The Literary Road Trip is a project in which bloggers are volunteering to showcase local authors. This showcase can be anything you want to make of it – book reviews, author interviews, giveaways – as long as you’re working with an author local to you.
Meghan Nuttall Sayres is a writer and weaver from Eastern Washington. Her passion for weaving, spinning, and tapestry has led her on many travels throughout the world, including Turkey and Ireland. She teaches workshops on spinning and weaving. Her writing reflects her multi-cultural interests. She has published essays, children’s books, and adult novels.
Anahita’s Woven Riddle: Anahita, a nomad, learns that her father has promised her hand in marriage to a man she dislikes. Determined to have a say in her own fate, Anahita convinces her father to let her hold a contest, in which potential suitors must correctly answer the riddle she has woven into her wedding carpet. A diplomat, a schoolteacher, a shepherd, and a prince compete in Anahita’s battle of wits, for the heart of this extraordinary girl.
Meghan Nuttall Sayres explores the art of weaving, the rhythms of nomadic life, and the beauty of the Muslim faith in this fascinating debut novel.
Weaving Tapestry in Rural Ireland: Taipeis Gael, Donegal: In this beautifully wrought chronicle , Meghan Nuttall Sayres has drawn from the past to celebrate the present and future of Taipeis Gael, a tapestry weaving collective of international reputation in Donegal, Ireland. This group of dedicated artists has created a body of work whose compelling imagery, both pictorial and abstract, evokes a powerful sense of their ancient land –a land of rock and of sea, of wool and of natural dyes, of textiles past and of textiles yet to be created. Sayres has woven tapestries, photographs and the very words of the people themselves into a visual and narrative feast from which I could hardly bear to emerge.
For a complete list of her works and a more in-depth bio, visit Meghan Sayres‘s web site.
I was fortunate to be able to interview Ms. Sayres via e-mail:
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as a writer? Was it something you always wanted to do?
Meghan: “Writing was not something I went to school for or even thought about until after graduate school. However, while taking courses in political science my papers tended to morph toward qualitative essays. The first piece I ever published was about a rock art restoration project in Castle Dale, Utah. The article was so long, and unedited, that the newspaper there had to publish it in two parts. But, that project led to a children’s book on rock art, which was bought by the press that published my picture book The Shape of Betts Meadow: A Wetland’s Story.”
Where do you get the ideas for your writing?
Meghan: “From all the exploring and stumbling around I do in life. My ideas might come from people I meet, a far away place or time, even an unusual artifact that seems to find me.”
You’ve traveled for your work as a writer and as a spinner and weaver. What is your favorite place you’ve visited and why?
Meghan: “I don’t have a single favorite place, but I seem to drift toward places that have much rock. Deserts and rock. A few favorite places are the canyon lands of Utah, the West of Ireland, Turkey and a new-found fondness for Yazd, Iran.”
How did you get the idea for Daughters of the Desert: Stories of Remarkable Women from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Traditions?
Meghan: “While researching Anahita’s Woven Riddle, I read the Qur’an and hadiths and was inspired by the women who were central to the development of Islam. The idea for this book came up within my writing group when we discovered that we each were inspired by certain ancient women.”
As a homeschooling mom, I am so excited about the variety and quality of children’s and YA lit readily available. The books my kids read make for some wonderful discussions. What books have your kids read and enjoyed?
Meghan: “All of kinds of books by classical and contemporary authors, including Lois Lowry, Jamila Gavin, Philip Pullman, J.K. Rowling, and Northwest writers such as Susan Fletcher, Ursula Le Guin, Sherman Alexi, Claire Rudolph Murphy, Mary Cronk Farrell and others.”
How has being a mother affected your writing?
Meghan: “It made me very organized with my time.”
Which writers have had the biggest impact on your life and your writing?
Meghan: “No single author has had the most influence over my writing all though I think the poets Rilke, Rumi and Hafez have had the most impact. Scores of novelists and nonfiction writers have inspired me in different ways. I read and write in several genres and it seems that with each new project, I must find my voice. I think most writers’ voices and interests change over time. I try to read translations of foreign writers’ works to broaden my perceptions. I hope this answered your question.”
What is the best book you’ve read this year so far?
Meghan: “Zarathustra, a book by an Iranian author Jalaleddin Ashtiani. It reveals much about the origins of Judaism, Christianity and Islam that are rooted in Zoroastrianism. Having recently visited Zoroastrian cave temples in Iran, the book brought depth to that experience. In YA lit, The Absolute True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexi. I also think that Sarah Thompson did a wonderful job distilling Three Cups of Tea for YA Readers in the young adult edition of Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin’s book of the same title. ”
If you could recommend one book that everyone should read, what would it be?
Meghan: “Rumi’s poetry.”
Thank you so much to Meghan Sayres for the interview. To visit other blogs participating in the Literary Road Trip, click on over to GalleySmith. Stay tuned: next Thursday I will be highlighting author Michael Harmon.