I wish I could get excited about graphic novels. I looked at Maus many years ago and tried to get into it. I couldn’t. I didn’t like having prefab images put my own imagination on hold. I didn’t like the lack of complexity that I enjoy so much in a literary novel (no graphics). It was like watching tv in print. Everything is oversimplified. Reduced to its lowest common denominator. (more…)
- Ms. Strader is a landscape architect in southern Arizona, the very same area where she became one of the first women on a Forest Service fire crew in 1976.
Summers of Fire is a memoir based on her experiences not only working on fire crews, but how she had to find inner strength and courage to reinvent her life not just once, but several times.
Her publishing history includes many web articles on her expertise of landscaping with desert plants. A local newspaper, the Green Valley News, printed an article about her firefighting adventures, which led the magazine, Wildfire Today, to publish an excerpt. The article generated interest in her speaking on this topic to several clubs, including the American Association of University Women. Summers of Fire is her first book, which is scheduled for publication in 2018. She also does fabulous water colors and blogs at https://summersoffirebook.blogspot.com/.
- Who are your literary influences or inspiration?
- Cheryl Strayed. If it hadn’t been for her memoir, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, I’d probably still be floundering for direction!
- Why do you write?
- It helps me cope with day to day life, which has been challenging after many losses over the past 8 years.
- As a result of publishing your book, what have you learned about yourself and/or the writing process?
- I’m not published yet, but will be in 2018. This just flat-out amazes me. When I wrote my memoir, I never dreamed I would publish some day. At the time, it was a way to cope with depression over losing my job, my mom, and my marriage.
- What genres do you work in?
- So far, I’ve only written nonfiction/memoir. I just finished a prequel to my book Summers of Fire.
- How do you start a novel/story?
- I just jump in and start writing.
- What feeds your process? Can you listen to music and write or not… can you write late at night or are you a morning person… when the spark happens, do you run for the pen or the screen or do you just hope it is still there tomorrow?
- I need silence. I write a number of times throughout the day, whenever I can squeeze it in between my real work (landscape design). I’d say my most creative time is about 90 minutes in late afternoon with a glass of wine at hand. Morning is my best time to edit.
- How much time do you spend writing each day?
- I write anywhere from 2 to 3 hours per day.
- What’s the hardest part of writing or publishing?
- The hardest part about writing is thinking you’ve written something quite witty and special, only to look at the next day and realize it’s garbage! Publishing…for me it was the longest and most challenging thing I’ve ever done because I chose the traditional route. Despite all those who say I should have self-published, I am glad I stuck with what I wanted, the traditional route, and so glad it all worked out.
- Who is your favorite character from your book(s)?
- One of my coworkers. He was a chauvinist, egotist, and obnoxious, but I found him fun to write about because he was so colorful.
- Why should people want to read your books?
- Summers of Fire is an adventure story, a love story, a story of strong friendships, a story of heartbreak—and a story of loss, inner strength, courage and rebuilding. I think just about anyone would relate to my story in some significant way.
- If a movie was made of your book, who would the stars be?
- I would love to have Reece Witherspoon play me!