Welcome to Writers4Higher
The purpose of the Writers4Higher blog: to feature authors in a new light, a fresh look at the way writers use their talents and life energies to uplift humankind. Writers4Higher doesn’t promote religious or political views. Authors are asked to answer three simple questions: simple, yet complex.
This issue, Writers4Higher features
Smoky Trudeau Zeidel
Hi Smoky. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!
Tell me about yourself, your book(s), your life, your inspiration.
I’m primarily a fiction writer, and am the author of three novels: The Storyteller’s Bracelet, The Cabin, and On the Choptank Shores; I also have a collection of short stories published, Short Story Collection Vol. 1. My fiction has been inspired by a vast array of experiences in my life. On the Choptank Shores is set on what was my aunt and uncle’s peach orchard on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The Cabin was inspired by a true story in my family’s history, and The Storyteller’s Bracelet was inspired by a gift my sister gave me for Christmas years ago. I even have a short story that was based on experiences I’ve had doing the wash! It doesn’t take much to get my imagination going. I think it isn’t the size of the experience, event, or object that makes for a good story. It’s how passionate the author feels about it, and I can get very passionate about the smallest, most seemingly trivial things.
I’ve also written two nonfiction works. Smoky’s Writer’s Workshop Combo Set is based on my years as a writing workshop instructor at several community colleges in Illinois, as well as workshops I was invited to teach at writers conferences throughout the Midwest. It contains my start-to-finish course in story writing, as well as 366 writing exercises, one for each day of the year. Finally, Observations of an Earth Mage is my photo/essay collection about my special relationship with Mother Nature and all of Creation. My goal in writing this book was to inspire people to live like an earth mage—not someone who does magic—I’ll leave that to Mother Nature—but someone who uses all five of their senses to experience the magic in all of creation.
All my books are from Vanilla Heart Publishing.
I was born and raised in Illinois, and spent the first 51 years of my life on the Midwestern prairies. But I finally succumbed to my bohemian spirit and need to live near the mountains and the ocean and moved to Southern California in 2008, where I met my husband and soul-mate, Scott. We live with an assortment of animals, both domestic and wild, in a ramshackle cottage in the woods overlooking the San Gabriel Valley and Mountains beyond. I have two wonderful children and two fabulous stepchildren, all adults now. I’m blessed in the kid department.
I’m an ardent outdoorswoman, so when I’m not writing, Scott and I spend our time hiking with our little dog Tufa in the mountains or desert, camping in the Sierras, splashing in tide pools, and fighting the urge to speak in haiku.
Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?
My writing future seems very bright to me. I’m currently working on my fourth novel, a book called The Madam of Bodie. It’s loosely based on the story of a famous and tragic former bordello owner in the California gold rush town of Bodie. After that, I’m planning a sequel to The Storyteller’s Bracelet. I’ve just this year broken into the speaking circuit at California book festivals—a tough market to break into, let me tell you—and I hope to continue doing this from this point on. Through my blog, I want to continue to inspire people to adopt the ways of the Earth Mage and get outdoors and take a hike!
How do you use your talents/time to help others?
A couple of summers ago, right after Observations of an Earth Mage was released, I spent a month working with kids up in the mountain communities in the San Bernardino mountain learn how to observe nature with all five of their senses and then write about their experiences. Through my novels, I try to make readers aware of social injustices in our world. In On the Choptank Shores, I tackle the issue of how conservative patriarchal religion treats women, and in The Cabin I write about the Underground Railroad. In The Storyteller’s Bracelet, I write about the Indian schools of the late 1800s–early 1900s and the horrors some of these school inflicted on their students. Some of these problems have, of course, been resolved throughout history, but it amazes me how many people have forgotten their history lessons, or, in the case of the Indian schools, never knew they existed. And of course, there is still a lot of discrimination against women in not only conservative Christianity, but other religions as well. I don’t want my novels to necessarily teach or preach—I’m a storyteller, and that’s my main goal. But if I can make readers aware of a social issue in the process of telling a good story, I’ll jump at that chance. To quote Sir Francis Bacon, knowledge is power, and if readers happen to learn something while enjoying a good story, well then, that’s a good thing.
Would you like to find Smoky?
Check out the links to this talented author:
Smoky's website and blogs
Facebook Fan Page
Amazon author page
Goodreads author page
All Romance author page
Thanks so much for joining us, Smoky!
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Fiction with a Southern Twist