** Author Bio **
Hi, I’m Bonnie Ferrante, a hybrid author. My short stories, newspaper articles and columns, and novels have been published traditionally. I have begun self-publishing novels and picture books (I don’t have the time for traditional submissions anymore). During the long cold winters of Thunder Bay, in Northern Ontario Canada, I spend most of my time writing, drawing, sewing, reading, and working on things for our home. Since developing Parkinson’s Disease, I have switched from illustrating with acrylics and pencil crayon, to digital format but as this becomes more difficult, I am using photos and working toward mixed-media instead. I was a grade school teacher for thirty-three years, ten of those as a teacher-librarian. I have an amazing son and daughter-in-law, plus three beautiful granddaughters who inspire me. The littlest granddaughter was featured in my last picture book, Tell Me Where: Animals and Babies. I also have a blog where I review books, give writing tips, and run contests. http://bferrante.wordpress.com/
** Author Interview **
Hi Bonnie Ferrante, thanks for being an active member of our Fantasy Sci-Fi Network. We’re so excited you have taken to our interview hovercraft to share your thoughts with us today.
Do you have a pen name and why?
Yes, I do. When I married I went from having a five letter last name to having 13 letters, Tittafferrante. I tried hyphenating the two names for a while but it couldn’t fit on any documents or credit cards. I realized nobody was going to remember Tittafferrante much less be able to spell it. Half my family can’t. Besides, who wants TIT on the spine label in the library?
Haha, that sounds a wise decision.
Besides the Sphere of Vision series, what other writing have you done?
I love writing picture books. I have dozens of ideas, unfortunately because of the increasing tremor from Parkinson’s, it has become almost impossible to illustrate them. I’m trying out using photographs and other new ideas. Who knows what I’ll discover?
What makes your writing unique compared to others in the genre?
I wouldn’t say unique really; that seems a little cocky. I’m a Canadian of European descent who is a trained Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Lay Leader and this gives me a slightly different perspective. As well, I was an elementary school teacher for 32 years which motivates me to write work that kids will actually read but has some value as well.
That sounds like an interesting history and great training for being a writer.
What made you choose the fantasy genre?
I don’t actually commit to one genre. I’m an extremely eclectic person. You just have to look at the way I’ve decorated my home and yard to get that. I like things that are often viewed as opposites. So, that’s my writing too. I’ve written New Adult fantasy romance, young adult, picture books, short stories, middle grade books, and articles for newspapers and magazines.
Right now I’m working on four books:
- Switch which is a young adult paranormal fantasy set in Elizabethan England.
- RAP which is a middle grade contemporary fiction novel.
- Burning Questions which is a junior grade contemporary fiction novel.
- And a dragon picture book that I haven’t titled yet. I’m having a lot of trouble getting a handle on how I’m going to do the illustrations but the text is completely finished. We’ll see.
Gee, you’re one busy lady. It’s lucky you have wings to get around so quickly.
Have you used any real events or places as inspiration for your writing?
There are several scenes in the novel where Leya has difficulty focusing. That’s based on personal experience. The meditation scene comes right out of my head. As well, the fact that she keeps repeating mistakes echoes my own past. It’s too bad I’m not going to live to be 200 because by then I might have it all sorted out.
What music do you listen to when writing?
Absolutely none. I need total silence, no distractions. I try to even avoid listening to music away from the computer when I am really into writing a novel. I’m horribly susceptible to brain worms. A phrase from a song, usually incorrect, rotates around and around in my head drowning out any thoughts of writing. It’s only gotten worse with Parkinson’s. If you came to my house when I was writing, you’d probably think there was nobody home.
Oh wow, that makes it tricky for you.
How did you go about developing your cover artwork?
Badly, at first. I originally called the book Desiccate and had a picture of a torrent of bloody water on the cover. I took dozens of photographs of Kakabeka Falls (yes, it’s a beautiful place outside of Thunder Bay) cropped one into a close-up of the flowing water and changed the color to red. I had focused on an event in the book that altered the protagonist forever.
Unfortunately, after publishing, I discovered everybody thought it was a horror book. I decided to focus on the major character. It is all from her point of view and a coming-of-age story. I retitled it,”Leya: Sphere of Vision Book 1″. So it was obvious I had to put her on the cover. I couldn’t find a photograph suitable, so I bought one and dyed her hair red and change the color of her eyes, one green and one blue.
My plan was to write a series of Sphere of Vision books but I’m running out of time and have too many other things I want to do, so we’ll see. I seem to say that a lot lately.
I found the eyes quite striking on the cover, good choice.
Who’s your favourite indie author and why?
Barbara Ann Mojica is an American picture book author who creates nonfiction books combining her amazing illustration with actual photographs. She has written a Little Miss History series featuring Mount Rushmore, Sequoia National Park, The Intrepid, Ford’s Theater, and more. They’re written for kids age 8 and up but I learn something every time I read one. I just wish she was Canadian so she could write about some places and events in my country.
What is your favourite quote?
I have two actually, they’re both Buddhist. The first is, “We make the world with our minds.” It’s true on so many levels, especially if you’ve been following science research into the brain and the effects of human observation on science experiments. As well, everything we’ve ever invented or created has come from our brain. The way we treat other, whether we smile or frown, a personal decisions, all impact the world around us and created into something different than it would’ve been And, as a writer, I am making the world every time I sit down to the computer. The other favorite quote is, “The glass is already broken.” I’ll let you think about that one on your own.
What book clubs are you in?
I have tried joining a few on Goodreads but I just couldn’t keep up. I have a real-time book club (my husband calls it the wine club but it’s really the wine and yummies club) that meets once a month. I also have a review blog which keeps me knee deep in books to read.
Favourite food: anything with chocolate (but no dairy) which isn’t very easy to find
Silliest saying: “Lord love a duck.” Which I inherited from my mother. It comes out at unexpected moments.
Best holiday spot: Cruising anywhere and everywhere. I would go every year if I could afford it.
Favourite song at the moment: I don’t really have one. Brain worms remember?
With writing, are you a plotter or (seat-of-your) pantser? That’s complicated. It depends on what I’m working on. I often go back and forth, probably the reason for a lot of rewrites. Eclectic in everything.
Star Wars or Lord of the Rings: Lord of the Rings.
Best superpower: flying
Number one thing to do on your bucket list: see a free large whale in the wild, a humpback would be a dream come true
Oh that last one is the best, you must try it, Bonnie
Thanks so much to Bonnie for letting us explore her thoughts and writing today. It has been really interesting.
Interviewed by Kasper Beaumont, author of the Hunters of Reloria fantasy series. www.huntersofreloria.weebly.com
** Bonnie Ferrante’s Author Links **
Facebook 1: https://www.facebook.com/FerranteAuthor?ref=hl
Book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/user/Bonnie0904
Library Thing: http://www.librarything.com/profile/Bonnie_Ferrante
Tumblr: – https://www.tumblr.com/blog/bferrante
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