What motivates Seba O'Kiley the author? Why do you write?
I am an academe, a teacher at a university, and have published within the academy. However, none of it was soul satisfying. I made a decision this year to write the way I live: full-force, holistic and Southern. I have found that many editors resist that Southern beat--I resist them. My spirituality, which is Pagan in nature, demanded that I throw my whole self into the world I love. Writing was the last frontier.
When did you know you were a writer? Was it always your destiny or did you stumble upon your craft by accident?
When I was a teenager in the early eighties, I spent a bit of time in a Youth Detention Facility. Many of us (creative types) have gone down long and painful roads to land where we do on a page. There was a young man there who told me “no one will ever hear you unless you learn to write.” I never forgot that moment. When I ended up alone, thirty, a high-school dropout and pregnant with two small children on a mountain top, I remembered his voice. It inspired me to go to college. The rest is history.
What is your favorite genre to write and why?
Most assuredly, my favorite genre is tongue-in-cheek horror. I love humor in strange places and find it to be one of the most human impulses to laugh while you cry (or scream).
How many hours a day do you devote to writing? Do you have a set routine or do you write when the mood strikes?
I teach for a living and that is about the only moment I intend to “schedule” during my day. I write when it hits me, usually with a glass of wine, about twice per week. Perhaps one day, I can retire and dedicate more time to the craft.
Tell us about the most intriguing character you've created.
Mika, a beaten housewife who makes a decision to kill her husband, was my favorite creation. I refused to make her insane.
Who is your favorite author? And, if given the opportunity to meet them, what would you ask them?
My favorite author (deceased) would be F. Scott Fitzgerald. He never shied away from the complications of gender. My favorite author (alive) is hands-down Christopher Moore. I would ask them both: was it all worth it? Starving, bearing up against the criticism, all of it?
What did you do when you found out your first book had been contracted?
Turned off my phone, packed a bag and ran away to Jekyll Island with my three children for a week.
They deserved the time.
Has there been a person or influence in your life that has helped you reach your writing goals?
Yes, there has. My mentor and teacher, Dr. Frank Walters, always told me when I hit writer’s block: Write crap. Lots and lots of crap. Because you can revise crap, but you sure cannot revise a blank page.
Do you have any words of inspiration to aspiring authors? What advice would you offer a writer trying to publish?
Never release your principles or your voice for a publication. Stand by your work. If it is rejected, and it was birthed by love and sweat and the most truthful voice you hold, self-publish it. Never lose faith in your own creation.
Tell us about your current release.
Blurb: A collection of Kitchen Witchery in the Southern tradition.
Buy Link: Not yet contracted.
Do you have any upcoming projects in the works?
Always, but they are currently in the bubble phase.
Where can readers connect with you?
Seba is a native Alabamian currently going through her croning as a Celt/Cherokee High Priestess. She resists neater labels (such as Deborean) only in an effort to avoid aligning her spirituality to any specific clan or coven, but certainly not in disregard of them. As such, Seba enjoys and teaches respect to all other faiths, both Pagan and otherwise, and teaches her four students the same. Her teaching has only just begun, from the initiate stages of early magic, although she has been teaching English Literature for twelve years in a local university system. As such, Seba relies upon her magic name for craft writing, thereby nodding to a clear line between what she is paid to do and what she lives to do.
Seba holds a Doctorate of Philosophy and has published several articles on feminism and goddess theology. As a remarried mother of three, mostly grown, children, she spent much of her years in academia searching for the connection between the maternal goddess, her doctoral work, and her spirituality. Only recently has she crossed over into writings upon the craft, which was inspired by a rigorous interrogation of her own grown as a priestess.
As a hereditary craftswoman, Seba holds firm that bloodlines are not exclusionary in a distinct Clan mentality born of both her Celtic and Cherokee ancestory. An “adopted” initiate, therefore, is indeed family. Her own beginnings were nourished by her nurse, a Pagan African American mother figure, who made no discernment between bloodlines and soul-lines. She is therefore a solitary craftswoman who attends to familial students and celebrates her craft as a ripple in the tapestry of all Paganism. Without reservation, Seba affirms, rather than resists, her roots in the South and finds them to be a sustaining factor in her path.