The Cage-maker

Reviews and Buzz

“In her seventh novel, The Cage Maker, Nicole Seitz has crafted one of the most original and fascinating stories I’ve read in ages. With elaborate settings, mysterious characters, impressive illustrations, and tons of suspense, Seitz has delivered a captivating timeslip novel that escapes the confines of genre and enters that sacred space of darn-good storytelling.”   
~ Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling novelist of The Feathered Bone

"Moving fluidly between both literary forms and time periods, and in prose as gauzy and beautiful as its illustrations, Nicole Seitz's The Cage-maker is, like the birdcage at the novel's heart, something both timeless and completely new. This gorgeous and deeply moving novel is part tomorrow's blog post, part Balzac, reborn in the deep South."
~Mark Powell, author of Small Treasons and The Sheltering

"Nicole Seitz's The Cage-Maker, takes us on an always riveting journey through the lives of a family a century ago. Using their letters we begin to understand the complications of both their lives and their times. She has given us a wonderful story, the gift of a worthy tale for sure."  
~ Robert Hicks, author of The Widow of the South and The Orphan Mother


Bringing the New Orleans of the late 1800s and early 1900s vividly to life, Nicole Seitz’s latest novel unfolds as a series of letters, journal entries, and newspaper articles discovered in the secret compartment of an enormous and exquisitely detailed birdcage that Trish, a twenty-first-century blogger, has inherited from a heretofore unknown relative. As she peruses the documents, Trish finds herself irresistibly drawn into the history of her family―a tale that is, as one letter puts it, “part love story and part horror and madness.” 

In 1906 Dr. René Le Monnier is ready to retire after a lengthy career as the New Orleans coroner and physician for the insane asylum. Still mourning his wife’s death, the Civil War veteran wants nothing more than finally to write his account of the Battle of Shiloh. But when a sixteen-year-old girl, Carmelite Kurucar, enlists his aid in saving her brother from a death sentence, the good doctor has to reckon with old ghosts and dusty, long-forgotten files―in particular the case of a patient to whom he may not have given sufficient treatment and consideration. 

Le Monnier’s efforts to help Carmelite lead him to Bertrand Saloy, one of the richest men in all New Orleans; to the Le Monnier mansion, which still haunts him; and down a dark family lineage “cursed” by a succession of wealth. Amid the mysteries and suspenseful intrigue, a French birdcage maker’s obsessive love for Madame Saloy emerges at the heart of the story.Based in part on real people and events and featuring illustrations by the author, this engrossing epistolary novel offers fresh twists on the Southern Gothic genre. It reveals much about criminal justice, about early-twentieth-century notions of care for the mentally ill, and, most important, about the many ways in which the weight of history hangs over the present from one generation to the next.

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About Nicole


"Seitz...[gives] the reader a deep, spiritual experience blended with excellent storytelling."  - Deep South Magazine  

"Nicole Seitz plunges into worlds and situations that are not always the most comfortable for us or for makes for important reading. - Huffington Post  

"[Seitz] gives her work an imaginative spin...seldom seen in contemporary Christian fiction  this side of C.S. Lewis." - Wilmington Star News  

Nicole Seitz grew up on Hilton Head Island, a small town off the coast of South Carolina, where she was surrounded by palmetto trees, marsh grass, sandy beaches and unique Southern characters. As an author, artist and speaker, Nicole's work is deeply influenced by her faith and the mystique and charm of the South. In 1989 she went to the U.S.S.R as a student ambassador through People to People Organization, and the trip opened her eyes to the struggles, beauty, and universal qualities of other cultures--things she likes to explore in her work.

The Spirit of Sweetgrass, Nicole's debut novel, was selected as the March 2007 FaithPoint Book-of-the-Month for Books-a-Million. Her second novel, Trouble the Water (Mar 2008), received a starred review and was chosen as one of the Best Books of 2008 by Library Journal. It was also seen in Southern Living, Sandlapper Magazine, and was an editor's pick in the May 2008 issue of Charleston Magazine. The book went into a second printing within two weeks of it's release date. A Hundred Years of Happiness (Mar 2009), was featured in the January 2009 edition of Charleston Magazine and the July/Aug edition of The VVA Veteran, was a Summer Reading Pick on, and was nominated by independent booksellers for the 2009 SIBA Book Award. Saving Cicadas (Dec 2009), was an Indie Next List Notable pick for January 2010, was featured in the November 2009 issues of Charleston Magazine and CBA Retailers+Resources, and was selected as a "favorite pick for readers on your Christmas list" in the December 2009 issue of Southern Living. The Inheritance of Beauty (Feb 2011) was a SheReads March 2011 Book Club Selection, a Pulpwood Queens April 2011 Bonus Selection, and the May 2011 FaithPoint Book-of-the-Month for Books-a-Million. Beyond Molasses Creek (Feb 2012) was a Romantic Times Top Pick for March 2012 and a Pulpwood Queens 2012 Book Club Selection. In November 2012, Nicole's essay "Kahlua Unleashed" was published in the Hub City project, Literary Dogs & Their South Carolina Writers. In May 2014, she was a cast member of Listen to Your Mother: Charleston, a live production at the Footlight Players Theater in which she shared her original monologue, "The Longing".  In 2015 Nicole edited and published When You Pass Through Waters: Words of Hope and Healing from Your Favorite Authors in response to the 1000-year flood that devastated much of the Carolinas. Her most recent novel, The Cage-maker, released in September 2017. It made the long list for the SIBA Southern Book Prize, was named one of the "Great Southern reads for fall" in The Augusta Chronicle, was named to the 2017 Winter/Fall book list by Deep South Magazine, and was a Pulpwood Queens January 2018 Book Selection.

