Why is writing important to you and why do you think it's an important medium for the world? I've been in love with books from the moment I learned how to read. I also started writing from a very early age. I can't imagine doing anything else. For me, creativity is everything - and writing is my means of creativity. Writing stimulates people's minds and makes them think. Whether the work is fiction or nonfiction, it can give people a new perspective and allow them to walk in someone else's shoes. It can promote understanding and impart knowledge. And it can entertain. That's quite an achievement for a single medium!
What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer's block? To be honest, writers' block is the least of my problems! What I suffer from is time block. Authors have to wear so many hats these days, often doing the jobs of several people - and that takes a lot of time away from creating any actual content. So for me, getting new ideas isn't an issue. Having said that, I find that when I want to get into the "writing mood," I will preface it by reading some books. That always seems to have a Pavlovian effect on me. I'll just read one after the other, like binge-reading. It works every time!
What is your favorite time to write? I used to be a night owl with my writing. But now I prefer to write in the afternoon. Ideally, I'd like to get to the point where I can start in the morning after my first cup of tea, but there is always so much business to take care of and emails to attend to.
What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Offhand, I can't think of any specific piece of advice that I've ever been given, and I wasn't likely to take it anyway! I'm one of those people who has always followed her own rules and advice. I would suggest that writers be their own harshest critics, if they aren't already. That's not meant to discourage writers from having their work seen by others. It's more so meant to make sure that the work is the best it can be before it's seen. One thing I've always advised writers and students who attended my writing courses - focus on developing your own voice. It's the one thing that makes you unique. So use it.
What excites you most about being a writer in today's age? The most exciting aspect is the more widespread distribution of books thanks to digital editions. Although print books can and do get distributed to other countries outside of the country in which they are published, it's not always practical or affordable for publishers, especially smaller ones, to distribute books as widely as an author might hope for. But with digital books, readers in countries that wouldn't normally get shipped print books now have another option available to them. So that means more readers buying your books, which is always good!
Mitzi Szereto's The Best New True Crime Stories: Crimes of Passion, Obsession & Revenge is out now with Mango.