It’s Wednesday so time for another guest poster. Today I interview the lovely Kristine Simelda, author of A Face in the River. Enjoy!
Q01 – When did you decide you wanted to become a writer?
I wore many caps—daughter, wife, mother, artist, florist, horse trainer, gallery manager, and restaurateur before I started to write.
But when I took the giant leap and moved from the States to the Eastern Caribbean island of Dominica twenty-three years ago, I was so fascinated by the change in environment and the diverse characters I met that I felt compelled to describe my cross-cultural experiences in writing.
Q02 – Did you find people supportive when they learned you were a writer?
Dominica is not exactly a literary Mecca, but this is where I live. We have a writers group, Waitukubuli Writers, and I go out to workshops and seminars whenever I can. It’s funny.
Overseas I’m viewed as exotic while at home I’m generally ignored. I have a website and a River Ridge Press Dominica Facebook page, but unfortunately, I have a basic aversion to social media.
Q03 – What is your dream goal for your writing?
To win the Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.
Q04 – What is the title (or working title) of your current manuscript and can you tell us a little bit about it?
My fourth adult novel, Rise Up, is dedicated to Nelly Stharre, a Dominican reggae artist who died in a house fire in 2015.
It’s narrated through two distinct female voices, one British, the other Jamaican, and chronicles over fifty years of popular music—the phenomena of rock and roll, the message of reggae, through the stigma of dancehall—as well as examines their cause and effect on society.
As a baby boomer who was bombarded with the British Invasion of popular music in the States in the 60s and who discovered the message of reggae music in the Caribbean in my middle age, the manuscript is very close to my heart.
In these difficult times of global unrest and tribal war, it’s important than ever to keep the vibration of One Love alive.
Q05 – How long have you been working on this manuscript?
About nine months—sufficient time to give birth, don’t you think? I’ve done tons of research, and the first draft is just about ready to go to my editor.
The hard work begins after she’s made her ruthless comments and posed her unnerving questions. (Just kidding, Liz.)
Q06 – Do you plan your stories or just leap into the writing?
Writing is generally a leap of faith. I always have a backlog of ideas, but whether the inspiration turns into flash fiction, a short story, a novella, or a novel remains to be seen.
About halfway thru a novel, I draw a kind of pyramid that shows me rising and falling action. I’ve just started making outlines as I finish a chapter, mainly for my own sanity.
And once I’ve finished the first draft, I have a neat little trick called “Save the Cat” that helps me sort out scenes.
Q07 – Would you ever want to see a story of yours turned into a movie?
Yes. Yes. Especially A Face in the River and River of Fire because they’re so autobiographical. I can hear the soaring music and visualize the love scenes now!
Q08 – What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Giving up words I love because they speak to me, not the reader.
Q09 – What are your thoughts on Self Publishing vs Traditional Publishing?
I’m of the old school that believes there’s a sort of stigma associated with self-publishing. Nobody’s perfect, but let’s face it: There’s a lot of unedited, typo-filled, badly punctuated work out there.
If I could have found an agent who was willing to pitch my books to a traditional publisher, I definitely would have gone for it.
But I didn’t, so I created my own publishing imprint, River Ridge Press Dominica, which I hope will be able to help other aspiring writers craft and publish their work.
Q10 – What is the single best piece of advice you could give to new writers?
Read, read, read more than you write, write, write, write.
Q11 – Are there any authors you would love to meet in person?
Bob Dylan. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature, right?
Q12 – Tells us why you love writing
It sets me free.
A Face in the River
A Face in the River is the debut novel by Kristine Simelda, an American-born writer who has lived on the Eastern Caribbean island of Dominica for the past 23 years.
The book’s heroine, twice divorced, middle-aged businesswoman Krystal Sutherland, is bored with her conventional job and lifestyle.
When she takes a holiday to a wild and beautiful island, she falls in love—first with the place, and then with a local man.
But despite her best intentions, the dark side of paradise, steeped in rum, obeah and betrayal, casts its shadow on her dream romance as she struggles to find her role in an unfamiliar culture.
“I wanted to address the high price of enchantment,” the author explains, “to explore the danger of going out on a limb—and the valuable lessons to be learned while dangling there.”
~ ☆ ~ ☆ ~ ☆ ~
Big thanks to Kristine Simelda for giving her time for this interview and sharing her writing and experiences with us. 🙂
Do please check out Kristine’s links and leave comments if you have anything to ask her. As always, all comments by new commenters are moderated so don’t worry if you don’t see your comment immediately.
I’ll be back on Friday 18:30 BST with a blog post of my own.