Lady Capers (Author Interview)




Lady Capers looks like a great short collection.  How many stories are included?
Thank you.  I hope readers enjoy it.  Lady Capers is a trilogy of three unique women.  I wanted each story to provide the reader with a break from their daily trials, but not be so large that the manuscript feels like a homework assignment.  What adult wants to do homework after a long day at work?  Three stories made sense and interior designers say to group objects in odd numbers.


How did you come up with the stories in the book and any plans for a series of shorts?  
Each story was created as a single, stand alone story at first.  While they don’t contain actual historic events or people from real life, there are small pieces of myself in each story.  For instance, Mary Jane smacks her head on the freezer door handle while looking for the Thousand Island dressing.  Honestly, I’ve never had the dressing as I’m allergic to eggs, but I did once bang my head looking for leftover tacos.  With Emily, she receives a notice for jury duty.  When I received one after voting in a primary election, my imagination went a little wild and created her world.  And, yes, I called in for that jury duty, but never had to report.  Lastly, with Anne, when she is waiting for Alexandre to pause his work, I mention Anne’s leg pain due to being crammed in the womb a little tight.  I still cannot sit on my legs today as I think my c-section was a week late too and I was also out of real estate in the womb.

Funny you should mention plans.  Mary Jane Keller is by far the most memorable character I’ve written.  She goes from social butterfly to worrier to needing a tranquilizer in less than five minutes flat.  There are so many stories and novels in my future plans.  Mary Jane just might get her own book.



Do the stories follow a specific theme or do they all stand on their own?
I wrote each woman to stand on her own right and to be the “every woman” you might meet at the hairdresser or the library.  The older I get, the more I see stories and tales in our daily lives.  In society, we have such an emphasis on the epic, the extraordinary, the larger than life, but I see an interesting story in the woman who rides the same bus one hour each way to work and back while planning a business in her head as the bus makes stop after stop. 


What inspired you when writing Lady Capers?   
This was really a two-part motivation/inspiration. The first is my desire to share my writing and to challenge myself with a publishing project unlike any other I’ve been involved in thus far.  Just as Mary Jane, Emily, and Anne had life get in their way, life has delayed my writing career at various points.  Lady Capers was on my to-do list in 2019 and the year just did not set-up for me.  In September of 2019, I had a conversation that change everything; it refocused and empowered me to go after what my heart and soul truly desires and not what society or those around me thought I should do or be at age 43. 

My second motivation is my parents.  I wanted to be able to share this special project with them and particularly, my dad.  I picked an eBook (Kindle) format for Lady Capers and bought them a Kindle Fire of their own to view Lady Capers.  They have always been supportive of my writing and Dad is very excited about this project.


When did you decide to become a writer?
Well, I think it chose me. I recall being three or four years old lying in bed at night thinking of stories.  I would take films and television shows and try to rewrite them in my head to make them “better”—I guess I had moxie as a preschooler.  Then in 1985, my parent took us to see Jewel of the Nile, the sequel to Romancing the Stone.  Kathleen Turner played a romance novelist named Joan Wilder.  Seeing the sequel and then later, the first movie was like turning on a spot light in a pitch-black stadium.  I still remember Mom fixing dinner in the kitchen and I just had to ask her what the age requirements were to be a writer.  I was nine at the time.


When writing Lady Capers did anything stand out as particularly challenging?  
My biggest challenge was finding time to work on it and slowing myself down to really focus on each, individual story.  I wanted to share these three women with the world.  My stories are my children and I wanted them to be prepared and the best I could make them before I released them.  Previously, I’d taken a traditional route in publishing.  I used to have a roll of stamps and a big box of envelops.  I’d type up a SASE to include with my submission and track all my writing projects in a chart.  That’s simply how it was before the internet really got going.  I’ve been sending out my writing for close to 30 years now.  Working on a self-published project or even considering an eBook was not something I contemplated.  But times change and I realized it was not a road block, but a new opportunity to share my characters with the world.


What do you like to do when not writing?
Well, I have a slight habit of being interested in so many things it can be difficult to focus.  I grew up cooking and I prepare dinner every night at home, unless we’re on a trip.  Gardening and houseplants have always been a favorite of mine.  I’ve grown my own herbal teas and enough zucchini to donate.  Of course, reading is a big part of my downtime and I try very hard to read a variety of genres and authors each year.  I picked up a National Parks passport book in 2009 and have been collecting cancellation stamps ever since (including Yellowstone, Glacier, and Mount Saint Helens).  I still want to learn to snow board, be a volunteer lighthouse keeper one summer, and get back to yoga and Pilates again.


Where can readers find out more about your work?
I have a website at NinaSzudzik.com with additional background and information.  I’ll be updating it periodically after Lady Capers with the status of my next project, my debut novel.  I’m still in the early stages and don’t want to give away too much, but the protagonist will be another unique woman, but totally separate from Mary Jane, Emily, and Anne.  The novel will be a blend of historical and fantasy fiction.  The plot has been in development for years and I’m ready to dive in and share this tale. 

You can also find me on Twitter under https://twitter.com/NinaSzudzik where I check in on the writing community and share a picture or two of my latest kitchen creation.



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