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STORY TELLER ROBERT HEWETT SR. aka Cottonwood
AN INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR ROBERT HEWETT SR.
1. Where are you from?
I was born on a farm near Kaufman, Texas which is about 40 miles SE of Dallas.
2. When and why did you begin writing? / What inspired you to write your first book?
I wrote for my own pleasure since childhood, but never kept any of it. I did not write much during my working life. Finally began to write more seriously in the 1990’s in my late 60’s.
3. When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Not until I was about 70 when online fellow writers started complimenting me and I won some awards.
4. Do you have a specific writing style?
Not really, I have no special training in literature, just write stories from my life, mind and observations. My writing covers poems and stories for any age and almost any subject. A fellow writer said he thought I could write about anything, even a pothole. I posted a tribute to a pothole the next day.
5. How did you come up with your book titles?
My first book “When I Grow Up” featured a granddaughter and some young readers. I didn’t research the title very well and later found out it was a popular title among children books. My second book “DOWN THE ROAD WE CAME” was a repackaging of the first book to add illustrations, some new works and correct some editing oversights. The title was Inspired by my poem of the same name written about my two best friends and me and our lives growing up in the hot Texas sand and sun and then parting ways. My third book THUNDERFOOT is a fictional story of a Kentucky thoroughbred. The title was inspired by the sound of hoofbeats echoing in the air.
6. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
My poetry and short story collections are meant to entertain readers of any age who like short interesting stories with humor and underlying moral guidance. These stories are designed for afternoon nap, bedtime, or anytime reading for pleasure.
7. How much of the book is realistic?
My books are all based around life, either real or imagined. i. e. Ickatee Bicatee Boo is about a small boy trying to find a mystical creature his great Uncle told him about in a story the Uncle said was true. The characters, except for Boo, are real. The Rainbow Easter Bunny has real animals, bees, a fox and a rabbit, along with fantasy character Boo to weave a story for kids living around the Hurley Woods, a real place. Thunderfoot is a fictional horse, but the Pony Express, the Indians, the setting are authentic.
8. Are experiences based on someone you know, or event in your own life?
My stories often include things in my life like the story of the cow chasing my brother and me across a pasture; and the Bee Tree and my brother. Other stories are from my imagination like the poem BUTTERFLY FAIRIES, written for a 3rd grade reader fan in Wisconsin, is an imaginary tale of how Erin, my little fan, became a butterfly fairy for a short while one summer afternoon.
9. What books have most influenced your life most?
I read everything growing up, but I liked the poet Longfellow; the Wizard of Oz; western adventure/romance stories and mysteries. Later I liked the historic novels like the murder mystery accounts of real murders, the police hunt, and the trial. North and South, and other such novels based on war times.
10. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I really haven’t picked a single writer to name as my principal influence. I like a variety.
11. What book are you reading now?
I just finished a book on a Civil War engagement in Kentucky by a local professor, which depicted a raid on an Indiana river town by rebel marauders based in Kentucky. I also like reading the magazine GRIT which is a 100 plus year old magazine dedicated to farm folks, and which features stories from readers about their life experiences on the farm. A recent story told about the life and time of the round barn, a unique American architectural type.
12. If you had to choose one book to read the rest of your life, and nothing else, what book would it be and why?
The Bible because it is full of stories about people and life events.
13. Do you have something you are working on at the moment that you’d like to share with us?
Yes, I am getting ready to publish about 100 love and romance poems which I have written over the last several years. Most of my poetry has an upbeat tempos and meant to bring about a good feeling for the reader. This book will be published this Spring. I also plan to publish some more novelettes similar to Thunderfoot this summer relating to adventure in the wild west of the time period 1860 to 1880. I am also working on a short novel in a joint endeavor with another writer about a Texas cowboy who met a beautiful OHIO girl just before embarking on a 3 month cattle drive to Abilene, Kansas. Their romance is carried out through letters from him to her that he writes telling about the experiences he encounters on the cattle drive. The tentative title is A COWBOY’S LETTERS TO HIS GIRL. It is a romance adventure story that I first wrote as a story poem and then converted to a short story. I thought it would make the story read better with a real lady writer writing the Ohio girl’s responses to the cowboy’s letters.
