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Musings & Meanderings: Max Seeck speaks about ghosts of one’s past; writing as a calling, sharing your traumatic life stories, bending time, SINKHOLE, ‘Clinics of the Past,’ exciting books of 2023

By Leslie Lindsay

A curated newsletter on the literary life, featuring ‘4 questions,’ reading & listening recommendations, where to submit, more

Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book


Hello 2023, Friends!

Sometimes it’s daunting to write. If it’s your life story, or something of equal weight and power, it might be really hard. What if there’s trauma? I guarantee there’s trauma. I recently heard this phrase, ‘nested in trauma,’ and I found that so evocative. The idea is that all story–and all life–is somehow bookended and infused with trauma. Also? The degree of trauma is subjective.

Back to writing.

It’s hard to back away from a story you’re compelled to share. I know, I’ve been there. I’m there right now. It’s feels like a calling, but I also wonder: is it stupid? Will anyone else care?

It’s terrifying and joyful and challenging. It’s creative and vulnerable.

What if you hurt someone you care about?

What if you open too many cans of worms?

What if it’s too traumatic to relive the past? You certainly don’t want to invite more pain and heartache, right?

And also? It’s overwhelming.

For me, it’s a calling. I tried setting this manuscript aside. I told others it was dead, done, gone; it was not going to be published. Ever. In any form.

Here’s the thing: I can’t not share this story.

I can’t not stop thinking about it, making connections in my daily life, and I cannot stop being obsessing with houses and homes, families, memory, architecture, art, and mental health. It’s just part of me.

The call to turn and face your story is a universal one. It’s part of how you’re hardwired, your legacy. It doesn’t mean you have to do it all at once, or even alone.

Just do a little each day.

Maybe it’s not even writing, but reading. Sometimes I ‘count’ my ‘touch it daily’ goal as just reading about interiors and homes. Sometimes it might look like culling through old photos or doing a little research into a topic. A Google search counts!

Tell me what you’re doing to propel your writing?

Respond here in a comment, or find me on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook.


~Leslie : )

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This issue of ‘Musings & Meanderings is full of insights, ideas, and more, including a quick Author Insight from Finish thriller writer, Max Seeck, some of 2023’s biggest books, according to lists put out by Penguin Random House (PRH), my interviews with various authors, including Gayle Brandeis, Juliet Patterson, Kristin Keane, Kathryn Gahl, and also an illustrated review in DIAGRAM.

Check it all out! Let me know what ‘speaks’ to you. I’m glad you’re here.

By the way, I do not get any ‘kick-backs’ or other kind of payment (in-kind, or otherwise) for mentioning these classes/workshops/books/individuals. Sharing because if helps me, maybe it’ll speak to you, too.

New! Featured Author|Insights

Max Seeck


Image designed & photographed by L.Lindsay

While her colleagues investigate the brutal murder of a prominent businessman, Jessica Niemi must battle demons from her past in this terrifying new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Witch Hunter.

Leslie Lindsay:

Without responding in complete sentences, what would you say THE LAST GRUDGE is about?

Max Seeck:

Not sure if I understand this question right – do you mean something like summarizing the novel in one or two words? Then it would be maybe… painful memories.

Leslie Lindsay:

Where did you write THE LAST GRUDGE? Do you have any special writing routines or rituals? Do they change with each project, or remain constant over time?

Max Seeck:

I do have an office downtown Helsinki where I do 90% of my writing. I don’t find it convenient to write elsewhere – here I got my own peace and inspiring environment. Also since I have two young kids at home it would be nearly impossible to do anything creative there.

Leslie Lindsay:

If you weren’t writing, you would be…

Max Seeck:

I always wanted to be a professional ice hockey player but I never was any good. I also wanted to become a film maker – a dream that has in fact now come true since my debut feature film (THE KNOCKING) is premiering in cinemas in February 2023.

Leslie Lindsay:

What book did you recently read that you can’t stop thinking about?

Max Seeck:

I just finished reading the Finnish author Maria Turtschaninoff’s SUOMAA, which was an amazing episodic description of people living in Finland during the centuries. A truly magnificent book that is now being translated to several languages

About the author

International and New York Times bestselling author Max Seeck writes novels and screenplays full-time. He lives with his wife and children near Helsinki.

Find him online at www.maxseeck.com/books; Twitter: @maxseeck; Instagram: @maxseeck; and Facebook.com/maxseeck.

You can shop for THE LAST GRUDGE by visiting my Bookshop.org storefront. Browse all the books I’m interested in reading in 2023.

