Saturday, April 20, 2013

Benevolent by Devon Trevarrow Flaherty: Interview and Excerpt



When in the day/night do you write? How long per day?

In 2012, I decided that it was time to focus my energies on the writing career that I was destined to have. From fall of last year until about a month ago, I worked all day and all night until I fell into bed, exhausted. Lots of days, I was working 18 hours between sun-up and moon-rise. But now that I have my first publication out of the way, I plan on working from 9am to 3pm on weekdays, the times between dropping off and picking up my kids from school... at least most of the time. They'll always be those weekend deadlines or late night inspirations. Normally, I drop the kids off, then I work at the library, a coffee shop, back at home, or even out of my car. I like to switch it up, but fantasize about having a home office of my own, someday.

What are your favorite TV shows?

I was going to go for the "what book are you reading" question because I am, after all, a writer. However, since I published Benevolent I have been giving myself a couple hours at night NOT to work and have been devouring the entire series of Ugly Betty. I really love Betty. My all-time favorite shows include Freaks and Geeks, the British The Office, and Lost. 

Have you ever read or seen yourself as a character in a book or movie?

So once I hit my late twenties, it occurred to me that I had very rarely been alone in my life. In other words, I was always imagining that there was someone else in the room with me, which I was explaining to: me, my life, and the world around me. In other words, I was already doing what a writer does. Occasionally, the person with me even had some sort of elaborate identity or back-story, so I wasn't the only character in the room. Yeah, it's a little bizarre. But now I just write it down, put it in between two covers, and sell it. 

Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?

I can't tell you how many times in the past week I have been told that my book was not one that the person would normally read, but once they got a few chapters in, they couldn't put it down and were surprised by how much they enjoyed the book and the ending. A couple people elaborated: they are now missing the characters and looking expectantly toward my next book.

What are your hero and heroine of the story like?

The main character is the heroine. Gaby is sort of the typical Midwestern, 90s teen and young adult. She is sort of atypical in her drive and dedication and bookishness; she's going to save the world one cause at a time. She's lovely and funny and loved, but she's also stubborn and unforgiving in her intensity, and a little bit guarded. Her best friend, Mikhail, is the hero. He's on the punk side of the Midwestern 90s teen, painfully shy and non-confrontational, but also sweet and sympathetic, the strong, silent type, and very loyal. He's limited by having no dad to show him how to get the girl, and Gaby's distracted from life by her zeal. The two personalities twine together intimately and then stretch to the breaking point. 

Entice us, what future projects are you considering?

I am currently marketing Benevolent, and will continue with that, but am also putting down words on my next novel. The working title is The Date and the Roach, and the publication date is set for spring, 2014. I am very excited about it, and looking forward to spending 2013 with my next set of characters.

John was once a young, superstitious literature professor meeting the fiery love of his life, Gemma. Now he’s an aged, superstitious literature professor dealing with the sudden death of the grossly obese, shop-o-holic love of his life, Gemma. As their seven surviving kids make their way back to their East coast home for the funeral, they each uncover a secret about Gemma, and in so doing unhinge something in themselves.

Do you have a Website or Blog?

Well, there is the website for Benevolent, at That's awesomely important to me right now. But on a longer term basis, I have a blog focused on the writing life, self-publishing, and books, called The Starving Artist. If you want to know anything about me as a writer, now or in the future, that would be the place to look. If you want to read interesting blurbs on the writing life or artistic personality, it would be a good blog to follow, at

Gaby LeFevre is a suburban, Midwestern firecracker, growing up in the 80s and 90s and saving the world one homeless person, centenarian, and orphan at a time. With her crew of twin sister, Annie, smitten Mikhail, and frenemy Mel, she’s a pamphlet-wielding humanitarian, tackling a broken world full of heroes and heroines, villains and magical seeds, and Northwyth stories.




They decided to postpone the phone calls until evening, Afentra threw a granola bar at Gaby and left her laying out on the bed, exhausted. It wasn’t long before she was snoozing.

Afentra came back as evening fell, ready to take Gaby down into the New City to make the calls and check things out. Gaby was waiting for her, freshly showered and dressed in clean and wrinkled clothes. Afentra handed a pamphlet to Gaby as she approached, and then stood leaning against the bedpost. The pamphlet was titled, The Northwyth Mural at the Moshe House.

“Creative title.”

“Some say the ghost of the mural artist haunts the hostel.”

“Who says?”

“Westerners staying at the hostel. People who went to summer camp. I mention it because it is obligatory. And amusing.” Gaby opened the pamphlet and read,

“…. The mural is a creative interpretation of the lack of a story surrounding the disappearance of the magical seed. The seed is an integral ingredient in early stories of The Queen of Northwyth and in the romance of The Queen and The Angel. But where did the seed go? Why does it disappear when the lovers part and The Queen marries Jaden the Great? Some interpret the seed as purely symbolic, standing in for either The Queen’s power, or for love, or for the marriage of the two. With The Angel, the ‘power of love’ disappears, and we need no explanation. More die-hard adherents of Northwyth have spent millennia looking for the seed and hypothesizing about its whereabouts.

“The mural artist (unknown) used a combination of Northwyth dogma and a little-known speculative story coming out of the USSR to paint the scene which is now the prize of The Moshe House. If one studies the mural, they might notice an epic incorporation of various seed stories: when The Queen procures the family seed from a mysterious hag; when The Queen takes the seed to The Angel to find answers, and instead finds love; when The Queen and The Angel join together and use the seed to overcome the evil Demonis and eventually Keir the Evil.

“Central to the mural is the speculative story, which suggests that there were not five children of King Jaden and The Queen that made it to adulthood, but six. The painting depicts a sixth child standing off to the side, embraced by The Queen’s left arm, with the seed painted at his heart. The other five children are depicted as they were at their death; be-headed, poisoned, old, etc. But the sixth child stands alone and whole, however with a caged bird in one hand and a knife in the other. This is most chilling, indeed.”

Gaby shivered. She wondered about the sixth child, and what it would take for a person to be depicted, after they were dead and gone, with a seed in their heart, holding a caged bird and a knife, and separated from their siblings by their mother. Did this mystery child have the seed? Or did he have internal strength? Was he a caged bird? Or an animal torturer? That would explain the knife, unless that was his death; he was murdered? And was he estranged from his siblings or hidden away from them; the typical literary orphan-type?

The text continued, “The painting seems to suggest to the observer that the seed has not died and, moreover, it exists in a sixth line of ancestry, if not as an actual seed, then at the heart of these great-great-grandchildren.”

Devon is a writer in the Durham, North Carolina area. She is originally from metro Detroit, Michigan. She is a mommy, a wife, a hobby yogi, photographer, painter, and foodie. She has been writing seriously since her very earliest brushes with literature, and has published articles, poems, and photography in literary journals and magazines. She was an assistant editor and freelance editor for 10 years, during which she wrote copy for and contributed to various research materials. She has been blogging since 2008, first with The Green Notebook and then with RealisticChef. She is launching her lifelong dream–to be a career novelist–this winter with the independent release of her first novel, Benevolent.

Autographed Paperback of Benevolent.



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desitheblonde said...

this soule like good read and then i love the cover