ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

JOIN YOLANDA RENEE ON HER BLOG TOUR!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

From the couch with Roland Yeomans.

Hi everybody!

I'm glad you enjoyed reading Ann Carbine Best's 'From the couch' last post. Today we have the passionate mysterious writer who hails from down near New Orleans, Roland Yeomans. Roland and I have been blogger friends for years. I've enjoyed reading/reviewing many of his stories and have hosted him previously. These days I can't keep up with his releases. It was hard nailing down this mysterious spirit, but I used my super powers. 



The shadows weighed heavy on us, as to our left Diana Krall was playing “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.”  It was Meilori’s after all … it could have been the ghost of Billie Holiday singing.

Denise shivered, “That Indian pulled me through my mirror to here! Considering I transported all the way from Oz it was no picnic!”

I shrugged, “That Indian was Apache actually.  You wanted to ask me some questions.  I wanted to do it on home ground.”

Denise flicked on her tape recorder.  “So, Roland, let’s get this party started so I can get back to Oz and write it up in time for this week's post! First question: What is your most vivid childhood memory?”

“Being abandoned in Detroit by my father on a street many called Skid Row when I was six  … running after his car, screaming, ‘Daddy! Daddy!”

“Bugger! I've heard that story before, but it doesn't get any easier with time. How long before you were found?”

“Six weeks.  I was taken under the wing of a street person, Maudie, and her little dog, Tufts.  I pay tribute to them in my FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE.”

Product DetailsDenise looked away, dabbed her eyes, then said, “I loved that book. I think it's her spirit who turned up on the image I created for you and erased yours. Funny that. Now, back to business, what is your most treasured possession?”

I smiled sadly, “My honor.  Everything else can be taken away from you, but you have to give up your honor yourself.”

“Hmm. What is the word that best describes you, Roland?”

“Evolving.”

Denise shook her head at me.  “Here’s a question you can’t be existential about: what is your favorite smell?”

I grinned, “The new car scent since I smell it so seldom.”

Denise arched an eyebrow.  “Then I won't tell you about my smashing new Suzuki X-Cross. Moving right along. What is the song that gives you goose bumps?”

I tipped my Stetson to the ghost of Lauren Bacall as she strolled by with her husband, Humphrey Bogart.

La Marseillaise when I watch that scene from my favorite movie, CASABLANCA.”
Denise said, “I can see where it would be.  I love La Marseillaise when they sing it in the stadium before the French rugby team loses to Australia. Their anthem beats ours hands down even if their players aren't quite up to the mark. Now, I see in the notes here that your first job was working at a movie theater. Is that right?”

“Yes, actually it was, but it was way past the time of black and white movies.  It was the time of George Lucas.”

“Fancy that." Denise shuffles her papers. "How did you get into writing novels, Roland?”

“I started into writing by the lure of reading.  As an elementary school student, I was lured into the magic of myth by Edith Hamilton’s MYTHOLOGY.  In junior high school, Beau Geste, Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Fu Manchu, and John Carter of Mars hooked me into fantasy and science fiction.”

"Go on."

I smiled sadly, “I remember being entranced by the movie, THE THIRD MAN, I watched one Saturday night on a Golden Oldie marathon.  I handed in a short story fashioned after it to my English teacher.  You would have thought it was bleeding to death when I got it back with all the red slashes on it.”

Denise smirked. "Those English teachers can be vicious with the blood-red pencil."

I rubbed my lips with the back of a thumb.  “But I’ve always been stubborn.  So I kept right on writing through junior high to today.  Thankfully when my home burned down all those early stories and novels went up in smoke!”

“I'm glad you coped. So, Roland, what books recently have you been unable to put down?”

“The LONGMIRE mysteries by Craig Johnson: a sheriff at the end of his tenure in Wyoming tries to solve murders while attempting to ignore Native American flashes of the supernatural that will not let him alone.”

“And what is your latest book?”

“Glad you asked that. CARNIVAL OF THE DAMNED: an existential take on the Hero’s Journey that’s a meld of THE WALKING DEAD, Lovecraft, and Ray Bradbury.  I can just see my old English teacher getting her red pencil out!”

Denise cocked her head, “Now listen, remember you're speaking to an English teacher here. Mind  your mouth! Now speaking of existential: what do you think the point of life is?”

“Since life is infinite, the meaning to it is also infinite.  Our finite minds cannot grasp it.  But that should not stop us from trying to understand the world around us. Perhaps, there is only the meaning each of us gives to our lives, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person. What did Robert Louis Stevenson write?  “To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.”

