An Interview with Cheeky Girl by Blaise25
Cheeky Girl, also known as Cassy Mantis, is popular here in Hubpages for her brilliant hubs and a forthcoming sizzling romantic novel (serialized in the Megumi by the Firelight hubs). Reaching over 900 followers and celebrating her third year in Hubpages now, I got this fantastic time to chat with her after tennis in between sips of latte and bites of muffins…
First off, we know you’re Cassandra Mantis, the Cheeky Girl and you are indeed cheeky. You’re a Financial XA, in your mid 20s and you are happily living with an amazing lady, Cathy Nerujen ...can you tell us what we don’t know about you? Like how was your childhood and how was it like being the "Cheeky Girl" back in school and college?
Thanks Fehl. And thank you for asking me to do this interview! It's nice to finally sit in the hot seat and be asked the really tough questions! I have no shortage of opinions or humor, so fasten your seat belt!
Well as you can obviously tell, I've been cheeky for all my life. (Laughs here.) My childhood was a bit of a mix. I'm an only child, and was born in Italy originally, in the City of Verona - a UNESCO World Heritage Location. My parents (both journalists) died when I was young, and that was a tough time for me. At the age of 8, I was brought by my grandparents to live in London. That was a big upheaval in my life. My memories of my Italian origins have faded a wee bit, but I am proud of my heritage.
I was an only kid, so having no parents made me very independent. My Grandparents have been a big influence. They taught me well, and I know it is tough for grandparents to have to raise a grand daughter like me. We have this amazing bond. Being an only child, I learned to look out for myself, and solve my own problems, and be self-reliant.
I have always loved and enjoyed the company of others and I love being involved and being part of the group. I'm blessed with a great sense of humor - and with my tongue always firmly in my cheek! I was a fun-loving kid, and I have my fun side. But I always had a sense of wanting to do my own thing. I found I was bisexual at age 15 - which is kind of young for a teen to come out. And through tears and laughter and pains of growing up, I knew lots of people had worst problems than mine, and I got out of the habit of pitying myself (being an only child, etc), because, compared to some folks, my life was pretty good.
Childhood growing up in the UK was tough at first, (and damp as it rains a lot) but school was a great experience for me. I love learning new things, and knew I'd work in Business or Finance from an early age. I loved everything, but Maths and English were my favorite subjects. I do read a ton of books, and I love technical things. I kept a diary all my life, and that is a great way of getting a writing habit. College life was fun and hard work too. I made sacrifices so that I could get a get my Master's Degree in Finance, and after working in recruitment, I went to work as a Personal assistant in a Hedge Fund in the UK, where I am happily still working. I'm in my late 20's and I own my own home. I'm a woman who knows what she wants in life, that's not too ballsy a thing to say. (Laughs here.)
Ooh wow, I never knew you got a Master’s Degree. Your early life is moving. Look at you now. So why did you join Hubpages and how did you discover it?
I had been scouring the web during 2009 and was looking for a way to experiment with publishing my writing online, and I found Hub Pages. It was in a search for some topic, about web pages in general. I had found an article by "Bad Company", alias Art from Belfast. It was funny and irreverent as hell, and after reading more amazing hubs by awesome writers, including Blaise25, (that's you, Fehl!) - I said "this is for me!" I published my first hub "First Encounters" towards the end of 2009, and it was a hit, (it's about how I met my partner Cathy Nerujen - alias Astra Nomik - the poet who is also on Hub pages) and I've been here ever since. The Encounters hub has a part 2 and part 3.
Oh was that Tattoo Guy’s hubs... LOL. That’s so funny! (Sigh) I miss his hubs. Oh wow, you mentioned me, girly! And yes, I discovered you, too through your series of Encounters… Those hubs are just amazing and I like your style. You really have the craft of writing down, very journalistic, and your novel promises to be quite outstanding. Tell us how did you get those exceptional skills? How it started?
I could say it's probably down to my Grandparents who read stories to me as a child, and my Mother who also did before that. I have always loved stories. My parents were journalists, and maybe it's in the blood, I'm not sure, Fehl. We always had books in the house. I would ask for a book for a Birthday or Christmas present. I read a lot of newspapers.
