On #litchat a week or so ago, I came across Cendrine Marrouat, an inspirational self-published author who works in performance, photography, and video as well as literature. It was exactly the kind of approach that excites me about writers, and Cendrine was kind enough to let me ask her some questions.
1. I get an immense sense of calm from your website. Can you tell me about the central message you try to convey through your work?
First of all, thank you very much for interviewing me. I am honored. And thank you for the compliment.
Through my work – poetry, freelance writing, photography and spoken word – I try to convey an uplifting message of peace by focusing on topics about which a lot of people are reluctant to talk. One of them is death. I even wrote a book on it.
Life is beautiful. We can only be happy if we embrace our fears.
2. I'd love to know why you took the decision to self-publish.
I have always been of an independent mind. I like to do things myself and I rarely rely on third-party help. I am a perfectionist and can spend hours polishing up small details. When you are cognizant of Photoshop, you can create great covers yourself. And Lulu provides excellent quality. I have heard a lot of people complain about them, but in my case, I only have nothing but great things to say.
However, self-publishing is not for everybody. A lot of authors do not realize that writing and publishing a book are the easiest things in the world. Marketing and promotion are the killers.
So for writers like me, who have a lot of patience, do not mind spending hours doing research and working a lot, and love to learn new things, it is an excellent choice. Self-publishing really works in the long-run.
3. You work in many different media. Do you find this helps your work, and if so how, or do you find that the different strands detract from one another?
As the Winnipeg Art Examiner and Winnipeg Spirituality Examiner, I have to write like a journalist and follow the Associated Press guidelines. With WAGTi Media Group and WAGTi Radio, it is a mixture between blogging and journalism. I also have had my blog for a couple of years. I wrote two plays and a few short stories, and dabbled in novels. Of course, I write poetry. I am an aspiring photographer with a focus on natural settings; and I do spoken word.
So, these different media help me define my unique style and force me to question my purpose as an artist. As a matter of fact, they complement one another.
4. There is such a distinctive feel to your site, I'd love to know what someone could expect who went to one of your live events.
Why, thank you!
Unfortunately, I have not had the opportunity to perform yet. And that is why I recorded a spoken word album. Here, in Winnipeg, Canada, nothing much happens on the poetry scene. There are a few spoken word events but they are not promoted well. Often, you hear of them after they happened. However, I would love to perform someday soon!
5. Do you think it's important for writers to perform their work? Do you feel it adds something that isn't there on the page?
I think that a real artist will always try to give his or her audience/readers a unique experience. So, ideally, I would say yes. It helps get the message across better and allows an artist to promote themselves in a more effective manner, I think.
6. Would you like to say a bit about what you have just finished working on?
My new collection Five Years and Counting. A Journey into the Mind of Soul Poetry will officially be released around August 2010. This book is unique. I regrouped more than 150 poems and put them in a specific order. I see poetry as a reflection of the human mind and as such, I wanted to highlight the most important stages in a person's life: birth and childhood, teenage years, adulthood and finally, elevation. This last stage is really about how understanding the meaning of life and death can help anybody let go of their fears and start to enjoy life to the fullest.
Right now the book is only available to members of the Five Years and Counting fan page on Facebook. Anybody can join and take advantage of the offer: http://www.facebook.com/fiveyearsandcounting.
7. And what will be coming next?
I have a second spoken word album in the works. For the first CD, I worked on my own, and recorded everything but the music at home. The music was provided by three amazing composers. This time, I have asked some incredibly talented spoken word artists, musicians and singers to collaborate in part on the project. I gave them free reign to interpret my poems; and the results so far have been amazing. This album should be released around the end of 2010.
I have also started working on a series of monthly Vlogs to help writers, especially beginners. I remember when I started five years ago, I could not really find anybody to give me advice; and the Internet was kind of confusing. Now, after many trials and errors, and a lot of work and research, I am quite knowledgeable on the topic. My first Vlog was on "good content": what is it and how do you provide it? People can view it on my YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/soulpoetrysite).
I am also looking for artists (writers, authors, musicians, etc.) in Manitoba, Canada, who are interested in being featured for my Winnipeg Art Examiner column. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on what I do, visit my official website: http://www.cendrinemarrouat.com/. For every purchase in the Books & CD section, I donate a dollar to a selected charity.