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Today we’re traveling to Winnipeg, Canada and to the UK to chat with Cendrine Marrouat and David Ellis. We chat about how sweet and savoury snacks, cuddly animals, movement, photography, being a French instructor, accepting praise, resourcefulness, uplifting others, trust, believing in yourself, and perfectionism come together as part of Cendrine and David’s writing life.
Tell us a bit about yourselves.
Cendrine Marrouat: Originally from Toulouse, France, I have called Winnipeg, Canada, my home for 16 years. I am a photographer, poet, author, French instructor, and the Head of marketing and communications at ConnexionFranco.Coop. I am also co-founder of two projects, FPoint Collective and Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal.
David Ellis: I am a UK based author of poetry, fiction and music lyrics. I have been writing poetry and music lyrics for years.
How many published books do you have?
Cendrine Marrouat: I have 13 published books in several genres — poetry, photography, social media, and theatre. I have a few more in the works.
David Ellis: I have published five books so far, with many more planned for the future! Three of them are poetry collections, the other two are short stories collections, one of which is a short story collection with stories written by myself and other writers. I aim to write and publish, in a variety of different mediums and genres.
What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?
Cendrine Marrouat: I have never been able to work on any idea without a title popping up in my mind first.
As such, the titles of all my books existed before a line was ever written. And only one or two have been changed slightly.
David Ellis: I like to be in my own creative environment when I write. It has to be supplied with sweet and savoury snacks, endless cups of tea, and most importantly of all – cuddly animals. I have Meerkats, a kangaroo and Gromit from the animation comedy series ‘Wallace & Gromit’, along with other ornamental animals nearby too. I’m building an ornamental collection of little elephants, plus I have a giraffe sent to me by one of my dearest friends. They keep me company, while I get down to the business at hand.
Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?
Cendrine Marrouat: Walks: A Collection of Haiku is a series of short books focusing on the idea of movement.
Movement is part of us. Even the shortest destination, such as going to our car or our kitchen, requires walking. Many people walk without thinking. As a result, they will miss many things that could have brightened their day.
As a photographer with a passion for details, I walk with intent. I pay attention to things around me and I want to help others do too.
David Ellis: ‘See A Dream Within: Found ‘Poe’try Based On The Collected Poetry Works Of Edgar Allan Poe’ is my most recent publication. It is a collection of inspirational and romantic poetry based on the entire collected poetic works of Edgar Allan Poe.
I’ve been dedicating myself to writing lots of found/blackout poetry recently and am thrilled at the results, as they can often be unpredictable, as well as being dependent on the source materials I am using. I chose to write a poetry book centred on Edgar Allan Poe’s works because of my love of his poem ‘The Raven’. I had previously written several found poems based on Edgar’s more popular poems and realised as I was drawn to writing even more of them, I could make an entire book of them, just in time for Halloween!
This poetry book gave me a good excuse to read every poem Poe has ever written or had attributed to him. I aim to do the same with all of his short stories for a sequel in the future. I feel like I am giving myself an excuse to educate and immerse myself in the world of a person I truly admire and am writing them a love letter that honours their memory, which I absolutely feel I have done with Poe. His spirit is still present after all this time, flowing in the words of my book.
What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?
Cendrine Marrouat: Many things! I am the Head of Marketing and Communications at ConnexionFranco.Coop. This platform seeks to bring together providers of services in French in Canada so that Francophone consumers can find them more easily, no matter where they are in the country.
I am also a photographer and French instructor to adults. Finally, I co-founded FPoint Collective, with Isabel Nolasco. David and I founded Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal earlier this year. We wanted to highlight and feature uplifting and inspirational poetry, no matter the topic. Our first issue was released on October 1. You can find it at https://abpoetryjournal.com/issues.
David Ellis: As Cendrine mentions above, we are both Co-Founders & Co-Editors of Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal. We have dedicated ourselves to providing an inspirational poetry journal that brings positivity to all those who read it.
I myself provide a variety of creative type interviews, primarily Author Interviews but I also conduct Comic Book/Graphic Novel Interviews, Photographer Interviews, Singer/Songwriter Interviews & Scriptwriting Interviews. My website is a creative resource hub, providing various comprehensive lists and tools to assist a variety of artists and writers.
What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?
Cendrine Marrouat: That my voice matters because it is mine. You should never try and suppress your own story. It does not matter if it does not fit current social standards.