Nicole received a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a B.F.A. in Illustration from Savannah College of Art & Design. Her freelance articles have been in The Island Packet, The Bluffton Packet, and SouthCarolina Magazine. Nicole is also a published illustrator, and her artwork has been exhibited in Southern art galleries. Her novels feature her paintings/illustrations on the covers.   

Nicole Seitz ran her first full marathon in December 2012. She was named "Best Local Author Who Also Paints" in Charleston City Paper's Best of Charleston 2009, and in 2007, she was named one of Charleston Regional Business Journal's "Forty Under 40" for her professional successes and community involvement. Nicole enjoys meeting her readers and book clubs and often speaks to groups on writing, art and faith. In 2009, she spoke as part of the Southern Literary Festival during Piccolo Spoleto. In 2008, she gave the Baccalaureate address for the College of Charleston. An artist at heart, Nicole enjoys painting pictures with words and bringing her characters to life through detail and dialect. She lives in the Charleston, South Carolina, area with her husband, Brian, and their two children, and is currently writing her next novel.


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Creative Services and Consulting

Nicole has years of experience working with corporations, small businesses, K-12 schools, universities, students, artists and authors. Contact her to discuss your next project.

Art and Instruction
Fine art. illustration, private art instruction, camps, retreats

Communications and Design
Brand and message, copy writing,  content management, PR, graphics, book covers and interiors, websites, UX/UI design 

Editorial and Project Management
Editing, proofreading, publications, magazines, reports, books

Speaking Engagements

* If you would like Nicole to speak to your group/book club/organization, please fill out the form on the left. If within driving distance or if Nicole is in your town, she will make every effort to visit your group in person. Otherwise, teleconferences can be arranged.


No upcoming events.

Other Novels

The Spirit of Sweetgrass

The Inheritance of Beauty

The Spirit of Sweetgrass


Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 4, 2007)
ISBN-10: 1591455065
ISBN-13: 978-1591455066

Beyond Molasses Creek

The Inheritance of Beauty

The Spirit of Sweetgrass


Paperback: 311 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (January 30, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1595545050
ISBN-13: 978-1595545053

The Inheritance of Beauty

The Inheritance of Beauty

The Inheritance of Beauty


Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (February 7, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1595545042
ISBN-13: 978-1595545046

Saving Cicadas

A Hundred Years of Happiness

The Inheritance of Beauty


Paperback: 314 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 30, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1595545034
ISBN-13: 978-1595545039

A Hundred Years of Happiness

A Hundred Years of Happiness

A Hundred Years of Happiness


Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 2, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1595545026
ISBN-13: 978-1595545022

Trouble the Water

A Hundred Years of Happiness

A Hundred Years of Happiness


Paperback: 289 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 11, 2008)
ISBN-10: 1595544003
ISBN-13: 978-1595544001

Editing, Art, Design & Illustration

Pat Conroy Anthology

Pat Conroy Anthology

Pat Conroy Anthology


Our Prince of Scribes:
Writers Remember Pat Conroy

Co-edited by Nicole Seitz and Jonathan Haupt

University of Georgia Press (Sept. 15, 2018)  
Proceeds benefit the Pat Conroy Literary Center


Pat Conroy Anthology

Pat Conroy Anthology


In the 70 days leading up to the publication of Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy, Nicole sketched Pat and each of the 67 contributors, one per day, and shared on social media. Purchase prints of her original artwork at Society 6.

Flood Anthology

Art and Illustration

Art and Illustration


When You Pass Through Waters: Words of Hope and Healing from Your Favorite Authors

Edited by Nicole Seitz

Water Books (October 30, 2015)

Proceeds went to disaster relief

Art and Illustration

Art and Illustration

Art and Illustration


Nicole is also an artist and illustrator. To view her portfolio, visit