Friday, May 10, 2013


Author bio:
Lena Winfrey Seder, currently a resident of Florida, holds a MA degree in English Literature from VA Tech University. She is a former English teacher, a freelance writer, and a film enthusiast. Mother of three sons and one daughter, she spends time volunteering at her kids’ school.  She has lived and travelled abroad to Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. She enjoys tae kwondo, reading, and learning languages.

Brief synopsis of your book:
The Metamorphosis of a Muslim is an autobiography that follows the life and spiritual quest of Lena Winfrey Seder as she travelled the world and came into contact with various cultures, religions and languages.  She relates her story as if having a conversation over coffee and gives the reader many fun anecdotes throughout the book.

Book title:

The Metamorphosis of a Muslim

Current book or project you’re working on:
Lately, I have been writing more fiction and I write in all genres from poetry to short stories and even screenplays. My current paranormal novel is entitled, Between Bite and Might from the Clara Walker Series (a trilogy is planned).

What was the inspiration for your novel?
One day I remembered my hometown and the mountains I grew up in, and I started creating a story in my mind based on various paranormal creatures.
The story just kind of developed itself. I wanted to do something unique; I wanted to create a complex and interesting story while adding various elements from the mountain culture as well as making research on Native American beliefs and traditions that could be added into the story, in particular dealing with shape shifters. I imagined a love story and wanted to recapture the love that the two main characters used to have. Many obstacles impeded their way, and I wanted to have them fight for their love and defeat their obstacles.

Please share three interesting facts about your book which are not covered in the synopsis.
1) There are werewolves, shape shifters, vampires and a good witch
2) There is a love triangle
3) Old Widow Clark has a very interesting cat (or familiar) with a personality

Who is the most complex character from your current novel?
This is almost a tie between Clara and David. Clara returns almost unwillingly to her hometown, as she has both good and bad memories. She is drawn to it for one good reason, an old love. David is a hero who has a lot of secrets and has had to sacrifice years of happiness because of it.

Are there any characters in your book that remind you of yourself?
Clara, though having her own distinct character, has some characteristics like me.

If you could pick any well known or famous author to review your book who would you pick and why?
Anne Rice. I really enjoyed several of her novels, and I really loved Wolf Gift. It would feel honored if she actually read and enjoyed my novel. And probably I would be nervous while waiting for her review...holding my breath in anticipation of what she would say.

What genre does your book fall into?
Paranormal romance.

What is the first book you remember reading that affected how you thought or felt about something?
Black Stallion, which made me love horses more.

Which three authors have inspired you the most, and why?
1) Ernest Hemingway, as he writes complex ideas in a simple way.
2) Jane Austen; I love all of her novels.
3) Anne Rice; I really loved the way she got deep into the characters, especially Wolf Gift, and I loved her genealogy for the werewolves. She was very original and unique.
If I could add a fourth it would be Janet Evanovich, as I love her humour and the characters in her stories.
If I could add Indies to this list, I would say I’m inspired by the writing skills, abilities and original ideas as well as great dialogue coming from authors Norma Beishir and Cyn Bagley.

Have you ever read a book you couldn’t finish reading?
Moby Dick, which when I was in high school was a bit heavy and hard for me to get into though I read all of Melville’s novel called Billy Budd (which I had to for class anyway).

Do you read a book, while you are writing a book?
Of course. I read and write at the same time all the time. I just try not to read and write the same genre at the same time. If I’m reading a thriller then I might write a comedy or vice versa. Or if writing a paranormal I would read a biography. I actually enjoy reading biographies.

The process:

How many books have you written? Which book is your favourite and why?
I have published one novel that I have written; however, I have written completely at least three novels. One was a long time ago, a horror, and I thought it was terrible and scratched it. The other is my current paranormal, and I am actually planning a thriller/science fiction type novel in the near future that is based on a flash fiction story I have written.

Is there anything that helps get you in the mood to write?
Sometimes peace and quiet will spawn some ideas. Other times relaxing with a film or some music might spark ideas for stories. And I like to sit in an open, well-lit, comfortable place where I can relax and let the story flow. Coffee and chocolate helps, too!

What were three challenges you faced when writing your book?
1) It was started originally as a novella, but the story kept growing until I could envision it as a complete novel and even continuing as a trilogy. I have already written down skeleton outlines for books two and three of the Clara Walker Series.
2) Creating a new type of paranormal creature. I finally came up with an interesting hybrid.
3) Implementing various mountain accents to fit the area the story takes place in.

