AN AUTHOR IN PARADISE – AN INTERVIEW WITH C. E. AYR

Published February 6, 2017 by rochellewisoff
C. E. Ayr

C. E. Ayr

C.E. Ayr has always been somewhat nomadic, fairly irresponsible and, according to his darling daughter, a bit random.
His work history ranged from
selling programmes at his local football club to running his own company which supplied IT solutions to the retail sector.
He has now discovered Paradise in a small town he calls Medville on the Côte d’Azur.
Hence the title of his recently published book of Sound Bite Fiction, MEDVILLE MATTERS.

medville-matters

Your Bio was written a few years ago, has anything changed?

On the surface, not much.
I am still, to my surprise, in Medville.
I am, rather sadly, happier than I have ever been in my life.
I am relaxed and creative, I write Sound Bite Fiction of 100 words and novellas of 20,000 words.
I write poetry and, arguably, song lyrics.
I have heard very different versions of my stuff produced in very different ways by very different musicians.
Yep, Bluegrass to Heavy Metal.
I have seen Carolina Sartor, a Canadian artist of exceptional talent, translate a children’s poem into twenty-two breathtakingly beautiful images well beyond the scope of my imagination, culminating in the creation of The Famous Green Hunchback Turtle of Béthune, my latest book for children.

he can sky dive

he can sky dive

I have met some interesting guys and some beautiful ladies.
And, most amazingly, I have found the best friend I have ever had in my life.
I have grown up and become sensible.
Did I mention that I write fiction?

What made you decide to be a writer?

I grew up in South Africa at a time when there was no television and very little English-language radio, so I became a voracious, almost compulsive, reader.
So story-telling has always seemed natural to me.

What is your favorite genre? Why?

I read across-the-board fiction, enjoying anyone who can tell a story.
I would say I am not a big fan of horror, but I am a huge admirer of Stephen King, or of Westerns, but I love Elmore Leonard.
I am also not too keen on Science Fiction, but I am impressed by Wells, Asimov and Clarke, and the dystopian works of Orwell, Bradbury and Huxley.
I devour the crime stories of quality writers like Michael Connelly, John Connolly, Robert Crais, and Scotland’s Ian Rankin.

Who is the author who inspires you the most?

I guess that John Steinbeck is top of that list, his seemingly effortless prose creating works as diverse as The Grapes of Wrath and Cannery Row. His writing always seems to have a power unmatched by anyone else.
But I have to give honourable mentions to Franz Kafka and Hermann Hesse, along with more modern authors including Paul Auster, Sebastian Faulks and Iain Banks.
Apart from Rankin and Banks, I am also inspired by other compatriots, from Robert Louis Stevenson and Lewis Grassic Gibbon, through Alasdair Gray to Irvine Welsh and A L Kennedy.
And, of course, I pay homage to the genius who is Dr Seuss!
I apologise to other favourites who are temporarily hidden in strange dark corners of my mind.

How often do you write?

Pretty much every day, but times vary.
Typically the afternoon is my leisure time when, depending on season, I walk or swim. This is when I am most creative, and I constantly make notes of thoughts and ideas, no mean feat when I am up to my ears in my beloved Mediterranean Sea.
Then I draft stories on paper, longhand, while I relax at the Little Café in the Square or the Little Café  at the Port, both of which I feature in my tales.

'tis a hard life

’tis a hard life

The following morning I input these to my laptop, filling in the blanks and trimming the redundancies, before emailing them to my friend and first line editor Emmy L. Gant for her critical analysis. And as a backup in case of natural disaster, which I can be!

Do you have any major projects in the works?

Most importantly, I am currently looking for a publisher for The Famous Green Hunchback Turtle of Béthune, as mentioned above.
I have two novellas at the finishing stage, with no clear idea of what I will do with them.
I rarely write with a market in mind, I produce just what the muse says at the time.
Occupation tells of a small group of resistance fighters in a land occupied by The Creation, while Abduction is a tale of vengeance, where one man pursues the organisation who kidnapped his girl.
They are very different in content but, like my previously published e-book, The Second Request, are written in my trademark short line style.

the-second-request-image
I am, of course, thinking about a second book of Sound Bite Fiction, but living in a non-English speaking country makes marketing difficult at a personal level.
I certainly have enough material, in fact probably enough for three books, I am nothing if not prolific.
My recent stories are generally slightly longer and, I believe, even more personal than Medville Matters.

In what way is your writing becoming more personal?

Ah, good question!
I find it an interesting paradox that the more fiction I write, the more of myself I expose.
But we create using ideas from within ourselves, our imagination, our dreams, our memories.
And not just our successes but, more pertinently, our failures and losses.
Some stories are pure fantasy (I kill far fewer folk in real life), but in others I feel that I have stripped my soul naked.

You say you also write poetry and songs. Who are your inspirations here?

Again, they are many and varied but, as a Scot who did several years of schooling only a couple of miles from his Ayrshire birthplace, I have to say that Robert Burns stands alone.
Outwith his work, my favourite poem is probably The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde.
And I am in awe of Leonard Cohen.

What are your writing goals for the future?

I don’t make goals, I rarely make any plans, I tend to live in the moment.
A few years ago I sold, or otherwise disposed of, everything I owned.
With my worldly possessions in two suitcases (one summer, one winter) I took a coach 500 miles to the English Channel, crossed to Calais and rented a car.
Other than the offer of temporary accommodation at Emmy’s home a further 750 miles to the south, I had nothing fixed in my mind.
Every day is an adventure.
Or, as Robert Heinlein (I forgot him earlier!) said, life is short, live wide.

What advice would you give other writers?