David Ellis: I think looking back, I doubted myself when it came to my writing when I first started out. I would look at other poets and admire their writing, wistfully thinking and wishing that I could write as well as they could. It was only when I started my own blog (after being encouraged to do so at my local Writers Circle) that I had a reason to fill up the blog with regular writing content from myself. I always had a keen interest in songwriting but I could not play any instruments, so I wrote poetry as a means to create music with words and was surprised to find that I had a knack for doing it. After I began writing and publishing, I noticed that my peers were taking notice of me, telling me how much they admired my work. This initially surprised and humbled me but I learned to accept their praise. It ended up giving me confidence in my abilities to keep striving to be a writer for my career.
I also constantly surprise myself with my resourcefulness, when it comes to my writing, finding inspiration in almost anything and everything out there, so what I feel I have learned through my own writing is what a resourceful person I am in many aspects of my life, especially when it comes to motivating others.
What is the most inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?
Cendrine Marrouat: The most inspiring thing that has ever happened to me was when one of my readers contacted me to let me know that one of my books (Short Poetry for Those Who Fear Death) had saved their life.
Real art is not meant to boost an artist’s ego. It is meant to help and uplift others, to launch important conversations. Otherwise, what’s the point?
David Ellis: Wow, a tough question! I can usually remember what I had for breakfast in the morning and quotable lines from films, books and songs but everything else in between is mostly a blur, punctuated with what I am going to eat for my next meal.
I think the most inspiring experiences I have had are ones where I’ve been approached by acquaintances who tell me what a positive impact I am having or have had on their lives in these troubled times. This can be from my writing or my constant sharing on Social Media of cute animals photos and videos. It costs nothing to give out positive love and kindness on a daily basis. To this day, I still maintain that I get the biggest thrill out of giving things to others, be it positive support, kindness, hope, love and inspiration. Also, if I know what your favourite animal is then I can’t help but end up giving you gifts based around that too 🙂
As for amusing or crazy things in my life, I always feel like I’m a few minutes away from something like that happening to me, I try to bring fun and a little craziness to the table wherever I may go!
You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?
Cendrine Marrouat: I have done a lot of public speaking in my career. I will listen to any song from my list of favorites, Genesis’ Ripples being at the top.
I am a language instructor by profession. I always prepare myself in the same way, by considering all questions people may ask me. It is a lot of work initially, but the more experienced you are, the easier it gets.
David Ellis: For me, I have a go to band that I imagine will be obscure to virtually everybody out there but that is just the way I like it 😉 I listen to a band called The Gone Jackals and specifically their album called ‘Bone To Pick’. I became obsessed with this soundtrack after it was featured in a videogame called ‘Full Throttle’. The story in the game is excellent and cinematic (it follows the adventures of a futuristic biker gang) plus since it has elements of a hero doing cool, heroic things, whenever I hear the music, it is easy for my mind to feel confident with it playing in the background. It has a bluesy rock vibe to it, very mellow in places and empowering in others. Go check it out on Spotify, if you have time.
Before publicly speaking, I would personally recommend listening to something that relaxes you and makes you feel confident too. Any genre will do, if it makes your head and spine tingle with euphoria. Furthermore, If you’re an alcohol drinker then have one (and I stress only one to calm your nerves, don’t get drunk!). If you’re teetotal then have a tea, coffee, soda, flavoured water (again just one, any more might end up giving you too much sugar/caffeine and making your more anxious). This should help make you feel more relaxed and mellow before your performance.
I agree with what Cendrine said above, the more speaking you do, the easier it gets. Make sure you have done plenty of research into what you are speaking about. If you are reading your own material, learn as much of it as you can off by heart, as it will come out more naturally when you read it.
Start speaking in smaller groups to get yourself used to dealing with larger audiences and never be afraid to voice an idea that you have in any discussions. If anything, I feel it is better to volunteer as early as possible, so you do not make yourself nervous and feel picked on, if several other people are chosen before it gets to be your turn! I’ve found as I get older, I am less worried about what other people think of me and more concerned about getting across my messages in the best way that I possibly can. Age really does bring experience.
It is important when you are publicly speaking to constantly mentally remind yourself that what you say has value to the audience that you are speaking to, they have come to support you and are interested in what you have to say. If you fumble or falter your words, take a breath, pause and then carry on as normal, as if nothing happened. You are human, people will understand and they will respect you even more for having the courage to stand up there and deliver your speech, so have fun with it and be sure to party hard afterwards once it’s done as a reward!