What lessons have you learned as an aspiring writer?
Never give up and that success doesn’t happen overnight. Also, if you keep pushing forward, even if slowly, eventually you will reach your goal. And always continuously learn and build your skills and knowledge; never think you know everything. We can always learn something new about writing or marketing.

Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so what helps you to ‘overcome’?
Occasionally, though not really. I always have ideas flying in my head.  If I take a walk, listen to music, pick up another book to read, or go work on a different project, then eventually I will find my voice again. I just need to take a break, back off, relax and then I can restart. I seem to find myself again.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned, either in the self-publishing or traditional publisher, route?
The most important aspect of being a writer is to actually spend the time writing a good piece. Yes, marketing is very important and it is difficult, but if you don’t have a good ‘product’ then it won’t go far. Concentration should be spent most on writing and editing. Once it is done, then more attention can go to marketing, though before a book is reading we need to introduce the idea and build some hype for it. We want readers to anticipate it. We see this done every day when movies are announced before their release. The goal is to hook the movie goer and the reader.

How long does it usually take for you to complete a book?
This depends on what type of book it is and how well it is flowing. It can vary, but if I’m given enough time to spend on my novel daily I can get one out in a month or two, at least the rough draft. Editing and rewriting takes longer.

Do you have any ideas for your book and Hollywood? Actors, directors, music.
Actors: I am not sure who I want to portray Clara. However, I could see Jensen Ackles (Dean from Supernatural) as David and Ian Somerhaulder (Damon from Vampire Diaries) as James.
Directors: I am undecided.
Music: I want a style that matches Evanescence, Black Veiled Brides and Green Day (especially from the song ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’). But I’m open to music. I want to get the movie together and then experiment, as I might change my mind as it is coming together.
Setting: I would love to go back to my hometown of Bluefield and film in that area.

Which book to movie conversion is your favourite?
I usually enjoy the book more than the movie, but I suppose Hunger Games was well adapted to the screen. I liked the actors, the setting and so forth. The only issue is that I would have chosen different music for Hunger Games. I have watched it at least three or four times with my kids and still enjoy it.
Also, the Harry Potter books seem to have translated very well to film. My kids and I enjoy them; we have read the books and scene all the movies of Harry Potter together.

Do you watch a lot of science fiction or fantasy movies?
Yes, quite a bit. Everything from Lord of the Rings to the series Merlin. We enjoyed Stargate. One favourite is Avatar.

Do you study science, the planets, history or anything special to help you with your writing?
It depends on what I am writing. If I need research, then I will make it. I have looked up scientific machines, some planet information and various aspects of history for my writings. Currently, I am studying Cherokee Indians and their culture as well as Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountain culture, particularly foods and some legends. Not sure I will use it all, but it is better to get too much info and then sift through it to find what I need to use.

What, who, and when were you first inspired you to write?
I have always enjoyed stories and reading since I was a child. I really started around the age of eight to write short stories with illustrations. I wrote poetry and a series with a friend in high school. In university I began a novel and was writing a lot of short stories. I even used to write song lyrics.
My greatest inspirations in writing were: my 11th and 12th grade English and drama teacher Mrs. Kensinger, my friend Donna who was a grade ahead of me but passed away at a young age (she was an amazing poet and writer) and my English Professor Dr. Massey, who encouraged me to go get my Master’s degree. He told me I had a gift for writing dialogue, and he believed in me.

Personal favs:
Drink – Mango and watermelon juice, though I tend to mostly drink a lot of water. For hot drinks, I love coffee!
Food – Shrimp and salmon with rice and anything chocolate, especially dark chocolate.
Vacation – Anywhere I can get peace and quiet. Maybe Hawaii or some tropical island.
TV show – Supernatural and Merlin
Movie – Too many to choose from. The Avengers, Avatar, The Departed, The Vow and so forth.
Animal – Parrot (I used to have one while living in Ghana)
Sport – Tae kwondo or volleyball
Book – Hard to choose one. Anything by Ernest Hemingway or Jane Austen. Maybe Janet Evanovich’s Wicked Business.

How can people connect with you?
Twitter: not yet on twitter, though maybe someday.

Where can readers find your book? 

The Metamorphosis of a Muslim:

Two of my poems in an anthology called Hope Springs a Turtle (a charity collection) available in the US, UK and other places:
Ebook for Kindle in US:

Paperback in US via Amazon:

And soon I hope to have my humorous science-fiction short story Evolution or Revolution up as an ebook on Amazon; just working on the cover now. 


  1. Great interview. It's always fun to learn something new about an author.

  2. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect! If you would like, follow me back

  3. Did you know you can create short links with Shortest and make money for every click on your short urls.