This month, The Revenent’s author C.L. Fiendel stopped by to talk craft. After reading the blurb, I was eager to hear more about the vision behind the story.
JR: Thanks for talking with me, CL. Where did your ideas for The Revenant originate?
CL: A lot of the ideas came from my husband, Noah Mowry. The hero Grayson is all mine, but the main plot started as a tabletop game Noah ran a few years ago. He loves dreaming up stories as much as I do, but he doesn’t particularly like writing, so we make a good team.
JR: The relationship between storytelling and game-playing fascinates me, and it’s great how you and Noah have found ways to be creative together. My husband only wants to hear the final product when I’m writing, but he’s invaluable in the early creation stages. Sounds like once it comes to the writing, you’re on your own like I am. What’s your biggest writing challenge?
CL: Actually writing! A scene or concept can be so much fun to think about, but getting it onto the page isn’t always fun or easy and it’s not always something you want to do. It’s work. You just have to believe it’ll be worth it when you’re done. The Revenant was my first project where, even when I wasn’t happy with it, I enjoyed the process–so I knew it was worth it.
JR: What about when the process isn’t enjoyable? What advice would you give someone who thinks they have writer’s block?
CL: I try to brainstorm with my husband or whatever creative person will listen. Sometimes that helps, but barreling through is really all you can do. If you stop to think too long, you’ll wind up losing momentum. Even if whatever you’re writing doesn’t solve the problem, it’s practice. You just keep trying until, eventually, things sort themselves out.
JR: Well said! Talk about it and keep writing. That’s the only way forward for a story to get read. What does being read mean to you?
CL: Everything I do starts as something I do for myself–my food blog started that way, and my writing has always been that way–and it’s fun, it’s entertaining, it gives me satisfaction and it helps pass the time. But it doesn’t really mean anything until other people are enjoying it, too. Food and stories are meant to be shared. I’m so grateful to the support my projects have received over the years. That support enables me to do more of what I love and knowing my little passion projects have helped or entertained even one other person out there means the world to me.
JR: One final question. If you could meet any person, living or dead, who would it be?
CL: I have a degree in early history, so I feel obligated to pick Cleopatra, whose image and story were so warped by Roman propaganda she could probably clear up a lot of things. By the most interesting accounts, she was a smart and cunning woman, fluent in a ridiculous number of languages, but not particularly beautiful. It was during the war and after her death they painted her as a temptress, so it would be interesting to see what she was really like.
C.L. Feindel resides in central Texas with her multi-talented husband, Noah. While traversing academia, civil service, and chronic illness in early adulthood, she founded the whole-foods blog ACleanPlate.com and now works as a cook, photographer, and educator. She pens fiction in her spare time, with a particular passion for character development and genre-blending.
More info about her and her debut novel The Revenant can be found at CLFeindel.com.