Saturday, July 21, 2012

Interview with Denise Covey

Knocking on Hemingway's door in Paris
Today I have the pleasure of introducing Denise Covey, one of the winners of the Knights of MicroFiction.  She has three fabulous blogs you should check out, L'Aussie Writer, Pichets in Paris, and Romantic Friday Writers, but first let's learn a little bit more about Denise.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer? 

At a very early age. I began winning writing competitions when I was eleven. Then as I got older I kept thinking I didn't have enough life experience to write anything worthy, so I went out to get it. University degrees, Creative Writing courses, High School teaching...travelling. I started novels, researched novels, but always felt too immature to tackle the issues I wanted to write about. It's only in the last few years that I've wanted more from my writing than writing flash fiction online, and short stories, travel articles and profile pieces for magazines and newspapers.

Hmm, I still feel too immature.
I know you love to travel, what is the most amazing place you've ever visited?

Ah, that is a hard one. My favourite country to visit is France (have been there countless times!), but the most amazing place I've ever visited is Morocco. It is so different from our slick culture. It's like living in Biblical times with produce being moved around by donkeys, hurried along by men in jallabas waving sticks. The medinas, where the Muslims live, can house up to 20,000 people, and are endlessly fascinating to visit (accompanied by an Arab guide, I suggest.) Riding camels in the Sahara Desert, driving through the Sahara following the old Caravan route through the mountains, seeing oases over 80 kilometres long, and poking around abandoned red mud casbahs was like turning the pages of some of my favourite books - The Moor of Marrakech and such and songs like Marrakech Express.

At the highest point of the Sahara Desert in Morocco with my Toureg guides
Wow that sounds fabulous. I would love to ride a camel through the Sahara.  
I'm sure all your travels give you plenty of ideas to write about, but what inspires you the most?  

That would be 'who'. People. I don't just thirst for travel just to see different things. Meeting the locals is my favourite part. But the more countries I visit, the more people I meet, I understand that humans are basically the same with similar needs and aspirations. Landscapes inspire me. Literature inspires me. I find life inspirational.


Beautiful sentiments.
I see you have a couple novels in progress. Which one do you spend most of your time on? Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Yes, I have three novel in progress. I had to decide which one to finish first or I'll never finish any of them, so I've chosen my first novel, Ruby. All my novels include other cultures, issues, and things I've learned from my travels. Ruby is a contemporary romantic novel whose heroine is a young French girl who has come to Australia to follow her dream of owning her own hotel, a dream inherited from her father. The hero, Michael is an Australian sea captain who takes tourists whale watching, but his dream is to assist in the whale hunt, but on the side of the Sea Shepherd crew, whose aim is to inhibit the Japanese whalers in Antarctica. Conflicting dreams make this story. 

What a great way to share your experiences. It sounds like a wonderful story. I'm looking forward to reading more.

Speaking of reading, what books have influenced you the most?

My favourite genre is literary fiction, but my tastes are eclectic. I love to read just about anything, really. As far as the most influential, Ernest Hemingway, Papa, has been my favourite since I moved beyond Heidi as a young girl. Maybe Hemingway's stories fed my urge to travel and my tendency to observe people. (I wasn't influenced by his hard drinking, lol!) 


That's good! He did love his drink.


Last year I finally got to Pamplona in Spain, where he set his The Sun Also Rises. Can't explain the thrill of seeing the things he saw. I even blogged about a walking tour around Paris I took, Moveable Feast in hand, to see his Paris apartment and the square where he liked to eat and the coffee shops where he went to drink rum. I think the best writing advice ever, comes from Hemingway - write all morning, then go and rub shoulders with authors and people watch all afternoon and night. Read his Moveable Feast for that and other writing gems.


I just finished A Farewell to Arms, but I'll have to add A Moveable Feast to my list. I wonder if blogging counts as 'rubbing shoulders with authors'.
You have three great blogs. How long have you been blogging and what is the best part about it?

I started blogging in 2007 when I saw a competition for the best travel blog post. Five years is a long time in the blogosphere, where bloggers burn out in an average of three years or decide other social networking groups are more efficient. But blogging is my favourite, although it's very time consuming. 

I agree with you, I'd rather spend my time blogging than on Facebook or Twitter.

The best part of blogging is the people I've met and the things I've learnt about writing. Knowing how I love to travel, I have invitations from bloggers from all around the world to come and stay. Who can beat that? Currently I'm spending 6 weeks in Fiji, courtesy of blogger Nas Dean, who I met online years ago and formed a strong blogger friendship. Another favourite blogger, Charmaine Clancy, recently moved to my hometown, Brisbane, and we've hit it off so well we now have our own Writing Group and are collaborating on our first epic fantasy novel in between doing writing courses at the Queensland Writers Centre, the best one in the country. Can't beat the blogosphere!

That's for sure.
There are so many wonderful people blogging! 
But 6 weeks in Fiji! I'm a little jealous.  
What do you like to do when you're not writing or traveling?

I like to run, to read, try a new restaurant, go for coffee, watch television and movies, and spend time with family and friends. Pretty ordinary. That's when I'm not checking out Lonely Planet.

Is there anything else we should know about you?