The other novelettes I am considering publishing include the story of a young adventurer from Tennessee who heads off to New Orleans to find adventure and spends time on a riverboat, gambling saloon in St Louis and then heads to California to search for gold. The refrain goes like this:
“I’m footloose and fancy free
Ain’t no burdens hanging on me.
I breathe fresh air and drink the rain
I bet a sweet lady waits at the train.”
14. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I would have included more background on the Kentucky horse breeder and his farm, the background of Billy, the Pony Express rider, and maybe a few more skirmishes with the Indians in greater detail. I think this book would make a good movie, but it would require additional material, which I can easily provide.
15. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yes, my dad was a master story teller and entertained us in our formative years with real and maginary characters and adventures in the local forest. Yes, I write and read for content and I'm terribly lax in punctuation.
16. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I like the story telling rhyming poetry of Longfellow and it stays with me as in “Under the spreading Chestnut tree, the village smithy stands……
17. Who designed the covers?
My covers and the artwork were provided by my publisher, PATRICIA FARNSWORTH SIMPSON, who lives in Europe.
18. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Editing and correcting. Nothing I write is ever finished and I find it hard to edit without making changes.
19. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Yes, I am a poet at heart and my prose tends to have a rhythmic quality to it. Also, the best time to edit your book, poem, or story is when you write it.
20. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write what is tumbling around in your mind while it is fresh in your mind. Many good poems and stories never get written because they are not put to paper or keyboard.
21. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Smile with me, live in the past and the future with me, and let your imagination fly.
22. If you could mirror the career of any other author, who would it be and why?
Any of the great series authors like Zane Grey, Louis L’Amour; Mary Higgins Clark; Michener, John Jakes and such.
23. (If writing is your main occupation) If you had to choose something besides writing, what career would you choose and why?
Writing for publication was never my career, but had 12 or more years experience writing reports of audits and investigations I had completed.
24. Do you have a muse? (a person, type of music, location you love)
I love almost all types of music, including ethnic Irish, German and folk songs. I can sing in my mind, but not in real life. I love music with a beat. Sleepy symphony music puts me to sleep and blaring Jazz grates on my ears. I love to listen to Andre Rieu and his big band on YouTube. I like Irish rover songs and river dance, but not too much or too long. I like the sound of the trumpet, violin and guitar. Do a you tube search for “The Zac Brown Band” (Country) and open their song “Falling In Love While She Is Walking Away” and listen to the violin. I like Gospel. It is much easier to say what I don’t like, which is heavy metal and Rapping.
25. What is the interview question you always dread being asked? Can you give us the answer.
What is my muse, genre or area of special interest. The answer –I am interested in most everything I have encountered in life. My writing covers many genres, and I suppose my favorite influence is everyday life around us. I like to write skits with dialogue and usually they are about people I know, have seen on TV, or read about in the press.
26. What is your favorite interview question, and what is the answer?
Can I get a discount if I buy 100 copies of your book. Answer – Absolutely
27. What is the most interesting thing about you?
I have a great sense of humor and I can put it across in my writing. I am at ease at almost any social level.
28. What is the worst book you’ve ever read? Why?
I am not sure, but usually I don’t finish the ones that don’t have continuity to their story, or that are so loaded with vulgarity as to detract from the story.
29. Is there a website or page you would like to be included on your review post?
Yes: the one at my Publisher’s site: http://apfpublisher.com/Cotton.html
And my webpage which is under construction:http://www.cottonwoodpoet.com/
Also, my You Tube trailers:
1. DOWN THE ROAD WE CAME at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mp0eWY7ajoQ&feature=feedwll&list=WL
2. THUNDERFOOT AT http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQgUKY1q7Yk&feature=related
3. POET OF THE MONTH, AUGUST, 2010 AT http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SN--ARKWD0Y&feature=related
5. Poet of the Month, August 2011 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVWqusAP1w8
6. Amazon.com or Lulu Press for my books – search for Robert Hewett Sr.