And funnily enough, Cathy has worked for a few UK newspapers and in publishing. I had briefly toyed with the idea of a career in journalism, but Finance appealed to me more.I was introduced to the habit of keeping a journal, it's a great way to get those thoughts out of your head and down on paper. I still have my diaries. They are an unfettered account of everything in my life. Writing comes natural to me.
Absolutely. We breathe Creative Writing. I love your Megumi excerpts so much.
Thanks Fehl. Hub Pages is great that way. We write to please! The "Novel" is under way, and nearing completion, and it had a rewrite, and the "Megumi" section is a whole chapter there. I shaved, sliced and pummeled it somehow into serialized 6 parts in my Hub Pages. It would have been a huge Hub otherwise, and the whole "excerpt" is a funny (mostly true except for some name changes) account of 8 teenage girls all having a weekend stay-over in a friend's house, where we all get up to all kinds of crazy things. It is also about Megumi, a nice sweet girl from Japan, and it has a love story. It has humor and romance, and a bit of a curious mystery in it too, all good fun - it's a small chunk out of the novel.
I can’t avoid asking this, Cassy, but why do you write?
Oh boy, I write for many reasons, Fehl. Writing brings its own rewards. Writing is a key tool to communicate. Writing is self expression. It's the opposite of repression. The process of putting your thoughts and feelings there in the world for all to see, no matter what. And I love that. I am a communicator. There is so much drama in life and we all have this ability to capture it in words. Writing is my way of expressing myself. I have had incredible things happen in my life and I am still in my 20's. How crazy is that?
Writing can educate, clarify, inform, elucidate, impart vital information, it can let us keep a record of something. Transactions, relationships, Love, histories, inventories, stories, entertainment, history, philosophy, copy writing, work, poetry, News, Hub Pages...the list is endless.Yes, sure - writing is many things, some even boring, but we'd be dead without writing.
Writing lets us explore things in better ways. And remember that writing can also pay the bills, too. Writing connects us to everything. The world can't exist without words and writing. The web can't exist without written words. And the World Wide Web is everywhere now. We would be lost without writing.
Amen to that. What inspires you to write?
I am inspired by many things. People mostly, I think. Personal experience, perhaps incessant curiosity, things that friends or people in general tell me, news, events, true stories, truth, information that can help change a life for the better. The urge to write is just always there, Fehl.
Good stories inspire me. So do great ideas. Heroes, and influential characters from History do too. But I'm interested in many subjects, like injustice, suffering, inequality, hurt and pain - and what causes them. They can also inform my understanding. I love the kind of writing where great Ideas can make a difference. I love writing that can empower people, especially women - and give them something. And I love being among the writing community too.
You have given us a bite of your soon-to-be-published-novel, and it’s dazzling. What made you write such an incredible novel?
I wrote it because it's biographical, and quite madcap in some places, yet tender and romantic in other places. I was talking to Cathy one day and we just got into discussing it. It seemed like a perfect idea! She said my life would be a good movie. I laughed at that. But Allie Mendoza on Hub Pages also said it to me. (She is a very lovely dear friend here also on these amazing Hub Pages.)
So it can't be crazy, can it? Many of my friends felt that my story would make good reading, and so I should write it down. The part in Kenya is also just weirdness and the part of my life with other people, in relationships, I mean. I am a writer, and so how could I not write it? I admit I am young (in my late 20's) to be publishing a book, but when people see it, they will realize that I have had quite an interesting life. My up-bringing has been weird and different.
There are some hilarious characters in this book, many I am amazed to say are actual friends of mine! (Laughs here.) It is soft-hearted in places and sexy and it's funny and it's revealing, and it has a serious side to it too. It is an uplifting and entertaining book. Putting a sample chapter of the book in the Hubs here was a terrific idea. It gives everyone a taste of what is in the book. And the 3 "Encounters" Hubs about how I met Cathy - they are in the book too.
We’ve seen some of the deeper, softer, sexier and more romantic side of you from your series of Encounters and Megumi by the Firelight and people are wondering why haven’t you published any poetry?
