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?
Cendrine – My name is Cendrine Marrouat. I’m 41.
David – My handle is David Ellis. I also just turned 41. Oh snap, Cendrine and I are twinsies!
Fiona: Where are you from?
Cendrine – I was born and raised in Toulouse, France. I now live in Winnipeg, Canada.
David – I live in a town called Tunbridge Wells in the South-Eastern area of the United Kingdom.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Cendrine – I hold a bachelor’s degree in English-to-French translation.
I have two dogs and a cat.
I speak two languages fluently (French and English) and understand a third one (Spanish).
I am a photographer, poet, author, and French instructor to adults. I also work as the Head of marketing and communications at ConnexionFranco.coop, a directory dedicated to promoting all the providers of services in French within Canada.
David and I co-founded Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal, a magazine that promotes inspirational and uplifting poetry no matter the topic. We accept everyone, as long as they have something positive to say.
I am also the co-founder of FPoint Collective, a collective of photographers, and created my own poetry form, called the Sixku.
David – I’ve previously worked in Business Operations and Financial Sales for 17 years. Writing has been a constant passion of mine.
I am an award-winning poet, who has written and published multiple books. My debut poetry collection won the Readers Favorite International Silver Book Award in 2016 for Inspirational Poetry.
Cendrine and I co-founded Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal for a specific purpose, in that we wanted to increase the amount of inspirational poetry in the world.
My Father is a blind artist, who I believe I have inherited my creativity from. His website is www.blindartist.co.uk.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Cendrine – Our inaugural issue Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal was released on October 1, 2019. We feature ten very talented poets. The issue also has sections dedicated to book reviews, writing tools, social media tips for writers, and more. Furthermore, we have also introduced submissions for 13-16 year olds, who can send us their poems via parents/guardians.
David – I just published my latest poetry collection, which is my fifth book. It is called “See A Dream Within” and it contains found poetry based on the entire collected poetic works of Edgar Allan Poe. It is full of romantic and inspirational poetry and is pretty much my own love letter to the literary genius of Edgar Allan Poe.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Cendrine – I remember very vividly when I started writing. It was in January 2005. As to why, I still don’t know. It was just an urge!
David – I have always excelled in English, particularly in English Language. I began writing song lyrics many years ago and I found that I had more words to play with than musical structures to fit around them at the time. These pieces naturally evolved into poetry, which became a regular writing habit of mine and I’ve now been writing poetry for quite a few years too.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Cendrine – The first time I wrote a poem.
David – I think it was when I first started writing original song lyrics, which I actually put to music. That would have been about fifteen years ago and I’ve certainly come a long way since then.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Cendrine – I had been writing poems for a year and people suggested that I should gather them into a book. Nothing earth-shattering really.
David – I had filled up my blog with many poems and my youngest brother suggested that I might want to explore trying to publish them for a reasonable price to save people having to trawl through my blog to find them all. At first, the process seemed quite daunting but now I’m addicted to it! I like the permanence of having a published book, so that people can get my poetry in convenient locations.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Cendrine – Titles always come to me before a line is even written. Like most of my books, I was in the shower. The whole thing came to me in a flash, and it made sense.
David – I like to play with the words, when it comes to titles. If I can incorporate multiple meanings or subtlety, then that makes things even more fun for me. Lately, I’ve found that I have been basing the names of my books on key poems that crop up in them. The titles of poems can be either found in the source text I am using or in one of the lines I have written in the poem itself. Sometimes, I enjoy combining multiple different fragments of lines within a title to give the poem an air of mystery too, as I don’t like to make anything too obvious, I prefer for readers to bring and make their own interpretations too, wherever possible.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Cendrine – All the people who have read my stuff tell me that they would recognize it anywhere.
The particular challenge I have is that I am a very slow writer. Sometimes, I am just able to write a line or two in 24 hours. But it’s ok. It’s who I am, there is really nothing I can change about it.
David – I definitely feel that I write with a musicality to my words, which makes my poetry very distinct. Cendrine has told me that my writing at times can be a lot like Jane Austen, which is a wonderful compliment!
