FQ: Tell our readers a little about yourself. Your background, your interests, and how this led to writing a book.
YOUNG: I was born in São Paulo, Brazil. I had a nice childhood, surrounded by toys and the affection that every child needs. As a teenager I had my fun, but I've always been a fan of the motto, "health and judgment." I've also always liked to write. My writing really began when, in search of something new, I saw the following ad, which was very common back in the 90s:
These are the addresses of your new friends.
If you want to receive one more letter with a new friend's addresses, send a letter to the club's address. All your information is kept in a computer until 31.12.1994, which is why you could receive the letters from other boys and girls. If you don't want to participate in this club, please send this letter back, so that another person can join in and nobody will be disappointed. So get at it and get those postcards moving...thanks...
FQ: Have you always enjoyed writing or is it something you’ve discovered recently?
YOUNG: As children we do play and discover many things. I adored and still adore drawing but writing has always been something that I have also always loved since I was fourteen years old. Friends from abroad joined the in a fun game which was one of the world's biggest eccentricities in the 90's when playing spy was a child's thing. I spied on my friends and they spied on me through the letters that we could write to each other.
FQ: Tell us a little about your book – a brief synopsis and what makes your book unique.
YOUNG: This book speaks about family, love, youth, and all of the virtues and preoccupations that make it part of the vast human universe. The protagonist's feelings about our world and this is described in styles of prose, poetry, chronicle, and lyricism. I speak on the art of writing letters of love and friendship between people of distant and different countries and traditions. Today lost in the time - doesn't make sense in this context.
FQ: What was the impetus for writing your book?
YOUNG: The fact that letter writing was a very common eccentricity in the 90's when the Internet and computers were still little used to make friends or for dating. A time that deserves to be remembered where we eagerly awaited letters and postcards that today are replaced with a computer screen.
FQ: Please give our readers a little insight into your writing process. Do you set aside a certain time each day to write, only write when the desire to write surfaces, or ...?
YOUNG: I start writing when I realize that maybe I have an idea that is worth remembering, especially for the generation that's coming. When this happens I will remind myself of the facts to compose the story and reserve a few hours a day or week. I must also say that when I think of an idea, phrase or fact or I have an idea I write immediately so as not to forget. But I must say that it is not easy on the obligations and pressures of ones everyday family, interruptions among other factors. It's not easy and it takes months to years to complete the idea. From there on to have a book ready, edited, etc., it is another question mainly for beginners.
FQ: What was the hardest part of writing your book? That first chapter, the last paragraph, or ...?
YOUNG: Writing wasn't the worst part. The hardest part was when the lights were off because of rain and other factors. I lost all my work in Word and that time I programed auto recovery then this problem wasn't an issue. Then to include the pictures, but I came to the conclusion that they fit with the time in the document. I have had from the outset written in English language and in this first title in fact the verse is in English and in my language. Finding a publisher is difficult and many refused a complicated work. When dealing with poetry where there is a certain riddle, truths contained and fiction to the same, even if there is an error here and there, the final meaning is understood. In my prose style I have tried not to repeat, taking sentences here and adding others there but nothing is perfect although I have tried to give my best.
FQ: The genre of your book is poetry. Why this genre? Is it your favorite to read? Did you think it would be the most challenging?
YOUNG: The best category for me is poetry. But when you talk about poetry a lot of people associate it with something like this: Let' s get a handkerchief and drown the sorrow. There are many other subject matters to talk about besides love and related topics. I also speak a lot about love, friendship and related facts because there are situations that happen only once in life, are unforgettable and deserve to be remembered. I do also use prose to narrate in a fun way events, points of view among other subjects. So it is better to read and try to discover the truths contained, the author' s viewpoint and the characters involved.
When I write all the genres are my favorites and I write not to myself because this is laborious and without being presumptuous I think it deserves respect and not only and just for the author, otherwise he would put it in a diary and leave it in the drawer saved. Instead, it is for the world to listen and try to understand the meaning. So we want to dare, challenge, make people think and create new expectations and points of view.
FQ: Do you have any plans to try writing a book in a different genre? If so, which genre and why?
YOUNG: I have other poetry manuscripts including one that speaks of Tibetan monks and others that need to be recovered from the computer hard drive. Maybe I will still write in this genre but I think it is a pretty difficult genre.
The book that speaks of Tibetan monks was an e-book from a publisher so that branch that simply closed off its activities and never answered me about whether it is in its archives.
There is also another manuscript that is ready - a fiction story for adults, children, and teenagers. The only issue is that it is in my native language. A version in English is expensive and complicated to provide because it is a work that has to be done with great care to get good.
FQ: If you were to teach a class on the art of writing, what is the one item you would be sure to share with your students and how would you inspire them to get started?
YOUNG: When we deal with the arts and the human condition there is no formula. The art of writing as well as painting for example is where the student should let the imagination run loose.
To create, the student must be free from worry and even if he or she does not follow this area or another related to her creativity, it will help him or her in other sectors of life because without creativity the world becomes dull. It is very important that the teaching of the arts, subjects related to it, and the art of writing in schools continue worldwide at all levels because that creates intelligent citizens. The school has this duty, as do the teachers and within the schools that form the personalities. I would help develop creativity and encourage the use of a little personal experience. How to paint a painting but with pencil, paper and pen. I encourage students to take a look around and describe what he or she is seeing. Things begin this way.
The story is based on a very widespread custom in the 90s where in order to meet people, learn about them and see how it was abroad we needed to write, waiting weeks depending on where your friend lived. We made friends, learned different cultures, languages and even marriages were conceived this way. Today everything is very quick and people forget everything whereas before we always kept the memories.
FQ: Tell us about the protagonist in your story.
YOUNG: The characters were boys and girls filled with dreams, plans and ideas whose goal is to correspond with friends from other countries. Besides learning other languages, exchanging postcards, and getting acquainted personally, they hope to learn something new from each other. You were busy doing something when all of a sudden there was that waiting letter and everything else stops as you wonder: Is she going to visit me here? Or is it time for me to visit her in person? I'm going to get inside that envelope and board! The characters portrayed were typically in the 80s and 90s, very different when compared with today where people are very naive and at the same time very it's a tasty sight today in a world where everything circulates very fast but without the same charisma of that decade. Something worth reading, re-reading and remembering.
For more information on Louis Maurice Young, please visit his Facebook page.