Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is Elsie Augustave and my age is irrelevant. I have stopped counting the years.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in Haiti and grew up in New York.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I am a graduate of Middlebury College in Vermont and Howard University in Washington, D.C. with degrees in language and literature. I have a son, who now lives in West Africa.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My latest news is that I have just completed my second novel and hope to begin work on a short story collection soon.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I think I’ve always wanted to writing but didn’t think that I could. Many years ago, while living in Paris, I embraced my courage and started to work on my first novel that I had to put aside because of professional and family obligations. As far as why I began to write, I think it’s something that you do because you have to. The desire to create leaves you no choice.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I didn’t consider myself a writer until my first novel was accepted for publication.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The inspiration came without being solicited. It was a spontaneous act. I wasn’t even sure of the story that I wanted to tell until I found myself writing it.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I woke up one morning with the words pounding in my head, and I knew that I had found the title for the book that I would one day write. It might sound surreal but the title actually came before the book.The Roving Tree was published almost four years ago.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I will leave it to the critics to define my writing style. The challenge in writing fiction is to find literary coherence in the story that you are telling.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Realistic means that it can happen. I once heard that if the mind can imagine it then it can happen. Every day that we live and everyone that we meet is stored in our memory, even subconsciously. People and events might have affected me without my even being aware of it.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Sometimes. But often, the crafting is the result of past travels.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
That decision is usually in the hands of publishers. But I am co-authoring a book, which is a study based on an African novel that will be published in a few months, and I’ve asked my young cousin/niece to design the cover because I want her artistic talent to have visibility.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
A creative work is the expression of a vision that the author has on life. Every reader will find whatever message speaks to them. It’s just like when people look at a painting, each person may find a different message.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
There are so many talented new writers out there. I read works by authors across the globe. But I am particularly fond of Maryse Condé and Isabelle Allende because of their interest multiculturalism.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I will have to say Marie D. Brown.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Writing is now a second career to me. Since I have stopped teaching, it is now my main focus in life.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Once a story has been told, there is nothing to change.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Writing is a learning process. As you write, you learn about the craft, the characters that you create and, ultimately, what can affect people.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I’d rather not say!
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Writers are also readers. It also takes a lot of determination to write.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you for taking the time to read my work.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am reading a book that I picked up in South Africa last year. Doing Life with Mandela by Christo Brand, who was Mandela’s prison guard in Robben Island.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Mémoires d’un âne. I was fascinated by the fact that the story is told from the point of view of a donkey
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I laugh a lot. I tend to find humor in a lot of things. But crying is hard for me.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I would love to meet Isabelle Allende to discuss her creative process.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I only watch TV to take my mind away from important issues and to penetrate a world that is so remote from mine. That is why I watch Andrew Cohen’s Housewives.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I like all kinds of food, especially spicy food. I’m fond of Jazz and tend to favor black and white.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Whenever I can’t write, I read. I like the magic of words.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Here lies Elsie Augustave, a student of life.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
My website is no longer active. I will probably build a new one when my second novel comes out.