Kasper Interviews Author Bonnie Ferrante

Leya: Sphere of Vision Book 1 Book Cover Leya: Sphere of Vision Book 1
Young adult fantasy
Single Drop Publishing
October 19, 2014

In a world where eye color may determine your future, Leya is born with one green and one blue eye. Will this diminish her potential or provide the exceptional opportunity to become a Double Vision Mistress? Even if she fulfills her gifts, Leya must learn to control her impulsiveness and quick temper or she will be stripped of her powers in a painful and crippling ritual.

Although the villagers rose with the sun to work the fields, attend to the animals, bake their bread, and begin their long list of chores, for me, Leya Truelong, this was a day like no other. Today, Wren River was touched by the fantastic.

As smoke from the brick ovens rose in thin columns over the thatched and wood shingle roofs, I left the village and headed down a path toward a clearing in the woods. Perhaps, this year, for the first time in my parents’ memory, a fourteen-year-old from our village would be chosen. Perhaps it would be me.

I looked down at my soft, brown, suede boots, ankle high, with wrap around fronts that tied on the sides. They were stained and worn. I wished I had something prettier to wear, but at least these were solid and in reasonable shape, unlike my dress, which was held together by a whisper and a prayer. Ma had lent me a lace collar to hide the frayed neckline. Perhaps my boots would count in my favor. The Mistress of the Sphere of Vision might recognize that I was not a frivolous, pampered girl. Not like the tanner's daughter, in her glistening leather shoes. Not like the silversmith's daughter, whose canvas shoes sparkled with silver buttons. Not like the mayor's daughter, Jenifair, in red satin slippers lined with felt. My boots were those of a hard-working, serious young lady, one who had to labor for everything she owned.

Every spring a Master, and every summer a Mistress, each from their own Sphere of Vision, came to the village to examine any fourteen-year-olds. They rode in on their great horses, wearing majestic robes that cost more than we could save in a year. Sometimes there was no one of the right age, so they rode on without pause, or they avoided the village altogether. This year there were four girls to be judged.

I saw the first three return rejected. The tanner's daughter seemed angry. The silversmith's daughter seemed bored. Jenifair, who already had everything a girl could want, seemed embarrassed. I was waiting on the doorstep for her return. Unexpectedly, she said, "Good morning," as she passed our little cottage. I was so shocked; I didn't think to respond until she had gone. Usually she looked through me as though I was made of glass.

I guess she was hedging her bets, just in case I was accepted since she wasn't. At least, I didn't think she was. Wouldn't she be excited? But, this was just one of many opportunities for Jenifair. Her future was already bright. For me, this was the one and only chance to break free of a life of drudgery and fear. One possibility for happiness or heartbreak, and it all depended on my eyes.

Since the announcement of our upcoming examination, I had expected the village girls, led by Jenifair, to continue mocking me for my clothes, shoes, rough and red hands, and crooked teeth. Instead, they hadn't said a word. I realized they had no more control over the outcome today than I did. Their wealth, education, and social standing were worthless when evaluated by a Mistress. For one marvelous moment, I was their equal.

A mourning dove called, its plaintive notes breaking the silence. "Don't run, don't run," it warned.

I wanted to run. I wanted to fly. To be there. To have it done. To know. To know now.

I fought the urge to race down the dirt path. It was foolish to hope, but I could no more crush hope than I could turn inside out.

I had not had a chance to see the lucky two girls travelling with Mistress Sangra. They had been chosen from previous villages. Maybe they were ordinary peasant girls like me, with dreams and hopes and theirs were coming true.

My youngest brother, Albair, told me those two chosen girls were refilling water bags and buying food supplies in Wren River while the Mistress examined prospective Novices.

“I heard the Mistress spoke Granjese,” said Albair. “She’s light-skinned and stocky. I think she may have originally come from our region.”

A Granja Mistress. She would understand our struggles. Being one of us, perhaps she would be more inclined to overlook my faults. But, I wouldn’t speak Granjese to her. Ma insisted we speak Esfera, the cross-region language developed by the Spheres. I could speak Granjese; I wouldn’t be able to survive in Wren River without it. But at home, we spoke Esfera, the language of the educated. I had never heard anyone from outside our region speak it. I hoped my accent wasn’t terrible. Would she admire my effort or think I was putting on airs?

I was the last scheduled for the Mistress to consider. I examined my surroundings, suddenly aware that this might be my last summer in Wren River for a while. The morning sun illuminated purple clusters of mock vervain and sunny coneflower that lined the winding trail. I felt as though the radiant flowers were wishing me good luck. Wealth, fame, power, could be waiting for me at the end of the trail. No more thrice patched clothes. No more rationing coal. No more eating the wormy vegetables and selling the best.

Author Bonnie Ferrante

** 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.

Bonnie wings 2016

Author Bonnie Ferrante

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.

Quick Quiz

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 **

Website: BonnieFerrante.ca

Blog:  http://bferrante.wordpress.com/

Facebook 1: https://www.facebook.com/FerranteAuthor?ref=hl

Facebook 2: https://www.facebook.com/FerranteBooksForChildren?ref=hl

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4890077.Bonnie_Ferrante

Twitter:  @BonnieFerrante

Book trailer:  http://www.youtube.com/user/Bonnie0904

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Bonnie-Ferrante/e/B007P7LFYG/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1382025411&sr=8-2

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/bonnie+Ferrante?_requestid=378170

Library Thing: http://www.librarything.com/profile/Bonnie_Ferrante

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/BonnieFerrante

LinkedIn: – http://www.linkedin.com/pub/bonnie-ferrante-tittaferrante/57/230/891

Tumblr:https://www.tumblr.com/blog/bferrante

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  • Fascinating interview. Now I’m thinking of the broken glass koan. Hmm…