Beyond Molasses CreekBeyond Molasses Creek
Nicole Seitz
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Ally Green grew up on the banks of Molasses Creek, but she's spent her life traveling the world as a flight attendant. When her father dies, she must finally return home. He knew that she needed to quit running in order to hear that still, small voice that keeps calling her-and before his passing he enlisted Ally's oldest friend to try to keep her there.

Vesey Washington has lived on the other side of Molasses Creek from the Greens since they were children. He and Ally go back to summers of fishing the creek and the distance the civil rights era wedged between them. In many ways, he's held a piece of her heart all these years.

And on the other side of the world, Sunila Kunari has just escaped the quarry in Nepal that has held her captive. She sets out alone in monsoon season, desperate to reach the US Embassy with the brand-new knowledge that her parents kidnapped her when she was an infant.
     


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Nicole SeitzNicole Seitz is a South Carolina Lowcountry native and freelance writer/illustrator published in South Carolina Magazine, Charleston Magazine, House Calls, The Island Packet, and The Bluffton Packet. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism, she also has a bachelor’s degree in illustration from Savannah College of Arts & Design. Seitz is an exhibiting artist in the Charleston, South Carolina, area where she owns a web design firm and lives with her husband and two small children.

Favorite Verse: Ephesians 3:21-22; "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."


 

 Our Interview with Nicole Seitz


 

Please tell us a bit about yourself.
 
I’m a mom and wife, an art teacher at a local Christian school, and the author of six novels. My paintings adorn the covers of my books. I teach my kids to always try to leave a place better than it was before you got there, so this philosophy carries over in my daily life. I truly hope everything I do helps to make the world a little bit better.

Is there a special meaning behind the title, Beyond Molasses Creek?
 
The title for Beyond Molasses Creek is spelled out in the book, so you’ll have to read it to figure it out! But also, while writing this book, I lived in a neighborhood directly across from Molasses Creek. That name, and the idea of a place where time moves slowly, has always appealed to me.

What inspired the concept for Beyond Molasses Creek?
 
Several years ago I read an article in Forbes Magazine about children working as indebted slaves in foreign countries. I formed a partial concept of an idea for a novel back then that would shed an interesting light on this subject, but it didn’t come to fruition until now. When I was trying to determine what to write next, I knew it was finally time.

How did you choose the setting?

I live in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, so it’s an easy and favorite setting for me to write. However, the setting of Nepal took much more research and effort.

Is any part of Beyond Molasses Creek factual?

Nothing in this book is factual. All of it is fiction. However, there is a roadside stand in Mount Pleasant where a man sells newspapers and magazines beneath a rainbow colored umbrella. Although we’ve never met, his loyalty to his stand and the people of our town inspired me to write my character, Vesey.

Do you have a favorite character in Beyond Molasses Creek? Why?

I think Vesey Washington is my favorite character. He embodies the steady, smooth rolling of a river, and I feel comfort when I write him and read him.

How much research did Beyond Molasses Creek take?

Every novel takes a ton of research, which for me, is part of the fun. I am a research enthusiast (is that a nice way to put it?) Let’s just say I am slightly addicted to learning new things about God’s world around me, and this particular book presented many challenges. I needed to not only learn about the current situation of Dalits in Nepal, but also to attempt to walk in the shoes of someone who has not known freedom. I also spent time studying history, learning about the civil rights era in the American South, as well as what life was like for an attractive stewardess decades ago.

What was the most interesting tidbit that you learned while writing Beyond Molasses Creek?

I learned that even when there are laws in place to prohibit discriminatory treatment of a group of people, sometimes it takes a very long time for the laws to fully take effect and for everyone involved to comply. The making of laws is simply the beginning of progress, not the end of it.

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?

These days, I struggle with trying to figure out what, exactly, I should write about. I’m a believer that we are not promised a tomorrow, and so I try to live each day with the importance it has. What should I devote the next many months of my life to writing? What effect will it have on my own life and on the lives of those who will read my work?

What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

When the words are flowing and the story is forming in my mind, when a character comes on like a hurricane—that’s when I find the true joy of writing. I’m also so grateful for the amazing authors and readers and people I’ve met along the way. My life has been enriched by them.

 

What writing clubs or organizations do you belong to?

I used to belong to a small writers group through my church when I first started writing. I also belonged with larger national groups. However, as my career has gotten more complicated with several more books out, meetings with book clubs, teaching, etc, I have had to pull back from groups and become a bit more guarded of my time. I have learned to say "no," which, in the beginning, was difficult for me and allowed me to “overdo it” both mentally and physically.

What were your favorite books as a child?
 
I loved Popcorn, a book about a little white dog who wanted desperately to become a firehouse dog. Also, Serendipity, about a sea creature who didn’t know who she was. My mother also read to us Grimm’s fairytales, Mother Goose nursery rhymes, and Uncle Remus. I still love children’s books and great storytelling.

What other new projects do you have on the horizon?
  
I am working on a new book, yet at the time of this interview, it’s too early to describe! The books I write tend to write themselves, and I’m only privy to the true meaning when the book is done with me.

Who was the person who influenced you the most with your writing?

My mother, for sure. She is the reader in my family, the one who is captivated by books. She’s been so supportive of me from the beginning and loves to share her enthusiasm for good books and interesting writing. She also loves surprises, so I’ve developed a style of writing great twists that keep her (and my readers) guessing until the very last page.

What message would you like your readers to take from Beyond Molasses Creek?

That every person is precious, each created by God and in his image. This simple fact should permeate the way we live our daily lives with one another as well as what we deem worthy to stand up for.

What is your goal or mission as a writer?

It’s still the same as when I first started writing – to honor God with my words and to help make the world just a little bit better.

What do you do to get away from it all?

I really haven’t found a way to get away from it all, nor would I want to. I have learned to not accept all invitations, though, and how to set my writing aside and just focus on family for a while. This is the best getaway.

Is there anything you’d like to add?
 
Thank you all for your continued support of my books. Hearing from readers helps put wind in my sails and keeps me inspired to write!

 


 

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