Thank you for saying that. I love the deeper softer sexier stuff! What woman doesn't? With writing, the trick is to show and tease a bit but not spoil it by giving too much! Yes, that is just writing, and not other stuff, okay? Poetry is something I love, though I am not anything near as good in poetry as I am in writing everything else. I have tried penning a few poems and I think Cathy reminded you that I let you read one. The least said the better. (Laughs here again.) I did mention that unfettered imagination, did I not?
I leave the amazing poetry to Cathy, (and you too) and to poets who know how to write beautiful poems and words that can whisk us off to another state of mind. There is something special about poetry, and so some day I'll focus on poetry as I want to learn this craft more! For now, this novel needs to be finished, and that is one of my big focuses right now.
You’re a successful Web Content Creator, have built your own websites, have thousands of Twitter followers, an impressive Hub Pages account, what are your secrets to your success in this field?
My ambition is to write fresh original content and write about things that people are interested in. I write about topical things that I think people will read. After I started writing Hub Pages here, I expanded to creating new websites, which I am now expanding into new areas. Webonist is just one of them. I guest blog on other blogs, under my own name and using the Webonist name. I also have other blogs and more websites planned. (You can now buy domains in bulk, how nuts is that?) About success, all we can do is write and publish and write some more and publish that and keep going. As for success - if what we write has some value, then one thing will lead to another.
Every website or blog you create ought to have a Twitter or Facebook page, to create a new audience of readers and followers from outside of Hub Pages. Social media platforms can connect us as writers and web content creators to everyone. These have helped my rating in Hub Pages. So make good use of those "tweet" and Facebook "like" buttons, folks! I created a Nokia Phone App for my Hubs too. Google plus and Pinterest are the new big things in Social Media.
Also, look at the huge amount of Hub Writers who have been inspired to go off and create their own websites. And look how well they are doing now. Many of these are my favorite Hubbers! You have done this successfully, Fehl with philpad.com. You got millions of hits on that. And again with www.1taker.com.You're getting a lot of traffic there, honey!
Hub Pages for me was a terrific starting point, and I am happy to be still here in this great community. We can all learn a lot from others here.
Yes, Hubpages is a great starting point. Plus the community shares its own online business experiences. Your various blogs are awesome and became successful easily. And I’m grateful I have a great mentor and friend in you. You hit your fifth year in Hubpages, so do you think this site will climb back to its old Alexa rank?
Yes, it will, and it will do better. Hub Pages has a great reputation and is know for quality writing. It's an authority website. Bringing fresh new talent to Hub Pages and keeping them there is the secret to the future success of Hub Pages. This is a great writer's community.
The whole Google ranking thing - it's one company's perception of how things should be done. In the end, it is only a huge "Opinion" and dependent on not just rules but on financial calculations, as it also incorporates their own ads - possibly in some ways - some parts of it can contradict itself and confuse many. I'd be wary of it and be careful of it too.
Google needs more competition out there. If some other system was more fair and less contradictory, that could be a good thing. Conversely, the more we all do it Google's way, generally the more we go round in circles, and the more powerful they become...and the more control they have. I admit Google are doing good thing most of the time, but sometimes they act like they are just bringing out new rules for only commercial reasons. The Panda update crucified lots of online content providers, and some babies got thrown out with the ensuing bath water that followed. Right now, Search Engine Optimization is confusing and possibly dying because it can't adjust to the constant Google search engine updates. And the Alexa rating system is owned by Amazon but managed by Google. No surprise there.
If Mark Twain, Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare were dragged out of their graves and reincarnated and told to re-do their great works, but now add relevant keywords and search engine optimization parameters - they'd tell you to get lost and go bury them back in the ground. And print authors feel largely the same. Their attitude is - why bother? I can't blame them. Some web businesses have just made publishing online confusing for so many writers.
Oh that’s so funny! If Twain, Dickens and Shakespeare rose up from their graves, I’d ask for autographs LOL And I’d take a photo and post it on Facebook! Give us some of your Cheeky secrets to earn money in HubPages and Amazon, will you?
I can't. That's a secret! (Laughs.) Okay, okay - just keep writing, improve yourself, never be afraid to learn new things (the internet can eventually teach you just about everything anyway...) and push the envelope a little. That's what I did. Try new things, see what works for others. It could very well work for you. Get into blogging and get into owning your own content. Get into controlling or managing your content. Walt Disney owned all his content and got very rich that way.
