Welcome to BookView Interview, a conversation series where BookView talks to authors.
Recently, we interviewed Kira Seamon, about his writing and his debut, Dead Cereus, a delightful traditional mystery (Read the review here.)
Kira Kanani Seamon was born and raised in Hawaii. She attended the prestigious Punahou School as an award-winning honor student. A polymath, Kira is a gold medal/state winner in piano performance and a National and two-time Regional Dance Champion. She’s an award-winning photographer and has had her art accepted and sold in national and regional juried shows. She’s had over fifty newspaper cover stories about her art and is a fourteen-time grant recipient from cultural councils. She celebrated her first solo museum exhibit of her work in 2020. She was recently the inaugural artist-in-residence in Natick, Massachusetts. She received a personal letter from the Massachusetts Senate President and a Certificate of Recognition from the Massachusetts State Legislation in recognition of her grant from Framingham, Massachusetts. All of this culminated in her receiving the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, for which she appeared in the Wall Street Journal in 2020.
She took a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Machu Picchu, Peru with the Punahou Alumni Association and her travel tale about that expedition is published in the 2021 September/October edition of the Writers and Readers’ Magazine. Additionally, her Peru photography is the editorial feature in the 2021 fall edition of DRIFT Travel magazine. DRIFT Travel is an upscale travel and lifestyle magazine with each issue being emailed to 4+ million digital magazine readers worldwide. Additionally, DRIFT is also part of the PressReader magazine/newspaper digital platform that puts DRIFT in thousands of hotels, cruise ships, resorts and airlines around the world, opening the door to an additional 300 million users annually. Her horror short story, A Cereus Curse, is published in Terror Tract’s Hell-o-Ween 2021 anthology. Kira has never met a story from Greek mythology that she didn’t love and has kept a daily journal since her teens. Dead Cereus is her first novel.
How many hours a day do you write?
Sometimes I can only type for an hour due to my caregiving responsibilities. However, if I manage to find some personal time in the day, I let the story flow and can write up to seven hours in a row. (With food breaks!)
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
I always feel energized after writing. In fact, I tend to want to stay in the imaginary world that I have been living in while I typed. The characters and the setting stay with me very vividly and I definitely need little note pads sprinkled around the house for those new insights and snazzy little details that come to me like a tidal wave. My imagination gets very stimulated by writing and I find it extremely enjoyable.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I place a high value on originality. I definitely want to be a breath of fresh air for readers and I would feel very flattered if they think what I wrote is original and creative.
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
I think we all feel emotions at a different heat setting, if you will. I tend to be very out-going and live largely and that translates to having intense feelings. However, I do have friends who are considerably quieter with a very dry sense of humor, and I love reading their works. I don’t find that their more reserved natures impact the potency of their writing.
How do you select the names of your characters?
For this book, I had an absolute ball naming my characters. My book is set in a greenhouse amid a large college campus with many other gardens. (i.e. butterfly garden, veggie garden, botanical garden, berry garden, herb garden) As such, I thought it would be really cool if everyone had a botanical or plant-based name! The research for this was so much fun and I think that I found botanical names that integrate well with the story and (I hope!) don’t seem too forced. I have gotten tremendous feedback about the cohesiveness about the names and it has proven to be a popular aspect to the book. I included a glossary of names in the back of the book, so people can browse the origins of those special names.
Do you Google yourself?
I do. I also teach art workshops and display my art in various venues and so I am constantly promoting my events in newspapers and in libraries, etc. I then Google myself to grab those links to promote them on my social media pages.
Is writer’s block real?
I do think writer’s block is very real. I tend to get that when I am overloaded with caregiving responsibilities. Then even when I have a free moment, my brain is so over-taxed that nothing creative flows for me. I need some personal space to access the right mind-set to write. When I am not overscheduled and have had some time to myself, the story flows freely. I find walking/hiking/exploring in nature to be my go-to remedy when I feel stuck with writer’s block. Music also helps me. I play piano and I do have my favorite pieces of music to listen to when the creativity is blocked. I find I respond well to virtuosic classical music pieces. I have a large list of favorites that I toggle between depending on my mood. I tend to know myself and can figure out if I need to be energized or inspired and they light a fire under me and the writing gets better by the moment! For my book Dead Cereus, I was obsessed with the Symphonie Espagnole by Edouard Lalo. (the third movement!). Alternatively, some days I turned to Franz Schubert’s Symphony No 9 (fourth movement). Currently, Camille Saint-Saens’ Danse Macabre is doing it for me.
Would you rather read a book or watch television?
This depends. On a daily basis, I would much rather read a book than watch TV. However, after long hours of caregiving, my brain finds television more relaxing.
Are you a feeler or a thinker?
I would have to say both. (And both very intensely.) I think I feel my emotions very strongly and I also must have mental challenges to chew on in my daily life. I think about my goals and my work and I also like to be challenged by other people’s words and ideas. I love stimulating conversations and get very inspired by in-depth interactions with other people.
If asked, what would your friends and family say about you?
Haha, I think many would say I am the most intense person they ever met. I am “all in, all the time”, and I approach most things with the zeal of an Olympic athlete. I did become a national and two-time regional dance champion in my other life as a ballet dancer. That kind of zeal gets you far, though I have to be on the constant look-out for becoming a workaholic. Receiving the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award in November of 2021 has definitely mellowed me somewhat. I feel I can take my foot off the gas pedal now.
Categories: BookView Review Interview