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NORA INTERVIEWS REBECA SEITZ author of COMING UNGLUED



How did you start out your writing career? Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

My first published piece was in the anthology Stories from a Soldier’s Heart with Multnomah. I remember the day the check came for the short chapter I wrote. I called my writing mentor, Eva Marie Everson, and said, “They paid for my words?” I was astounded! I’ve been a lover of the written word since childhood, so I always knew I wanted to do something with words. I wasn’t sure what form that would take, but I knew it would have something to do with stories.

How did you get the idea for your this novel “Sisters Ink”. Did you come up with this title? If not what was your working title?

My working title was horrible – Scrapping Sisters. I think I cycled through some even worse than that. Which explains why I typically leave the titling to the publishing house.  The idea for these four sisters grew out of a lot of the people I’ve met along my life’s path. It’s hilarious how many people ask me if I based a character on them. The answer is almost always yes because I form make-believe people by combining real-life people!

Out of all the characters you have written or read, which ones are you most like? Which ones would you secretly want to be? Why?

In my early twenties, I was most like Tandy in Sisters, Ink – impetuous, headstrong, confused a bit about the right path for my life. I’ve identified most closely with Kendra, though. She’s the main character in my current release, Coming Unglued. I’d like to be more like her in some ways – eclectic, artistic, flamboyant, unafraid of outwardly expressing who I am on the inside.

Is it easier for you to come up with names of the towns you create for your characters and companies they work for? OR Is it easier to write about real places for your characters to live and work at? Are there problems that occur when talking about real places in your book as opposed to ones that you have made up? Please explain.

Stars Hill is based on the real life town of Martin, Tennessee. If you ever visit there, you’ll find a lot of the streets and business that are referenced in the series. I loved getting to do this because Martin is where I did much of my growing up, so it’s dear to my heart. After living in numerous cities and four different states, I even moved back to a small town 15 minutes from there. The businesses for which my characters work, though, are entirely made up. I didn’t want to tick off a business owner in Martin if I needed my character to do something awful like embezzling or running naked down Lindell Street!

Is being an author everything you thought it would be? If not, what has been surprising to you?

I don’t think I ever stopped to consider what it would be, so I had no image for the profession to live up to. See, that would require forethought. Ha ha! What’s been most surprising is reader reaction to the books. They get really, really involved with the characters and email me when the characters don’t do something right or make a wise decision. I LOVE getting reader mail and learning that someone’s life has been touched through my stories. That’s so incredibly cool!! (And a little scary.)

How hard is it for you to come up with names for your characters? Please describe how you go about deciding on the final name for your characters?

This is one area that’s never presented a problem. Main characters come to me in full voice – or they have so far. I see them in my mind’s eye and hear their voice and a name hovers around them. Kendra, for instance, popped into my head with a hand on one hip, head thrown back, and finger pointing at the person in front of her as she went off. She’s that kind of volatile individual. I saw her spiral curls bouncing all over the place and thought, “Kendra. Hi there.”

Can you tell me of two “Wow” moments you have had on your journey to being published and now afterwards? What made it a “Wow” moment for you?

I’ve had LOTS of these! Every time I turn in a finished manuscript, it’s a wow moment because I cannot believe (a) BH is paying me for my words and (b) God gave me another story. I had a wow moment last week when a woman wrote and asked when my next book is coming out because she needed to schedule her vacation time accordingly. Eek! In May, I got to share a wow moment with my mother-in-law (who was visiting at the time) when my mother’s friend discovered my book in Wal-mart. We ran out to the store and took pictures like a couple of loons! Every time I walk into the grocery store or somewhere else in Martin and whip out my debit card to pay, it’s a really, really fun wow moment when the cashier reads the name on the card and says, “You’re the author, right?” So incredibly cool!!

What do you really enjoy about the writing process and why? What do you like the least and why?

I really like beginning a story because I never have any idea where things are going. That’s when I allow the characters to just speak and act freely. I don’t try to direct them or even figure them out in those first few chapters, trusting instead that my subconscious is going to bring it all together in the end. The thing I like least is working under deadline. No matter how good my intentions are at the start of each book, I always wish I had more time to work on it.


What are you working on now? Can you tell us something about it?

I’ve turned in the first four books in the Sisters, Ink series, which is all I’m currently contracted to write. So, I’m taking some time to catch up on my reading now. Right before we left for Florida, I went to the library and literally swept my arm down a couple rows of novels. When I got them up to the checkout desk (with some help from my hubby), the librarian raised her eyebrow. I said, “This is the first trip in two and a half years that I don’t have a manuscript deadline hanging over me. I’m going to spend the entire time reading!” Everybody behind the counter started laughing at me. I’m working on my fifth book from the stack now. 

