Welcome to the end of the week and for the first time in months I'm actually not in the office this weekend - nice :-) For the last guest author interview for the week we meet Toni Seger, you can read what she has to say below:
Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
My name is Toni Seger and I’ve been a writer virtually all my life. I started writing my father’s business correspondence when I was 13. I’m a novelist, playwright and film maker. My Bachelors is in theatre which is my first love and I’m the author of 16 plays, some of which have been produced in New York, Canada, England and other locations around the US, including Maine where I live now on the edge of the national forest. A few of my plays are available here: http://tinyurl.com/pcw6hme
It’s very beautiful where I live and, in many ways, it’s an ideal place from which to write. I’ve done a lot of things over the years to support my writing habit. e.g. I was an art dealer for 14 years and the communications person for an export management firm doing business in 23 countries for five years which led to my writing a book called “Taking Your Business Global” (Career Press, 1997). I’m currently a partner in a market research firm and a consultant to a international group of educational software developers. I also produce and co-host a public affairs TV show on behalf of the largest chamber in Maine.
What first inspired you to start writing?
I have a theory that I wanted to be a writer in my last life and it wasn’t possible because I seem to have arrived in this life ready to write. Deciphering language was something I felt compelled to do from a very early age. Comics attracted me when I was very young because I could use the pictures to figure out the words and I was already reading when my mother first brought me to school when I was five. Writing is as natural to me as breathing and I couldn’t imagine life without it. I started my first novel at 15 and I’ve had a creative work in progress ever since.
If you could work with any author, who would it be?
My favorite author happens to be my husband, Timothy Richardson, a poet who has also written a novel and is working on a series of plays in verse. We have already worked together because I employed the actor, Jeff Flint, to dramatize Tim’s short story “Morning Song”, the breathless monologue of a six year old who has just spent two harrowing weeks in his first camp experience http://tinyurl.com/qyb33lv. I also got into filmmaking in order to illustrate Tim’s poetry. “The Force of Poetry” is available athttp://tinyurl.com/crz6xhn When endorsing “The Force of Poetry”, Maine Public Broadcasting wrote: “The effect is to inject life and heartbeat into what is often thought of as an inert, hard-to-read art form, and the result is educational and entertaining.” I’ve also made short films of single page poems in a growing new art form called visual poetry. Here are a few examples: http://www.poetryvisualized.com/profile_media/Toni I have other collaborative projects in progress with Tim as well and I’m sure we won’t run out of ways to work with each other.
What is your favourite word and why?
This unusual question really struck a nerve because I happen to be working on a book of stories concerned with time called ‘Time Step’ and lately, I seem to be using the word ‘time’ endlessly. People can get into a tug of war with time which I find fascinating. They can start out denying it, wasting it, ignoring it, and then turn around and try to recover it which can’t be done because time only moves in one direction. Reminds me of the famous phrase: “Life must be lived frontwards, but can only be understood backwards.” - Kierkegaard
Are you a planner? Or do you prefer to dive straight into writing?
I never know what’s going to happen when I get an idea. It might disappear into a pile and never surface or get rediscovered years later. Sometimes, it’s immediately compelling and I’ll find myself working on it trying to figure out where it’s going, what it’s about and where it will all come out. I might start anywhere in a creative work; beginning, middle or end. Creative writing is a process of discovery for me and I don’t know where I am when I start or what I’m trying to say. All of that is discovered in the process of writing.
If you could make any book into a film, which would it be?
I think “Ceremony of Innocence” http://tinyurl.com/obguq7e by Timothy Richardson would make an incredible film. This extraordinary novel is told from the unique perspective of a man who is losing his mind and hearing voices. The technology of film would be extremely effective at capturing the novel’s vivid descriptions by moving inside and outside his mind, overlapping the layers of voices he is hearing and dramatizing the confusion he is experiencing.
What advice would you give new and aspiring authors?
I always try to encourage burgeoning writers and urge them to not let themselves get discouraged or blocked. Write at every opportunity you have and don’t expect it to be perfect because you can always improve what you’ve done with another draft. If you want to write novels, expect to throw out the first one or even two. The only way to learn how to write a novel is to write one. So, go ahead. Make mistakes, learn from them and you’ll find you’re a better and better writer.
What are you working on at the moment?
We’ve just started a new collaboration with the great mime/dancer Karen Montanaro
http://tinyurl.com/of2pfgv She’s looking to expand what she does by employing some of our literary work. Karen is a very exciting artist and the sparks of creativity really reach bonfire proportions when we talk.
Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
I hope readers will visit The Telefax Trilogy on Amazon. A social and political satire, it depicts our overly mechanized life and dependence on machinery, then challenges that with a civilization that is free of machinery. When societies use machinery to eliminate work, it tends to make them less able to care for themselves and, in this satire, machine civilizations have produced enormous dependency. From spy ware to gene pools, no element of modern life is immune from examination, especially as technological development blurs the line between people and machines and a fully functional machine capable of reproduction is created...
FMI about other work, see www.workingwords.me