Welcome to the two hundred and twenty-fifth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. Today’s is with poet Cendrine Marrouat. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Cendrine.
Cendrine: First of all, thank you very much for allowing me to appear on your blog.
Morgen: My goodness, you’re so welcome. Thank you for saying “yes”. 🙂 Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.
Cendrine: Well, I was born and raised in southern France and decided to move to Canada in 2003. I am a freelance journalist, reviewer and blogger, as well as an author and spoken word artist. So far, I have self-published five collections of poetry, and recorded and released one CD (Rizen). My last book is titled Five Years and Counting. A Journey into the Mind of Soul Poetry. How did I become a writer? It happened all of a sudden, actually. One night of January 2005, I grabbed a pen and a piece of paper, and started writing like a mad woman. Upon completion of my first poem, I knew I was in love with poetry. The relationship has been a little rocky over the years, but I think that poetry and I will never stop loving each other. (laughs)
Morgen: “Like a mad woman”, yes I can relate to that… and to the love of writing. So you write poetry, have you considered other genres?
Cendrine: I have also dabbed into short stories and theatre. I really hope I will be able to direct my two plays one day!
Morgen: That would be great. If you’d said radio or TV I could have pointed you towards the BBC Writers’ Room but plays I’m not so sure, although interviewee Gary Dooley would know. http://duotrope.com has a mass of opportunities but that’s just fiction and poetry. Any suggestions from anyone reading this? How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Cendrine: As a self-published author, I have to take care of everything. However, if my books had been released through a publishing house, it would be the same thing. With that being said, unlike many self-published authors, I consider myself an entrepreneur. As I mentioned earlier, I am a journalist, reviewer and blogger, and I have a solid online experience. I know a thing or two about social media and marketing. Plus, I am not scared of trying new ideas, even if they fail. As a result, promoting my books has become a natural process — a process that I actually enjoy.
Morgen: You’re one of few if the answers to that questions to-date are anything to go by but then we tend to enjoy things more with practice, don’t we? What are you working on at the moment / next?
Cendrine: These days, I am really busy writing for my six titles on Examiner.com, as well as my blog. And when I have some time left, I also contribute to Digital Journal.
Morgen: Time? Mmm, I remember that concept. 🙂 What is your opinion of writer’s block? Do you ever suffer from it? If so, how do you ‘cure’ it?
Cendrine: Writer’s block is part of a writer’s routine. When it hits me, which is quite frequent, I just focus on other things. I do some research, listen to music, read, or go for a walk. Usually, inspiration comes back quickly. The more you fight writer’s block, the more it will try to fight you back. So let it be. Embrace it like you would any other challenge in life.
Morgen: 🙂 A question some authors dread, where do you get your inspiration from?
Cendrine: Life and God.
Morgen: Are you involved in anything else writing-related other than actual writing or marketing of your writing?
Cendrine: All the time. For example, I interview a lot of people, especially artists. I review books, music, plays, exhibitions, movies, etc. I also try to focus on important but undercovered issues. It is important to me. I am also a professional translator and proofreader. So, these positions involve a lot of writing as well.
Morgen: So many strings to your bow. 🙂 What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
Cendrine: My creative process is all over the place (laughs). I usually need a title to start anything. Then, I will go with the flow — even if I have an outline in front of me. I am always in writing mode. Every time I have an idea, I quickly jot it down on a piece of paper for later use.
Morgen: Ah yes, “quickly” (my brain = sieve) 🙂 Do you write on paper or do you prefer a computer?
Cendrine: I usually prefer using the computer; I edit my writing compulsively. The other day, I found an old handwritten poem in a box. The only thing that I could understand was the title. The rest was unreadable (laughs).
Morgen: Oh dear. Let’s hope it wasn’t a masterpiece. Some writers like quiet, others the noise of a coffee shop etc. Do you listen to music or have noise around you when you write or do you need silence?
Cendrine: I can write in almost any kind of environment. However, when it is time to edit my work, I need complete silence.
Morgen: Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Cendrine: Not really. If it happens, it’s probably because I forgot that I wrote them. (laughs)
Morgen: In that case we’ll say they were all terrible and it’s saved you the time writing them. 🙂 What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Cendrine: If you want to be a writer, practice, practice, practice. Study your favourite authors. What makes their style effective? Do not emulate it; instead, use what you know to make your own style approachable and relatable. And most importantly, pour your heart and soul into what you do. Also, never compare yourself with others. Be confident in your skills and your voice. You are the only one who can write exactly like you. Finally, remember that “haters” (and people who think they know better than you) will always be waiting around the corner. Take everything with a grain of salt and follow this advice (an extract from my last book):
“Persist, you must,
Your soul, just thrust.