I’m also working on a proposal for my next book that I promised my agent he’d have by the end of the month. I’ve got several ideas floating around, so I’m just letting them live in my brain for a few days until one wakes me up in the morning or dead of night. That’s when I’ll know I’ve got the right one.

What was your favorite book as a child? Why?


Oh, heavens, I had so many favorite books growing up! My mom used to hand me the CBD catalog at the beginning of December and I’d get to mark which books I wanted. Then, on Christmas morning, I’d open a box full of novels. Such bliss! They usually lasted me through January. Then I’d spend the next eleven months waiting on another box! Some of my favorites were A Wrinkle in Time, ANY Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys book, My Perfect Valentine (in junior high – I still have it), Benji Goes to School (memorized it when I was 4), the Christy Miller Series (I was in love with Todd), the funny sections in Reader’s Digest, and my “classics” line – Heidi, Black Beauty, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and Alice in Wonderland. In junior high I also started reading Davis Bunn, Janette Oke, and Frank Peretti. I had all their books!


Some writers plot out their stories, others say they write by the seat-of- their pants? What kind of writer are you and why?

I’m definitely a seat of my pants kinda gal. I once tried to plot out a story and then I was SO bored in the writing of it that I resolved never to do that again. (Plus my characters wouldn’t do what I wanted them to and I had to scrap the entire plan anyway.) I have never been a person who likes to know what is coming. I like the thrill of the unknown, the surprise that might be waiting around the next corner – I live life that way and I write that way. Usually, about halfway in to the writing, I can see where the story is going and how the characters will end up. That’s why I enjoy writing the first half way more than the last half.

Could you please share some of your Testimony with us?

Sure! During prayer time in the first grade at Calvary Baptist Academy, I prayed the sinner’s prayer. I told my teacher at recess. Unfortunately, I don’t have a ton of memory about that because I just don’t have a great memory. I struggle to remember what I had for lunch yesterday! In my teenage years, I was blessed to become a part of the Alpha Omega youth group at Southside Baptist Church in Martin, Tennessee. The youth leader, Dan Burnham, had a passionate love of Christ and scripture and he shared that with the group. We traveled the surrounding states performing songs and skits. Being a part of such a close-knit group of fellow believers really shaped my faith walk during the rough high school years. During the first few months of the program, I learned so much more about Christ than I ever had before that I began to wonder if I really knew enough back in the first grade to have committed my life to Him. So, I made that commitment again – this time with a much greater knowledge of my own sinful nature and need for a savior. The next few years were a very tumultuous time in my life as God prepared me to serve Him and satan fought it every step of the way. There were many moments when I wondered if I truly was a Christian – it’s a question that a lot of Baptist preachers like to throw out at the audience. Several times I’d pray again for God to save me. Finally, I told a Sunday school teacher that I always wondered when a preacher asked, “Are you truly saved?” if somehow I hadn’t done it right. The teacher smiled, nodded understanding, and said, “If you’re one of the ones asking, you’re not one of the ones in trouble.” Finally, I quit questioning the amazing gift of salvation and started living it. I guess I’m like Ruth Bell Graham in that, “I’m not sure when the sun came up, but I know it’s shining!”

What was the scariest moment you have had as a writer? Please explain What was your happiest moment as a writer? Please explain.

The scariest moment was with my first novel when my editor – Karen Ball – called me six days before the deadline and told me it’d be a much better book if it took place a year after I’d written it. That constituted almost an entire re-write! I kept 10,000 of the original words and re-wrote the whole thing. There was a moment, though, that I was fairly certain I could only fail. I hate to fail, so that completely freaked me out. I have scary moments with every manuscript, though, to be completely frank. I always wonder if I’m going to be able to finish another manuscript.

My happiest moment as a writer is when I get to write the acknowledgments. I love spending time thinking about the people God’s brought into my life’s story.

How much of you is in this story? Please explain. If you are part of this story does it make it harder or easier to write? Please explain.

Coming Unglued is the closest story to my own life that I’ve ever written. And that made it both incredibly hard and easy. Easy because I knew firsthand what my character was experiencing. I could get into her head. Hard because I was opening up my inner heart and mind to my reader. If the market rejects this book, it’s not just a rejection of a story I made up. That’s one big, fat gamble to take. Still, I knew that I had to write this story. When my first marriage broke up, it astounded me how many people in my church family would tell me they’d been through a “starter marriage” as well. For those of you who haven’t walked that path, a “starter marriage” is one that lasts 1-3 years and ends because one or both spouses cheat. They end up marrying other people within a few years and those marriages last. I know firsthand what it feels like to be betrayed – and I also now know that we don’t shine a light on betrayal in the church. We sweep it under the rug, we ignore it, we pretend we’re all perfect and that our lives haven’t been touched by such a sordid thing as betrayal. It’s that darkness, that deception, that gives satan room to grow and maneuver. I’m sick of him ruining families because we’re too proud or ashamed to talk, so I wrote this story.