The challenge that I find with my writing style is that if I can be inspired by anything, it can sometimes be difficult to home in on a specific theme but once I do, I remain very disciplined to using that theme. Lately, my focus has been on writing found poetry and it can be a challenge to write, if your source material is short on words to begin with. However, I relish the challenge of this, there is nothing more satisfying than when you work out how to solve a literary conundrum that will excite yourself and the reader, keep writing until your prose flows like melted butter, there really is nothing better!
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Cendrine – All writers will tell you that their books are at least partly based on their personal experiences. However, to make the message more impactful, it is important to always have an ideal audience in mind. This comes with experience.
David – I write emotional content, which means that my words are extremely heartfelt, and I try to put myself in the shoes of the people, places or situations I am writing about. Some of my poetry has indeed been infused with personal experiences, in order to make it as relatable to the reader as possible. If I am moved to happiness or tears with my writing, then chances are the reader will share these emotions too. I want to make a positive impact on people’s lives, and I hope to bring them ways to experience this through the places that I take them with my words.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Cendrine – Most of the time, I find inspiration in things around me. And as an artist, I travel in my mind too. 😉
David – All creative types thrive on enjoying new experiences, which they can incorporate into their writing and art. If I travel, then it helps refresh my writing and creativity muses. I really like to travel after creating to reward myself for working so hard. If I travel before creating something then it is because I want to fill my mind with colour and vibrance, so I will visit cathedrals, museums, historic places of interest, go on nature walks and visit the local theatres/cinemas. This stimulation is sure to give me the inspiration that I need to start tackling and finish a writing project.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Cendrine – I have designed all my covers, except for a couple of books. For the inaugural issue of Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal, I did the work as well. I just asked a friend, Karim Benyagoub, to redesign our logo, so it would pop on the cover. He is so talented!
David – I have designed all of the covers of my books. It took a few attempts to get something that I was completely satisfied with for my debut book. My latest book has two very different beautiful covers (for the Kindle and print versions) that I assembled myself from breath-taking artwork. I have been really lucky in that I have been able to use some of my father’s artwork for my previously published second poetry collection “Soul Music The Colour Of Magic”. When I start writing novels, especially if I tackle a series, I will turn to professional cover designers to help me to realise my visions for those books.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Cendrine – I want people to stop running around and start smelling the roses. We are so busy looking for acceptance and focusing on negative things that we forget to take care of ourselves.
David – There are constant messages and themes in my work of being inspired to take action in your life, thinking deeply about philosophical questions you might ask yourself or I might take you on a journey and help you to get over something through the catharsis of the situation. I quickly realised early on that my most dominant poetry themes are inspirational and romantic, sometimes I will write drama to mix things up and every so often, I will explore humour too, as I sincerely enjoy making people laugh and smile.
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?
Cendrine – Unfortunately, I do not have much time to read these days. And when I do read, it is historical books.
My favorite author is Kahlil Gibran. His words fill me with peace. I have read The Prophet and Jesus, the Son of Man many times. Still, every time I open the books, it feels like a new experience.
David – I just recently finished a trio of romantic comedy fiction books by author Rhiannon Jean, which are all well worth your time. She writes very real characters that are easy to fall in love with and root for.
My all-time favourite authors are Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. The way that they weave their worlds and make every sentence generate an experience is just simply divine. I have many other writers who I admire but these two will forever be the ones that made me fall completely in love with the craft of writing.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Cendrine – A small group of dedicated folks. David is one of them.
David – I would return the compliment to Cendrine, she has been extremely supportive of my work. If I had to pick another strong influence and wonderful supporter of my work, it would be Christie Stratos, a novelist and interviewer, her passion for her craft never fails to impress me, she is a constant inspiration to me and many other writers daily. You can find out more about her at www.christiestratos.com.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Cendrine – Absolutely!
David – Yes, I do see it as a rewarding career that gives back to you the immense joy of what you are creating and the impact that it could have on others all over the world. You may have to do other things to pay the bills until you are successful but that is the way of the world in most things that are worth fighting for.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Cendrine – I would not change a thing. I am not one to regret my decisions.