Let them inspect and scan.
Write for those who understand.”
(“Write for Those Who Understand,” p.76)
Morgen: Persist indeed – if a writer has passion… What do you like to read?
Cendrine: I like non-fiction. My favourite authors are Kahlil Gibran, Elizabeth Bishop and Alphonse de Lamartine. I also recommend Victor Hugo, Jane Austen, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (the author of “The Little Prince”), Michelle Antoinette Nelson (a.k.a Love the Poet), Tantra-zawadi, and Richard Bach (the author of “Jonathan Livingstone Seagull”).
Morgen: Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?
Cendrine: “My mind is like an open window.” This quote comes from a song by Abba, one of my favourite bands.
Morgen: I only discovered their ‘The Day Before You Came’ song recently and really like the lyrics (a bit like The Beatles’ ‘A Day In The Life’ except not quite so morose). Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how invaluable do you find them?
Cendrine: Before the advent of social networks, forums were the places to be for writers. Personally, I have never found them useful. On the other hand, I love social networks. They have allowed me to easily connect with readers, as well as other artists and professionals from around the world. Some of them have even become very good friends. Social networks are powerful promotional tools. You just need to learn how to use them properly and effectively.
Morgen: Perhaps surprisingly I’ve met, and become friends with, some great writers via LinkedIn. When I was first invited to join I did so thinking it was business-only but then discovered their writing groups and became engrossed with some wonderful people. Where can we find out about you and your work?
Cendrine: You can find more about me and my work at http://www.cendrinemarrouat.com. My books and CD are in the store. Five Years and Counting is also available for purchase at the following: Amazon, McNally Robinson Booksellers, Lulu, the iBookstore and Barnes & Noble NOOK Bookstore. Rizen can be purchased on CDBaby, ReverbNation, Amazon and Apple iTunes.
Morgen: What do you think the future holds for a writer?
Cendrine: In this day and age, everybody can be a writer. It has become very easy to self-release a book thanks to services like Lulu. Unfortunately, this wonderful publishing democratization is also dangerous. Many self-published authors do not take the time to do any research and think that they can handle everything themselves — including editing and proofreading. Most of the time, they lack the proper training and will not ask around for constructive feedback. The result is a bad product that looks very amateurish. And we all know the rest of the story. So, to answer your question, I will say this: The future depends on what writers are willing to make of it.
Morgen: Having a professional editor is a hot topic on LinkedIn with an author saying he could self-edit… needless to say he was shot down in flames from everyone! Is there a question you’d like to ask me?
Cendrine: What is your favourite genre?
Morgen: If it was a genre, I’d go for ‘dark’. Sometimes I go to write the lightest fluffiest thing and part-way through I can feel the creepiness… well, creeping over it. Probably not answered your question, so I’d say “crime and humour”. Thank you Cendrine.
I then invited Cendrine to include some of her writing and the following is an extract from Five Years and Counting. A Journey into the Mind of Soul Poetry. This poem is also the first track of Rizen.
Think upon those things
Hush, baby, hush.
The lull of the world will come.
Nascent dreams and fantasies
Open the door to freedom.
Hush, baby, hush.
Let the tears flow evenly
In the apex of your mind,
And feel the light through your spine.
Think upon those things
That make us human.
Think upon those words
That turn us against one another.
Think about those instants
When change soars into the sky,
When you feel limitless,
Impervious to sorrow.
So, next time you curse the world,
Remember that you are part of it.
Remember your significance
In the eyes of the beholder.
Then, and only then will you be able to think of beauty.
But, right now, hush,
And think upon those things.
Cendrine Marrouat is a self-taught, bilingual entrepreneur with eight years of experience in the freelance industry.
This former teacher is a journalist, reviewer, blogger and author who focuses on social media for small businesses and independent artists.
Her articles have appeared in a number of websites and blogs, including Examiner.com, Digital Journal, Technorati, Blogcritics, WAGTi Radio, and Creative Ramblings.
Originally from France, she currently resides in Winnipeg, Canada, and holds a bachelor degree in English to French translation.
Update August 2012: Cendrine recently released The Little Big eBook on Blogging: 40 Traffic Generation Tips, a comprehensive resource that provides bloggers of all levels with essential information and precise guidance to attract quality traffic to their blogs.
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