Did you have a say in picking out the cover for either of your books? Was that a fun experience for you, why? If not, explain.

BH asks me for feedback on covers and I’m very grateful for the respect they give me in doing that. However, the cover designer – Diana Lawrence at BH – is fantastic. She actually reads my manuscripts before designing the cover and then knocks it out of the park every time!! Any credit for good cover design goes completely to wonder designer extraordinaire Diana.

Is there a question you wish someone would have asked you but didn’t? If so, what was that question and could you answer it for us please.

Do you want gray hair in your thirties? My answer would be no.

Can you describe for me a moment in your life that you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt God was real? Not just a story you read in a book?

God has been real to me in several ways throughout my life. I’m such a doubting Thomas and don’t deserve His constant encouragement and presence in my life. On my wedding day to Charles Seitz, I knew for certain that God can make a fairy tale where satan wrote a horror story. I remember looking into my beloved’s eyes and seeing the unconditional love reflected back to me. This man who had waited 28 years for a wife and who gave me his True Love Waits card on our wedding night could have had a far better woman than I. He deserved a better woman than I. But instead Charlie modeled Christ’s love to me. He listened to my past and he forgave it. He loved me in spite of it. He placed a ring on my finger that he’d worn around his neck since he was 15 years old, promising to wait for the woman God had chosen for Him. Now, a little over four years later, we have the regular marital squabbles about picking up dirty clothes off the floor or keeping the house clean or mowing the grass – but I still look at him and see God’s gift to a woman scarred by life. We have a beautiful son now and a daughter on the way, which gives me even more proof that what satan meant for evil God uses for good. We just have to hang on to the faith that God is there in the darkness and will shine His light again.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What would you have liked to accomplish?

Hmm, five years from now – here we go with that forethought thing again. I’m no good at this! I can’t figure out where I’ll be in five days, let alone five years. I love the adventure of this life, of God letting me see just far enough ahead on the path so that I can walk or run there. If He told me more than that, I’d probably freak out and just sit down. So, I hope in five years to be found still figuring out God and His plan for my life. Oh, and there’s a pretty high likelihood that I’ll be sitting under a tree somewhere with my two kids, eating chocolate and reading books.



TOP THINGS YOU WERE AFRAID TO ASK REBECA, SO I DID!!


!. If you could be any character in literature, who would be would you be and why?

I wish I could be really high brow here and say, “Jane Eyre” or someone else of equally vaulted standing in literature. But I think I’d have the most fun being Minerva Dobbs in Jennifer Crusie’s book Bet Me. Or any of the female characters Crusie creates.

2. If you could be a superhero for a day who would you be and why? (you are an author be creative – you can mix up their powers if you would like).

My son has a shirt that reads, “My mom has super powers.” I’d like to be the woman he thinks I am – able to heal all hurts, answer all questions satisfactorily, protect from all harm, guide with right answers always.

3.What is the neatest place you have ever visited and why? What made it so neat, special, memorable for you?

This one is easy – the Virgin Islands. I married Charles at Frederick Evangelical Lutheran Church on St. Thomas and we then honeymooned over on Virgin Gorda. It’s the most magical place on earth for me because it’s where God gave me my fairy tale while surrounded by His gorgeous creation. I left there a new woman, confident in both the love of my man and the love of my God.

4.If you had all the time in the world (and just as much money) to do anything you wanted to do; what would you do?

Travel, travel, travel. I desperately want to see more of this awesome creation called earth. I’d start in the French countryside since I hear the flea markets are great there (hey, you said I had unlimited money). Then I’d go to England to see the places my parents visited when my dad graduated from Oxford. I’d see Shakespeare and Milton’s places and steep myself in the history of the great wordsmiths. Then on to Italy for my husband to show me where he spent a summer on an archaeological dig in college. Then Germany to see if we can meet up with any of his relatives (he’s second-generation American, so there’s a pretty good chance we could find some). Then off to Ireland to see the castles and the countryside. Oh, and of course Switzerland for the chocolate and the Alps. Along the way, I’d snap a gagillion pictures of mountains, flowers, streams, rivers, clouds, and rainbows. That would be incredible! Then, I’d end the entire thing after a year by settling on my front porch back in Kentucky to write.

5.Do you enjoy live theatre? If so, what was the neatest play you have ever seen? Where did you see it, and what made it special for you? If you don’t like theatre what would you rather do? Why?

