Hello to all our fantastic readers and visitors.
This week the Scribbler is pleased to have our first guest from the Czech Republic. We met on Twitter and discovered we both have an affinity for short stories.
Let’s welcome Zuzanne.
Who is Zuzanne Belec?
Zuzanne was lucky enough to grow up in the school of life that is the stunning South Africa. She has two wonderful daughters and now lives a peaceful life near Prague, Czech Republic, with her supportive partner. She worked as a translator and interpreter for many years. Then she discovered writing… Zuzanne also enjoys travelling, languages, and learning from other cultures (and trying out their interesting dishes!).
Layers: A Collection of Short Stories
Eight short stories on the power of the human spirit around the world.
Layers is a collection of original and imaginative short stories celebrating life and the human spirit despite the ever-present spectre of melancholy in our lives today. With their distinctive blend of wit and humour, they light up any underlying darkness and will leave a lingering impression long after the pages have been read.
From the Americas to India, from Africa to Europe, and through a range of genres, voices and styles, layers are unraveled, revealing the textures and contrasts of old and new in the environments and cultures of today's fast-paced world.
The Story Behind the Story:
I confess that I did not read a lot. And until recently, the idea of creative writing never occurred to me. I was too busy trying to take care of my girls, get through university, and maintain some semblance of home for myself and my family.
Then I discovered creativity! It was in my late forties, after winding down on the doctor’s orders. And I was bowled over!
I began reading again. I immersed myself in the beautiful, surreal world of writing–learning and practicing the craft for several years. It came as a shock when two of my short stories were then accepted by traditional publishers (two Canadian literary magazines), because I’d always thought that publishing was only for the gods. Once I realized (thanks also to Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft) that even regular folk can become good writers if they’re passionate enough about it and willing to practice hard, I knew that I will one day publish a book of my own–which I did about a year later. Publishing Layers: A Collection of Short Stories was both exciting, and scary, but with the support of my friends and family, I overcame the challenges (especially on the tech side, or learning about and hopping on the social media train–something I’d avoided like the plague till then).
Why do I write short stories in particular? Because life is short. Because I believe that when our time comes, we won’t go remembering the entire length of one’s life, or its long narratives, but what will impact us more are the deeper, key nuances of our lives. And it is that depth–that essence–which I enjoy capturing through my stories. I write short stories also for practical reasons because, as a late bloomer, I might not have those ‘10 000 hours of writing needed to master the craft properly.’ So while the short form sure is difficult, learning and practicing it goes a longer way for me. Oh, and the short attention span might also have something to do with my choice too…
I am grateful for the trials and tribulations of life, for the lessons learnt from Mother Nature, for the opportunities to travel, to all the interesting people I’ve met, and for the support of the writing community–thank you all for the motivation and for inspiring my stories. A big thank you too, Allan, for inviting me onto your blog.
*** You are most welcome Zuzanne. It's a pleasure to have you as a guest.
So, remember: it’s never too late! There is still much to learn and do, but there’s no stopping us now that we’ve found our passion in life, right? If you’ll excuse me now though, I have some dire catching up to do … ;o)
A question before you go, Zuzanne.
What is your most favorite part and least favorite part about publishing?
Zuzanne: This may sound somewhat clichéd, but what I enjoy most about self-publishing is being in charge of my own publishing process.
As interesting and exciting as self-publishing is, the time it takes to try plan out one’s own marketing is just darn frustrating. It takes up way too much of my writing time. This paradox is my least favourite part, for sure. But it’s a compromise an author starting out has to accept, I suppose, if one wants to take the self-publishing route. It is a constant and distracting battle to find a balance between the two, but it’s part of the learning curve, I suppose...
Thank you, Zuzanne, for being our guest this week. Wishing you continued success with your stories.
And a special thank you to all my visitors. The Scribbler would love to hear your comments. Don’t be shy. What is YOUR favorite book?