Cheyne Curry was born in Vermont, raised in New York, and spent most of her adult life in California. She now resides in the Midwest with her wife, Brenda, and their rescued pets. Cheyne’s first novel, Renegade, was published in 2009, and was a finalist for the Golden Crown Literary Society Debut Novel Award. Cheyne is also a founding member of 3 Grunts Productions.
Her The Tropic of Hunter is a Goldie finalist in the Ann Bannon Popular Choice and Romantic Suspense/Intrigue/Adventure categories. I asked her to respond to the 6 questions you posed on Facebook – and here are her replies.
1) Who/What is your favorite book/author? Why?
My favorite book is To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I’m not sure I could adequately explain why I hold this novel so dear. I loved the character of Scout and her narration of her loss of childhood innocence much too soon at 6, through the hatred and ignorance of the people in the town she lived in. I loved the way Lee made human the quirky, imperfect and sometimes horrible residents of Maycomb, Alabama in the mid-1930s. I also loved the nobility and tolerance of Atticus Finch as he tried to provide Tom Robinson with fair representation in a time where injustice and inequality was the norm, especially in the south. And I loved how, as a single father, he tried to raise his two children morally and without prejudice. There is just so much to love about this book, published in 1960, elements of which are still relevant today. It’s also one of my favorite films.
2) What has been your most surprising or interesting inspiration for a book?
Music inspires me to write. My taste in music is quite eclectic. One day I’ll be in the mood for Big Band Swing and the next, head banging Rock and what I listen to sometimes directly determines the scene I work on. I even get inspired by some Rap songs, although not many as it is my least favorite genre. Then, if I can’t find a particular musical inspiration, I’ll compose my own (you can sample some of my compositions on the My Music page of my website.
3) Writing is emotional and can be isolating. From where do you get your support?
My wonderful, patient, encouraging, compassionate wife, Brenda. She has worked with lesbian writers for years, first with a now-defunct lesbian publishing house and then she put together a few Bard events. We met when she wrote me a “fan” letter for the online version of The Tropic of Hunter and became friends through email. We met in person some time later and the sparks flew but we didn’t take it further for quite a while (we lived in different states). One of the things that attracted me to her was/is that she fully comprehends what it takes to get the work out from within and really nurtures the creative process.
4) What does it mean to you to see your work in print and then up for an award?
I used to never understand when people would say, “It’s an honor just to be nominated,” but, now I do and, especially in this case, (the Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award), it’s an honor just to make the finalists. Renegade made the short list in the Golden Crown Literary Society Awards for Debut Fiction in 2009 and it was an honor just to make the short list.
I have this cartoon on my refrigerator that shows these 2 men walking down a street and pigs are flying all around them and it has one of the men looking up and saying, “Cheyne must have sold a script.” But it used to say, “Cheyne must have gotten published.” So, to see my work in print (and actually selling) is a long-time dream come true. The swine are indeed airborne.
5) What is next on your personal bucket list to accomplish?
Putting together a film team for a local contest called the 3 Days of Comedy Chaos, where you make a film in 3 days (write, cast, film, edit, score and complete in three days). Everyone donates their time and talent and equipment (if they have it, otherwise they rent it) and the only expense is on the producer to provide beverages (usually water, coffee and Gatorade) and at least one main meal a day during filming, and snacks. I have learned that Twizzlers are a huge staple on local film sets, so there will be plenty of those. I’m also going to be making a short, horror film with my usual screenplay buddy, Chris Westfield, which I am looking forward to.
6) What are you working on now and what’s next up for publication?
Next is a revised Renegade which will be published by Blue Feather. This re-edited version will have a couple more chapters added to the beginning. Since PD Publishing went out of business last year that meant that there would be no more printing of the original. When the rights were reverted back to me, I offered it to Blue Feather and Emily said yes. So when it comes out this time, it will also be available on eBook, which wasn’t an option before.
After that, I have about 5 irons in the creative fire, two as a co-author (both so vastly different in content and in contrast with anything I’ve ever written before). One is almost finished and the other is just beginning. I love being challenged and these two projects are certainly doing that.