Interview with Author L E Barrett

My guest today is L E Barrett.  Hello!  Welcome back to Writing in the Modern Age!  It’s such a pleasure to have you again.

Can you tell us a little bit about your book? When did it come out? Where can we get it?
 My newest book is a departure from the usual fiction I write.  It is called Fiddlemainia, and it's out on Kindle, Nook and Amazon.  It will soon be out on Barnes and Noble and distributed by Ingram to book stores around the world.  It is everything about the iconic fern the fiddlehead and contains 59 great photos, 70 pages of narrative and 125 recipes from around the world (240 pages).

Is there anything that prompted your latest book? Something that inspired you?

I own a house in Maine along a stream which has a lot of fiddleheads. One day in early spring I saw a woman in her 80s picking fiddleheads on my property. I walked over to her and said good morning and she immediately said, "I am stealing your fiddleheads and I have been doing it for fifty years." I said, "Really!" Then she said, "Most people only know one way to cook fiddleheads, but I got a dozen recipes." I seemed like a magical moment even though for the life of me I couldn't figure out why.

That night her words rolled around in my head all night. It was true I only knew one way to prepare fiddleheads. 

The next day, I call a photographer friend of mine and now it is three years later and we have a book called Fiddlemainia.

Great!  So, when did you know you wanted to write?  Or has it always been a pastime of yours?

I write poetry, short story pieces, plays, scripts and novels because I am a natural storyteller. I have to write. To write is to breathe, and when I am not writing I am thinking about writing. I know a lot of people say they write for the joy of writing. I do too, but it is also a creative outlet that I have a huge need to stay connected to. 

I know exactly what you mean.

Do you have any favorite authors?

I am all about classic writers from Hawthorne to Steinbeck but I see my own writing more along the lines of Kurt Vonnegut and Ray Bradbury. The inner core to all my themes, short stories, poetry, et cetera, is the human condition seen from different angles. 

Do you write in a specific place?  Time of day?

Yes, I have an office room I call my study in my Maine house (an old French Mansard built in 1858) with large windows and pleasant views; it has numerous portraits of other authors. I feel really grounded when I am at my desk in my study. I believe every author has to have his or her special writing spot. I write in the morning and can write for fifteen minutes or twelve hours; it all depends on my emotional state. The more involved I get in my writing the more I allow it to take off and the time seems to disappear.

Are there any words you'd like to impart to fellow writers?  Any advice?

Yes, two concepts; one is that perfect writing is a myth and secondly, it's important to your writing to become a good storyteller first. You should work at allowing yourself the freedom to tell a story the way you would like to hear the story told to you. Too many writers seek perfection and never publish anything or publish something that isn't audience friendly. This mostly occurs because of two factors; the audience isn't perfect either and you're not being true to what most of us refer to as our own voice. You are simply become a babbling version of the authors you like. Much like a bird who can mimic another bird or human voice, but it's not their true voice. When you tell your story the way you honestly would tell it to a friend  and then add a little polish, you most likely will find a big audience for your story. Readers want to hear an original voice and not the echo of another author!

That is sound advice.

Readers, here is a blurb for Fiddlemainia

Fiddle Mainia is a brief conversation on the iconic fiddlehead.  Fiddle Mainia is not a book about Maine’s other wonderful icons such as the blueberry, lobster, clam chowder, potato, birch tree, or Mount Katahdin; but it will blend nicely with all of them. Fiddle Mainia is chockfull of interesting information, photos, and recipes to broaden your understanding of the unique nature of the fiddlehead culture. I hope that you will cultivate an eye for its simple beauty and a taste for its culinary experience; as the fiddlehead has become near and dear to thousands of Mainers and millions of others all over the world. 

Here is an excerpt.

The Fiddlehead

After an abundance of frigid snow and slippery icy roads
Where often a hearth and fire act as a night’s beacon
As seen through frosty panes with large white brows
To snow encrusted children and fretful evening trekkers

Oh, fiddle me a delectable tune with savory harmonies
Let a tasty lick with a respondent chord stay upon my palate
I love the music your tightly strung notes have awakened in me
For now, I find I have an appetite for Spring and Summer too

Morning air still laced with the chill of a winter’s backside
Streams roaring with laughter as they escape their banks
Birds chirping as if they have not seen their neighbors in a while
Frosty morning sunshine as dazzling as light through stained glass

Oh, fiddle me a delectable tune with savory harmonies
Let a tasty lick with a respondent chord stay upon my palate
I love the music your tightly strung notes have awakened in me
For now, I find I have an appetite for spring and summer too

I know the spot near to the stream at the edge of the marsh
Where I ponder a year’s passing and another beginning
Where the damp earth, laden with debris, smells of potential life
As the crowns of fiddleheads emerge to take their rightful thrones

Oh, fiddle me a delectable tune with savory harmonies
Let a tasty lick with a respondent chord stay upon my palate
I love the music your tightly strung notes have awakened in me
For now, I find I have an appetite for spring, and summer too.

Author Bio
The road began for L E Barrett in Hallowell, Maine. It has taken him several times around the world. He grew up in a small Maine river city. At a young age, he enlisted in the Marines and served in Vietnam. He eventually had both a military and senior level government career. He is the father of three sons. He received a Bachelor’s Degree from Northeastern University in Boston, MA and a Masters Degree from the University of Maine in Orono, ME. All along the road, he wrote, he thought, and he wrote some more and more. So that before his days drain away, he will have said what he came here to say! He currently has three books in print (A View From The Side Of The Road, The Maine Poetic and The Shadow Of The Soul) and can be found on Amazon or Kindle and listed on his Facebook page


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