20 Feb 2016

Take a Canadian and a Mucky Pup


Hello my little chickadees

How are you today? 

It's been a funny old week but that's another story. I managed to tie down Chuck Lovatt for an interview and i can see our sense of humour is evenly matched. Here he is down under.

Down Under






An Up and Under






















  • So who is Chuck Lovatt?

Chuck Lovatt (‘CW’ to his readers) was born on the 7th of November, sometime around the middle of the last century, to Eliza and Edmund Zonk III (of the Andromeda Zonks, naturally,) Emperor of the planet Zeton. However, due to a tragic case of a gloriously intoxicated nurse, he was accidentally switched at the cradle, and sent to Earth, to be claimed by Ken and Eileen Lovatt – occupation: farmers. Thus his life was decidedly more proletarian than intended. Blood sweat and tears were the order of the day. First toiling away like a mere commoner on the farm, and then the next forty years spent as a carpenter, bashing things with a hammer…which, when all is said and done, is wonderfully therapeutic.

Aha!! I know someone else who went through a similar transition. I wonder if you have super powers as well? Now me, I was born in a faery kingdom and have resided there ever since. Hence I’m always away with the faeries.

  • ·      Where do you live?


Inside my head. It’s usually quite lovely here. Lots and lots of chums, old and new! However, sometimes I do like to step outside, and invariably find myself on the Canadian prairies, usually suitably attired, thank God.

  • ·      Hobbies – apart from writing? (No! you cant mention that one!)


Chuck Lovatt enjoys long walks on the beach, playing .... Sorry, my bad! Wrong interview!
I enjoy reading - lots and lots of it - and falling asleep in front of the television… which is all that it’s good for these days, really.

  • ·      Pets?


Yes, certainly, by all means!

Hahaha. I never saw that coming

  • ·      What do you do to chill out?


Every once in a blue moon Douglas Adams will swing by in The Heart of Gold  (That’s right, Earthlings, he had you fooled, didn’t he?) with a pitcher of Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters. After that things get a bit hazy, rather like the 60’s…

My memories of the 60’s are also a bit hazy. I remember the psychedelic VW’s and flowers they wore in the hair and….

  • ·      Do you work?


Do you breathe?

Only every so often when I lift myself up from my latest WIP.

  • ·      Tell me about your books. When you first started writing. How many completed. Work in progress?


Right. I started writing in the early 80’s after reading an absolutely tremendous book (Richard Adams’ “Watership Down”) and then an absolutely horrid one (I’ve since forgotten the title…which just goes to show.) The message I got from one was that I could do a helluva lot better, and what I took from the other was an idea of excellence to aspire to. Given that I had a surfeit of imagination, and a natural affinity for spinning a yarn, it was game on. That was thirty-five years ago, trying and failing, trying, trying, and trying again, each time learning a little bit more, until about ten years ago, I met someone who was actually eager to offer encouragement. That’s when I decided that it was time to take all this writing business a lot more seriously. Since then I’ve written a multitude of short stories and novellas, winning a few competitions here and there [Ahem!] and getting others published in magazines along the way. Then one day in 2009 I decided to write a tongue-in-cheek story based in the 19th Century, about a gentleman’s gentleman. Two chapters in, and I knew that it was going to be a novel, and that’s when “The Adventures of Charlie Smithers,” and the Charlie Smithers Collection, was born. There have been two other books to add to the series since: “Adventures in India,” and “Adventures Downunder,” both released last year.  The first book and the latest have been in the top three in their Amazon sub-categories in the UK - the first one making it to #1 (thus far Amazon has yet to appoint a sub-category for “Adventures in India.”) In addition, I’ve an eclectic compilation of short stories due out later this year, which will be entitled “And Then It Rained,” and have written a somewhat more serious and edgy novel for the historically inclined – “Josiah Stubb: The Siege of Louisbourg.” This book takes place during The Seven Years War (or The French and Indian War for our American friends,) focusing, as the sub-title suggests, on the siege of Louisbourg. I’m currently working on the second Josiah book, and plan for it to eventually become a trilogy, culminating with the fall of Quebec.

  • ·      If you could have any animal from time immemorial as a pet for long freezing days and nights, what would you choose and why?


A cat, always a cat. Even if Ewoks were available, I would still choose a cat. We seem to understand one another, you see.

Agreed I am and always will be the ‘cat lady’

  • ·      Do you prefer heat OR cold?


Neither. I prefer days filled with a happy medium, but after more than forty years spent in the trades, I’m here to tell you that there’s damn few of them. Therefore, I’m at my best indoors, content to observe the lush greenery of summer, and the pristine beauty of our winters, from the comfort of my climate controlled living room.

  • ·      Fantasy holiday… Where would you choose to go if someone else was picking up the tab?


To about the end of my lane, and no further. I wouldn’t trust the bastard (whoever it was) not to welch, and leave me stranded in the back of beyond…which, when I think about it, isn’t a bad idea for a story…

Grinning. Authors see a story in virtually every statement.

  • ·      Tell me about your publishers. Do they leave you alone to promote, or do they hassle? Do they give you support?


You know, in all the interviews I’ve given, I don’t believe that anyone has ever asked me about my publisher before, so this is a real breath of fresh air.
After finishing “The Adventures of Charlie Smithers,” it took me four years to find Wild Wolf Publishing, and they’ve been terrific. They usually leave me to my own devices (which isn’t always wise, admittedly) as well as do their own bit, promoting-wise. I’m not sure what that is, exactly – I’ve never asked – but I believe that it’s mostly to do with the social media.

I also have a book published by Wild Wolf Publishing and I love them to bits…. 
Oh and I always like to slip the unexpected question in. So mega result there.

