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An Interview with S.A. Tennyson, Author of Ivan the Gardener, the Sower of Great Seeds

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Mr. Tennyson is an author and free spirit who resides on Saint Simons Island, Georgia. The origins of his book began in Athens, Georgia, and Portland, Oregon, where he discovered what he considers God’s greatest gift: the Cannabis plant.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I wrote this story, in part, to heal a broken heart.

Furthermore, I wrote a poem to a friend of mine, per her request, on her birthday. Afterward, she continued to push me to write something, so, finally, I acquiesced and began to think about what I might write. I knew I wanted to create a cult hero and I also wanted Cannabis to be central to my theme. And this gave birth to Ivan the Gardener.

Additionally, in the spirit of the aforementioned, I decided to wrap the story around the poem I wrote on her birthday, giving the story an artistic twist.

And, lastly, my work was influenced by Voltaire’s “Candide” and Nietzsche’s “Thus Spoke Zarathustra.” My story begins where “Candide” left off, in a sense, and “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” provided me with a template to best express my ideas and creativity through allegory, symbolism, satire, and good humor.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

A devastating loss. The loss of love. I believe that art is created when there are no other expedients to express a desire. Although, as my story illustrates, art points us back to life. And so the story is also, in part, about loss and redemption.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

The title of the story just came to me, as did most of the story itself, and seemed to fit the character I had in mind. It’s interesting to note that, as an author, I felt it was my task to “get out of the way” and let the story write itself. And this was the process for me. In short, I believe my subconscious wrote the story. And, in this sense, the story is pure and without pretense.

Describe your dream book cover.

I currently have a cover design, although I drew my own cover by hand years ago as the story was being written. The cover, as it is now, is simply a picture of a marijuana leaf along with, of course, the title, subtitle, and my name. I didn’t want the cover to be too busy or hard to interpret, so simplicity was the key for me, and central to the story is a celebration of the Cannabis plant.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

Most of the story was written while driving along the country’s highways and interstates. I was a long-haul truck driver at the time. Ideas for the story would pop into my head and I would have to hold the idea as it was written in my mind for miles prior to pulling over at a rest area to jot it down. The story was essentially a pile of notes on various pieces of paper, napkins, and notes on my phone that I later compiled and integrated into my story.

What books did you read (for research or comfort) throughout your writing process?

I didn’t read any books. Ironically, I’m not much of a reader. I just had a story in my heart and it needed an outlet.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

I would like the reader to celebrate my book and all that’s in it. I also want the reader to see Cannabis in a different light. This wonderful plant has been demonized far too long and the time has come, finally, to stand up for and celebrate this wonderful gift from nature, and what I believe is also a gift from our Creator. As for the perfect reader: anyone who is willing to celebrate Cannabis and the “Art of Life…”

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