Friday 26 October 2012

Guest Author Interview - Cherie Magnus

Today we welcome Cherie Magnus to the guest author interview, you can read what she has to say below:

Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
I am a native Californian, a retired librarian, who has been an expat since 2001, first in France, then Mexico, and finally Argentina where I teach tango with my Argentine partner. I first came to Buenos Aires in 1997 on a tango vacation, and I got hooked, but I've always been a dancer of one kind or another, as well as a writer specializing in travel narratives, and critical reviews. I've been writing a blog since 2006, posting about expat life in Buenos Aires and the tango.

What inspired you to write a book?
A lot of horrible things happened to me over a ten-year period beginning in 1991 with the death of my husband. I kept on plugging my way forward by dancing through the tragedies. I was tired of reading "survivor" manuals by middle-aged women suffering a divorce, or having cancer, or caring for a beloved parent with Alzheimer's, or having a child join a cult, and then giving up. I wanted people to know that one doesn't have to quit on life, even in the face of losing everything. Perhaps dancing doesn't save everyone, but it did save me. One needs to find the bliss and follow it in the face of tragedy.

If you could write the biography of anybody, who would it be?
I'm fascinated by Jacques Brel, by his music and artistry, and the fact that he lost his life at a relatively young age (48), but quit performing a decade earlier. I'd love to explore his character and circumstances, and his reasons for the songs he wrote and why he gave up on life.

What do you enjoy most about writing?
I love words and expressing emotions with them. I enjoy writing descriptions that portray emotions and feelings. I notice and feel everything, and I like the opportunity to show read ers what I see and feel. And I also love to give my opinion. :)

What do you find the most difficult?
My best style is the essay. A narrative with description is also easy for me, but realistic conversation can be difficult, as well as in a book-length work, the release of information in the most interesting way with the best timing. That's what I'm struggling with now in my new book.

What are you working on now?
I'm working on the prequel to The Church of Tango, which takes place from 1960-1963. I was a dance major at UCLA then and not only was it a pivotal time for me full of dramatic traumas and changes, but for the world. The "youthquake" of the Sixties hadn't yet struck, it was before the Beatles and sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll, before JFK was assassinated and the whole world changed. The challenge is remembering these events and feelings that occurred fifty years ago, especially as unfortunately I didn't keep a journal.

What advice would you give new and aspiring authors?
I've heard so many aspiring authors say how much they love to write. When I ask them about what, they say about anything. I think a writer needs to have something specific to say about a subject, a point of view, or they might just as well write how-to manuals.

Tell us about your work and how we can find out more.
A second subtitle of my memoir might be Death, Dance, Destiny. It's a survivor's story that sweeps across several countries and several dances--along with several romances. There are reviews on Goodreads and on Amazon, as well as videos on my Amazon Author Page. It's available from Amazon as a paperback and for the Kindle. The Church of Tango: a Memoir also has its own blog: http://thechurchoftango.blogspot and page on Facebook.

Thanks to Cherie for sharing her time, on Tuesday it is Stephen Hulse's turn in the hot seat.

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