An Interview With Joel Seath: Author and Creator of Beauty…

Joel Seath is an author who writes to find the beautiful things in the world and to explore the characters that make life wonderful and sad. I met Joel on my travels and immediately cottoned onto his love for all things literary. We set up and interview and he answered my questions with ease. I found myself sitting back to listen to what he had to say rather than thinking of another question. Easy interviews are rare– but this was one of the easiest.

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Q) So Joel, why did you become an author?

A) It’s a compulsion, a drive, I suppose. When you write you just need to keep on writing.

Q) What does a compulsive drive to write feel like?

A) It often feels like blocking out, locking in, sinking in. You know? Some days it’s a rush. Some days you read and re-read and it’s like you’re looking at something that shines (or might shine) and you want to keep that, show that, have that, always.

Q) Do you ever find it hard to stop yourself from writing? Is it like a daze or a dream you can’t break from?

A) Physically writing (or typing), yes, I suppose. I mean, it can be extremely immersive, as many writers will know. However, that immersion also plays itself out in the day-to-day, pen not in hand, computer not on. Words (or the possibility of them) are everywhere.

Q) Words are your thing as a writer? So what is your favourite word?

A) What an excellent question! A barman asked me what my favourite book was recently (your question reminds me of that): how to pick one? You can tell by the long pause that this has given me cause to think. I can tell you what my most recently learned word is (and, by extension, a current favourite): tenebrous.

Q) Tenebrous? So what does tenebrous mean?

A) It’s to do with the obscure, the dark, as I understand it. This isn’t a reflection of my writing; rather, the word has a sort of rhythmic quality to me.

Q) Well, you have to learn something new everyday! So, lets reflect on your writing. What do you like to write about? Tell me about your writing.

A) In all its forms, long and short, my writing is intended as a means of finding the small gems of this world. There are hidden things in between what we just see on the surface– there are textures and layers to relationships, subtleties, moments. I’m looking for the moments that also linger. There are ‘objects’ of beauty, even in the laments, in many places.

Q) It’s interesting that you write about “beauty,” as everyone’s definition of beauty is so different. What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever written about? What is “beautiful” to you?

A) Well, beauty is subjective, of course, but I’m sometimes taken aback by how things turn out. It’s unexpected. There are moments that happen which I read time and again because they still have some power over me. In one of my stories, a child’s brief interaction with the narrator takes me in every time; in another piece, it was something I wrote in a female voice because I needed to do this more, I was there with her, as her, in Venice because the words were in that flow state; poetry is a vanity, but there are lines of colour and there are lines that sink me sometimes. Questions such as these are like choosing between children!

Q) If you could write anywhere in the world– where would it be? What landscape would really incite your creativity?

A) On a beach, in the mountains, in a forest, all of these. Specifically, though I’ve done my fair share of overseas travelling, I’d come back to the west of Cornwall. Standing on the cliffs overlooking some of the little unknown coves down there, the sea and the wind in your hair and on your face, that huge sky (it really is huge, like they say in their tourism promotions), makes words just come in for me. The artists there laud it for the light; I just can’t get enough of the energy.

Q) I understand that you’re published so others can enjoy your creative energy. Which of your works are currently available?

A) I’ve got a collection out at the moment (Disintegration and Other Stories). I loosely label this as literary fiction (though that term can be interpreted in many ways). DaOS is out in ebook and print. This collection came together in an odd way: I didn’t realise that there’d been a thread running through some of my writings for a number of years. It was like seeing invisible ink slowly become visible. I’m working on a collection of micro fiction, which will be a first volume (Four Kinds of Wreckage) to be added to. Micro fiction is much misunderstood. Away from fiction, I’m also published in the field of what’s known as ‘playwork’ (a particular way of working with children). I’ve had writings taken on by the national/international playwork publication for the sector, as well as credits with the organisation concerned with psycholudic playwork practice. (Now though, I fear I’m stepping into the jargon of my other calling – though writing is also a big part of this, too).

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Q) So tell me Joel– why did you want to be interviewed by me?

A) You do a good job of finding writers, Nick. When I became aware of your work I came over to your blog, and yes, I like what I see here. What you’re doing is exactly what writers need– a way of getting their words out there.

Q) Thank you, Joel. One of my stock questions is to ask– if you could be any writer from any time who would it be?

A) As far as writers are concerned, I have a range (as we all do probably): Milan Kundera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jeannette Winterson, Iain Banks, Ian McEwan, Italo Calvino, Jack Kerouac, Neil Gaiman, Adrian Henri. There are others. I wouldn’t want just one small list to define me, though we start somewhere with questions such as these.

Q) Characters are important to you. What makes a good character for you?

A) The unusual wrapped up in the usual. Subtlety people often might not see. The strangely put. Love in odd places, ways; perceptions of this. Someone who aches in some way.

Q) It has often been said that “repeated readability makes a book.” Would you as an author agree with that?

A) Yes, I think I would. Who was it who said that journalism is read once, whilst literature more than this? Something like that. Anyway, it’s the sentiment here that counts. There are books on my shelf that I come back to time and again; there are passages on some pages that just astound me. Kerouac wrote about ‘fields the colour of love and Spanish mysteries’ in On the Road. I come back to that time and again.

Q) You strike me as an intellectual– someone striving for the beautiful things in life. Would you agree with that?

A) I don’t know about intellectual! I certainly am on the search for the beauty of the world though. That’s in words, in moments, in art, in love and lament, in the play of children, in the play of us, in nature.

Q) What would you personally deem as “ugly”?

A) There’s nothing so ugly as not wanting to see, perhaps. Ugliness is also wrapped up in the politics of power, greed, deceit.

