by Javier A. Robayo

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Suki by C.F. Winn

   My dad has always said there are books and there are novels.  Many times, as a kid, I've asked what's the difference?  His reply was always the same: "You'll know it when you read one."  And thus began my love affair with writing, and through the many years in between, I've finally learned the difference.  The word book refers to the physical object.  Bound pages in between two covers.  Anyone can write a book.  You see them everywhere.  Now a novel...
   A novel is a fictitious prose narrative of considerate length.  In essence, it's a piece of writing that will touch you, even change you, in unforeseen ways.  A good novel is often full of people that make you wish you knew them in the flesh.  These characters are virtual reflections of someone we know, even ourselves, and connections are inevitably made.
   And then there are novels like Suki...

   In my opinion, Suki stands alone, almost a genre onto its own.  A courageous piece of literature.  Where did the decision to write it come from?

   C.F. Winn I agree with your observation of Suki and genre.  That's been a tough question for me to answer when asked... in part, because of how secretive I've been about its plot.  
   The reasons for writing this novel have evolved right along side the story itself.  To reveal all of them would ruin the experience for the reader but ultimately, Suki had to be written, and here's why: As a society, we label everything and in the case of people, as time goes on, it's hard for us to shake off the roles we've played and to be seen as anything else.  This book is for my kids and grandkids.  I want them to know me as more than the woman who raised them, and as the future old lady they (hopefully) visit once a week.  My writing gives me the opportunity to present myself as more... as a creative human being with a story (or two!) to tell.  That's how I want my family to see me in life, and to remember me in death.  

   I love that fame and fortune never came into it.  That tells me you write from the heart.  Would you tell us about that question on the cover: What does love really look like? 

   C.F. Winn Love looks like every flash of joy I've ever felt in my life... 
   Just writing this answer now is overwhelmingly joyful - I feel the emotion welling up because of the appreciation I feel for the opportunity to share my vision of love.  It comes in so many forms... from when I take a cleansing breath and am surprised by my favorite smell (wood burning in a fire pit) to the inner warmth of a sincere hug from someone who means so much to me.  Everyone's picture is different, yet the same... it looks like anything that makes you feel like the "you" you're meant to be and that varies from person to person.

   I'm privy to the story behind the cover, but I'd like you to tell the readers in your own words.

   C.F. Winn I'm a soccer coach and one evening at practice, one of the girls on my team tugged on my sleeve and said, "Coach, Coach!  Look at the clouds!  It looks like they formed a heart!"  I was very busy running plays, so at first I ignored her... until something clicked.  I looked up and when I did... You've never seen anyone fumble harder than me for the camera in my phone.  It was breathtaking!  And as I was finishing the last of my edits on Suki, I realized it was a perfect picture for my cover.  I've thanked that girl about a million times since then.

   That was definitely a one-in-a-million shot.  Let's talk characters.  Although Savannah carries a good part of the novel, it's Dwayne who becomes a driving force, a source of strength and optimism.  What or who inspired Dwayne?

   C.F. Winn Dwayne is inspired by a real person that I was once lucky enough to know.  I wish there were more people out there like him, because then I would NEVER be asked "What does love look like"... It would be obvious because of people like him.  Savannah is a strong woman, but the Yin to her Yang will always be Dwayne... without him, a piece of her is missing.

   What's behind the pages of Suki?

   C.F. Winn The lines of beginning and end are blurred... I mention reincarnation indirectly, and the epilogue and prologue are purposely flipped, but the idea that we love and are loved on many levels is clear.  

   Giving us this peek into what made Suki means more than you know.  Any words for your readers?

   C.F. Winn Appreciate as much as you can remember to every day, because sometimes, things turn bad and you can never get those moments back.  Don't cheat yourself out of them in the first place.  I'm going to loosely quote Suki here, "Don't waste time on fear and sorrow because nothing is more important than the quality of time you have here with your loved ones on earth."

* * *

   We're always in need of perspective or inspiration.  We want to know someone else understands something we feel and once in a while, we find it in the pages of a novel like C.F. Winn's Suki, written straight from the heart.

   Javier A. Robayo

   You can find Suki at 





  1. Excellent interview! It stands on well thought out questions, and equally well thought out answers. I enjoyed that both really tell alot about the author and the story, without giving away the plot. Suki was an important piece, which I knew the moment I read it. I hadn't really considered the genre. Perhaps that is because as you said, there really wasn't one yet. Thank you for this beautiful story of love.