Evening my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had a lovely day. Mine’s been busy with work and then a visit to the dreaded supermarket!! But now I have a fabulous Meet the Author interview with the lovely Drēma Drudge. She’s talking to us about what she’d call her boat, what she can’t live with out (so cute!), her funny restaurant experience, art and her debut novel, Victorine which was published in March……
Tell us a bit about yourself:
Drēma Drudge suffers from Stendhal’s Syndrome, the condition in which one becomes overwhelmed in the presence of great art. She attended Spalding University’s MFA in Creative Writing Program where she learned to transform that intensity into fiction.
Drēma has been writing in one capacity or another since she was nine, starting with terrible poems and graduating to melodramatic stories in junior high that her classmates passed around literature class.
She and her husband, musician and writer Barry Drudge, live in Indiana where they record their biweekly podcast, Writing All the Things, when not traveling. Her first novel, Victorine, was literally written in six countries while she and her husband wandered the globe. The pair has two grown children.
In addition to writing fiction, Drēma has served as a writing coach, freelance writer, and educator. She’s represented by literary agent Lisa Gallagher of Defiore and Company.
Which of your characters would you want to be stranded on an island with, and why?
I’d love to be stranded on an island with the main character of my novel, Victorine Meurent. That way, since she’s a real historical figure, I’d be able to ask her all the questions I wished I could have when I was writing this novel about her. I’d like to know if I got it right, if I portrayed her the way she saw herself, the way she’d like to be remembered. I also have lots of tiny details I’d love to know about the period that even extensive research doesn’t reveal.
Since she was a model for the famous painter Edouard Manet, if history even remembers her what they remember is that, not that she was actually a painter herself! I find that important and fascinating and I want to know more.
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
Besides being a novelist, writing coach, and freelance writer, I’m also an Adult Basic Education Instructor. That means I help those who had to drop out of high school for whatever reason earn their High School Equivalency degrees. It’s so cool seeing students get something they may have thought it was too late to get. They work so hard, overcome so many challenges. I’m in awe of them.
If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go and why? (Backwards or forwards!)
No question: I would travel back to Paris of the 1860’s and on into the Impressionist period. What an exciting time for art! Not only did Impressionism rise, but also Modernism. Imagine all of the artists I could meet. Besides the main character of my novel, Victorine Meurent, I could meet Manet, Monet, Degas, Morisot, Renoir…on and on…
Other than writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
Is it too obvious to say read? Well, I also enjoy listening to podcasts so much that Hubby and I have created our own, Writing All the Things. It’s fun to spend time with him talking about books, sharing literary news, and reading other writers’ first pages on air and giving them feedback.
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
Once my husband and I went to a restaurant and the server welcomed him heartily as Joey and asked how he was. His name is not Joey, and it took some doing to convince her he wasn’t Joey and hadn’t been in before without me. For a while there, I was kinda concerned that he might have some secret life, ha ha. But first of all, I trusted him, and secondly, I knew his schedule and knew there was no way it could have been him. I guess I listen to too many true crime podcasts.
If you could give your younger writing self any advice what would it be?
Keep going. Keep going, keep going, keep going. Never give up. Keep learning. Keep revising.
If you were given a boat, what would you name it and why?
The U.S.S. DreamBear! It sounds hokey, I’m sure, but it’s an amalgam of my and my husband’s names. (He’s Barry.) I think it’s cute.
Describe yourself using three words only…….
Loyal. Ambitious. Anxious.
What is something you can’t live without?
Okay, this is going to make me seem totally co-dependent, but my husband. I mean obviously if something happened to him (heaven forbid!), I would have to go on, but life would certainly lose its glimmer.
Do you feel it’s more important to have a) strong characters b) a mind-blowing plot or c) amazing settings?
Oh, strong characters for sure. As much as I love setting, I lose patience when I’m writing the details. I want to get inside of my characters and know their inner lives. I go back and add the details later, because it would be like cleaning your bedroom and not making your bed to not add those finishing touches. Which, can you guess, I don’t make my bed every day…
What is the funniest typo you have ever written?
Not quite a typo, but I had been writing a series of emails to friends and family, and I’m from the South so I’m really free with the “I love you’s.” So I ALMOST signed an email to a professor of mine with “love.” Thankfully I proofread it and discovered it before I sent it. I’m not sure how I would have explained that one!
What is your favourite time to write, and why?
I enjoy having a routine. I get up, exercise (sometimes), shower, eat breakfast, and am at my computer by nine. It’s difficult for me to write at night because I get up so early to (again, sometimes) see my husband off to work. By evening, I’m zonked.
What is your favourite word and why?
Yes, for obvious reasons. 😉 I really don’t like hearing “no.”
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
My debut novel, Victorine, which came out March 17, 2020, is available on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It features Victorine Meurent, a forgotten, accomplished painter who posed nude for Edouard Manet’s most famous, controversial paintings such as Olympia and The Picnic in Paris, paintings heralded as the beginning of modern art. History has forgotten (until now) her paintings, despite the fact that she showed her work at the prestigious Paris Salon multiple times, even one year when her mentor, Manet’s, work was refused.
Her persistent desire in the novel is not to be a model anymore but to be a painter herself, despite being taken advantage of by those in the art world, something which causes her to turn, for a time, to every vice in the Paris underworld, leading her even into the catacombs.
In order to live authentically, she eventually finds the strength to flout the expectations of her parents, bourgeois society, and the dominant male artists (whom she knows personally) while never losing her capacity for affection, kindness, and loyalty. Possessing both the incisive mind of a critic and the intuitive and unconventional impulses of an artist, Victorine and her survival instincts are tested in 1870, when the Prussian army lays siege to Paris and rat becomes a culinary delicacy, and further tested when she inches towards art school while financial setbacks push her away from it. The same can be said when it comes to her and love, which becomes substituted, eventually, by art.
final words from chelle…..
Thank you so much Drēma for this wonderful interview. The fact that you’ve said your husband is the thing you can’t live without is adorable! I love the story in the restaurant – that could have gone so wrong if you didn’t trust him! Travelling back to Paris in the 1860’s would be fabulous! And finally my husband is called Barry too!
If you have any questions for Drēma, give us a shout below!
Have a wonderful evening