If you are good at more than just one side of internet content management or creation, then follow that up. Don't depend on just one place or source for an online income. You might be good at the content side or the setting up of online back-end business side of it.
I don't want to go into affiliates here, but there's plenty of places you can go learn about them. I earn good money from them. What have you got to lose? And set up an Amazon A-store. Or Zazzle, or any other store ideas you fancy creating. Think bigger! Anyone can sell anything they want on the net now - for free. Read the hub I wrote on selling anything on Facebook! Weebly - the free website creator gives you shopping cart eCommerce stuff on their free websites. I mean, what the hell! And WordPress is even better! I know this American guy who has an amazon store with an Amazon ads-based WordPress theme - he makes thousands of dollars a week! Who needs Google?
I'd tell you more, but you'd have to pay me. LOL!
Okay, some general queries follow here, and for fun. Which of these are you... "glass half-empty" or "glass half-full"?
Depends on what is in the glass? Didn't you bring anything? Aw Fehl! I am a glass half-full person.
Okay, I assumed that. Okay, a short few questions in set of threesomes...can you list 3 latest movies you’ve watched recently?
Threesomes? Most interesting! LOL!
1. Iron Man 3 - do see it, it's amazing
2. Edge of Tomorrow - Tom Cruise sets the bar high in the sci fi stakes here
3. Blue is the warmest Colour - I brought Cathy to a special screening of this beautiful sad french film and it was pure heaven.
List 3 songs of your life
1. "I did it my way" (Sinatra). Total cliche but a good one!
2. "No one is to blame" by Howard Jones - a true classic from him.
3. "I kissed a Girl and I liked it" by Katy Perry!
List 3 Hubbers you have a crush on:
Excluding the one I live with - I have no one to speak of, Fehl dearest! (Throws a comical wink at Fehl.) Everyone has crushes. As long as they are just crushes. That has nothing to do with Hub Pages writing, or anyone here in particular, does it? LOL!
It’s just crushes for muffins sake. LOL. We’re done with the ‘serious business’ part of the interview, so I thought I’d put some fun stuff here. Can you list 3 places you dream to visit some day?
1. Italy (Although I go often in reality...)
2. Asia (Amazing, under-appreciated, varied and wonderful in every good way...)
3. The Bahamas - it's on my wishlist a long time, future home perhaps...
3 and a half - your place! LOL!
This is cheeky, but can you list 3 favorite keywords / niche?
1. Earn more money.
2. how to find a niece.
3. How to fix mis-spelling! (I meant niche of course.) I am so funny! Health, money and beauty would be three good words to base a blog or online business on. This is easy. Just think "popular". But create around what you know.
(Laughs!) Okay, can you list 3 sites you can’t miss checking everyday:
Apart from my own (and I won't include friendly ones, as I'd be a Narcissist otherwise)...
1. Cathy Nerujen's Flashstar magazine - maybe you heard of it.
2. Brain Pickings - this is a website about lots of books
3. Philpad... just a very good website all round ... created by some sexy babe called Fehl... oh that's you!
And finally, what's your favorite online music station or is that your thing?
I love Groove Salad. It's part of Sona Fm, available on WinAmp, On the Tune In Radio app on the iOS as well. A nice blend of chilled ambient beats and grooves. Smooth and sophisticated for folks like me. You should check it out.
Aw, okay - that's a wrap. You’re one amazing Cheeky Woman. It’s been a great pleasure. Thank you for giving us the time to have this informative and fun interview. You inspire lots of hubbers here and sharing this with us really means a lot. Mwah! Thanks for the coffee and muffins treat, too.
Aw shucks! Thanks Fehl. I loved this, and you are a fun person to have as an interviewer! I hope everyone learned a wee bit more about me here today. See you all in Hub Pages! I better finish the last bit of coffee and that muffin! No point in wasting good food! Live life!
Copyright (c) 2010 to 2014 Cassy Mantis / Fehl Dungo. All right reserved.
Updated summer 2014.
- Marifel Dungo | Barnes & Noble
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