R.C. Stevens: Flight attendant’s story
Meeting the Rising Writer No. 9
Good morning, good afternoon, or good whatever-time-of-day-you’re-reading! It’s not often you can make a wonderful friend without knowing much about them, but I’ve been blessed to have met many, and I would love to share one of them with you today.
R. C. Stevens is an author whose initials, R.C., stand for a signature based on the childhood name of a personal hero. Her true name is secret for many reasons, and she has created a wonderfully interesting world for herself as R.C. Stevens. She has agreed to a virtual interview with me today, and I gladly share it with you, now.
Thank you, R.C., for agreeing to this interview.
When did you start writing?
I started writing stories as early as I can remember and actually had a book of poetry completed by the time I was 13 years old. Friends said I should try to publish it. I had thought about it at the time, but life happened. Though the book is long gone now, I still recall some of my favorite verses from my most cherished poems. Looking back on it now, it’s hard to understand how I knew so much about the human condition of love and pain at such an early age. I had a lot of encouragement from my teachers as a kid and creative writing was my most favorite subjects in school though I admit I didn’t do as well as the honor roll students did. My style wasn’t popular among my teachers though my personality seemed to please them. Back then I was a shy kid with an inferiority complex. But I’ll never forget the one teacher who told me to never give up on my writing. He just knew someday he’d read something I had published. Sadly, he passed before that happened, but he will always be one of the driving forces for me to continue on with my work.
What would you do if you couldn’t write?
If I couldn’t write I’d probably go insane. I write in so many forms these days that it’s a part of breathing for me. If I’m not writing by hand, I’m writing on my 1940s typewriter, dictating notes or emails to myself on my smartphone or tapping away on my new MacBook Air. If I couldn’t physically write or type, I’d always have to be dictating my thoughts out. But until Siri get’s better, people would have to forgive the misuse of words. Few things drive me more insane than someone who can’t distinguish between “your” and “you’re” but still managed to graduate high school with decent marks in English.
Do you ever get writer’s block?
I’ve always had a great imagination. While I admit that I never get writer’s block (I have over 25 books started and five going at all times), I will admit that I haven’t always been very good at putting my thoughts down on paper. I couldn’t evoke the emotion in others that I wished to. I seemed to fail at making people laugh or cry, feel sad or have pity for the main character’s plight. That changed some years ago when I started a daily journal filled with stories of my past. It seems as though the greatest inspiration I’ve ever known has all come from real life. In my journal, I told a story every day chronicling my abusive childhood and tumultuous teen years. Often, I would force myself to relive those moments in my mind, and eventually I learned how to find the right words and expressions in order to have the reader finally feel as though they were trapped within that windowless cell within me. When finally I found the way to bring tears to someone’s eyes with my written words, I knew it was time to focus on the opposite emotions. It was then I discovered my true calling in life was to make people laugh and think, not cry or feel pity. I have little use for those emotions in daily life.
Do any authors inspire you?
I’m inspired by the great works of Alexander Dumas the most, though I have many literary heroes. Bill Wallace will always be one of my favorite childhood authors, and Trapped in Death Cave will forever be one of my favorite books. To this day, I read it once a year, at least.
When do you write?
I try to write every single day, but lately that’s become more of a challenge. It seems life got in the way. Things will be settling down soon, and I hope to continue my “two chapters a day minimum” goal once more. This can often be a challenge, as almost every word I’ve ever written has been done with ink and leather-bound journals for the first draft. I’m a strong believer in the lack of technology in order to accomplish more in a day. Today’s technology is just far too distracting.
Recently (in July) I published my first book titled Thirty Synchronized Woodpeckers all about my first year on the job as a flight attendant. It’s filled with the funny stories that happened along the way. I’m working on two sequels already, but I’m also working on the first of a children’s series, a post-apocalyptic story, a young adult book and several others. People often ask how I’m able to keep so many going at once, but it’s much like watching TV to me. Have you seen both Jaws and Titanic enough to know the story line if you changed the channel in the middle of the film? To me, these books have all been written already. I’m merely the instrument used to place the words on paper. The stories write themselves.
What is something you want people to gain from reading Thirty Synchronized Woodpeckers?
I’m hoping that when people read what I’ve lovingly coined to be 30SW, or simply just “30″ (Thirty Synchronized Woodpeckers), they’ll get a much better understanding of what flight attendants have to go through on the job and the little ways we make an extra effort to keep people happy, smiling, and even laughing. I would hope more passengers would have a greater appreciation for the people they quite often tend to treat horrendously. Not all flight attendants go out of their way to turn someone’s day around, but they almost all do in the beginning. Some of the others just burn out too quickly.
What project are you working on right now?