  • ·      Favourite meal (hot and cold)?


Hot: prime rib  
Cold: a plate of various cheeses, liverwurst, and olives

  • ·      Favourite drink (hot and cold)?


Hot: herbal tea
Cold (room temperature, actually): a cheeky Chilean merlot I discovered years ago, called Frontera.

All my favourites. How unusual is that? Even down to the herbal tea and liverwurst.

  • ·      How hard do you find book promotion?


Ugh!!!

That’s the sound I make lol

  • ·      Any tips or hints you’ve found that were successful for you in promotion?


I use my blog fairly often, and can send the posts out to Twitter, various Facebook accounts, as well as Pinterest and Google. However, what I’ve found to be the most effective is ruthlessly haranguing various groups of people…or even individuals. Which brings me around to a question of my own: have you read any of my books, Tee? Hmmm….? Or how about YOU out there in Blogland, hey? I’m never going to be fantastically wealthy if you’re just going to sit there and dither! Let’s get to it, shall we! All those books aren’t going to read themselves, you know!

Gulp!! Actually I remember starting to read Charlie Smithers way back. On my life I can’t remember why I didn’t finish it. I do know I was enjoying it at the time. 



  • ·      Favourite genres to read and write?


Historical Fiction is my usual go-to genre, writing as well as reading, at least as far as my novels are concerned – for some unfathomable reason, short stories are altogether different. I’m particularly interested in the British Empire in the 19th Century. However, if a book is well written, I don’t care what genre it is, even erotica. I’ve come to the point where I care less about what an author is saying, as how they are saying it. If they are saying it well, then chances are quite good that I’ll get the point. If they’re saying it badly, then the most profound thought in the world will be destined to die a dreary death, dejected and alone.

  • ·      You’ve set up your own publishing house using FB writer friends to help run it. What would you name it? Who would you choose to run the different departments? As the owner, how would you ensure the FB staff achieved success for you?


Hmmm… Okay, seeing as how it’s MY publishing house, (which I will call Black Inc… get it? Black Ink/Inc?) I shall be in charge of living in decadent luxury because I think I’d be really, really good at it. But just to show that I was raised with a strong work ethic, I’ll also be Managing Editor, and to prove that said work ethic fell on deaf ears, I’ll avoid my duties like the plague, except to appoint you, dearest Tee, Assistant Managing Editor. In fact, I think I’ll make you all of the other editors as well (after all, how hard can it be?) Except for Elaina Davidson, who will be in charge of the Zen branch, and our mate, Patrick Barrett, who can be in charge of the funny stuff, which, in this day and age, should give the old fellow lots of time for his afternoon nap; and last, but by no means least, our pal Reg Jones will be in charge of sending out those horrid refusal notices to those pesky, depressingly optimistic writers, thereby quashing their silly pie-in-the-sky dreams once and for all (well, it’s for their own good, isn’t it?) A person would have to be a right bastard for that job (which, admittedly, Reg is anything but,) OR he could be pissed as a newt, and that’s where our beer-guzzling friend will shine like a high octane super nova! Actually, that pretty much describes all my Facebook friends, but never mind.
Oh yes! There is one more position to fill: someone will have to answer the phones, make coffee, make sure Patrick is comfortably tucked in, Elaina’s incense is always burning, Reg’s glass is full, and just generally go about the place being useful. Perhaps we could pry my American friend, Kim Less-Dickerson, away from her doting family long enough to fill the role. Not only will it give Black Inc. a certain international flair, but Kim has just published her debut novel, and is therefore not without qualifications (which rather neatly absolves me from any possible accusation of misogyny.)
As for the key to success, that’s simple, and I’m amazed that no one has ever thought of it before. Repeat after me, “Burly ruffians!” If we can’t ‘wow’ the public with our wit and deep introspection, a good dose of intimidation ought to do the trick. Mark my words: a grateful world will thank us for it later. Yes, quite a brilliant idea, I must say! I do believe that I’ll give myself a raise! Cheers!

what can I say except that I would take on the mantle of ‘all editors’ as a snake would take on a mongoose. As for Reggie babes (my writing soul mate) we have trodden the writers boards together since time immemorial. Patrick’s wit would be perfect for the funny stuff. Will Elaina plant a Zen garden around Black Inc to ensure we all stay calm and semi sane I wonder? Kim Less-Dickerson also sounds perfect. After all she comes highly recommended by the owner of Black Inc.

So there you have him my friends. Chuck also sent me some other photos that i can't resist posting. You'll see why in a moment. Here you go...

 

From Chuck:  This gorgeous fellow is Barney, who used to be my heart's delight. Sadly, he's been gone for a little more than a year now. Two other things of note in this photo are the little woollen blanket that he is lying on was hand knitted for him by a fan. The same fan also sent the red plaid blanket I use for a sofa cover. I believe that her father in-law sent it from The Maasai Mara in Kenya, as a memento for The Adventures of Charlie Smithers. 

 

I live out in the middle of nowhere, and don't often get much company. This family was as exception. They came to call in the middle of the night. Momma's keeping an eye on me while the young ones make free with the bird seed. No one seemed bothered about having their picture taken.



Links to Chuck's books:





Well I hope you enjoyed meeting Chuck Lovatt as much as I enjoyed interviewing him.

Laters Potaters


4 comments:

CW Lovatt said...

Thank you for having me (so to speak.) I've seldom enjoyed an interview more. All best.

R.R.Jones said...

Nice one guys ;)

Viv Drewa said...

Great interview!

HoneyBee Novak said...

Fabulous interview! I learned a lot more about Mr. Lovatt.