Denise got out a large white handkerchief and mopped her sweaty brow a bit like Pavarotti used to do after a performance, “Thanks for the interview, Roland. I knew you’d be hard work. Now how do I get out of here?”

So folks, I hope you enjoyed today's 'From the Couch' with Roland Yeomans. Stay tuned for next week's reclining personage on Monday, May 25th! I wonder who she/he will be?

Here is a link to Roland's Author Page on Amazon. Looks like he has 19 stories available. He's a spirit all right!
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37 comments:

  1. Hope you returned safely through the mirror, Denise!
    Working in a movie theater would've been a job with bonuses. Bet you saw a lot of movies.
    And that was really nice you paid tribute to the woman who took care of you on the street.

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    1. Yes, Alex, Denise got back safely. Samuel wouldn't have had it any other way. And working in a movie theater did have its perks, but listening to the same movie over and over grew tiresome. (The theater had only one screen.) Maudie was a hero to me when I needed one, so I made her a hero in my novels. :-)

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  2. Great interview, very entertaining! Reading does lead to writing, doesn't it. It's nice to meet someone else with memories of English teachers and their influence! All good, Denise, all good!

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    1. Yolanda, I even became an English teacher for a time myself -- how is that for an influence! It was Denise who made the interview good. :-)

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  3. Not surprisingly, superbly entertaining and incredibly imaginative. I love both of you people...and your writing. And I loved finding out a bit more about the elusive Roland Yeomans. I just shared this interview on my Facebook page.

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    1. Ann, so good to see you here! :-) Thanks for sharing this on Facebook. I would have replied sooner, but I slept in, still trying to recover from working 24 of the weekend's 48 hours: a rare blood courier's weekends are brutal!

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    2. Yes Ann Roland is always good value! Thanks for being a couch recliner last week!

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  4. Great interview, Denise, and very suitable image! Roland's stories are some of my favorites, especially those set in Egypt, or the movie industry. . .I always liked my English teachers, it was the math ones I couldn't get along with. I've probably read most of Roland's work or have it in the TBR, which is why I'll be featuring his work, The Stars Bleed at Midnight, in a review soon. This is a great series you have started!

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    1. Wasn't that a great image? I wrote THE STARS BLEED AT MIDNIGHT basically for you and Inger since you both liked the prior book so much. I hope you enjoy it. Like you I am entranced with Ancient Egypt and early Hollywood. English teachers certainly influenced me -- I even became one for a time. Like you, math is not my favorite subject, but I have to try since it is essential to my love of science.

      Wasn't Denise clever and innovative to come up with this series?

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    2. Glad you enjoyed the interview D.G. I'll be looking out for your review of Roland's latest.

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  5. This is a great series you've started, Denise. I'm just pleased you let me sneak in. :-) You were a gracious hostess.

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    1. It is a pleasure to have you on my blog Roland. Always entertaining. :-)

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  6. That is terrible your father dumped you.

    I love H.P. Lovecraft. I bet I'll really enjoy Carnival of the Damned. Hope I get time to read again soon.

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    1. It will come out in print first, and so I have to get it formatted for print which will take awhile. I tried to make it entertaining. :-)

      Yes, my father was damaged emotionally and tried to hurt Mother by doing that to me. He was hoping I would be hurt worse than I was (Maudie kept that from happening.)

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  7. I will be said later about being dumped. I have to laugh at this: "“The new car scent since I smell it so seldom.” ME TOO!

    The best answer is that you can be described by evolving. If we are not evolving, then we need to step back and think.

    Great interview Denise and Roland!

    Teresa

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    1. Yes, that new car scent is seldom in my life! :-) True, we are either going forward or we are going backwards -- no standing still in life, is there? It was Denise who made the interview great.

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    2. Hi Teresa. Glad you enjoyed the interview. Roland is always good fun!

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  8. Great interview of someone who makes self-depreciation an art form.
    Thank you both - from another work in progress.

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    1. The wit, Will Rogers, said your horn sounds louder when someone else toots it! I would never make it in politics, would I? :-) We are all works in progress. Glad you liked the interview -- most of the credit belongs to Denise.

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  9. Fun and heart-rending simultaneously. I didn't know that about your father Roland.
    Love the positivity and the humour though. Denise, it's a great series - enjoyed both interviews and will be back for the next one.

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    1. I believe my Father was cruelest to himself when he did that, robbing himself of a loving family. I try to be fun -- most of those we meet in life are having a harder time than they appear -- I would hate to make a bad day worse for someone hurting by whining!

