Today I am very pleased to be interviewing a new author who has already published a book of poems and a book of short stories in the past two months! Please welcome Cheyanne Marie.
K: Cheyanne, I think the best place to start is with you as a person. What should we know about you, beyond what you write?
C: First of all, I can elaborate on nothing at all like no tomorrow, so I apologize in advance for my super long answers. I’m a 20 credit hour college student with three different jobs (Librarian, Teacher’s Aid at an elementary school, and I clean an office every other week...Does that count as a job?). I’ll graduate this semester with my first AA, transfer- get another AA, then a BA...the ultimate goal is a JD for Environmental Law...but we’ll see how far I make it. lol
I tend to be a spaz, a socialite, and highly dramatic. It’s actually really funny that I’m an author, because my personality is far from that. I love pageants, high heels, movies, acting, singing, cosmetology, cold coffee, the time periods of the 1940s, 50s, and 90s; sparkles, loom knitting, jewelry...basically anything loud. Oh, and I love Marvel. Specifically Captain America, cause he’s just fabulous.
I think the hardest thing for me to explain about myself is simply the fact that I am a deeply religious person, and have very high moral standards; but, funny thing being, I don’t write “religious” or even “Christian” fiction. Truth be told, I don’t feel called to write that. As a former homeschooler, I’ve read only, you know, PG kind of things, and for me, I think that’s really narrow. I feel like fiction shouldn’t be a reflection of the author, or the author’s beliefs necessarily (even though I do weave in morals of right and wrong through one or two of the observations of my characters), but rather a reflection of the world at large. I write what I see in the world, both good and bad, in the hopes that observing the truth of reality will encourage some to change it. But with that said, I’m definitely not writing R type things...there’s a point and a line that I won’t cross. :)
K: Thank you for sharing all of that! Tell us about the books you just published—and don’t forget the anthology you were published in. :)
C: It’s seriously been such a wild ride from when it all started, but I’ll save some of that for the next question. ;) My first book was a book of poems that I released back in December (“a book of rather uninteresting poems”), which is so weird because I’d never written poetry until a couple of months ago. In fact, I hated it, so it’s more than amusing that my debut release was poems and poetry. I guess you just never know what you’re going to end up doing.
My second release (which I’m pretty stoked about) “I Married a Movie Star and other writings,” is a collection of differing short stories. My favorite, is the “I Married a Movie Star” itself...and I feel like the name is pretty explanatory. I think it’s just a funny story, combined with what would actually happen if a “nobody” married a celebrity, along with the challenges life, marriage, and child raising would add to that.
The Anthology, “Space Kitties,” was a total blast to be a part of. The name threw me for a wild loop at first. “Cats in space? How is that going to work?” was my initial thought, but after beginning, I found it was perfectly logical as logical could be. “21 Cats in the Hatch” is my story that is included (it will also appear in “I Married A Movie Star”), and I think it’s one of the best things I’ve written. Without giving too much away, I really just wanted to focus on the faults humans have, and the way that cats, for example, could look into our “race” and see the faults that we so easily tend to ignore.
K: You’re a well-rounded writer! When did you start writing, and how and when did you know you wanted to be published?
C: Four. I wrote “The Snake Desert,” followed four years later by my hit novel, “The Ice Cream Thief.”
It actually took me a long time to seriously write. I started out of boredom at eight, stopping and starting again until age fourteen or so when I had an idea for a novel. Even then, I didn’t begin writing as a “career” until last year, my freshman year of college when it began to take on a form of self- help/therapy for me.
I’ve always had fantasies of publishing (who hasn’t?), and then it just sort of happened one day. I had to write an article for class, a response to a letter written about soldiers overseas. Anyhow, my essay was one of the national winners in a competition that my teacher entered her students in, and before I knew it, I was published. It was kind of like something just clicked in me, like “Oh, hey. I could do this. This is something I could actually do.” That was followed by publication in the Saltfork Review with another of my short stories (“See Where Life Takes Us,” also included in my new book), right before the anthology, and then my own self-published titles. Without that kind of reassurance, I don’t know if I would have had the push to continue on my own.
K: That's cool you write nonfiction, too! What are some of your favorite books, and how have their authors inspired your life and your writing?
C: There’s a lot of authors that have really shaped me in both life and writing craft, and none of them are modern authors. C. S. Lewis is probably my all-time favorite. I also really like Lewis Carroll, Horatio Alger, Jr., and Jane Austen (Favorite books: Narnia, Mere Christianity; Alice in Wonderland; On His Own; and Pride and Prejudice...more or less in that order.).