Well, I'm a political animal and a news junkie but I usually keep quiet about that as in these PC times, you aren't supposed to talk about politics. I can probably blame Hemingway for nurturing my strong political opinions as he wrote so much about war. I especially enjoyed his novels that explored the Spanish Civil War. I always have the 24-hour news on at home, so I usually know what's going on in most places around the globe, or at least the sanitised version. No listening to music while I write! It's a wonder my stories aren't pessimistic, but they're not. I'm a very optimistic person.


You're also very inspiring. I can't wait to get out and travel again myself. Well we're out of time for today. Thank you Denise for stopping by, I really enjoyed getting to know you and good luck finishing Ruby.

Thanks so much.


*****


SO that's it everyone. Be sure to check out all of Denise's blogs and stop by Jess's blog to see her interview with our other winner Ahsna Banga.


Kathy :)

29 comments:

  1. Denise has certainly traveled the world!
    Blogging is still my favorite. It takes more time but the rewards are greater.
    Three manuscripts at once? I can barely handle one at a time.
    Good interview, ladies!

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    1. Thanks Alex.
      Yeah one ms is plenty for me!

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    2. Ha Ha. I have a short attention span!

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  2. I already follow one at least of Denise's blogs. I like reading her traveling notes, too. Blogging is all I do, at the moment and it's enough for me.

    Nice interview, I'm jealous of all the places you've seen, Denise! Thanks Kathy, enjoyed the interview post.

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    1. Thanks for coming by D.G. I believe we are fellow francophiles! D

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  3. Great interview. I love hearing about other people's lives, they are always so interesting.

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    1. Thanks for coming by Sally. I'm sure your life is interesting!

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  4. Hi Kathryn! This was a lovely surprise to see it up so quickly! Thanks for your interest in me. I must put the link onto my blog now...Denise

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  5. I envy you, Denise, your world travels. The only time I went over-seas, total strangers were shooting at me! Took the fun right out of sight-seeing! It was great gettign to know more about you, Denise. Great questions, Kathryn.

    Have to be short -- I am alone in my storm-savaged blood centger. Oops there went my cell phone. Gotta run into the night! Wish me luck!

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    1. Be safe Roland. Those bullets missed, I hope the lightning does too! D

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  6. Wonderful interview! I loved getting to know Denise a little better and her love of Hemingway. I guess I should read at least one of his books--gasp!--hehehe. I do love the sound of Ruby.

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    1. Hemingway's not everybody's cup of tea, Lynda. I guess he was the first writer who really captured my imagination and still does. I'm hoping to have Ruby finished by the end of the year, or earlier. D

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  7. Hello Kathryn. Hello Denise.
    I'm very familiar with Denise, being a member of her group Romantic Friday Writers.

    I'm not much of a traveler, but Denise sure has been to some amazing places. One of these days, I hope to experience the romance and intrigue of France. For now, I'll just visit it through Denise's blog (smile).
    Congratulations Denise! You deserve it.
    Wonderful interview. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Andy. Ah,you must romance your wife in Paris one day!

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  8. Lovely interview, Denise. You are so well travelled, I am quite envious. I really enjoyed A Moveable Feast, although I am not sure I would have liked Hemingway in person!

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    1. Probably not many people did! But I admire so much about him.

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  9. Wow. THIS is called an amazing interview! You're so awesome! I really wish I could have those degrees and so much of traveling! It's great to have seen so much and use that knowledge in your books. Really, there's a limit to what we can write sitting at home. I really enjoyed reading this! You're so interesting Ms Denise! :D

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    1. Thanks Ashna. I really did feel I needed to learn so much before writing, but not everyone would agree. There are some very young successful authors. Not me. D

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  10. Three novels on the go. Wow! Loved hearing ahout your early writing successes too.

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  11. Awesome interview Denise and Kathy.

    Denise, your writing influences are amazing. So great that you can use so much of your traveling and people intuition in your blogs and stories. Three novels; wow. You got a lot of creativity :)

    ........dhole

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    1. Ah, Donna, I just need a little more dedication to one thing at a time to get stuff finished. Well, you know how hard it is to juggle so many things. Thanks for breaking your blog break to say hi...D

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  12. What a fascinating interview, Denise and Kathy!

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  13. All that travelling sounds like amazing fuel for writing. Good luck finishing your book! Great interview.

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  14. I picked up a few more fascinating bits about you here, Sis. Loved reading this interview. Hemingway's one of my favorites also, next to Fitzgerald and Raymond Carver. I have The Sun Also Rises sitting on my bookshelf (I won a paper copy of it from a Blogger friend -- yes blogging IS wonderful; have like you made SO many friends!) and now I'm itching to read it. But like you, I want to finish writing a book, the one I'm ghosting with my friend that is getting close to completion. Hope your Ruby is getting closer also!! But, just enjoy, enjoy Fiji while you have this wonderful opportunity. I suspect the time will just fly and you'll be back again in Brisbane.

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    1. Thanks for coming by Ann. Yes, I love Fitzgerald too. But I never tire of old Papa. I always learn so much whenever I read his stories. I am using this time in Fiji to mainly write. Nowhere near as many distractions as back at home! D

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