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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


 

What inspired the concept for the A Hundred Years of Happiness?

A couple years ago, my husband and I took my parents out for their anniversary. At dinner, my veteran father started telling us about a frightening flashback experience he’d had a couple weeks earlier when he’d confronted the “enemy” for the first time in forty years. Suddenly, he started opening up about the war, telling us things he never had before. We were crying in the middle of the restaurant, and I was connected to him in a way I had not been before. It was such a powerful experience that I knew thousands of people might be able to relate. I needed to explore the lasting effects of war of families and next generations…especially with our current climate in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Is any part of A Hundred Years of Happiness factual?  


The scene in the restaurant actually happened, and sadly, the physical ailments that Katherine Ann experiences were really happening to me at the time of writing!


How closely is A Hundred Years of Happiness based on your life experiences? 

Other than the initial reason for writing this book, the novel is fictional. The characters of John Porter, Katherine Ann, Betty Jo and RC are loosely based on my stepfather, mother, me and my husband. We tease each other and call one another by our fictional names. But the events of the novel are purely fictitious.

 

How did you choose the location for the setting?

I chose Charleston as my location, simply because that is where I live and what I know best. I also know Georgetown fairly well as I travel through regularly. As for Vietnam, well, the war was there, but I learned about a fascinating place called Marble Mountain where legend has it a whole platoon entered the mountain and never came out again.
How long did A Hundred Years of Happiness take you to complete?

The story took about 11 months to complete.


What is the symbolism for the title A Hundred Years of Happiness?

I can’t really explain the title because it’s one of the “aha!” moments for my readers.

Do you have a favorite character in A Hundred Years of Happiness? Why?

Sorry, but I love them all. I do think Doan Vien, Vietnamese mother of Lisa Le, is one of the most endearing characters I’ve ever written.

How much research did A Hundred Years of Happiness take?


I’ll admit I was never interested in war. It’s one of the reasons I had to write this book. I felt guilty that I had never wanted to know about the things that tormented my father. So in the writing of this book I became obsessed with the Vietnam War. I watched videos, looked at pictures, listened to audio, read books, visited a reenactment, and talked with veterans. It was difficult emotionally, but I’m so glad I went through it all. The book is better because of it.


What was the most interesting fact that you learned while writing A Hundred Years of Happiness?

 

The most interesting fact that I learned is that children of war veterans have similar personality traits. Realizing that I am who I am as a result of my father having served in war was an eye-opening experience. I knew I could no longer stick my head in the sand.


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

 
Right now, some of my challenges are meeting tight deadlines and balancing family life with book tour duties.

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


I love the process of writing, that feeling of connecting with God the Creator, and meeting dear readers and other authors.

What is your writing style?   (Do you outline?  Write “by-the-seat-of-your-pants?   Or somewhere in between?)


I spend months searching for the right character/story impression to hit me. Then, once I know there’s no turning back, I try to get into the heads of my characters and let them tell me where we’re going. I do have general directions and images of the end in mind, though I allow for change. The characters drive the book.

Do your characters begin to take on a life of their own as you write?

Yes, absolutely. They surprise me constantly!

What other new projects do you have on the horizon?

I have a fourth book coming in December from Thomas Nelson called Saving Cicadas, a novel about unconditional love and the freedom of letting go. Here’s a synopsis:


When single mother Priscilla Lynn Macy learns she's having another child unexpectedly, she packs the family into the car to escape. Eight-year-old Janie and Rainey Dae, her seventeen-year-old sister with special needs, embark on the last family vacation they'll ever take with Poppy and Grandma Mona in the back seat.


The trip seems aimless until Janie realizes they are searching for the father who left them years ago. When they can't find him, they make their way to Forest Pines, SC. Priscilla hasn't been to her family home in many years and finds it a mixed blessing of hope, buried secrets, and family ghosts.


Through eyes of innocence, Janie learns the hard realities of life and the difficult choices grownups make. And she must face disturbing truths about the people she loves in order to carry them in the moments that matter most.

 

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

My mother and her love of reading influenced me the most. She’s always discovering new writers and wonderful books and sharing them with me.

What message would you like your readers to take from A Hundred Years of Happiness?

I’d like my readers to know that if they have a hard time letting go of the past or if there are lingering effects of war on their family, that they are not alone. It’s never too late to deal with one’s past. There is much freedom in getting things out in the open. We also need to be patient and understanding of our veterans. Some choose never to talk.

What is your greatest achievement?

Trusting the Lord with my life.

What is your goal or mission as a writer?

To tell the stories that God puts on my heart, and to touch, entertain and inform my readers. I love to give voice to those who cannot speak for themselves.

What do you do to get away from it all?

Go out to dinner with my husband, take a vacation with my family, and go to the library, the bookstore, or to church.

 

 Don't Miss!

Saving Cicadas
Saving Cicadas
Nicole Seitz
CBD Price: $14.39

The Spirit of Sweetgrass
The Spirit of Sweetgrass
Nicole Seitz
CBD Price: $11.99

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