Interview with Devra Robitaille
Today, I’m excited to welcome author Devra Robitaille to my blog. Welcome, Devra!
So good to be here and it’s nice to meet you 😊 😊
Leigh: Tell us a little about yourself.
Well, I live in Florida now, on the Sarasota Bay, but I was born and brought up in London, England. My father was a well-known jazz musician and composer for the BBC, and my mother wrote TV shows throughout the sixties and seventies. So my childhood was mad and crazy, like a revolving door of creative, wild, whacky and wonderful personalities that rotated in and out of my parents’ insane social world. From there I went on to create my own crazy world, touring as a jazz musician, playing with well-known personalities like Mike Oldfield, singing back-up for people like Cher and John Lennon. I travelled the world as a musician, and I thank the powers that be every day for the adventures I had. I don’t have quite as much energy any more, but I can still move my fingers (LOL) so I began to write books for children, and that morphed into books for older teens and now it is a passion that enslaves me. I can’t wait to get to the typewriter (euphemism for computer) every day and see what adventures await my characters.
Leigh: What genre is The Henge and what draws you to this genre?
I think you might call it young adult alternate historical fiction, or metaphysical visionary (not sure if I made that up, but there are elements that hint of other worlds and things to be looked up on google in the book.) Well, as a professional musician I also spent many years directing and writing for the theatre in Los Angeles. That world is so random and magical. That world is what drew me to write about different little universes. In the theatre, the play or the musical takes place between the arches, so to speak, and the writer has to design what goes on in that small space; from everything that’s said, and worn, to the scenery and events and even the thoughts of the characters. But in that medium the author is limited by time, you only have a couple of hours to convey that world. In books you have as long as your readers are willing to sit there, and your job is to keep them enthralled. It’s a wonderful challenge and I am hooked the moment I type the words “Chapter One.”
Leigh: The protagonist tribe- what makes them special? What would you say are the main values of their culture?
The people of the Noble Village of the Arts are trying to thrust their civilization to the next level; they are reaching for better lives for their children than just the daily act of foraging for food. The action of the book takes place in a year, solstice to solstice, but it could also be a metaphor for an eon; the time it took for the hunter-gatherers to figure out how to plant crops and tend flocks and create stable villages instead of being on the move all the time following their prey. When I started the book I had no idea who these people would turn out to be, but as I “wrote” them, I fell for them.
Leigh: What can you tell us about the main character? What’s most important in their world?
Her name is Concinnity Song, of the Noble House of Song and she is just a young woman who has grown up in this most magnificent land. She understands nature and she knows how to “sing” to it….and it sings back. Her people find a stone buried in a quarry, and they recognize its value and purpose. They must transport it across the land to a pre-ordained resting place and Concinnity must use her voice as one of the tools that can liberate this enormous two-ton stone from its watery prison at the bottom of the jade lake. In her world, honor and faith in the ancestors are key to accomplishing this pledge. All the characters interlock with their own “talents” – there is Aderynn the Healer, and Izraziti the Dreamer and Thorsten the Architect to name a few. There are some pretty colorful bad guys too. I’d better stop now or I’ll give away some secrets.
Leigh: “The Henge” is described as an alternate history. Without giving away too much, what can you tell us about how it differs?
Well, as a child growing up in England I was fascinated by places like Glastonbury, and Stonehenge; the stone circles that litter every part of Britain, their mystery and the fact that we still have more questions than answers about the people who built them. So this is a “Henge” that doesn’t really exist but might, in a country that is similar to Britain, but could just as easily exist on the Planet Zott. And the people are normal, just like people we know yet they have special talents and a driving passion to accomplish something sacred. They don’t have technology as we know it, but they do have “technology” as they know it.
Leigh: When did you decide to become a writer? Why do you write?
As I look back, I don’t really remember a time I didn’t write. In school I lived for the essay assignments, I adored being creative, the weirder, the better. Then growing up as I said before I wrote plays and scripts and songs, and now it’s coming out as books. I guess I write because I can, and also because I must LOL.
Leigh: What was your favorite childhood book and why?
Winnie the Pooh and Wind in the Willows (sorry but I just couldn’t decide between the two) and I’d have to say it’s their complete and utter whimsy that enchanted me.
Leigh: If you could go back in time and visit the past, what era would you like to visit?
Well, although I’d like to say that I’d go back to the Bronze Age, honestly I am pretty attached to my nice kitchen and all the nice food I can get at the local market, so I’m not sure I would want to go back to the beginning of time where I’d have to forage for lunch. Having said that though, I am definitely intrigued by the raw, natural beauty of unspoiled nature – so perhaps I could take sandwiches.
Leigh: Where can readers discover more about you and your work?
Amazon Author Page: Author.to/TheHenge
Book Links: getBook.at/Henge
Thank you very much, Devra, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
You’re so welcome. Thank you for having me.