More Reading Recommendations:

  • Curious what PRH is predicting will be BIG literary fiction in 2023? Check out their LIST.
  • More into nonfiction? Biography, Memoir Science? Check out THIS list.
  • Maybe BOOK CLUB fiction is more your speed?
  • P.S. I’ve definitely added a few of these to my lists=! Check back here to see who might appear on Insights | Musings & Meanderings
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Some Recently Published Interviews, Prose, Etc.:

  • Y’all, I am super-excited about this illustrated review in DIAGRAM, which has sorta been like a dream place of mine to get work published. It’s a beautiful melding of all things that bring me joy: fonts, words, ideas, art, books, and the human body. I mean…the only obsessions missing for me is architecture, travel, nature, and basset hounds. Check it out and the book, YOUR HEARTS, YOUR SCARS: Essays by the late Adina Talve-Goodman (Bellevue Literary Press, Jan 24 2023), which happens to be a Powell’s pick for January.
My illustrated review of YOUR HEARTS YOUR SCARS (Bellevue Literary Press, Jan 24 2023) as it appears in DIAGRAM 22.6
  • Kathryn Gahl in conversation with me about her poetic memoir, THE YELLOW TOOTHBRUSH (Two Shrews Press, September 2022), about her incarcerated daughter, perinatal mood disorder, more in MER, November 28, 2022.
  • Sarah Fawn Montgomery’s HALFWAY FROM HOME (Split/Lip Press, Nov 8) in Hippocampus Magazine, about her working-class unconventional childhood in California, moving across the country to pursue writing, home, displacement, and so much more November 13, 2022.
  • A conversation-in-review with the EIC of Salon, Erin Keane, about her memoir, RUNAWAY: Notes on the Myths that Made Me (Belt Publishing, September, 2022), in Autofocus Literary, November 12, 2022.
  • A conversation with Sheila O’Connor about elegantly exploring the nonlinear, (a total obsession of mine), in her EVIDENCE OF V: A Novel in Fragments, Facts, Fictions (Rose Metal Press, 2019), in Fractured Literary, October 25, 2022
  • A review-in-dialogue with Su Cho about her debut book of poetry, THE SYMMETRY OF FISH (Penguin Poets, October 2022) in The Cincinnati Review, November 1 2022.
  • Prose in SEPIA Journal Oct/Nov 2022 issue. Interiors is about an Appalachian family, black bottom pie, trains, and ear aches. It was inspired by my own family lore, and also: this journal is STUNNING!
Photo by Leslie Lindsay

Coming soon:

  • A photo essay in On the Seawall featuring miniatures, houses, and a family besieged by mental illness.
  • A prose piece in Heimat Review, which is sort of a love letter to my late grandfather, my newlywed days, and an old house.
  • A a hybrid flash non-fiction piece about the mysteries of ancestry in ELJ Editions Scissors & Spackle.
  • A conversation-in-review with Nicole McCarthy on her genre-defying A SUMMONING (Heavy Feather Review, September 2022) to appear in CRAFT Literary in 2023.
  • A conversation-in-review with Jamila Minnicks, on her PEN/Bellwether Prize-winning debut, MOONRISE OVER NEW JESSUP (Algonquin Books, January 10, 2023) to appear in The Rumpus.
  • Tanya Frank’s ZIG-ZAG BOY: A Memoir of Motherhood & Madness (W.W. Norton, Feb 28 2023), a review and conversation to appear in Hippocampus Magazine, spring 2023.
  • A review-in-conversation with Gayle Brandeis, DRAWING BREATH: Essays on the Body, Writing, & Loss (Overcup Press, February 2023)

I’ll be sharing my published interviews here, after they’ve ‘gone live’ with their various publications.

There’s more to this newsletter. Keep scrolling.

Photo by Diahann Addison on Pexels.com

What’s Obsessing Me:

  • Houses and homes, but you know…they always do! I just heard something about Clinics of the Past and I can’t stop thinking about this concept of creating old towns or homes from eras past to help people diagnosed with dementia. Pretty cool, right? [this idea is largely drawn from the imagination and writings of Georgi Gospodinov, as interviewed by David Naimon on the Between the Covers podcast.]
  • You might also like this one, as mentioned in the San Diego Union-Tribune.
  • [Grateful to David Naimon for sharing these with me]
  • Crumbl Cookies...I mean, yum! They really have nailed their buttercream icing.
  • Story as shelter. Time as place. Memory as a palace.
  • A Man Called Otto/Ove. I’m a little obsessed by the way the title shifted a bit from book to movie, and also, my hubby and I recently played hooky one weekday to see the movie…and swooning! Have you seen it yet?
  • Clutter. Clearing it. Why we have it in the first place.

You are reading Musings & Meanderings, a consistently inconsistent weekly newsletter about the literary life from Leslie Lindsay, and home of an archive of bestselling and debut author interviews. I’m also on twitter and instagram. I try to answer comments as best I canFeel free to find my book suggestions on bookshop.org, and also check out the authors I’ve hosted in in-depth interviews HERE.

In the meantime, catch me on:

Reviewing books and talking about them with others on-line and in-person is one small way to engage with & support the literary community.

Thank you for letting me guide you on your bookish journey.

Let’s walk this bookish path together.


Some of you have been reading my reviews, interviews, and meanderings for more than a decade now. That’s huge and I am so humbled. Thanks for being here.

More than 2,800 folks read Musings & Meanderings.

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Wishing you much comfort and joy in the New Year!

Photo by Alissa Nabiullina on Pexels.com

Created by Leslie Lindsay. I’m a proud book nerd. Connect with me on Instagram, and Twitter. See what I’m reading on Bookshop.org. Find my reviews on GoodReads. I’m also a Zibby Books Ambassador.

Learn more HERE.

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That’s where you’ll catch bookreels, cover reveals, & bookmail : )

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