Interview with Marie Seltenrych

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a little town called Leixlip, Co. Kildare, Ireland; I was born in the Main Street of Leixlip, where houses were built in a row, to support each other I suppose. My earliest memories of that beautiful place are when I was one year old. I can recall my first birthday when I spilled a cup of hot tea over my chest. The doctor tried to place a cage over it but he did not succeed. Later, I asked my mother about this. "You kicked and screamed" she said. "Do you know why?" I asked. "No," she replied. "Because the metal was so cold it hurt me more than the burn."
That is a true story about me around 1949, so don't lie to me because I have a very long memory!
Before I began school (that's another great story) I could read. The day that my older sister, Dolores, brought home her first books, I snatched them from her hand and ran off to read them.
When you think of it, reading around age 4 was possibly a good beginning for a writer. Also, I drew pictures as much as possible: my mother gave me used envelopes, opened; I used the insides of the white envelopes to draw pictures with a pencil. I remember exactly what I drew: princesses with dresses that always ended up having layers like frills as they seemed out of perspective until I had added a few more. I drew bonnets like flowers around their round heads; banana shape for a mouth; two small dots for the nose, larger for eyes. I think I even added eyebrows at some point. I wish I had kept some of those drawings now that I have a grand-daughter aged 4 who loves to draw and write. Who does she remind me of?
I am sure that listening to Mammy and Daddy telling stories: mostly ghost stories from their own portfolios which terrified me possibly gave me the impetus to write my own tales. Mammy used to tell us stories at bedtime. I also remember how beautiful she was in a muted silk dress going dancing, with a real fur coat.
I thought she was the most beautiful woman in the whole world.
One of my stories was sparked by an incident that happened in this house in Main Street, Leixlip, before I started school: A tinker called in for help. Mammy went upstairs to get some things for this woman.
The woman wore a tartan shawl in browns and creams, that came down to the calves of her legs. She had brown hair and a tanned complexion (weather-beaten). We were alone for about ten minutes as Mother searched for something to give this woman. As I looked at her legs, I saw something that shocked me: a puddle of water was landing on the nice, sparkling red polished concrete floor. I remember thinking: "Bad baby, dirtying Mammy's floor." I was silent.
Mother appeared with a bundle of baby clothes, including a prized yellow cardigan which I wanted to keep for a doll I had.
Many years later I wrote Five Golden Rings and a Diamond, the story of a young tinker who tries to find a new life and abscond with her own kidnapped child. Did my hometown influence me? I think so.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
15 years ago I decided to write a children's story. So my journey began. I sent the manuscript to a couple of Christian publishers at the time (Albatross) was one of them. I waited 3 months to get a reply, which was nice enough but also a refusal: "It's too Christian and we are not publishing this genre at present..." In other words, "Sorry, we don't like your manuscript."
I decided to get printed copies done (no internet back then). Henry was a trojan salesman and I appointed him my manager.
I turned out to be a shocking saleswoman (I wanted to give my books away to all my friends). Henry sold loads for me, some to schools all over Australia. Some teachers adopted the themes and used my book as a class book, which was a very nice compliment. I had other setbacks when Henry tried to sell the books to book shops.
I still have copies of my first children's book, The Gum Tree Gang and the Mystery at the Old Queenslander, and I assure you that they are so beautiful I am now reluctant to part with them. If you try to pull out the pages it is almost impossible, and the cover remains beautiful as at first. I am now impressed by Marooka Press Litographic (moved on sadly). I did get back my outlay on this title but did not make anything extra. I am so glad that I was not depending on selling this title for my daily needs as I would have been homeless and had to use the pages of the books as a blanket!!
