Home > Writing and Poetry > Wednesday Interview: Mikki Sadil

Wednesday Interview: Mikki Sadil

Please welcome our guest, Mikki Sadil, children’s writer, artist, teacher, singer, and all around fascinating person.
 Claudsy: Good morning, Mikki,. You’ve had three previous prominent careers in your life and now you’re writing. Does writing give you the same kind of satisfaction that singing, painting, or horse training did? And why?
Mikki: Not exactly. The love of my life was singing, and I was devastated when I could no longer do it, especially since I had been invited to sing with the San Francisco Metropolitan Opera House. But writing fills a different need, thus a different kind of satisfaction. I’ve always wanted to express my own emotions in some way: singing was the first, but then my painting was also a way to express what I felt and the ways in which I saw the world. Now writing fulfills that need or desire to express myself.
Claudsy: Since you mentioned your painting, do you still paint in your off time?
 Mikki: Yes, but not as much. I’m not one of the creative people who can create in more than one genre at a time. When I’m painting, I will stop in the middle of something and think about how I should have rewritten that last paragraph or how my last bit of dialogue didn’t ring true with the character. When I’m writing, I’ll do the same thing…think about how that last wave just didn’t “splash” the right way, or whatever. So, for me, it’s one or the other. The last painting I did was last Christmas, when I did a landscape as a gift for my daughter, and another on commission for a client. I was taking a break from writing, and once I finished the paintings, I haven’t touched my canvases since. 
 Claudsy: Do you find your writing time being shooed to the side more often than your other responsibilities? If not, how do you manage to keep up with your assigned projects?

Mikki: No, because I have a wonderful husband who takes on a lot of my responsibilities so I can write. He helps with the housework, laundry, marketing, and even does a lot of the cooking. He gives me all the time I need for ICL assignments, and even when I’m “just writing,” he supports me by helping out.

Claudsy: If you had to point fingers, what would you say influences your writing the most, at least on a personal freelance project?

Mikki: Hmm…that’s a hard one. I guess it’s my own desire to create truth in imagination. I’m not sure I can explain that. I don’t write fantasy, so that’s not it. I want to create something…I’ll call it a “world”…in which a child’s imagination can flourish, yet at the same time find a foothold in the truth. As an example, one of my published stories is about a young boy who lives on a horse ranch with his divorced father. He is afraid of horses. During a storm, his father has to leave to find a vet, and the boy must stay in the pasture with a frantic mare and her newborn foal.

What’s going to happen? Will the mare hurt the boy? Will the foal die before his father gets back? Can he do anything to help…or better yet, WILL he do anything to help? There is much room for imagination here, but at the same time, there is truth in the story. Fiction, yes, but a child can decide for him/herself what could or should happen, perhaps even think about what he or she might do in similar circumstances. The end could enlighten or deceive, depending upon what the child thinks or even wants to happen.

Claudsy: That’s an excellent way to think of children’s writing. When you started writing, what was your primary goal for doing so? And, did you achieve it or did it change to something else?

Mikki: When I first started writing “for real,” it was for my own satisfaction…to see if the ideas and images in my mind could transfer successfully to paper, and become a story or a non-fiction work. I did achieve that sense of self-satisfaction, and because of it, my focus changed and I decided to see if I could write well enough to be published. I’ve had some measure of success there, but not yet in terms of a published novel!

Claudsy: You have children. Do you find yourself using them and their exploits as models for stories or as a catalyst for articles?

Mikki: I’ve used my daughter as the focus for a poem I wrote, and her illness as that of a character in my first novel. I do have an incomplete non-fiction article about some of the escapades we both got into when we lived in Spain…some were hilarious, some could have become dangerous. As for my son…well, he was one of these super-smart kids who was…ahem…rather boring as a kid. He never did anything wrong! Not too much story fodder there!

Claudsy: (laughs) I can appreciate the difference. Today’s world is so fast paced and frenetic that everyone seems conflicted over something. How much of this do you allow to mandate your writing schedule?

Mikki: I truly try my best not to let it interfere at all. As far as a schedule is concerned, I’m retired so it’s easier for me to disregard what’s going on in the outside world than it is for a lot of writers. I live in a small Victorian town where the pace of living is much slower than much of the rest of the US, and I just refuse to get involved in small town politics or any of the bigger conflicts that make headlines today.

Claudsy: Could you ever give up writing and why? Or, why not?

Mikki: Yes, I could. I would not be happy about it, but if it became necessary for some reason I could. Why? Because writing is not my life. Writing does not define me as a person. It is what I DO, not what I AM.