The children’s series I’m working on right now was born from a dream, as have more than half of my ideas. I clearly remember a young boy, around 10 years old, falling off a tall building when another kid pushed him really hard. As he was falling, he screamed one word – NO. He had previously made a wish that people understood the meaning of the word “no,” and his wish actually came true. In the middle of his fall, he suddenly stopped, turned over in mid-air, and walked quietly the rest of the way to the ground. I woke up screaming about a book I had to write. That scene has yet to make it into the book, but the book is number 1 in the Jake series, titled “The No Zone” and has my proofreaders and editors on the edge of their seats waiting to find out what happens after chapter 12 now. Someday, I’ll have publishers lined up to take my books to the next level. For now, self-publishing seems to work just fine.
Give us insight into your main character. What is his purpose?
Jake is the only child of divorced parents who had been high school sweethearts. His mother has primary custody and his dad is rather absent from his life most of the time. It’s a scenario far too many children can identify with these days. After one too many broken promises by his father, Jake grows angry and wishes him away. Thanks to the help of a magical journal, his father is erased from his life, and so is every event his father has ever taken part of since the divorce. Jake realizes just what a mistake he’s made and frantically tries to fix the damage before it’s too late. With the help of a deaf friend and the school bully, they hatch a plan that just might work. Or it just might not.
What do you do before you begin writing a book? What do you do before you begin a day of writing?
Since every book I write is hand written first, I usually head to a bookstore for a new leather journal of a unique style before beginning my latest ideas. The journals have to match the mood of the book. For instance, the “Jake” book, as I call it, is a green journal with the word “believe” embossed on the front with the imprint of dandelions being blown into the breeze. To me, it signifies the childhood innocence of believing a wish can come true from simply wishing on a weed or staring at a star. My post-apocalyptic book was started in a journal with a very famous and very powerful Shakespearian quote on the cover in gold lettering, reminding me of the true power of the unlikely hero. Did you know that porcelain can break glass? It’s bizarre, the kinds of things you can learn simply by researching for a book.
Do you write full time or part time?
I tend to write full time when I can, but lately there’s just been too much going on and it’s had to take a back seat. However, as soon as I’m able to get back into the swing of things I plan to release a Kindle version of my first published work as well as an audio version voiced by a fellow group member here. She’s the only one I know who can do the Scottish accent needed – except for myself, and I’d rather not focus that much of my time and energy on reading my own book for the 200th time.
Are you reading any books right now?
I just finished reading “Island of the Blue Dolphins” by Scott O’dell to a small audience previously unfamiliar with the story. Before that, it was “Trapped in Death Cave” for the first time this year. Next up is “View from the Top of the Mast” by Bungie Headley, an old neighbor of mine. It’s an amazing book by an unknown author that so few people have ever heard of. She was a true adventurer, going to prom with Perry Mason before he was famous, sailing around the world without knowing how to sail, living in a house on the beach made of driftwood … She’s a great role model and a true hero to me. I wish I could do half of the things she did.
What/who are your favorite or most reliable support groups?
I haven’t really gotten involved with any support groups anywhere. When I write, I tend to be an introvert. I don’t want to show it to anyone until I’m ready. I don’t want anyone reading over my shoulder or trying to edit the first draft before I’m ready to have any critiquing. I’m perfectly fine with criticism, but I have a hard time taking it when I know that it’s not ready and 9 times out of 10, the things mentioned are things that already bother me enough to know I need to change them. My first draft isn’t about perfecting – it’s about getting the words on paper. You can edit mistakes. You can’t edit a blank page. My ONLY support group I turn to is Authors’ Tale, and I wouldn’t be here at all if it weren’t for our fearless leader, Cayce. I know that I can share what I am ready to share and at the time I feel it’s ready to be seen. Without Cayce, this would be a much darker world.
How can readers and fellow writers discover more about you and your work?
BONUS QUESTION: If you could live in one part of the world and add something fantastic to it, where would it be and what would you create?
This is actually something I planned to do only this past April. I made an agreement with my other half that if I were to ever make it famous or rich as an author (and we all know how slim those odds are in today’s society) that I wanted to purchase a 200+-year-old house in a small town in England and write about the locals. I want to broaden the mind of those who never have traveled or seen the world. I want to share with them the experiences of seeing other countries and continents. I want them to realize what a futile existence it is to have such a vast world at your feet and to never take the first step to leave that small town of Leek. I want to show them what could be theirs for the asking, to taste just by taking, to feel just by walking in a different light. I’d give them all the gift of perception outside of their own shadows. Someday I’ll do that exact thing.
Obviously, I enjoyed that last part of the question up there. You know, because feeling awesome and mushy inside is a day-maker, sometimes … all the time. Anyway, I feel awesome and mushy inside. 🙂
Thank you so much, R.C. Stevens. It has definitely been a pleasure learning more about your writing career, and it sounds like it has been more than a journey for you. I hope you readers (and fellow writers) enjoyed meeting her, and hopefully you have something to add to your reading list ;). As always, comment below if you have questions or comments, and she’ll be notified accordingly.
R.C. has been thoughtful and shared a sneak peak of her writing room. She said I could share it, so duh, I’m sharing it!
I hope all of you have a wonderful day. Check out her excerpt if you haven’t. Otherwise, I’ll see y’all soon!
Cayce’s Mood: “aww shucks”