There’s this sense of weirdness that I just love from works like Carroll’s. I like weird things. Things that make you think, “What would I do in that situation?” I think weirdness just keeps it interesting. I also adore satire and political quips in writing, and both Alger and Austen are good examples of that.
I respect Lewis for the points he makes in his theology books, the arguments he brings to your attention that you just can’t argue with, because he states the truth plain as day, and that’s something I hope to accomplish in my writings; restating what we all already truly know, but are too afraid to say, you know, give people a bit of a wake-up call. Literature is a powerful tool that should be used for more than entertainment or even encouragement, and I hope to nudge people not only to change themselves, but also the world around them by reading my works.
K: Good choice on authors, and what inspiring thoughts about literature! Can you pick one of the poems in A Book of Rather Uninteresting Poems and tell us the inspiration behind it?
C: This poem doesn’t actually have a name, I couldn’t think of a name that would fit.
I remember she was young
I remember the age was twelve.
She hated life, and was depressed.
With no way out, and no one to help
To end it all seemed the only answer.
But still she couldn’t manage to go through-
Pull the trigger, use the knife
The idea never lasted long-
She dared to hope, and hope kept her strong.
I remember those times,
I think back and catch a breath-
How foolishly it could have ended;
Ended there in death.
I remember the girl,
I heave a sigh.
I was the girl-
The one who contemplated suicide.
I realize this is a very dark poem, very gruesome, but I think there’s also hope in that. While I haven’t been “suicidal,” per se, I was often tempted to take my life when I was younger, and that’s so stupid, but that’s how I felt. What most people don’t know about me, is that I’m unhappy roughly 90% of the time, and I’m working through that. I become depressed very easily. I never used to talk about it, but my stance has changed on that, and I’ve become more open about the things I struggle with for the following reason. Since “growing up” and meeting lots of other people, I realize I’m not the only one who’s unhappy, dissatisfied, depressed, or angry with their life. I’m not the only one who struggles. Honestly, all I’m trying to do for other people is encourage them. I just want people to know they’re not alone, we’re all going through stuff, we all feel the same way, and yes, it’s going to get better.
K: Wow, Cheyanne. Thank you for sharing that. It can be uncomfortable to talk about these things, but they are what people deal with and therefore it’s important to address them and offer God’s hope. Now for an off-beat question … what is your favorite color and do you see any connection between that and your personality?
C: Oh, that’s an easy one! My favorite color has been purple since I was little. I think it’s because I was really meant to be a princess. :P In all seriousness, I tend to enjoy “dressing up” and that sort of thing. I know purple used to be the color of royalty, and I think that fits the color itself because it’s really elegant, and I strive to be elegant, but I’m pretty sure I fail the moment I put sneakers and leggings on, but they’re just so comfortable.
K: Clever! Purple suits you. What projects do you have in the works right now?
C: I have about four more projects at the moment; from conception to almost completion. In about two weeks, I hope to release my first novel in a series, China Doll. This is actually the first time I’ve made that public, so I’m very excited. I also have plans for a second book of poems that will be collaborated with a new poet, this being her first release, but I’ll keep things quiet until we arrive closer to the release date. Other than that, I have a sequel manuscript to China Doll that will come out in the summer; another collection of shorts in the works; and I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a comparison between the public school system and homeschooling. That’s always just something that’s interested me, the difference physiologically, emotionally, physically, and scholastically between the two. Now that I’m both working and attending a public institution, I’ve been able to see the good and bad from both sides, and I’d like to share what I’ve observed with others curious about it as well.
K: All of your projects sound fascinating! Is there anything you’d like to tell us, writer to writer, or maybe simply person to person?
C: I know this is really cliche, but most often the cliche things are the most true, there’s a reason they came to be cliche in the first place. Be nice to everyone. Smile. Ask them how their day was. How hard is it to take two minutes of your day to talk to someone? Or just wave? I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to being considerate of another person, especially when I’m tired. But you literally never know where someone is in life, or what they’re dealing with, and a kind word or two from your could alter their life dramatically.
K: Wise words and a great reminder! Where can readers buy your books and connect with you?
C: Right now, my books are just on amazon.com, although I’d love to get them into Barnes and Noble in the near future. As for connecting, I’m on just about everything, with the exception of tumblr. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram...Look me up! And there’s also my blog, which I post on religiously, much to the annoyance of my followers, I am sure.
K: Thank you, Cheyanne, for this fresh and fascinating interview! It was wonderful to get to know you better and I look forward to reading all your works! I've already started “A Book of Rather Uninteresting Poems” (and they are interesting! :) )