This December, Camas’ bronze statue dog, Millie, was able to come to life through the Downtown Camas Association’s For the Love of Winter- Stories to Warm your Heart event. Seth Sjostrom, a husband, father, serial entrepreneur, and author brought the story to paper.
Sjostrom has been in the Pacific Northwest since college and currently resides in the Camas area. When he was asked to write a few stories for the event, “it didn’t take a ton of reflection to say yes.”
He shared the process of writing the short story.
“I wanted to come up with something that wasn’t just a story in my head, but I wanted it to be Camas-centric. I thought of this statue downtown… and I came up with a story of Millie wandering downtown looking for a home,” he said.
Sjostrom has been writing stories since he was in middle school, but became serious about it over 15 years ago.
He said, “Now that it’s a much more priority in my life, there’s a lot more fluidity and smoothness.”
He has one children’s book that is currently being illustrated. Sjostrom has thirteen other titles to his name more to come.
He talked about his favorite genre to write.
“By trade I’m a thriller writer… I really cover the entire genre of thrillers. I do everything from action and adventure thrillers, to a little more suspenseful with an edge of mystery to it,” Sjostrom said.
He loves the adventure and passion that comes with a thriller.
He added, “You can weave in romance and others, and get the best of both worlds.”
Sjostrom’s son is a big inspiration for his writing.
“Little pieces of him are strung throughout. I also take a lot of worldly events, or things that strike me at the time. I wrote (the Nativity) after listening to a story from some small businesses on a radio show of the challenges that these businesses were having, because they were trying to say Merry Christmas or put up holiday decorations, and the town was trying to ban it.”
He added, “Influences sometimes come from the world, but you’ll see my life… there’s little pieces of me. It’s part of my style. If it’s in the book, I’ve done something, or done something similar to it … I try to fully understand what the characters are feeling and the setting that they’re in. It’s my way of sharing my side of the story.”
He expressed the best part of writing is getting the stories out and attending the book singings.
Sjostrom said, “Going to book signings…to be able to connect with people in different ways, and have those conversations with people in person. Making that connection is really fun and fulfilling. I hear husbands or wives telling me they cried when they read one of my books… A couple of my readers give me comments saying it was like they were there.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been harder to participate in those usual activities. Sjostrom described his quarantine experience with optimism.
“I take things as they come, look for the next opportunity, and keep pushing forward. I think there’s a lot of pent up energy after this year. Once things start to settle back to normal, I think we’ll start to see big upswings in multiple disciplines of life, come 2021. I look at it as I set the table in 2020, so I can have a very successful 2021,” he said.
Sjostrom had plenty of advice for aspiring or working authors, specifically in the Camas area.
He said, “Get your writing out there. I think that’s the hardest step for being a writer, and it doesn’t really end. You can build confidence by entering contests and submitting your work. Look at the library, the high school, look at the Downtown Camas Association…get your art out there.”
He also suggested that writers make a new playlist to help get into the motion or environment of what the characters are going through.
“I let the music affect me, and help me write or go into a setting,” he explained.
Sjostrom’s outlook on his writing helps the process continue.
“I write for myself, and if it’s a good story, then it’s something I can share with others. Half the people are going to like the things you write, and half the people aren’t. Worry about the half that like your book, and don’t worry about the other half. Maybe only 25% of the people who read it like it, and that’s okay. Write for that 25%,” he said.