October 22, 2019
Interview by Jessica Mack
As founder of Cult of AMERICANA and EDO Trains, Charlie willingly and fully disappears into art, often at the expense of his reality. He’s currently working on his first based-on-a-true-story novel which will be available...hopefully someday. That part of his bio has remained unchanged for many years now. His day job is in the railroad industry. He is a board member of the Chicago Writers Association.
Q: What is your role within the Chicago Writers Association?
A: I've been on the board for about four years. My primary role is the man - in Ray-Ban Wayfarers and fedora or flat cap - that runs the CWA tent at Printers Row Literary Fest.
Q: What accomplishment in your writing life/career has had the most impact on you as a writer? What have you learned from it?
A: Learning from my talented fellow board members and comprehending the ins and outs of manuscripting and publishing from writers with more experience than myself. Turns out the former is tough and the latter...well let's worry about finishing the former first.
Q: What made you personally decide to become involved in the writing community?
A: Other than social work or a first responder, I can't imagine anything civilian where you put as much of yourself into it without any promise of a return. We're masochistic creatures and it makes the craft of writing irresistible.
Q: What advice would you give to any new aspiring writer?
A: Learn the craft, learn the craft, learn the craft, learn the craft, then start writing. Rinse, repeat. And if you're writing something long-form, don't be afraid to plagiarize yourself if it wasn't published the first time around. Learn the craft, wear your best ideas out. They're YOURS.
Q: What special projects have you worked on and what is your favorite moment of being a CWA board member so far?
A: I fancy myself something of a Swiss army knife, so there's no project more or less special than another. Favorite moments of CWA membership? George Rawlinson's literary tour. True Chicagoan. God bless that man.
Q: How do you balance between work and writing?
A: Poorly! The key is to be willing to fall behind on work, relationships, and the pursuit of personal wellness. Subjectively speaking, the craft is more splitting firewood than it is chamomile and candlelight.
Q: Is there anything you'd like to add?
A: In writing and life; too much doing things the right way impedes your ability to break the mold.
Bio: C. D. (Charlie) Monte Verde always wanted to live in one of the ‘big three’ cities, and darn if he didn’t land in the best one. Charlie was raised in Upstate New York, spent nine years in Chicago, then returned to his homeland of Buffalo with exotic spices and linens and perhaps a little bit o’ writing skill.
Interview conducted by CWA intern Jessica Mack
Jessica Mack was previously Editor-in-Chief for the Joliet Junior College Blazer, editing and preparing articles for publication and managing a general staff. Under her leadership, the Blazer was 2018 Best-In-Show at the Illinois Community College Journalism Association annual fall contest and received 2018 Awards for Excellence. She is currently working on her Masters of English at DePaul University with a focus on creative writing and hopes to become a book editor.
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