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Jane Covernton on Cutlass Time

About Cutlass Time:

BCB: What do you think readers will find most notable about Cutlass Time?

Jane Covernton: I think most readers appreciate that it’s a “good read”, an interesting story. I’ve also been told that the language is poetic.

BCB: Have you acquired any good anecdotes surrounding this book? If so, could you share one?

The book was in cold storage. One morning I woke from a dream with the idea that I should take it out, work on it, and publish it. That day I was getting my hair cut and talking with Gwen, my hairdresser. By chance, and after years of knowing each other, she mentioned being in Jamaica. It turned out she had spent long periods there, in relationship to people there, and had had some experiences similar to mine. It seemed like a sign.

Jane Covernton: Did researching and writing this book teach you anything or influence your thinking in any way?

While I was writing this book, I came across an article by Robert Harlow in Canadian Fiction Magazine. It was on the novella. I can’t find that article now but I was deeply influenced by it. He wrote, as I recall, about the novella being about one thing, one series of events. The image that sticks with me is that of a small boat tearing down a river in a deep canyon. I’m not sure that Cutlass Time ended up being a novella in the sense he was writing about, but it was crafted with his ideas in mind. It starts with putting a character at her limits. In this case, Lizbeth’s husband dies, what could be worse?

BCB: What would you most like readers to tell others about this book?

Jane Covernton: Tell everyone that Cutlass Time is a really good read, that the language is poetic, and that you cared about the characters.

BCB: Can you suggest one question that readers might find interesting to discuss, concerning you, your writing in general, or Cutlass Time?

Jane Covernton: Is it possible for first world people travelling, or living, in poorer countries to have authentic relationships with the people they meet, or are they always corrupted by the difference in economic situation? Or, bigger question: what can we do to reduce these crippling disparities?

BCB: How can readers help you promote this book?

Ask your local library to stock it.

About Jane Covernton:

BCB: Why do you write?

Jane Covernton: Why do you write? Or perhaps the question should be “Why do you still write?” Not for the fame and money that when I started out about thirty-three years ago I thought would surely come. Though now, after the bitterness and depression have somehow burned away, and after several years of self publishing, of reaching my readers, one reader at a time, a kind of recognition has come, which is nice. It is the neighbour who has read my latest novel and sits over tea for an hour telling me what she saw in my book, things that are surely there, but that I didn’t really know were there. It is the well-known and widely published author who reads the book and sends me an email with good words about it. It is the wonderful review from Ernest Hekkanen in The New Orphic Review (re-published on this site).

I’m very glad to have this kind of recognition, and it is for this that I have self-published, to complete the circuit of electricity that is writer to reader. But that’s not really the answer to why I still write.

I think it is a kind of deep pleasure that keeps me going, that I reclaimed when I came out of the depression that lasted several years and silenced me with the world’s apparent judgement. The pleasure must be something like that of a craftsperson who turns a wooden bowl or builds with clay. I see it in my husband when he builds a shelf of Douglas fir from our woodpile and it is good: straight and smooth and right. The pleasure includes a kind of confidence that has grown through the years. When I set out for Jamaica, like the character in my book, but with a portable typewriter instead of a flute, the man who would later be that husband said, “I hope you do write. I think you have something to say.” That kept me going for a long time. Now I pretty much believe it: I have something to say, and I have the means to say it.  I am very grateful.

BCB: What is your greatest strength as a writer?

Jane Covernton: My greatest strength as a writer is my poetic clarity.

BCB: What quality do you most value in yourself?

Jane Covernton: My ability to love.

BCB: In addition to writing, what else are you passionate about?

Jane Covernton: I’m an autodidact herbalist and medicine maker with a herbal garden. I am passionate about being in and appreciating this beautiful world. I am lucky to live in a beautiful place that supports that passion.

BCB: What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?

Jane Covernton: I’m proud of growing out of the need to bow down to collective wisdom. Still working on that one.

Read about Jane’s novel Cutlass Time HERE.

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Posted by Pearl on Feb 10 2011. Filed under Author Interviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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