Q) Power, greed, deceit are words usually entwined with politics. How do you feel about the political scene in America right now? Are you an Obama follower?

A) For me these words are part of Politics (as in that which a politician is involved in); however, these words are also within the politics of everyone, their relations. Lennon had an angle here! As for Obama, I don’t really get too immersed in Politics anywhere, if I can help it, because politicians bring the media to their door in many ways. That said, when politicians willfully ignore children and their play, this gets me going! Back to Obama, he strikes me as intelligent enough, though of course I’m not in the US and not directly subjected to American policy.

Q) Well, I think we’ll end there Joel. Thank you for a great interview!

Karina Gioertz Talks Novels, Writing and Writer’s Daydreams! An Interview with Nick Wale

I had an email from a young lady the other day. I receive all kinds of emails but the ones I enjoy most, however, are when people ask me to interview them. Karina Gioertz asked me for an interview and how could I say no? I am proud to present Karina Gioertz to you!

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Q) Nice to meet you, Karina! So tell me– how did you get into writing?

A) Starting with the big question, I see! Well, I’ve actually been writing for as long as I can remember. Even as a child I loved making up my own little stories and filling my notebooks with them. As I got older I moved on to Poetry. My writing just sort of kept evolving, and in 2011, I finally wrote my first novel.

Q) Tell me about your early stories. What did you write about? What set your imagination on fire?

A) As a child? All of my stories revolved around animals. The first one I can remember was about a cat named Daisy. I think it’s because I always wanted a pet but my mother wouldn’t allow it, so I created my own, so to speak.

Q) What have you been up to lately? Any new book releases?

A) I released two books back-to-back last month. One is a Thriller called Blood Bound and the other is a YA Romance called This Christmas.

Q) Tell me about Blood Bound! Where can people get it? What’s it about?

A) Blood Bound is the story of three cousins who have been estranged for over a decade but who must come together as they seek justice for one of their own. It’s about greed and corruption as well as redemption and strength of a family bond. It is currently only available as an E-book on Amazon, but will also be out as a paperback in the coming weeks.

Q) It sounds interesting to me! Do you believe self publishing is the future of publishing?

A) I’m not sure I know the answer to that. I definitely still have a lot to learn about this business, but I do feel that self-publishing is creating huge possibilities for authors who might not be able to share their work otherwise.

Q) Do you write to satisfy your own creative need? Do you write to make money? Why does Karina Gioertz write?

A) I write because if I didn’t my head would explode! My brain never seems to shut down. Creating characters and making up stories is just what I do. It’s what I’ve always done. There isn’t a moment of my day when I’m not lost in some crazy thought or another. When I write, I feel like I’m directing those thoughts a bit more and using them more productively than if they just drifted off, turning into just another random daydream.

Q) So how do you write? Do you like music in the background? Do you like silence? What do you need to write?

A) I usually write late at night. I can’t have any background chatter, real or TV, because I automatically tune into what I’m hearing. However, I do love to play my music. I have a special writing mix I turn on before I get started and it helps me disconnect a bit from the real world so I can get sucked in by whatever story it is I’m working on.

Q) Many writers tell of getting lost in their work and “waking up” hours later wondering where the time went. Do you ever get lost in your writing?

A) All the time. There are those times when the story just flows and you lose track of everything else. I love those moments. That’s when I do my best work.

Q) Can you tell non-writer readers what it feels like to finish a manuscript?

A) Are there words to describe it?! It’s incredible! There is nothing better than writing that final sentence and following it up with ‘The End’. To know that you were able to take those first few sentences, those random first notes and ideas and turn them into an entire world, filled with characters who feel more like friends and events you didn’t even see coming until you wrote them in, is exciting. There’s nothing else like it. The second I finish, I want to turn around and do it all over again!

Q) So, going back– what’s This Christmas about? Where can people find it?

A) This Christmas is also available on Amazon. It’s about a young woman who realizes she’s in love with her best friend after her college roommate shows interest in him. Naturally there are complications that lead to awkward moments, misunderstandings and surprise encounters under the mistletoe.

Q) I think it sounds like an interesting and romantic tale! Are you working on a current project?

A) Yes, I am. This time, I’m giving fantasy a try.

Q) Can we have a few sneaky secrets about your new project for our readers, please?

A) Oh, all right, I can’t tell you much, but I will say that there will be an array of recognizable characters guiding a brand new generation no one has ever met of or heard of before. There will be magic, mystery and adventure…and perhaps even a touch of love.
Q) Love’s alright isn’t it! So which of your books do you consider your favourites?

A) My first is still my baby. I love Blood Bound, but Country Girls will always be closest to my heart.

Q) Which writers do you personally enjoy?

A) My mother got me hooked on Sydney Sheldon many years ago. He is my all time favorite!

Q) If you could have written any book by any author, which would it have been?

A) Harry Potter. To have been able to create that world and those characters with such detail…that had to have been incredible.

Q) I agree with you there! So Karina, why should readers choose your books to read with so many on the market?

A) It is my hope that I have created loveable characters and put them in entertaining predicaments; that I have been able to address serious issues while still finding the humor and that no matter how low I may go, I always end on a high note.

Q) What do you like doing outside of writing? Any hobbies?

A) When I’m not writing, I do a lot of painting. I like to refurbish old furniture and turn worn and battered pieces other people are throwing out into beautiful pieces of art.

We wrapped up there and Karina went back to writing her latest work. I enjoyed my time with her and I hope you enjoy this interview. Karina is a driven girl and I am sure there will be many, many books to come!

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Check out Karina’s other books as well!

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Follow Karina on her wonderful blog, FriedGatorTail, here!