Here’s part one of an interview with Sheree Nielsen, freelance writer and blogger. She’s written for several publications, and frequently can be seen riding around town with her Doggle-wearing Australian shepherd, Sabrina!
1) When did you become a writer, and what do you write?I suppose I had the desire to become a writer as early as nine or ten years old. Back then, I wrote poetry. I stopped writing for awhile, but picked up the pen again about eleven years ago after a life-changing event.
Some of my freelance contracts include architectural tributes, travel stories, food reviews, fun things to do in the area, historical and sporting events, inspiring people, and even a series of articles on local gardeners and their gardens. I am constantly challenged by my assignments.
Just for me, I write inspirational essays and poems about scuba diving, beach adventures, amazing animals, my family and church.
2) Your company, Ocean Spirit Photography, http://www.oceanspiritphoto.com features beautiful images you have taken in your travels. How does being a photographer help your writing?
I think the two go hand-in-hand. I can’t imagine doing one without the other.
What color was the sand before sunset? What did the seagull’s wings look like before landing? How did the dolphin’s body feel as I skimmed my hand across its side? Pictures tell a story and the images re-create colorful details.
Last fall I taught a workshop to veterans with PTSD at Jefferson Barracks VA Hospital that touched on the importance of photography in writing. In one of the exercises, I used a picture to prompt the veteran’s creativity. At the end of the afternoon, they walked away with an essay or a poem they could polish in their own time.
3) Your spirituality is evident, is that the source of your creativity?
Yes, my spirituality plays a part in my writing. Something deep within me changed creatively when I put my faith in God’s hands. This may sound cliché, but I feel that everything happens for a reason. There are no coincidences in life. Instead, I say, “It’s a God Thing.” We’re all connected to each other in this world, and it’s our job to pay it forward.
Everything seems fresh in the world around me. The ocean, birds, trees, our pets, friends and family are the source, as well as the fuel, of my creativity. An admitted treehugger, nature’s splendor cast a spell on me. I’m mesmerized by dragonflies, and even take crickets and spiders outside if they get in the house.
4) Who is your favorite writer and why?
Boy, that’s a hard question. I suppose I have more than one. Looking at my bookshelf of favorite reads in my guest room, a few authors come to mind. In fiction, I suppose I love it when a character is vulnerable and complex. In non-fiction, a writer’s inspirational quality, honesty and openness come to mind.
Harper Lee, for her portrayal of life and racism in the South in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Scout is one of my favorite characters of all time.
Garth Stein. His novel told from the viewpoint of the dog in “The Art of Racing the Rain” is one of my top five reads. I ran through so many emotions while reading this book – laughter, sadness, surprise, joy, and more.
And I’m a sucker for beach reads. I love Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s honesty and openness in her memoir “A Gift from the Sea” and the magnetic pull the beach and the ocean played in her life. Also, author Karen White has a way of linking the past with present in her “beachy” romance/mysteries.
Stay tuned! Part two will be posted by Thursday.
A Missouri Writer’s Guild and Columbia Chapter of Missouri Writer’s Guild member, she’s served as Membership Chair, Photographer and Publicity Chair for Saturday Writers. Publications include: Not Your Mother’s Book on Travel, AAA Southern Traveler, AAA Midwest Traveler, Winghaven Life, The Abaconian, The Eleutheran, Missouri Life, AOL/Patch.com, Whispering Angel Books Nurturing Paws Anthology, Storyteller, C.H.A.M.P. Assistance Dogs, Cuivre River Anthology IV and V, Folly Current, St. Charles and Monroe County Suburban Journals, among others.