Thursday, 1 December 2011

Authors In The Limelight: Cornell DeVille

I want to thank and welcome, Cornell DeVille for sharing his personal writing journey with us on my blog today. His book, Lost in the Bayou, will be released through Musa Publishing, Friday, December 1st, and will be available at your favorite on-line bookstore, including Musa Publishing.

How long have you been writing, Cornell?

The first story I remember writing was in the third grade, Miss Carmichael's class. It was called Flipper the Fawn. It was a wonderful story, according to Miss Carmichael. And she should know. So, based on her favorable opinion, I decided to become a writer.

Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write Lost in the Bayou?
It's hard to tell where inspiration is born. When I was ten years old, we took a family vacation to New Orleans. I remember seeing the Spanish moss hanging from the trees in the bayou country. It was scary at night, and very memorable. Perhaps that's where the atmosphere for Lost in the Bayou originated. As far as the story is concerned, I think kids are always a little freaked out with missing body parts. That's why Uncle Conrad has a metal claw for a hand.

What sets Lost in the Bayou apart from other books in the same genre?
I think one thing that sets it apart is the impossible task that Robin has to accomplish and her determination to see it through, despite the obstacles. Also, in addition to her courage, there's her ingenuity that plays a major role in allowing her to do what needs to be done. Even at fourteen, she's no dummy, and she knows more than a little about human nature and how to manipulate people in the right direction.

As an author, Cornell, what is your writing process?
I typically start with an idea. It may be an object, a character, or a setting. In Cannibal Island, it was the concept of time travel that started the wheels turning. In Skullhaven, it was the pitiful little orphan, Lily White. And in Lost in the Bayou, it was the spookiness of the bayou and how scary it would be to get lost in there. If you read any of those three books, you'll notice that the opening of each has the particular item just mentioned as the focal point.

How long did it take for you to start and finish Lost in the Bayou?
Well, let's see. It was July of 1959 when we made the trip to New Orleans. So it took me 51 years to get started. Once I began, it only took me about six months to write it. Another three months to rewrite it. And another three months to edit and polish it to a respectable form. So 51 years to start and one year to finish. That's why getting started is the important thing.

Do you have any advice for other writers, Cornell?
I do. First of all, if you want to write well, you need to read as much as possible. I would recommend spending the majority of your reading time in the genre you wish to write in. Go to your library and browse the Newberry Winner section. Reading is key to good writing. And, of course, you need to write every chance you get, too. Join a writing group and get some peer reviews of your writing. Learn to take criticism as a valuable tool for improvement.

Agreed – a writer’s support system has helped me tremendously. So, what’s next for Cornell DeVille the author?
I'm currently in the middle of a sequel to Cannibal Island. The working title is The Rings of Time. It picks up where Cannibal Island leaves off, with Richie home at the Armstrong Estate in Southampton with the Golden Disk and figuring out how to use it. I'm hoping to get the first draft completed by year end, but that remains to be seen.

Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series – If you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why?
Oh, my goodness. That's like asking me if I could have any sports car in the world, which one would it be. There are so many wonderful choices. I think if I had such an opportunity, it would have to be ancient Egypt. I'd like to see how they built those pyramids.

Lost in the BayouCornell DeVille’s blog is
Lost in the Bayou website at

Lost in the Bayou book trailer on YouTube at


  1. Super interview :-) Just love that it took Cornell 51 year to write Lost in the Bayou. There's hope for all of us trying to finish our first novel.

  2. Thanks, Amaleen! Hopefully, it won't take us that long!

  3. Great interview. I love your sense of humor, Cornell. :)

  4. Very nice interview. The trailer is intriguing. It reminds me of Stephen King. I love thrillers, and this looks like a good one.