At this stage in your life, what advice would your young self give to your more mature self?
Cendrine Marrouat: Trust the fact that life will be even better than it is right now. Continue taking advantage of every opportunity.
David Ellis: Believe in yourself and your creative talent. You are making a legacy that you can be very proud of for years to come. Keep publishing and know that you are making a difference in the lives of your readers all over the world.
What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?
Cendrine Marrouat: Ad Astra. In this movie, Brad Pitt is an astronaut whose mission is to travel across the solar system to uncover the truth behind the doomed expedition headed by his missing father.
I have a soft spot for the dystopian genre and anything even remotely similar to Interstellar in its premise will have my attention.
Brad Pitt has always been a great actor. But it’s probably one of his best roles!
David Ellis: I watch tons of movies and a lot of TV shows. Since we are talking about books, I shall focus on the latest film that I saw that was a book adaption, the 2017 film remake of Stephen King’s book IT. For those who don’t know, IT focuses on the small town of Derry, where children are going missing and a group of geeky teenagers band together to discover who is taking the children, while aiming to put a stop to it.
I have seen the original film version of IT with Tim Curry (made in 1990), which is genuinely frightening in places but with a lot of humour too and I’m glad they remade the original, considering how dated the effects are. The 2017 version is welcomed by me (unlike a lot of film remakes, which seem totally pointless when the films were so perfectly made in the first place), along with the significantly different take on the clown character (a superb performance by Bill Skarsgård).
I was keen to watch IT because of my passion for the TV show Stranger Things. I’m pleased to say that Finn Wolfhard (I really wish I had that surname!) who plays Mike in Stranger Things crops up here and is extremely entertaining throughout the film. The whole cast does a brilliant job of making you care for this intrepid band of geeks and losers, who take on a malevolent force of evil.
With the longer run time, the remake had to be split into two different movies, with the first film following the children and the second film following the children as adults, so we get to see what kind of nostalgia they will bring to the story, as the adults deal with Pennywise the Dancing Clown again many years after their first terrifying encounter with him.
Story is very important to me in films, with a strong, clever story, I can enjoy films and TV shows in many different genres.
Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?
Cendrine Marrouat: I absolutely believe that things happen for a reason. Call it karma, if you want. I believe in reincarnation. So everything I do, try to remember that it will have an impact on my current life or the next ones.
One reader tore my draft apart. He only had nasty things to say. It took me a day or two to get over the harsh criticism. Then, after re-reading his comments, I realized that, even though he could have been nicer, he had uncovered the issue.
So, with his and other people’s comments in mind, I started working on the book again. And this time, everything went according to plan. The book ended up receiving wonderful reviews and won an award.
David Ellis: I believe that if you have an artistic talent or flair for being creative, you were given this gift for a reason and it is up to you to try to share that gift with the rest of the world, no matter what the cost. Don’t let anyone ever discourage you from making your art and sharing your beauty with the world.
My father is an artist who went blind and mostly deaf many years ago due to disease but he never let it stop him from creating art. He found a way to keep making art, in spite of his disabilities and still does so to this very day. The process of making art is healing for yourself and can bring such emotional joy to others. We all have to work day jobs to earn a living but we should never let that stop us from doing what we want to do creatively.
Find your passions, make good art from them and that will give your life both meaning and reason.
Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?
Cendrine Marrouat: In North America, perfectionism is seen as a bad thing. Had I not been the perfectionist I am, I would have had a short, uneventful career.
Instead, my attention to details and desire to achieve the best results, despite limited means, have allowed me to dive into many different fields and acquire a varied, and solid experience. Most people cannot believe that I have done so many things in only 16 years.
David Ellis: I think of myself as a very empathetic, emotional person. I am sensitive to the needs of people, which makes what I do very endearing and relatable. This has helped me to write poetry that connects with people on a spellbinding level. I also have a very determined mindset, like to do extensive, thorough research and construct balanced arguments. My former financial and business career made me a decisive individual, which when channeled with my professionalism is a powerful package. As an artist, it is extremely beneficial to take an interest in marketing yourself well, if you want to be seen by more people and if this does not come naturally to you then you should seek out others who can help market you to larger audiences.