David – No, not my latest book, everything about it feels simply perfect and I am extremely keen to write a sequel for it. I’ve changed the cover of my first published book because I was dissatisfied with how it came out originally but I was just starting out back then and have become much more in tune with my creative needs with every new project.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Cendrine – Walks: A Collection of Haiku (Volumes 1 and 2) are a celebration of my love for the Haiku. Haiku force you to be concise. They teach you impactfulness. They are the embodiment of the “Show don’t tell” technique.
I have studied and written haiku for many years. But this series of books has taught me how to engage with my inner voice in a unique way.
David – While writing my most recent book, I gained even more admiration for Edgar Allan Poe for the way that he crafted each concept of his stories and poems, for me there really is something magical in his prose and poetry. I also came to realise that I have the potential to be like my poetic heroes of the past because I know how to correctly utilise all of the inspiration available around me to be able to channel it into vast amounts of well written poems. Writing this book has taught me that I can write at length or with brevity and still be impactful to the reader using both styles to maximum effect.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Cendrine – This is not the kind of book that would be made into a film. My play, In the Silence of Words, is another story of course. I would love to direct it someday!
David – I would love to have actors read my poems! If I had to choose who, I would immediately go for Daniel Day-Lewis for the moving way he read the poetry of his late father, Cecil Day-Lewis. Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart would also be wonderful choices of people I would sincerely enjoy reading aloud my poetry, to hear them do it would make me giddy with excitement and delight!
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Cendrine – I’m not going to reinvent the wheel. Practice, practice, practice (x100). Work hard. Don’t compare yourself to others. Stop listening to your inner critic. And have fun.
David – You are going to have a lot thrown your way to distract you in life to stop you from writing. It therefore becomes imperative to make time to write, even if it is just a few minutes each day and when you do, write your heart out! It can be extremely difficult to discipline yourself, especially if you have to sacrifice sleep or entertainment but if you live for the joy of creating, it can become so much easier to make some time for your craft. Never be afraid to strike out and publish on your own if you get many rejections. Believe in yourself and your creative talents, keep honing your skills and never be afraid to put your words out to the public. Write to please yourself and not the whims of others. Take advice that makes sense to you that you believe will directly improve your work and feel free to ignore the rest, be sure you are looking to improve based on fact rather than someone else’s opinion. Be professional, kind and respectful at all times and you will gain the admiration of your peers.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Cendrine – The world is your oyster.
David – Your support means everything to me. Please read as much poetry as possible because you never know how much of a profound impact that it will have on your life and how you see the world.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Cendrine – I haven’t read a book in a while.
David – I’m currently reading several modern science related Non-Fiction books, some of them relating to general scientific concepts, while others focus on the nature of creativity, music and video gaming in our lives. Regarding Fiction books, I am looking at Countdown to Omega by Robert Wingfield (Ancient Aliens meet Greek gods in an epic confrontation that spells the end of the world) and After Us by Em Dehaney (a nightmare tale set among the drowned buildings of Hurricane Katrina).
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Cendrine – Unfortunately, no.
David – I remember the first Terry Pratchett book that I ever read and that to me was an epiphany. I needed to use a dictionary to keep up with the intricate prose that he wrote! I will be forever grateful for the love that Pratchett gave me of written English Language and how an author can use it to expand the mind and possibilities in themselves and others.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Cendrine – Golden Girls and little things make me laugh. I often cry when I watch movies though or when I see cruelty.
David – Animal cruelty makes me cry, along with any moving dramatic stories in TV shows and films. Animals also make me laugh a lot, they bring so much joy into our lives. As to what makes me laugh, it is well written jokes by actors and comedians, along with laughing at absurd notions that crop up in our daily lives. Things in life can be so very frustrating, so if you can find a way to take them with a pinch of salt and a sense of humour, you are likely to feel better and live longer!
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Cendrine – Kahlil Gibran. He is my biggest inspiration!
David – For me, if focusing on a present person, it would be Mike Patton. I see him as a constant musical inspiration, an innovator and a genius the way he comes up with all of his lyrical ideas, along with the multitude of his singing styles. I really would like to meet him to talk about his writing and musical processes, I’m sure he would make it a very fun and memorable experience.
