Profile: CJ Levinson

CJ in ArgyleInterests: Reading, writing, history, mythology, movies, music, cricket, tennis.

Favourite Movies: The Cider House Rules, Blade Runner, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back, Finding Forrester, The Green Mile, The Man Who Cried, Pan’s Labyrinth, Lost in Translation.

Favourite Music: (pop/rock) U2, Coldplay, SavageGarden, The White Stripes, Tina Arena, Sarah McLachlan, Fleetwood Mac, Crowded House, Joni Mitchell, KT Tunstall, Sarah Blasko (scores) John Williams, Michael Kamen (R.I.P.), Alan Silvestri, Vangelis, Rachel Portman, Howard Shore.

Favourite Books: Darwin’s Radio by Greg Bear, The Green Mile by Stephen King, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link, The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick.

On writing: I like the initial creation of a story most, when the characters and plot come to life for the first time. I write by hand and I write four to five pages a day. The story starts to come together when I’m editing it. I’ve become much better at editing, looking back at my earlier stories. I enjoy that part of it more now.

On ideas: Sometimes something will just jump out at me from a magazine or newspaper, but usually I’ll start with the characters and try to develop an interesting setting that would impact them or society; the impact of a new technology or drug, etc. I also read a lot; if you don’t read, you can’t write.

On the future: I’d love to have a novel published. I’ve had 10 small publications so far and interest from several agents. Realistically I’m still a long way from that; maybe when I’m 27 (another 4 years or so) I’ll be ready to send more of my work away. I find it difficult looking back at my early work now… something like Monica Davis shows how far I’ve come since A Glimpse of the Future.

On the world: I’d like to be optimistic, but it’s hard to be optimistic right now. Ever since 9/11 the world’s been a different, scarier place, and it’s hard to see that changing. The Terror War touches us all; through our televisions, the Internet, on trains and buses and planes, at security terminals and shopping malls. You can argue whether the war is being fought the right way (and much of it is a mess), but the most important thing to remember is to make sure we don’t lose ourselves in the process; give away too many of our freedoms and what do we have left to fight for? The problem is this isn’t just a Terror War, it’s an age of fear. We live in a time when terrorism, abductions, paedophilia, drugs, AIDS, etc. are more visible than ever, brought home every minute, every day by 24 hour news… it paralyses people, and an irresponsible media covering terror for ratings doesn’t help anyone.

On Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal: Federer is a joy to watch and is probably my favourite player of the last 30 years. He makes shots no one would dream of making and carries himself so well, on and off the court. I’d love to see Federer win the French Open, but it’s great seeing Nadal doing so well now; he deserves every accolade and their rivalry is good for the sport. Nadal seems  to be getting stronger and better and he seems a real chance for the Grand Slam, which would be a wonderful achievement. Hopefully their rivalry will keep Federer hungry in this new stage of his career as well – the last thing we want is for him to quit early like Borg.

On the Ashes: The 2006-07 series was disappointing after all of the hype. I certainly didn’t pick a 5-0 result to Australia, although obviously I was glad with the win. England never seemed like they could beat Australia and in the end it became more of a farewell for Langer, Warne and McGrath. I imagine this series will be different. I doubt we’ll get a series even half as good as the 2005 series but both Australia and England have shown signs of improvement recently after lackluster performances in 2008. Johnson has come of age as an all-rounder and Strauss seems to be providing stability as captain to an England side that badly needs it. I think it will be a good series but Australia will win 3-1. The battle between Johnson and Pietersen will be particularly interesting.

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