Books·Magic 8 Q&A

Chevy Stevens on why wanderlust is an effective procrastination tool

The author of Never Let You Go answers eight questions submitted by eight other authors.
Chevy Stevens is the author of Never Let You Go. (Poppy Photography)

Chevy Stevens is the bestselling author of eight novels which combine her interest in family dynamics with her love of her home on Vancouver Island. Her most recent, Never Let You Go, follows a young woman who has done everything she can to hide from an abusive ex who was recently released from prison. And yet, someone is definitely tracking her...

Below, Chevy Stevens answers eight questions submitted by eight of her fellow writers in the CBC Books Magic 8 Q&A. 

1. Marc Raboy asks, "Name one thing you removed from an early draft and later regretted."

You know, I don't think there is anything that I have regretted removing. If something got cut, there was probably a good reason. I've deleted scenes or paragraphs I really liked, but that's part of telling a tight-paced story. Sometimes I trick myself and save the cut section in a different file so I can use it again if needed. But I don't tend to look back.

2. Jordan Tannahill asks, "What is the most ridiculous thing you found yourself doing out of distraction/procrastination instead of writing?"

There are so many wonderful ways to waste time. I have a tendency to daydream about fantastic trips so I scour VRBO, travel review sites and flight plans. I've even researched the seating charts on a particular plane and compared different airlines. There is no limit to the amount of things that seem far more important than my work in progress! I also like to get my friends involved in my procrastination, so I will email links or ideas for different trips we can take and that usually leads to fun back-and-forth email threads.

3. Jonathan Auxier asks, "If you could write an authorized sequel to someone else's book, what would it be?"

Oh, this is a tough one. I don't enjoy books or movies that are left unresolved at the end, at least with a stand-alone. Sequels are so difficult, which is why I haven't written one yet for my books. In my genre, my characters have already gone through so much and they really deserve a break. I might have picked The Unmumsy Mum, which I loved, but she just came out with her own sequel of sorts so she beat me to it!

4. Ray Berard asks, "If you had to pick one novel to hold up to the world, what would it be and why?"

My favourite novel of all time is The Power of One by the late Bryce Courtenay, which I read decades ago. Growing up I was a voracious reader but something was different about this book. It was as though I was actually living the story through the main character, PK. I felt his emotions so strongly. This book has it all — an amazing setting, loyalty, perseverance, survival, great mentors and an epic story spanning years.

5. Gregory Scofield asks, "If you could change one thing about anything you've written, what would it be? And why?"

If I were to rewrite That Night, I might create a bigger twist. It was never my intention to have one at all. I wanted to write about what it might feel like if you knew who the culprit was but couldn't do anything about it. But in hindsight, thriller readers have really come to expect layer upon layer, and dark secrets. They look for that. If it's not there, they can feel let down, even if the book is still suspenseful all the way through.

6. Ami McKay asks, "How do your dreams influence your writing?"

I was only inspired once by a nightmare, but that book didn't work out and I ended up having to toss it. Typically my dreams are distorted and don't make a lot of sense, with people or situations that I'm anxious about in my personal life. More often I dream about food. For example, I'm at a dessert buffet and I'm eating trays and trays of sweets. I don't think that would be a good book, but it's a fabulous dream.

7. George Elliott Clarke asks, "What literary character would you like to seduce — or be seduced by?"

Well, I'm a happily married woman and I've yet to read about anyone as fantastic as my husband, but I have to admit to developing a book crush on a main character named HP, in a stunning debut novel called Our Little Secret by Roz Nay, which will be published in Canada in June. He is the perfect combination of boy next door (who happens to be tanned, blond and gorgeous) with a darker edge that makes him deliciously irresistible. 

8. Tracey Lindberg asks, "Who, from literary Canada, is your dream Trivial Pursuit partner?"

I think I would have to pick Louise Penny. We have yet to meet but I have a feeling she would be brilliant at the game, based on her clever characters.