I do love the journey with all its ups and downs. Being an Indie author is amazing and never boring. The journey is tough but rewarding at the stops. The people we meet and the fellowships we make are in a class of their own as we aspire and inspire each other on and up.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I first found Mark Coker through another author on Lulu. He quietly gave me a link (2009). I did find the formatting a hassle at first and spent a lot of time trying to get glitches out. The mangler has improved since then and it was Smashwords who first gave me a book-break when I found over 32,000 downloads of my newest title back then (Runaway Princesses). I was shocked to see my income rising to over $900 quickly, and upon investigation I found the spreadsheets of the downloads. I have since edited this title and hopefully will get it back on track soon. It is bigger and better than ever. I also learned a lot about adding images as this is a picture book for kids.
I also like the way we can add a link to a printed copy, audio book and video. I am improving in these areas. I also learned a lot about TOC, which was a big step for me. I am forever grateful to Mark for setting up this platform where authors of all shapes and sizes can earn a little money and enjoy the experience. Thanks Mark and the team.
P.S. I must say that that team are exceptional, honest and helpful. Could not ask for more than that.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Seeing my thoughts in black and white and being enjoyed by avid readers.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything I need as a writer. They encourage and delight me when they download a copy and when they even pay it's exhilarating! If only they knew what joy they present they would give themselves a star.
I cannot write without them.
What are you working on next?
I have been trying to develop a tutorial using Photoshop-Elements 7 and finally uploaded a short video today on Youtube.
Now I can get back to my almost finished manuscripts: I am working on a few different genres at the same time, something I also do when creating art. I am working on my graphic novel: Planet Poo (just a few more graphic art works); Runaway Princesses (editing the font, cover and some pics); A Sci-fi novel called Blo Mon (space thing), begun last NaNoWriMo and not finished. I also have a work in progress called Doppelganger, which needs modification. Also working on a sequel to Five Golden Rings and a Diamond with a mystery twist; begun a novel about the slave trade in 1632; another novel idea I have is about the Brehon Law in Ireland around 800AD (about a dress). I get a new idea for a story almost every day... need more hours in my life.
Who are your favorite authors?
Nancy deMarco, so funny, brilliant; Agatha Chistie, with her poignant mysteries; Charlotte Bronte and her classics; others I can't remember immediately. I will get back here again.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
A work in progress.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
With my husband, going to the beach, shopping, church; grand children and other family members.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Scroll through genres I like: romance, mystery; crime...
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
My life story.
What is your writing process?
Go to bed, conjure up any good idea that came along through the day; process the idea, form an outline or brief story. After that I wait for the time when I get to my computer and to put the outline down: idea, plot, characters, especially protagonists; other characters to enhance main character. Setting; event, dialogue.
Once the first draft is done editing is crucial.
Editing is the most important aspect of writing (listen up). I cut, cut, cut ravenously until the story is coherent and fast without losing any of the main plot or sequence of events.
I edit more than 8 times once the MS is done. I may never publish unless I am satisfied.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Toy Town by Enid Blyton, when I was 3 or 4 (Yes, I could read by 4). I adored her characters and later I read all her Famous Five books.
My first story published was similar to Famous Five stories - The Gum Tree Gang series.
How do you approach cover design?
I check out the latest covers in my genre. I have found some very interesting cover making places online, including creativedesign, which shows how complex a cover really is.
I decide on the elements I need for the cover and resize them to fit the book I am working on.
With ebooks it is easy as you do not need a back cover or spine. For a print copy I get the dimensions including thickness, and bleed for the book.
I put the cover into photoshop/elements, cut and paste my images to suit; find a suitable font and make it fit. This takes a lot of time as I love graphics. I feel that I am improving in this area and I love that.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
'What Katy Did" was one of my first pre-teen books. I loved Clover the best as I felt I was like her; however, I was really more like Katy in the end of the day.
Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn. This is a classic first person title that draws me into its core. Love his approach.
Agatha Christie's Poirot series. I love these mysteries but hate the way there is a unknown clue somewhere. I can never work out who did it.
Famous Five stories (any). Great fun.
Jeremiah (of all 26 books of the Bible). I feel God speaking to me directly and I get to understand God better.