Be generous with your time and support, these qualities will be reciprocated back to you by other like-minded people, whatever activities you choose to do in your life.
What are you currently working on?
Cendrine Marrouat: Volumes 3 and 4 of Walks: A Collection of Haiku. I wanted to release them earlier, but my schedule has been so busy!
Volume 3 is ready. Volume 4 is almost complete.
David Ellis: I have several plans and ideas in the works. I have two more collections of written poetry that I can compile/edit into full length books (one specialising in found poetry, the other original poetry by myself). I aim to be prolific as possible with my poetry writing, emulating my classical poetry heroes from many years ago.
I also want to write a book on creativity giving people inspiration on where to look in their lives for writing inspiration. I’m going to be working on more found poetry collections dedicated to individual poets, just like my Poe poetry book. I’d like to compile some writing prompt books too, in order to help writers with their muses, particularly around the time of National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) and National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo).
Thank you Cendrine and David for joining us on MTA! It was incredibly interesting learning more about each of you. All the best to both of you. – Camilla
Book blurb for Walks: A Collection of Haiku:
“Haiku are unrhymed poems consisting of about 17 syllables spread over three lines. This poetry form started in Japan and has been very popular in many countries around the world for decades.
Haiku force you to be concise. They teach you impactfulness. As such, they are the embodiment of the “Show don’t tell” technique. A technique that allows readers to experience stories in a more personal and meaningful manner.
Walks: A Collection of Haiku is not just a celebration of Cendrine Marrouat’s love for haiku. It is also an invitation to enjoy the flitting moments that make life beautiful…”
Walks: A Collection of Haiku (Volumes 1 and 2) can be purchased via all major outlets — Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. For more information, visit https://www.cendrinemedia.com/Books.
Originally from Toulouse, France, Cendrine Marrouat has called Winnipeg, Canada, her home for 16 years. She is a photographer, poet, author, French instructor, and the Head of marketing and communications at ConnexionFranco.Coop. She has also co-founder two projects, FPoint Collective and Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal.
Cendrine specializes in nature, black-and-white and closeup images. Her photography seeks the mundane to capture the fleeting, but true beauty of life in its many forms.
Cendrine is passionate about haiku. She has studied the Japanese poetry form extensively and written many pieces since 2006.
In 2015, Cendrine was recognized as a Top 100 Business Blogger by BuzzHUMM. Social Media Slant, her former blog, also made Fit Small Business’ Best Small Business Blogs of 2015 & 2016 lists.
Walks: A Collection of Haiku (Volumes 1 & 2) are Cendrine’s 12th and 13th books. Other releases include five collections of poetry, three photography books, a play, two social media ebooks, and a spoken word CD.
Decades after his poetry and short stories were published in the early to mid 1800’s, we still respect, revere and admire the writings of Edgar Allan Poe, celebrated master of the macabre, suspense and horror. Within this collection of found poems, David Ellis has examined the collected poetry works of Edgar Allan Poe and crafted new poetry that will move you and inspire you as much as the original works themselves. In this book, you will find many new ways to appreciate the words of Edgar and his distinguished poetic works, as he influences a passionate poet who is keen to breathe modern day life into his magnificent words. Poems like The Raven, Annabel Lee, Lenore, A Dream Within A Dream, Alone and many other literary gems are used as foundations that pave the way for a whole different kind of intimate poetic experience that will surprise you time and again. For Poe fans, this collection is an essential purchase. Edgar Allan Poe may be long gone but within these pieces, his spirit continues to shine and live on.
See A Dream Within: Found “Poe”try Based On The Collected Poetry Works Of Edgar Allan Poe can be purchased via all major outlets. It is available on Amazon Kindle and in print, along with being available on Lulu, Barnes & Noble and many other places.
The Amazon Kindle version has its own unique cover that is totally different to the equally gorgeous looking print version and is priced at about one dollar/one British Pound – a bargain in anybody’s book!
David Ellis is a UK based author of poetry, fiction and music lyrics. He has been writing poetry and music lyrics for years.
His debut poetry book ‘Life, Sex & Death – A Poetry Collection Vol 1’ is an International Award winning volume, having won an award in the Readers’ Favorite 2016 Book Award Contest for Inspirational Poetry Books.
Think of him like the thriller genre in that he is fast paced, relentless and impossible to put down!