Claudsy: Tell me, what’s the one worst frustration in the writing biz that you’ve encountered and would really like to eliminate?

Mikki: That’s easy! The very long wait for a response from a publisher, the fact that today many of them do not respond at all unless they want to see more of your work. It is so frustrating to not know what’s going to happen. If the editor doesn’t like my work, or whatever one of the 1001 reasons they have for rejecting you, that’s fine, but I just wish they would have the courtesy…actually, the time…to let me know before 9 or 12 months have passed !

Claudsy: Donna McDine fingered waiting as the worst, too. What’s the one plum job or project that you’d really like to get your hands on in the writing arena?

 Mikki: Honestly, I can’t think of anything. I’m doing what I love right now. My new novel is an historical Civil War novel, and I guess, upon second thought, that this might be the “plum.” I’ve been fascinated by the Civil War since I was in high school, and have done almost two years of research for this one story. My husband and I even took a barge trip down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to visit several Civil War camps, battlegrounds and Underground Railroad “stations.” I can’t wait to get this one finished…even if it should never be published ( although I truly believe it will) it will always be a source of pride for me.

Claudsy: I wasn’t expecting that answer, but I’ll still ask this question. What project(s) are you working on right now that we can look forward to seeing in the future?

Mikki: See the above! Also, I do have a couple more irons in the fire ( sorry for the cliche’ ). My NaNo story, of course, has much editing and revising to be done, and I have a “kinda” sequel to The Year of the Scream that I’m working on, but with my next novel class beginning soon, my emphasis now will be on the Civil War novel.

Claudsy: I want to thank you, Mikki, for allowing us to visit with you and see your personal take on writing and your life with it. 

Short Personal Biography:
Before Mikki Sadil went to college or teaching or began writing, she enjoyed a singing career, which unfortunately ended prematurely for medical reasons. She moved on to become an artist. After going back to school at the age of 34, Mikki managed, between Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside, to earn a BA, MA, MFA, and PhD and was elected to the Omega Nu Tau and Alpha Gamma scholarship societies.. The university did publish her dissertation, as well. She moved on and taught university level Statistics and Research Methodology (20 years) while working concurrently as a horse trainer (25 years). Her husband, two children and three grandchildren keep Mikki busy when she’s not at the keyboard or easel.
Mikki has published a book of haiku, and been published in ODYSSEY and Stories For Children magazines. Her book “The Year of the Scream” is making the rounds of agents and publishers looking for a home. Her writer’s blog, complete with tips, can be seen at: www.mikki-wordpainter.blogspot.com/
Tomorrow, of course, I will do a commentary on something from this interview. I hope all will stop by, if for no other reason than to see if I fall on my face. I’ve been feeling decidedly off-balance lately, So do, please, drop by. On Friday, Lynn (Zebrakitchen) Benis will take a shot at the visitor’s chair. It looks to be an equally lively and candid Q & A.
Until then, a bientot,
Categories: Writing and Poetry
  1. January 13, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Fascinating interview. I especially enjoyed reading about writing is what Mikki does and not who she is. Lovely not to be defined by one area.

    Best wishes,

    • claudsy
      January 13, 2010 at 3:06 pm

      Thank you so much, Donna. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  2. January 13, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Wow! Mikki, that is one remarkable background. You must have several brains in your head to hold so much knowledge.

    I love that you and your husband took a trip to know, first-hand, the emotions and activities of the Civil War and the workings of the Underground Railroad. Not many people would have thought to do that. Do you have plans for creating a memoir of the experience for publication? Thanks for sharing your experiences as not only a writer, but your other interests and talents, as well.


    I am sooo enjoying the opportunity you’ve created for getting to know some of our favorite writers. Mikki’s life has been so full that I don’t know how she manages to find time for those less-obvious necessities… like breathing. haha. Thank you both for a very interesting afternoon of learning.

    ~ Yaya
    Yaya’s Changing World

  3. Colorado Kate
    January 15, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Mikki, a book of haiku… you’ve been holding out on us! Congratulations!

  4. Marie Elena
    January 17, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    First, an “amen” to Kate’s comment: A book of haiku, Mikki? Do tell! 😉

    What a fascinating life you’ve led. I see bits and pieces, of course, at the Writers Retreat, but I had no idea of just how vast are your accomplishments. Quite impressive!

    Thank you, Clauds, for choosing another interesting guest.

  1. January 4, 2020 at 3:24 pm

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