Friday, August 10, 2012

Author Interview--Heather Sedlak

Hey folks,

Back to interviews and scheduled to stay there for many Fridays to come.

This week we have Heather Sedlak. She’s one of my fellow second-semesters (or 2s as we are called) at Seton Hill. Here she is.

-What book and/or experience made you want to be a writer?

The Goosebumps series, Star Wars and Watership Down made me want to tell stories. I read basically everything I could get my hands on while I was growing up, but these are the ones that left the biggest mark on me.

-What genre(s) do you write? If more than one, what’s your favorite?

I write sci-fi and fantasy. I don’t really have a favorite one to write because they always end up bleeding into one another.

-What project are you working on now?

I’m working on my thesis which is an Asian-inspired high fantasy and another project which is a sci-fi/fantasy mix.


Spoiler alert! Though it may not be obvious, my scifi/fantasy was partially inspired by the 1960s soap opera, Dark Shadows.

-For other aspiring writers, any tips?

Everything can be rewritten. Get the story down.

-What’s your favorite book/genre to read?

My favorite book of all time is Watership Down. I’ve read it at least six times, and I would read it a hundred more. It’s one of those books that I read as a child and loved, and when I got older, I reread it and it took on a profound new meaning. I learn something every time I read it. Other than that, I love reading science fiction and fantasy. There are always great stories that you can find in the lit magazines like Science Fiction and Fantasy and Analog.

-What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written?

That’s really a tossup, but I’m so in love with this flash I wrote about a boy getting hit by a train.

Want more from Heather?
Check out her blog.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

"Hazard Yet Forward"--An Anthology to Battle Cancer

This Wednesday is a bit different.

A group of writers from the Seton Hill University MFA in Writing Popular Fiction community and beyond put together an anthology to help a graduate of the program who is battling cancer. I regret that I wasn’t able to contribute to this awesome work (I didn’t hear about it until it was too late), so I’m doing my part by spreading it all over the internet.
Seventy-six writers connected to the Seton Hill University Writing Popular Fiction program have created a multi-genre charity anthology entitled Hazard Yet Forward. All proceeds from this project will benefit Donna Munro, a 2004 graduate of the program. Munro, a teacher living in St. Louis, Missouri, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. An active member of the SHU WPF alumni committee, Munro helps organize the school’s annual writing conference, the In Your Write Mind Workshop.

To aid Munro and her family, faculty members, alumni, students and friends of the Writing Popular Fiction program quickly responded to compile this massive anthology. The book features flash fiction, short stories and even a full-length novella. In total, there are 75 works from various genres, which makes this anthology one that features something for everyone.

Genres represented in the book range from horror to romance to mystery – and everything in between. Some of the notable writers in the anthology are World Fantasy Award winner Nalo Hopkinson, Bram Stoker winners Michael A. Arnzen and Michael Knost, Bram Stoker nominee Lawrence C. Connolly, ALA/YALSA Best Book for Young Adults winner Jessica Warman, Rita finalist Dana Marton, Spur winner Meg Mims, Asimov’s Readers’ Award winner Timons Esaias and WV Arts and Humanities literary fellowships winner Geoffrey Cameron Fuller.

About Hazard Yet Forward, co-compiler Matt Duvall says, “It’s an unprecedented collection of stories from every genre imaginable.” This large volume is an electronic book for the popular Kindle platform and is available for purchase through Amazon starting August 7. It’s also reasonably priced. The book will be on sale for $9.99.
Download it here!

Not an electronic reader?
Spread the word!

Twitter hashtag - #HYFbook
Join the book’s event on Facebook.

The Seton Hill community thanks you.

Let’s keep kicking cancer’s butt!

P.S. Check out these other posts about "Hazard Yet Forward!"
-Meg Mims
-David Day
-Rachell Nichole
-S.A. Check
-Leadie Jo Flowers
-Lee Allen Howard
-Alexa Grave
-W.D. Prescott
-Lana Hechtman Ayers
-Dale Eldon

Monday, August 6, 2012

A short story worth reading--"Roses by Moonlight" by Patricia C. Wrede

I’ve been on a bit of a short story kick lately. I’ve written a small horde of them and submitted a couple (fingers crossed). So, I thought I’d take today to introduce you to—if you don’t already know it—a short story that helped spark my desire to be a writer.

“Roses by Moonlight” from “Book of Enchantments” by Patricia C. Wrede

I read “Book of Enchantments” years ago. I loved most of the stories in it, but what really caught my interest was the section at the end from Wrede detailing how she’d written each story. I reread that section over and over again. The method of writing a story fascinated me in a way I couldn’t explain. I know now that it’s the putting together of elements to make something bigger—kind of like cooking—except I like to write. I don’t much like to cook, but I do make a mean meatloaf.

Anyway, back on target. “Roses by Moonlight” captured me from my first read. As a matter of fact, I used it for a class project in a creative writing course during my undergrad to discuss themes. It tells the story of a girl, Adrian, who is jealous of her younger sister, Sam. From Adrian’s perspective, Sam has everything—friends, looks, and success.

While ignoring a party that Sam is having, Adrian meets a strange woman who brings her to a garden of roses. Adrian is enthralled by the beauty of the roses, and goes to pick one. The woman stops her with the warning to choose one and be careful about which she chooses. Adrian quickly learns that each rose contains a potential future. She travels the garden, sniffing roses, and being treated to every possible future she could have from riches to dying of cancer. None of the roses, though, offer what she is looking for.

Finally, she sees a rose that seems to be struggling. Unlike all of the other roses in the garden, this one is disheveled and barely in bloom. When Adrian sniffs it, she is treated to a scene between her and Sam talking and apologizing to one another for how they treated each other over the years. The woman appears at Adrian’s side and asks if that is the rose Adrian wants. Adrian thanks the woman but declines her offer to choose a rose. She leaves the garden understanding what the future can bring and resolving to make it her own.

I love this story. Aside from it being well-written, it’s the kind of story that really makes the reader think. If you had the opportunity to choose your future, would you? Knowing that you could only have one and never go back—never choose another path? I don’t think I would.

I also love the symbolism. Facing Sam and trying to mend her relationship with her sister was difficult for Adrian to even consider. Thus, the rose that showed her doing that struggled to grow. They say that the late flower is the most beautiful, and I think that is a big theme in Wrede’s story. While the wealth, fame, popularity, and other amazing futures that the roses showed looked like great options, they were shallow. They were lives that, given enough work and time, could be achieved by anyone. It’s the things that take the most work, that take the inner struggle to grow that help us the most.

So, there it is—“Roses by Moonlight” by Patricia C. Wrede. If you get a chance, pick up “Book of Enchantments” and read this and the other stories in its pages. I recommend all of them.