If focusing on the past then I would very much like to meet any of my poetic heroes, one of the romantic poets of the 1700’s and 1800’s (there are far too many to list here), male or female. I would love to spend a day or two with them getting inside their heads and observing their writing processes. I’m sure it would be an endlessly fascinating time to be with them and soak up their poetic aura.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Cendrine – I am a simple girl. Music, movies, walks, etc.
David – I like to go for nature/historical walks through towns (particularly coastal towns), along with looking for interesting curios/knick-knacks and books in charity shops/thrift stores. I tend to watch a lot of films and television, they really are without a doubt a massive passion of mine. I can’t help but think that one day I might end up doing some scriptwriting as my own way of giving back to an industry that has given me so much inspiration and happiness throughout my life.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Cendrine – I enjoy the dystopian genre very much. I also love watching zombie movies (The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead). Shows like This Is Us, Grey’s Anatomy and Stranger Things are in my top list.
A couple of weeks ago, I saw Ad Astra at the theatre. It was such a great movie!
David – My current TV obsessions are with The Mentalist, which I believe is my all-time favourite TV show, for the superb acting of Simon Baker and all the twists in his character, along with the hilarity and drama the supporting cast provide, they are all brilliant. I have also been binging a lot of Stranger Things (superbly acted and written show), American Horror Story, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Burn Notice, Supernatural, Mr Robot, American Gods, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Brooklyn Ninety-Nine, Rick & Morty, The Simpsons, Futurama, Star Trek The Next Generation…there are so many, I will have to simply draw a line under it there.
As for films, I enjoy watching action films, comedies and romantic comedies, if it has a strong story then I am likely to watch it, regardless of the genre it sits in.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Cendrine – French food all the way. I’m just biased, I know.
Cool colors, like blue, make my heart skip a beat.
Music-wise, I love bands like Genesis, Depeche Mode, Supertramp, and Abba; and artists like Mike Oldfield.
David – Foreign food is my jam, I adore Chinese, Indian, Mexican, French, Spanish and Italian. Nothing makes me happier than when I’m taking basic food groups too and enjoying them with a variety of sauces, chutneys and pickles.
My favourite colours are purple/dark red, azure and the ones that are found in the ocean.
As for bands/music, I am a huge fan of Faith No More/Mike Patton, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Metallica, Electric Six, Monster Magnet, Interpol, Daft Punk, Ladytron, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Marina & The Diamonds, Gwen Stefani, The Donnas, Chris Cornell/Soundgarden, The Kills, The Yeah Yeahs…I have to stop there because that is just off the top of my head and the very tip of the musical iceberg, I could keep on going forever, just like with TV shows and films!
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Cendrine – I would do photography, teach French to adults, and be an entrepreneur. Well, I already do all those things. 😉
David – If I’m not writing then I would imagine I would be passionate about teaching others to write or helping them learn other skills to navigate through today’s crazy world. I really can’t imagine a reality where I don’t write though, I feel that it is my calling and I intend to write my little heart out at every opportunity I can.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live, how would you spend that time?
Cendrine – I would contact the people I lost touch with but who still are in my heart. I would also make pasta carbonara (because why not?)
David – I would have to let everyone know how much I love them and the difference that they have made in my life. Since I would have no more need for money, I would donate what I have to helping out friends who are in desperate need. I would have to feast all day too, on takeaways, sweets and biscuits because at last I will not have to worry about my health or my diet for once.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Cendrine – “Cendrine was flawed but deeply human.”
David – “At this point, I’ll settle for just a little peace and quiet.”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Cendrine – People can find my work at https://www.cendrinemedia.com.
David – My work including my books, along with a variety of Creative Resources and Artist Interviews can be found at www.toofulltowrite.com.
For more information on Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal, you can visit us at https://abpoetryjournal.com. Our submission process is open, so feel free to send us your inspirational poetry!
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https://youtu.be/GVm_JUdAbdY – Walks – A Collection of Haiku (Volume 1) – Trailer
https://youtu.be/_PB5qAv-_SE – Walks – A Collection of Haiku (Volume 2) – Trailer
– Soul Music The Colour Of Magic – Promo Video