Name Freedom Chevalier
Age Old enough to know better, but still too young to care
Where are you from
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I’m owned by a 16-year-old ginger tabby…everything else comes second to that.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My novel, Pundit, set in the gritty world of Canadian stand-up comedy in the 1990s has just been released by Red Dashboard Press!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I don’t think there has ever been a time when I wasn’t writing. I have been performing since I was a child and began writing songs at about that time. The songs were childish and simple, but they were a starting point. The ability to create a story in such a small timeframe, format appealed to me. As I grew as a performer and moved into the theater, my desire to tell longer stories grew. I was captivated by theater and started to learn the craft of writing plays.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’m not sure that has happened yet. I don’t like labels. But considering I do it full-time now, I guess I am one.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Experiencing the ‘behind-the-scenes’ side of stand-up comedy. It was fascinating and I wanted to explore it.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Inadvertently. I am greatly inspired by the work of Harold Pinter and his ability to craft so much with such an economy of words. I strive to achieve that.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The word Pundit is from a Sanskrit word, Pandit, which is a learned man in India.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
People are not all good or all evil. ‘Bad’ people can do good things, ‘good’ people can do bad things.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
A good deal of it.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I spent several years researching stand-up comedy and going to clubs, talking to comics and so on. It’s based on the general experiences I had.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Books? In Cold Blood. Truman Capote’s ability to convey the brutality of the crime with such beautiful and evocative storytelling…it’s haunting. Stephen King’s, It. I love big, fat books that steal days. Harold Pinter’s, The Caretaker, is another work that continues to influence everything that I do. I want to write like that and every day I try to take another step closer to that standard.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Lewis Black’s, Me of Little Faith
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I am also a journalist and am working on several projects on that side of things at the moment. As for fiction, I’ve just started the next book.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I have been blessed with many. I contribute to a great site, www.totally4women.com that was the creation of a wonderful woman, Carolyn Lazarus. Her creation of a dynamic, online community for “women that weren’t born yesterday” was vital to me when I was considering taking my writing from the hobby stage to a professional stage. I started writing for Carolyn and found in her a friend and mentor on not only how to craft stronger pieces, but how to navigate life just a little better. It’s a wonderful site and I still contribute to it. I can honestly say I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now if it weren’t for Carolyn or Totally4Women.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
It is now.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
There’s a small story arc I didn’t address as fully as I would have enjoyed. But at already over 500 pages I decided to skip it. Maybe a re-release one day.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure – here’s a free chapter from Pundit.
Lisse is one of the stand-up comics working for the main club, The Polaris. Dickie Craig runs a club that is direct competition.
“The Four Seasons? I’m impressed,” Lisse said, as Dickie Craig pulled out her chair.
“I was afraid you weren’t gonna show,” he said, returning to his seat.
“The food’s great here.”
“ A toast then,” Dickie said, raising his glass.
“What are we toasting?” Lisse asked.
“Always a good thing to toast,” Lisse smiled, sipping her martini. “Hmm. Good stuff.”
“Listen, I wanted to talk to you,” Dickie said.
“Getting right to the point, I see? Jeez, Dickie, you never heard of foreplay?”
“What? Oh, fuck. You kill me,” He laughed too loud, drawing unwanted stares from the other patrons.
“Take it down a notch,” Lisse reprimanded as she placed the cloth napkin across her lap.
“They don’t fucking care, so long as I tip big. And I do.”
“Classy,” Lisse rolled her eyes.
“So…” Dickie started again.
“At least let me order,” Lisse deflected.
“I ordered already. Got you the fish. You chicks are always watching your weight.”
“Such a gentleman.” She pulled an olive from the toothpick and popped it into her mouth.
“Now, can I talk about why I brought you here?” Dickie asked.
“I can’t think of a single reason to delay you,” Lisse smirked.
“Great.” He drank his glass of champagne and poured another before a waiter could get to the table to assist him.
“They’re always sucking up to get a better tip,” Dickie declared, loud enough for most of the wait staff to overhear.