I definitely love theatre. Last year, I joined BH editors David Webb and Karen Ball (and David’s daughter) as well as fellow author Jamie Carie and her husband at a showing of Les Miserables on Broadway in New York. We were all there for Book Expo America and decided to go out together one night. Well, if you’ve seen Les Mis, then you know it’s a powerful, powerful show. However, the guy playing Jean Val Jean couldn’t sing without spitting everywhere! We were in the third or fourth row, so we couldn’t just ignore that this guy was spitting all over the stage. He had an incredible voice – he just sprayed saliva everywhere when he hit the bigger notes. By the end of the show, it was getting pretty bad and I’d begun to worry about the little girl sitting in front of me. She couldn’t have been more than ten years old and there she sat, right in the line of this guy’s spittle. I leaned over to Karen and whispered, “Please, please, just spare the little girl.” That did it. Karen doubled over, shaking with silent laughter. That set me off, which set off others in our party and before you knew it, the whole row of chairs was shaking. I’ll never forget the night I saw Les Mis and worried about being sprayed!

6. Have you ever or would you ever have the desire to jump out of a plane? (with a parachute on of course). If so , why? If you already have what did it feel like? If not, what other crazy thing would you like to do? Why?

I’ve done a lot of crazy things in life and would probably do this one if given the chance. My dad and I did indoor skydiving when I was a teenager – completely freaked my mom out! It was an extremely cool moment, though, to share with my daddy. I like doing extreme stuff because it reminds me how precious life is and how much excitement must be in the God I serve for Him to allow that feeling in me. Everything I feel is a pale comparison of His ability to feel it – what an awesome being He is!

7. If you had to be a contestant on a TV show which one would you pick? It can be anywhere from Survivor, a game show to name that tune? Why would you pick that show to be on?

I’d love to be on Nashville Star! I’ve sung publicly for years, but my sister continues to tell me I can’t sing. I’ve never really known if I can or I can’t, but I’ll bet the Nashville Star judges would let me know in a heartbeat!

8. If you had 24 hours to hang out with anyone dead or alive in the history of the world, what two people would you pick and why?

My first pick would be Retta Moultrie. She was my great, great, great aunt who helped raise me until the time of her death at 102 years old. She was an amazing lady of God who left an indelible mark on my life. I didn’t appreciate her wisdom when I had it and I ache sometimes to be able to go to her with my questions, just to hear her opinion. We spent hours with hymnals on our laps, sitting on her couch, singing the old songs. She loved Dottie Rambo hymns, so we sang those first. She’d tell me to find something by Dottie and we’d have a good one. I wish my children could have known her.

My second pick would probably be Rebecca – the one who married Isaac and gave birth to Esau and Jacob. We share a name, so she’s always been a source of interest for me. How did she go from faithful follower to manipulative mother? What happened in the years between her appearances in scripture? I’d love to hear her tell me about her life.

9. Given our current gas price increase and the fact we are getting less mileage for our dollar – what alternative resource would you rather use in the future? The sky’s the limit here. You’re an author I know you can go there.

a. You would like to use the transporter (I call the “Beam Machine”) from Star Trek? Beam me up-Scottie!

Wouldn’t that make life easy? I could beam from the grocery store to the library to the office to home and stop driving everywhere or riding my bicycle. Sign me up for one of those! Of course, I’d probably beam right into the path of an oncoming semi, so maybe this isn’t such a good idea for me.

d. Ride on the shoulder of “Trees” like the hobbits did in the Lord of the Rings?
Can I confess that I fell asleep during Lord of the Rings? One fight scene after another, all of them with our trusty hero making it safely through battle. I got pretty bored and went to sleep.

If you have any other ideas of future travel I would like to hear it? Please explain.


You know, I just don’t know. Anything I pick would have repercussions elsewhere, as we’re finding out now from having burned our food (corn) for fuel and caused worldwide foot shortages. Duh! Why didn’t we see that coming?! Wind would be a good alternative – but only because I can’t think of a way that would have an effect on anything else.  Charlie knows much more about alternative fuel sources than I do, so I think I’d just leave it to him to come up with a solution. Until then, maybe we all need to go back to riding horses. Kinda hard to commit crime when you’re only getaway vehicle is a horse.

10. If you had an opportunity to travel to outer space, where would you go? Why? If, not where would you rather go instead? Why?

I’d go to the place where God is just beginning to form a star. I listened to a cosmologist in college who told us that such amazing advances were being made that, pretty soon, we would be able to see the finger of God creating something from nothing. I still dream of that. Of seeing matter appear in the void.

I recently caught up with Rebeca at North Metro's book club where she spoke to the group about her first book "Prints Charming". At the time of this picture she had 10 more weeks until she could hold her new little daughter "Ella" in her arms. I'm so excited for her.

Thank you Rebeca for letting the ladies in my book club and others get to know you better.

I appreciate you hanging out with us. Anything else you would like to say or comment on?

Thanks for reading this far! And, if you have the chance to read any of my stories – I LOVE READER MAIL!! Just send it to Rebeca@sistersink.net. Thanks again!

Many blessings your way!!!

Nora

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