I’m excited to have Bonnie Ferrante on the blog today!
About the Author:
Bonnie was a grad school teacher for thirty three years, and ten of those years also served as the librarian. She lives in Northern Ontario and spends most of her time drawing and writing. Her short stories, newspaper articles and columns, and novels have been published traditionally, and now she has begun simultaneously self-publishing novels and picture books and is doing her own illustrations. Since developing Parkinson’s Disease, she has switched from illustrating with acrylics and pencil crayon, to digital format but as this becomes more difficult, she is using photos instead. She is also a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist lay leader, which shows up in unexpected ways in her writing.
You can find Bonnie here:
1. What’s a typical writing day look like for you? Describe your perfect writing environment.
It depends whether I’m working on a novel or children’s picture book. If it’s a novel, I start writing in the morning, somewhere around 9am and keep writing until my brain is fried anywhere between 2 pm and 9pm. Then I stay away from the work until the next day.
If it’s a picture book, I pretty much pick at it all day. I will work on the illustrations while I’m watching television with my husband. I’ll stop in the middle of facebooking or doing the dishes and jump back into it to adjust something in the text or sometimes the illustrations.
2. How did you get started writing? Was it something that you’ve always loved?
Yes, I loved writing stories as a child. I used to put puppet shows on for all the neighborhood children. I wrote teenage angst poetry in high school and enjoyed all my English classes in university. I loved arguing a point of view about a book on paper. I set out to become a teacher librarian and writer. I had several short stories published and wrote for the newspapers for a few years but when my school board cut librarians, I had to go into a classroom. I just didn’t have the time and energy to write much then. When I took early retirement for health reasons, I suddenly had the time and no excuse. I’ve been writing pretty much full-time now for six years.
3. Who are your favorite writers/inspirations?
I’m an extremely eclectic person. My reading passions vary from year to year. I could name dozens of writers that have inspired me from Shakespeare to Lucy Maud Montgomery, Orson Scott Card, Terry Brooks, T. H. White, Hans Christian Anderson, Oscar Wilde, Ray Bradbury, John Wyndham, Diana Gabaldon, and Betty Smith.
There are certain writers that I absolutely adored for years and now can’t read a single thing from them. Stephen King, Anne Rice and Poppy Z. Brite are an examples; I just can’t take the gore. Other writers, other reasons.
We had a very small community library where I grew up. I exhausted all the books for my age and was always disappointed at how short they were. So I latched on to Dickens, Jules Vern, Dumas, Hugo, Edgar Allen Poe, Mary Shelley, Jack London, and Melville. I’m not saying I completely understood them. Now, I don’t have the patience for those kinds of books.
As a teacher, I discovered C. S. Lewis and E. B. White and wished I had read them as a child. More recently, I’ve been very impressed by Suzanne Collins, Lauren Oliver, Philip Pullman, Scott Westerfeld, and John Green since they are writing in my genre.
4. Anything you can tell us about upcoming projects?
I have a young adult book, Switch, about a teenager in Elizabethan times who sees ghosts. I worked on it for four years and it has now been sitting in the drawer for six months so that I can approach it with fresh eyes. I’m determined I’m going to finish it to my satisfaction by the end of the year. I have another young adult and a middle grade book, each on their fifth or sixth incarnation. I hope to get back to them soon. I have a number of ideas for picture books but right now I’m trying something new. I’m creating a picture book about dragons and merging photos with cut and torn paper and drawings. Because of Parkinson’s, I just can’t complete the illustrations the way I used to and I’ve seen some picture books with montages that were really cool.
5. Normally how do you develop plots/characters? Brief us on your process.
Most people ask if I’m a pantser or a plotter. Just like everything else in my life, I’m little of this and a little of that.
I usually start out with an incident in my head. I’ll write that incident and create the characters as I go. Then I’ll write a few more incidents thinking about where the book is going to go. Then I stop and create a list of characters, fill in their backgrounds, etc. I’ll make a rough plot outline and I’ll start writing. I generally get a third a halfway through, tear up most of what I’ve done and start over. I might do anywhere from three or four or more plot outlines for a book. I am sure I throw away 80% of what I write. Right now I’m about to sit down and do my eighth plot outline for Switch. Hopefully my last.
6. Favorite character from one of your own novels?
Leya from The Sphere of Vision Book One is my absolute favorite. She’s a lot like me in that she takes a long time to learn from her mistakes. LOL.
7. Preferred method for readers to contact you?
I’m on Facebook daily. I’m on Twitter and my blog two or three times a week.
Bonnie has a Goodreads giveaway running right now for her novel, Nightfall.
Be sure and check out her Amazon page to see all her work!
Thanks so much to Bonnie for visiting my blog today.