“I’m not with him. I’m just here for the food,” she said, as their waiter served the steamed Hong Kong-style salmon with jasmine rice that Dickie had ordered for her. The waiter gave a knowing smile. He started to gather Dickie’s order from the busser, but Dickie reached past him and grabbed the plate himself. He dismissed the waiter with a wave of his hand.
“So, I got this show going up. Next month. And I want you to headline.”
“Ah, there it is.”
“What the fuck is wrong with that. I’m gonna pay you. More than that half-breed.”
“Insulting my friends won’t endear you to me.”
“I work for K, Dickie. You know that. I don’t do outside shows.”
“That’s the point. It’d be fucking awesome to have you do the show because you don’t do outside gigs. It’d have real value.”
“Well, thanks, but I’ll pass.”
“Wait up. You don’t even know the show. It’s right up your alley.”
“I don’t do outside shows. I’m under contract.” She picked at her salmon.
“That contract ain’t worth the toilet paper it’s written on. And you know it.”
“Okay then. I’m not interested.”
“But it’s all comics. You know, like you.”
Lisse stared at Dickie. “What do you mean, like me?”
Lisse coughed as she tried to swallow a mouthful of her martini.
“Oh come on, don’t get all politically correct here. This is me you’re talking to. And I calls ‘em like I sees ‘em.
“Listen, honey, I don’t care who you want to fuck, but if I can get a special show out of it I will. You know that. Thinking of calling it, Finger in the Dyke.”
Dickie’s laughter boomed again. “Get it? D-y-k-e instead of D-i-k-e? Fucking brilliant if I do say so myself.”
Lisse stared, unable to speak.
“Didn’t know there was so many of yous around. Seems like the only funny women in the business are pussy-eaters.” Dickie shoved a forkful of pulled pork into his mouth. “Finger in the Dyke,” he muttered again, his mouth still full of food.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Names. For some reason I tend to name my characters similarly and have to go back after it’s written and rename them.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Well, as you’ve guessed by now, Truman Capote =) The poetic quality of his prose is addictive. I also love Harold Robbins’ fast-paced, fun, saucy storytelling.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
It was a joint creation. I had some ideas that I took to my publisher and this was the result. I’m very happy with.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Writing the book I wanted to write, not the book I thought I should be writing.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Trust your instincts. I have generally done well when I trust them, and when I don’t I usually muck things up, significantly.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write. Read. Learn your craft. Cultivate skills. Read.
I am disturbed by the number of ‘writers’ who say they don’t have time to read. If you don’t read you can’t write. Respect the act of writing.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you. Without you, I would not be doing this. I hope I’ve given you a chance to put aside the burdens of your day for a few hours. I hope I have entertained you.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I think the first book I read was a book of Shakespeare’s sonnets.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Laugh? I have a very odd sense of humor. I love old watching old “Dean Martin Roasts” …they make me laugh.
Cry? I have wept too often these past weeks over the loss of life and our acceptance of it. Most recently the events in San Bernadino – one news reporter described the attack as “what we normally see in the situation.” There is nothing ‘normal’ in that situation, and we need to remember that.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Armando Iannucci. He’s a Scottish writer, producer, creator, a brilliant beautiful mind. Google him. Enjoy his creations. Why? Becuase maybe, just maybe, a little of that brilliance could rub off on me.
Fiona: What do you want written on your headstone and why ?
(It’s the equation for escape velocity.)
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I am an armchair astrophysicist LOL, and a pretty fierce vegan cook. I am a big 70s-phile and collect copious amounts of 1970s pop culture items….macrame owls, cookbooks, 8-tracks, string art…
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I’m picky. I love well-written, dark, tight dramas or thrillers…. and things that go boom in space.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food? I make a very mean channa masala! I think I could eat a curry every day and never grow tired. And spinach.
Color? Deep, dark, sapphiric blue
Music? 70s, Japanese indie, West coast jazz
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Here’s the link for the book, if you need it: http://www.amazon.com/Pundit-Freedom-Chevalier/dp/151865276X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8