I was humbled recently to be asked to do an author interview at the local University here in Brazil. I really didn’t know what to expect, so this was a learning curve for me.
They had sought me out after some of the English lit students had visited my web site. I have a section on my site, where I ask for help translating one of my shorts, Mystery of the Crimson Robe, to Brazil Portuguese. To date my site has had in the region of seven-hundred hits from Brazil, so this was a great opportunity for me to meet some of the people behind the page hits, and to put a human face on the the sites statistics. They were fully aware I was self published, so I was intrigued as to why they would want to interview me. But then thinking about it, maybe Lee Child or Stephen King, were otherwise engaged.
On arrival at the University, the Professora gave me a list of the twenty nine questions that the students would be asking and told me they would be filming the interview. I had five minutes to prepare and to say I was nervous, doesn’t adequately describe the fear I experienced. I was about to do an exit stage left, until the Professora told me the students were probably more nervous than me.
The interview lasted two hours. I soon learned that they had downloaded my short story books from Amazon etc and studied them. I thought afterward, it was the most rewarding, if not challenging experience I had encountered in my short writing career. I wasn’t expecting what transpired. I thought that was the end of it, but after the interview, they asked if I would return for a seminar in front of the entire English lit students. I agreed.
The week following the interview, I had a good number of the students join my Facebook page, including the University. One of the students emailed me and offered to translate one of my shorts for free and asked permission to make one of the stories into a video game. This project is ongoing.
A month later, I went back to the University as a guest for the seminar they were holding. The seminar included a number of topics, one of which, presented by Samuel, was the depiction of Alice in Wonderland in pictorial form through the ages, which I found very interesting. What surprised me was how much of the Portuguese language I understood. My sponsor for the evening, Magili Sampaio, took the stage to give her presentation, and I nearly fell of my chair, when on the Power Point screen appeared…... DECLAN CONNER-EDGAR ALLEN POE.
The presentation was in Portuguese, but basically she was saying that my work was on a par with Edgar Allan Poe. Magili thought that although my stories were contemporary and written in a different style, she considered my stories covered the same type of subjects and mindset.
Different book covers of mine kept popping up on the Power Point screen as they discussed the stories. To say I nearly fell of my chair is an understatement. To put the cream on it, Samuel had edited the film he had taken from the first interview and added Portuguese sub titles and played it back. At the end of the film they all applauded. There was a question and answer period, followed by group photo’s, one of which they have posted to my Facebook page.
So who is the Edgar Allan Poe guy? Well if I didn’t know about him before I do now.
Edgar Allan Poe – born, January 19, 1809. He is best known for his tales of the macabre and mystery, Poe was one of the earliest American writers of the short story and is claimed to be the inventor of the detective genre. He is also credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He is claimed to be the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career. The financial aspect of his life; is one point on which I feel I definitely can share an affinity with him, besides our liking for bow ties.
All I can say is that I have never felt so humbled in my life and as a celebrity for a night (or two) if I never achieve anything else with my writing, then the experience will have made it all worthwhile.