As Shakespeare says, advice is free and that’s all it’s worth.
But I do make a plea to everyone who tries to write.
Please, learn some basic grammar, and use a spell checker.
Okay, two words of advice.
Read.
(Not Tweets or the Sports pages, but real books by decent writers.)
Write.
(All the time.)

58 comments on “AN AUTHOR IN PARADISE – AN INTERVIEW WITH C. E. AYR

  • C.E. stopped in to see me before he made his trip across the English Channel. I live beside the port, so it made sense. He is a very decent chap. Much nicer than the murderous people he writes about.

    It’s nice to hear about him here, in his own words.

    Liked by 3 people

  • Great interview. I enjoy learning a bit more about the authors who are participants of Friday Fictioneers. Invariably, they are for the most part, diverse in their writing and subjects. I have one issue with C.E. however. I am jealous of his location. Keep up the interviews M’luv.

    Liked by 2 people

  • What a great picture of Mr. Ayr at the top (hmm… he should consider using that one in other publications!)
    These interviews of yours are so much fun, Rochelle. We get to learn a bit more about our (yeah, yeah, I’ll include myself this time) fellow writers and I am not in the least surprised he is a sweet’eart under all that murder and mayhem – but we won’t tell him and let him keep his persona 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  • I really enjoyed reading this and getting a look at the real C.E.Ayr who writes those stories with a twist.

    Now I have a question:
    Someone interviewing a Scottish author one time asked her, “Why is it that Scotland, with such a small population, produces so many writers?”
    She replied,”It’s because we’re so argumentative. We read a book and we say, ‘No. He hasn’t got it right!’ And so we write one ourselves to show how it should have been done.”

    Her comment made me chuckle. It made my husband nod, thinking about my own Scottish ancestry and tendencies. 😉 I wonder what CE would say about that analysis?

    Liked by 2 people

  • What a fascinating and rather good-looking fellow you are, Mr Ayr. I loved this interview and your approach to life. Once-upon-a-time, my possessions did fit into two suitcases. There is a certain feeling of liberation in this, and one that I might yet put to the test again, but voluntarily this time. Good luck with your children’s book. The “he can say sky dive” illustration is superb. I note that you haven’t mentioned one female author in your list 😉 Having said that, I probably read male and female authors in a ratio of 3:2. Have you tried Donna Tartt’s novels? Looking at the type of novels you like to read, I think you might find her writing most acceptable. And, of course, Rochelle’s brilliant novels should be compulsory reading for all. I am presently immersed in “As One Must, One Can”.

    Thanks, Rochelle, for this interview and giving us a chance to get to know CE better.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Sarah,

      I will be interested to hear (or read) Mr. Ayr’s reply. Meanwhile I’ll say how pleased I am that you’re reading AOMOC. It might be my favorite of the three, but that’s highly subjective.
      As for the interview, I had a great time doing this one. Now seeking my next subject. 😉

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Sarah, don’t think the flattery will get you off lightly!
      I never think of gender when I discuss writers, but I am sure that Alison Louise Kennedy will be surprised at your comment about not one female author.
      I could have mentioned any number of wonderful writers, male and female, but reading lists tends to be a dull pastime, and M’lady Wisoff-Fields does not permit anything tedious.
      I have read and enjoyed the works of, inter alia, these Scottish ladies: Muriel Spark, Val McDermid, Ali Smith, Muriel Gray and, especially, Janice Galloway.
      After intensive research (Google) I estimate there are 130 million books out there.
      I am not a very fast reader.
      Thank you for your kind words.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dear CE, There you have it — 130 million books out there, which is why I didn’t know that the ‘A’ stood for Alison!
        I feel better now about my ranking on Amazon, now I know that there are that many books 🙂
        I’m not a quick reader either. Would love to be able to read as fast as Data, the android in Star Trek.

        Liked by 2 people

  • Dear Rochelle,

    Thank you for bringing more of this author to your audience. Getting to know him through Friday Fictioneers has been a joy. Hearing him read his writing gives it a depth and fullness. This interview offers a bit more of his sense of humor and makes me think there’s hope for me yet, as “the more fiction I write, the more of myself I expose” – an uncomfortable journey for even an extrovert like me.

    See you ’round the inkwell,
    StepHonie

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear StepHonie,

      I don’t think you ave too much to worry about as far as hope for you. I believe a good writer exposes him or herself whether or not the reader realizes it is another question. Glad you enjoyed reading this as much as I did. Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

    • Wow, so many compliments, I wish you had got here earlier!
      Easily the best thing about being a writer is having someone tell you they enjoy what you do.
      The self-exposure is interesting, I think.
      I am an intensely private person, hence the multitude of alter egos, but when I write I inevitably use personal views, beliefs and experiences.
      The trick is to disguise them as fiction, or always have a spare kilt handy.

      Liked by 2 people

  • Dear C.E.,

    I waited a couple of weeks before commenting because Mama said, “If you can’t say something nice . . . make up some flattery bullshit and they won’t know any difference.”

    I think you’re a good writer and a good sport to tolerate all the bullshit. Reading your comment exchanges with the Typo Queen and our Purple-Obsessed bus driver is a very entertaining sideline to the weekly stories themselves.

    Keep working on that “interesting” thing.
    Bless your little heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Russell, I waited a couple of days before replying because Mama said ‘If you ignore them they’ll just go away’.
      I am happy you were entertained by the drivel of the past week or two, I tried being serious once but it just wasn’t funny.
      I am going to pass on the ‘interesting’ thing, too late to change now.
      As for the little heart, they are still searching for it.
      Thank you for being relatively uninsulting.

      Like

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