      Wasn't this a cool idea Denise had? :-)

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    2. Hi Nila. Glad you're enjoying the series!

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    3. I know a little about what you've been through, Roland and I applaud your courage and spirit. So many people are bitter when they have nothing much to be bitter about. It takes enormous amounts of courage and compassion to 'hate to make a bad day worse for someone hurting by whining' when the person himself is hurt. I know this because I have seen it pretty close up, and it isn't easy to be positive and laugh it off! Kudos!

      And Denise, I am indeed enjoying your series massively, great notion you got here :~)

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  10. I had no idea your father was so cruel to you. Your story broke my heart.

    Casablanca is one of my favorites too! Interesting how many of my best-loved flicks are from the 1930's and early 1940's. They've influenced my writing, and obviously (Marlene Dietrich) they've had an impact on you too.

    Thank you, Denise, for this lovely interview with Roland.

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    1. I survived and met a wonderful woman and her dog. :-) Yes, I included Marlene Dietrich in my fictional travels in GHOST OF A CHANCE! Thanks for visiting and commenting. It means a lot.

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  11. I worked in a movie theater as a teenager. It was the mid-80s...we had Die Hard, Beverly Hills Cop 2, etc. I take it Roland worked in the projection booth, since he mentioned watching the same movie over and over in the comments above? I got to see free movies, which was nice, and all the popcorn I wanted! but I never watched any of the movies more than once.

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    1. Stephanie, it was a small one screen theater so I heard the dialogue over and over again from where I tore the tickets and worked in the concession stand. Free popcorn was nice but after awhile I would have killed for a hamburger!! :-)

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  12. Hi Denise & Roland.
    Great interview.
    Diana Krall... ah, gotta love her smoky voice... really soothing.
    That childhood memory made me sad. So unfair.
    ...and I cringed at the mention of 'blood red' pages...

    I've been a reader all my life. Writing came long after. Now I'm trying to balance the two.
    Hope you're well, Denise.

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    1. I am a big fan of Diana Krall. I loved watching the DVD of her Paris concert. So my Samuel McCord loves her too and has her at his jazz club! :-)

      Many more children have had worse things happen in their childhoods: my mother being one of them so I got off easy.

      Good to see another reader become writer! Thanks for liking Denise's interview with me, Michelle! :-)

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  13. This interview has everything: heartbreaking sadness, thought-provoking thoughts, giggle-inducement. I love Rolands books too. Glad, you made it back to OZ Denise. Is it cold traveling by mirror?

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    1. Samuel McCord would have it no other way than for Denise to make it back to Oz safely! :-) But it cold traveling by mirror. Brrr.

      Such nice words about Denise's interview, Holly. You made my afternoon with them.

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  14. Great interview, Denise! You've been through so much, Roland, but have more than persevered--you've triumphed because you understand the nature of being human.

    Ohhhh, Denise, your roof will be fantastic. Excited for you! Would love to do that here but the concept's too new for a realistic cost. (You can chuckle; it's okay.) Your beach cottage sounds like a home away from home that you could occupy full time down the road if you so choose -- and really smart planning on your part to have options. Yes, yes, you hit the nail on the head: It's really nice when one of God's creatures adopts us. Amazing how a little frog can lead to so much.

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    1. I'll have to ask Denise about that roof of hers -- you made it sound intriguing.

      All of us have had hard knocks. I think it should teach us not to give them to others, right? :-) You take care.

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    2. Hey Kittie, the roof really is fantastic.

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  15. This is an amazing interview! Roland definitely turned it into something great and put a lot of thought into it. There was so many emotions and he shared so much with us.

    It's so sad that your father left you like that. And that you weren't found for six weeks...you were an incredibly strong, brave little boy. *Hugs!*

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    1. Chrys, thanks for the nice words about my own. Denise deserves most of the credit though. :-) Maudie saved my sanity. along with my body -- she is the champion there ... and little Tufts who uncomplainingly gave me something to hug in the dark nights.

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  16. Hi Roland and Denise .. glad the return journey went ok ... perhaps that mirror is now in your new ceiling? This is where the blogosphere shows us much .. we can learn of others' challenges, more likely horrors that we'd call them ... then people's hearts will always break through cruelty and help others.

    Journeys to draw on, when writing ... and we all have those in our own lives, or family or near and dear as we grow up. Life deals us these blows too ...

    I am looking forward to my time away to read and see some more of the blogging world, as well as those books to read - about the many thought processes and subjects that call to us to learn more.

    Roland's books are there high on my list ... cheers Hilary

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