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 pen name is C W Lovatt, but I’ll answer to practically anything: Chuck, Charlie, or Charles; I’m just grateful for the attention. As for my age, I’m a hopelessly immature 64.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I’m currently single, living alone on a small acreage on the wide expanse of the prairies. After forty-three years in construction, I’m now on disability due to arthritis in my hip, until I officially retire in November.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
That would be the new novel I’m about to begin writing. It will be affiliated, but not part of the Charlie Smithers books, the series that I’m best known for. It will be written in the first person, the same as Charlie Smithers, but the protagonist will be a London actress, by the name of Dolly Pleasance, which is also the title to the book. The reader will be able to follow Dolly’s career on stage over a period of thirty odd years, as well as her relationship with Charlie over the same time.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
About forty years ago I read a terrible book, and shortly after I read Watership Down. The former convinced me that I could do better. The latter gave me a goal of excellence to strive for.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When my mentor, Amber Clark, read my stories, and finally began nodding her approval.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The Flashman books, written by my idol, George MacDonald Fraser.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
“The Adventures of Charlie Smithers” is a rarity for me, in that I began writing it without a title. Back then I was writing short stories almost exclusively, so I had no reason to believe this story would be any different. It wasn’t until I began the second chapter that I realised that it was going to be a novel, in fact, an adventure novel, so the title pretty much wrote itself.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
My writing style has been described as ‘unique’ and ‘interesting.’ Others more outgoing refer to it as ‘superlative.’ I have a knack of making a reader experience both laughter and sorrow, and everything else in-between. That’s my goal, to make them experience every sort of emotion imaginable, because that’s when we feel most alive. But I would have to say that the most challenging aspect in writing historical fiction is the volume of research that’s required.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I’m not sure which book you’re referring to, but almost all of my work is realistic. However, what transpires in my stories is all a product of my imagination.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I often travel to where my stories take place. They’ve taken me from Australia to Britain, as well as all around the eastern seaboard of Canada. I often go after the manuscript has been written, to see if there’s an essence that I’ve yet to capture. However, just as often the places I travel to are the birth place of my ideas, so there’s no hard and fast rule.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My first three covers were a collaboration between myself and the extremely talented artist, Peter Fussey. When, tragically, illness prevented Peter from continuing, we were faced with a real problem as artists with his talent where extremely few and far between. The problem was eventually solved by my publisher’s very own Poppet, who is a gifted writer, but also turned out to be quite a talented cover designer, as well. Since her style was much different than Peter’s, the covers of all the Charlie Smithers books had to be redone, and she’s done all but one of my covers ever since, with very little help from me. The single exception isa children’s book I wrote called, “The Little Mouse,” The cover and illustrations inside were done by the gifted young artist, Angel Rose.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Regardless of genre, by and large stories are about people, and the human condition. That’s what I strive to portray = the human aspect of my characters, behaving as humans do. Very few are entirely good, and even fewer are entirely evil. – they’re just human.
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?
Indeed there are. Although he’s been around for several years, Alec Hawkes is relatively new as a novelist. He has a gift with prose and humour, and is passionate about his work. Elaina Davidson and Diane Brown also have a gift for storytelling and the prose to back it up. As well, I’ve recently discovered that Karen Cummings Sanchex is someone to look out for in the future.
As for a favourite writer, it would be a toss up between George MacDonald Fraser and Stephen King – Fraser for his wit, and attention to detail, and King for his uniquely relaxed prose.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
A dear friend, Amber Clark. She believed in me, and it was her influence that inspired me to take myself more seriously as a writer, and worked tirelessly, coaching me to make my stories even better, until they became worthy of being published.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I rather think that it already is.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. To date “Josiah Stubb: The Plains of Abraham” is my crowning achievement, and one that I’m quite proud of. I wouldn’t change a word.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Every book has taught me something, whether it be something historical, or how to become a better writer, there’s simply too much information roiling around in my head; at least some of it has to stick.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I think Tom Hardy would make an excellent Josiah Stubb.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Yes, don’t make becoming published your immediate goal. Practice, practice, practice. I can’t emphasize that enough. Pay your dues, learn your craft, so when the day finally comes when you do become published you can stand rightfully proud, and say, “I belong.”
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I love you all!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
“The Gown,” by Jennifer Robson
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Ha! Not a chance!
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Romance, tragedy, beauty and the ridiculous, the human element in a story.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
My idol, George MacDonald Fraser, perhaps the only writer to whom I might feel intimidated by. I would like us to become friends.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I’ve recently taken up gardening and bike riding.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Outside of the odd football game, and the news, I don’t watch television. I am, however, a big fan of the movies., but not just any movie. I like historical films like Master and Commander, Saving Private Ryan, Lawrence of Arabia – historical films that have taken pains to reproduce an accurate story, the same way as I do, myself.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Pasta, royal blue, and classic rock.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
That’s an oxymoron. For me, there is no future without writing.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
I was going to say writing or editing, but there are friends I would trust to edit my work after I’m gone. So I’d have to say writing, writing, writing, as much as I possibly can, before the curtain finally falls.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Here Lies C. W. Lovatt, the Greatest Storyteller of Our Time. Naturally I would want to earn that epitaph before disappearing into the Great Perhaps.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Yes, I have a blog, Story River, and you can find it here: http://chuck-storyriver.blogspot.ca/