Seré Prince Halverson is the author of All The Winters After which was released by Landmark Source on 16th February . I am pleased to be welcoming her to Novel Kicks today. Hello Seré, thank you so much for joining us. Which moment in history would you like to return to and witness?
It would be pretty cool to bounce around with Neil Armstrong on the moon.
What’s your typical writing day like? Do you have any writing rituals?
I’m usually up early. I make strong coffee with frothy almond milk. I write in my journal to clear my mind and warm up, then eventually I’m writing the novel and move to the computer. When I get stuck, I go back to the notebook and scratch around or take a walk or read. Or I have a snack. Snacks help.
What is your favourite word and why?
Ostranenie. And before you think I have a grand vocabulary, I’ll admit that recently a list of fantastic words popped into my inbox, and this was one of my favorites. I liked them all, but you asked for one so I won’t be too obnoxious and throw them all around. It means: encouraging people to see common things as strange, wild, or unfamiliar; defamiliarizing what is known in order to know it differently or more deeply. Isn’t that a great word? Check out the whole list: http://www.stumbleupon.com.
Out of all the books you’ve read, which three have impacted you most?
I could answer this question differently on any given day. Too many. So I’ll tell you the first books that had a big impact on me.
When I was nine years old, I read three very different books that changed the way I viewed the world: The Diary of Anne Frank, Anne of Green Gables, and Island of the Blue Dolphins. It’s strange, even today, I can see their influence on The House of Frozen Dreams—hiding, isolation, love of place and family, and longing for home.
Oh, and I should mention Charlotte’s Web. I still carry spiders out of the house instead of squashing them.
Which fictional character would you like to spend some time with and why?
I have spent time with all the fictional characters of every book I’ve read and all I have to do to revisit them is re-read the book. ☺ That’s the magic of novels!
How much planning do you do before beginning a novel? What elements need to be in place before you begin?
It starts with an idea, a couple of characters, a place, questions, the curiosity to find out more. It all plays around in my mind and won’t leave me alone, but I have to start writing to find my way in. After I get a little traction, I jot down notes and maps of where the story might be going, with room for lots of changes along the way. Research also plays a part before, during, and in between drafts. And I’m a big reviser. I lose track of how many drafts I do—the first draft is always just awful, but I keep reworking and discovering, and finally, something worthwhile reveals itself. I’m working on the first draft of another novel right now, and I have to constantly remind myself, “Don’t worry, honey, eventually, it will be better.” Maybe if I did a lot more planning beforehand, it wouldn’t be such a messy process, but it’s mine, so I guess I’m stuck with it.
Who would you invite to a fantasy dinner party and what would you serve?
Ah, here’s my opportunity to rub shoulders with my many famous and fascinating heroes, but if this is truly a fantasy, and I could have anyone at all, I would invite the two people I miss the most: My dad and my friend Ellen, who’ve both passed away. They were both great cooks and loved food, so my husband, who’s also a great cook, would have to make dinner. He makes a mean paella. I, who am not a great cook, could make the salad—I make a mean salad. And my three-layer lemon cheesecake with raspberry sauce. That’s always a big hit. But food would not be the focus in this situation, of course. What a wonderful time it would be.
Five tips for new writers?
1) Enjoy, embrace, celebrate! the road to getting there,
2) because it’s usually a long one,
3) and when you think you’ve gotten there,
4) there moves,
5) and then moves again.
Seré Prince Halverson is the author of The Underside of Joy, The House of Frozen Dreams and All The Winters After. She worked as a copywriter and creative director for 20 years while she wrote fiction and raised kids. Seré and her husband have four (almost) grown children, and live in Northern California. You can read more on her website: www.sereprincehalverson.com, or on her blog: www.whomovedmybuddha.blogspot.com.