Reading with a Writer’s Eye: Clues on Craft (for Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market 2013)

Chapter in Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market 2013 (Writer’s Digest Books) by Tania Casselle.

“What’s your best tip for new writers?” That’s a question I’ve asked more than 50 authors in radio interviews, and they’re often quick to reply: “Read! Read a lot. Read with a writer’s eye.”

It’s advice that newer writers sometimes take with a grain of salt, perhaps suspecting that those already on the publishing ladder are just trying to sell more books. And even if we do take their advice, what does it mean to read with a writer’s eye? We don’t want to sound like someone else, we have our own voice and style. So how can reading other people’s work practically help with our own writing?

Chapter includes interviews with authors Pam Houston, Lisa Tucker, John Dufresne, John Nichols, Robin Romm, Tara Ison, Don Waters, Robert Wilder.

Tasty Traditions

Tasty Traditions
Book review and author profile by Tania Casselle

Potica bread, latkes, and beef stewed in Coke. Perhaps not the first dishes that spring to mind when you think about New Mexican food, but author Sharon Niederman knows better. She shares the story behind her new book New Mexico’s Tasty Traditions: Recollections, Recipes and Photos.

The people she meets would probably not describe themselves as foodies. They’re just regular folk who eat well, whether in neighborhood diners, at a ranch cookout, or by following time-honored recipes handed down in the family.

Read the full Tasty Traditions feature for Local Flavor magazine, February 2011.

Artisan Farmers: On the Road in Farm Country

Artisan Farmers: On the Road in Farm Country

Take one food producer and farming specialist: Lisa Fox of Southwest Chutney. Add one writer: Richard Harris, author of 41 books, most of them travel guides. Stir, blend, and send them out to tell the story of New Mexico’s farmers. The resulting dish was the book Artisan Farming: Lessons, Lore, and Recipes.

But perhaps the most interesting part of this recipe is hearing these two authors from very different backgrounds talk about what they learned on the road. Read the full Artisan Farmers article for Local Flavor magazine, May 2010.

Fishing the Southwest

What’s Around the Next Bend?
Fishing the Southwest with fly fisherman Taylor Streit, a Legendary Guide in the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame.

“I always liked to fish, Streit says. “It’s a good way to get out of the house. The American male, at least in the generation I came from, is not licensed to go outside without some sort of instrument in your hands. You can’t just be a nature boy. You’ve gotta have a gun or a fishing rod.”

Full story at Local Flavor. This profile won the New Mexico Press Women’s 2011 Award for a Personality Profile.

Contemporary Native American Artists

Through the Photographer’s Eye:
Interview with photographer Kitty Leaken
by Tania Casselle

You’ve probably already seen the work of photographer Kitty Leaken, in magazines and in books including Cooking with Cafe Pasqual’s and Cooking with Johnny Vee.

When publisher Gibbs Smith asked her if she had any other book ideas, Leaken most certainly did. The result is Contemporary Native American Artists, with photography by Leaken and words by Suzanne Deats. It’s a colorful slab of a book, showcasing 18 outstanding artists, and portraying the artists’ work, the artists at work, and sometimes the artists at play. On a first flick through, you register that the production is gorgeous and the photography vibrant and powerful. But unlike so many lavish coffee table books that become a part of the furniture after an initial read (at least in my house) this one draws you back, draws you deeper, revealing new layers in the intimate visual and written portraits.

→ Full Clip of interview with Kitty Leaken about the making of Contemporary Native American Artists. For Local Flavor magazine, August 2012.

From Monkey Mind to Wild Mind with Natalie Goldberg

From Monkey Mind to Wild Mind
Interview with Natalie Goldberg by Tania Casselle for UK magazine Mslexia.

Just as a writer sits down to face a white page, so the Zen master must sit on a meditation cushion and face a white wall – hour after hour, day after day. Both are tormented by the chatter of Monkey Mind. For writers, there’s a lesson to be learned from the Zen way of taming the monkey…   Author Natalie Goldberg (Writing Down the Bones) tells us how.

“In our society we all have this great need to be productive,” says Goldberg. “Writing practice can be very frightening because I’m asking people to step into the emptiness of their own mind, with no project. That’s the landscape of the writer, understanding the mind.”

Feature for Mslexia magazine including interview with Natalie Goldberg and advice for writers.

Writers on Radio: Award-Winning Author Interviews

Casselle interviews poet
Sam Taylor.
Photo by Robin Collier of Cultural Energy

Writers on Radio Hosted by Tania Casselle

Tania Casselle was the host of Writers on Radio for five years, a literary chat show broadcast in New Mexico/ Colorado on NPR-affiliate KRZA, and syndicated to stations including KTAO, KVOT, KUNM and KLDK.  Writers on Radio was sponsored by SOMOS and produced by Cultural Energy.

Casselle interviewed 60+ authors and poets for radio including Pam Houston, Natalie Goldberg, John Nichols, Antonya Nelson, John DuFresne, Tara Ison, Lisa Tucker, Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, Levi Romero, Robert Westbrook, Miriam Sagan, Dana Levin, Don Waters, Robin Romm, Matt Donovan, Rick Collignon, Mirabai Starr, Judith Arcana, Eliezer Sobel, Judyth Hill, Heather King, Barbara Waters, Mark Scott, Anya Achtenberg, Katie Kingston, Lara Santoro, and many others.

She won the National Federation of Press Women Communications Contest 2010 for Radio Interviews, for her interview with best-selling author Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez broadcast on KRZA & KTAO.

Casselle also won the New Mexico Press Women’s Communications Awards 2009 for Radio Interviews, for her program with bilingual poet Levi Romero on KRZA, KTAO, and KLDK.  In the same year she was awarded 2nd place for her interview with novelist Frances Washburn discussing readers’ expectations of Native writers, and an Honorable Mention for her interview with author John Nichols.

Tania Casselle’s radio interviews are archived on the web by producers Cultural Energy for listeners all over the world.

 

Movie Director Chris Eyre Exposes the Heart and Muscle beneath ‘Skins’

Movie fans awaiting the follow-up to director Chris Eyre’s hit feature Smoke Signals will not be disappointed by Skins. Filmed on location at the Pine Ridge Reservation, Skins tells the story of Rudy Yellow Lodge (Eric Schweig), a reservation cop whose job includes regular encounters with his unruly but endearing brother Mogie (Graham Greene). The climax of Skins presents a breathtaking moment of defiance at Mount Rushmore, involving a one-on-one showdown between Rudy Yellow Lodge and George Washington.

“Skins is a very patriotic movie,” says Chris Eyre. “Rudy as a trickster is making a statement. He’s counting coup. Patriotism isn’t about waving a flag. It’s about exercising your right to challenge, to question and improve and to open up dialogues about ways to make this country better.”

Read my full interview with Chris Eyre for Indian Country Today.

Confessions of an Author: David Naylor on Design (for Local Flavor)

Confessions of an Author: David Naylor on Design – cover story by Tania Casselle for Local Flavor magazine, March 09 issue.

Interior designer David Naylor played hard to get for nearly two years before agreeing to write his book Old World Interiors: A Modern Interpretation. Mainly because the book that publisher Gibbs Smith wanted from him wasn’t the book Naylor wanted to write.

Read the full David Naylor on Design story in PDF.