What do you read for pleasure?
I do selected reviews.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle for PC
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
direct contact with a buyer
Describe your desk
cramped; brown wood, keyboard, pull out drawer for scanner; printer; shelf for odds and bobs. pictures of family on top. Books stored underneath on two shelves. USB ports sticking out. Webcam Microphone near my face (for doing video editing); modem near my feet. Set against a wall (not the best place for getting behind); window on right, curtain to stop excessive light, lamp on top shelf for night work.
When did you first start writing?
This is a weird question: I began to write before I started school. I wrote comics and stories from age 6 - 8. Wrote first 'biography' around 24; wrote poetry around 24; wrote children's tales during early child raising (24 - 30); first children's story at age 41; first adult novel 50...
What's the story behind your latest book?
Space exploration and the sky at night.
Who or what inspires you to write?
My thoughts being free to roam in my head surge forward as they turn into ideas and then I fashion them into a story to love.
People inspire me, just a news item, a conversation, an email, a book cover; ideas are everywhere, even within.
Published 2014-10-23.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Five Golden Rings And A Diamond
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 91,910. Language: English. Published: February 12, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » Chick lit
Teen mother Niamh Farrell's husband disappears; feared drowned, the young mother is forced to abscond from her clan in the West of Ireland. Niamh's (Neve's) journey to find true love takes her on a soul-searching mission that navigates the globe. Confidence blossoms until a heart-shattering day when a man turns up at her door in Maryborough Queensland seeking a work of art!
Runaway công chúa
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 15,350. Language: Vietnamese. Published: January 9, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Graphic novels & comics » Superheroes
Công chúa sinh đôi, Biscottini và Bruschetta sẽ đưa bạn vào một cuộc hành trình học tập khi họ tìm tình bạn thật sự.Họ nhận thấy nhiều hơn những gì họ mong đợi.
Five Golden Rings and a Diamond Part 2: Australia Flame 'n Fame
Series: Five Golden Rings and a Diamond, Book 2. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 80,050. Language: English. Published: July 5, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Adult
Niamh continues her quest for love and stability as she works as a nanny in a Cane farm setting in Queensland Australia. Her troubles grow as she gets involved with the robust cane cutter, Luigi, tries to live up to Barbara the Aboriginal young woman's high standards, and finds that Father John and his brother Paddy are hiding a terrible secret. Niamh faces her new future with hope...
Runaway Princesses
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 11,890. Language: English. Published: November 3, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Concepts / General, Fiction » Children’s books » Social Issues / Runaways
(5.00 from 1 review)
This is the original long version of Runaway Princesses, based on two real little girls who loved to make the most of their lives by pretending. Two sisters, Bronwyn and Brookly were my inspiration in 2008, when the tale began its journey.
The Gum Tree Gang and the Mystery at Mount Tamborine
Series: The Gum Tree Gang and the Mystery at the Old Queenslander. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 23,360. Language: English. Published: October 20, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
The Gum Tree Gang must find a way to save their convention centre, or suffer the loss of having a school convention (and loads of fun) ever again.
The Gum Tree Gang and the Mystery at the Old Queenslander
Series: The Gum Tree Gang and the Mystery at the Old Queenslander. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 25,060. Language: English. Published: October 20, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Tracey and Krystal find strange messages at the Old Queenslander and share them with their obnoxious brothers, Kevin and Matthew, who decide to try and help their school buddies. Will they end up in police custody or will they find a way out of the pickel they are in and prevent a serious crime!
Pageant Plot Pardon - Play - Esther
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 8,360. Language: English. Published: October 15, 2010. Categories: Plays » Religious & Liturgical, Nonfiction » History » Jewish
(5.00 from 1 review)
3 Act Play based on Biblical Book, Esther (Queen) Revised Friday 13th July, 2018. Added bookmarks and hyperlinks for location of intext prime characters. 6 main characters + supporting cast members. Royalty free for performance.