Is this just because you all are creative souls, or is it something that runs in your family?
I do have a creative family! I’m a writer, my husband, Scott, is a classical guitarist; his daughter, Janie, is a talented jazz vocalist, and my daughter, Robin, is an actress. But Scott isn’t a singer, and I’m not an actor, so I’m not exactly sure where our daughters got their talent! And although we both have sons, too, neither of them are in creative fields. My son is an insurance claims investigator, and Scott’s is working on an MFA in library science. So, to answer your question, I guess Scott, Janie, Robin, and I just have creative souls!
In all your nature escapes, where's your favorite place to go and relax and just enjoy the beautiful world around you?
It really depends on how much time we have. If we have three or more days, our favorite place is the Sierras. On the west side of the mountains, we love to camp in Kings Canyon National Park, which is a treasure of a park, deep in a valley in the mountains. It is very difficult to get there, because there is only one road leading in and out of the park, so it isn’t very crowded, like nearby Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks often are. If we go up the east side of the mountain, we like to camp in the Inyo National Forest right near Mammoth Lakes. Either side of the mountains, we feel we’re in paradise.
What do you have in store for your readers in the upcoming future?
I’m currently working on not one, but two novels, both historical romances. I don’t want to talk too much about them, though; I’m a bit superstitious, and I’m afraid if I talk about them too much, my muse will get angry and abandon me. I learned quite a while ago to never, ever, intentionally anger my muse! I’m also tinkering around with a new short story, just in time for Halloween!
Whatever I have upcoming, I know there are good things ahead for me. I have a wonderful, supportive publisher who is very enthusiastic about my writing, a loving family, and a beautiful place to live. Inspiration surrounds me, whether it be in the beauty of the grandmother oak tree that shades our deck, the view of the mountains across the valley, listening to my husband practice his guitar, or watching our girls perform. I am very blessed!
Thank you so much, Smoky, for visiting my blog today and sharing about you! Now, tell us where we can learn more and find you!
I’m all over the blogosphere these days! But here are the links to the places you’re always find me:
Website and Blog: www.SmokyZeidel.wordpress.com
Facebook Fan Page: www.Facebook.com.Smoky.
Hope you enjoyed this interview with Smoky as much as I did! Please be sure to stop back tomorrow for a peek at her romantic suspense, On the Choptank Shores!