Jasmine Tritten is an artist, poet, memoirist, and short story writer whose work can be found in over a dozen publications. In her second memoir, On the Nile with a Dancing Dane (August 2020), she explores the land of the pharaohs while following her love for dance and the Egyptian culture. Visit Jasmine on Facebook and her Amazon author page. Read her 2016 SWW interview to learn about her debut memoir, The Journey of an Adventuresome Dane. And in a 2019 interview, she and husband Jim discuss their first children’s book collaboration.
What would you like readers to know about On the Nile with a Dancing Dane?
The book is an adventurous travel memoir filled with mystery and surprises, from galloping a horse in the Sahara Desert to belly dancing on the Nile River. It’s a safe and inexpensive way to travel with me to Egypt, exploring the land of the pharaohs before iPhones and computers.
What unique challenges did this work pose for you?
About 37 years ago, when I went on a trip to Egypt, I wrote by hand a detailed journal. I used the journal to write this memoir. Photos were taken at the time using a plastic Brownie camera with one white button. I had to scan all the small photos into my computer and enhance them.
When did you know you wanted to write a second memoir?
While joining a critique group in Albuquerque, I shared one of my short stories from Egypt. Afterwards the leader of the group said to me, “I don’t want you to tell me about your adventures. I want you to take me with you on a trip to Egypt.” That triggered something in me to write the memoir and show (rather than tell) the reader about my experiences.
Tell us how the book came together.
In the beginning of 2020 before the pandemic, I started writing the book and then worked on it every day, since I had all the time in the world. After the summer, I used several beta readers to go through every page. Finally, I took it through two editing programs on the computer (AutoCrit and Grammarly). The book cover, the eight ink drawings, and the six scratchboard images I created myself. In August 2020, I self-published the memoir with the help of my husband.
What was your favorite part of putting this project together?
Rewriting and editing. Deciding which photos and artwork to use.
What is the best compliment you’ve received as an author?
When somebody in one of the reviews of On the Nile with a Dancing Dane said, “I was entertained with exciting experiences at every turn of the road – or river. I felt as if the author had slipped me into her backpack, and I was with her every step of the way.”
How did you become interested in memoir specifically, as opposed to fiction?
Because I have lived an exciting life and written detailed journals since I was a young girl, I have so much material to use that I don’t need to make up any stories.
What advice do you have for discouraged writers?
Write down what comes to your mind right away without worrying about whether it is good or bad. Later, you can work on the writing and make it into a good story.
What writing projects are you working on now?
My next project will be writing a memoir about a trip to Greece I made long before iPhones and computers were invented. The Universe is pushing me in that direction.
KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kathy posts to a speculative fiction blog at klwagoner.com and writes about memoir at ThisNewMountain.com.