Bonnie Ferrante is a hybrid writer (publishing traditionally and self-publishing). Her work has appeared in various children’s and adult magazines and anthologies. She is a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist lay leader and was a grade school teacher for thirty-three years, ten as teacher-librarian. Her first three novels were published by Noble Romance Publishing. In 2014, her next book, a young adult historical paranormal, Switch, will be published by Tradewind Books in Vancouver. She has received two OAC grants for her writing. She has recently entered the field of self-publishing and is greatly enjoying illustrating her own picture books. Bonnie lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. She loves to chant, bike, garden, read, volunteer, create visual and needle art, and attend live theatre.
About writing …
When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer?
I wanted to be a writer since I was a child. I was the first person in my family to go to university and money was very tight. The regional university did not have a writing program so I chose librarianship and then later switched into teaching. When I taught half time, I began writing short pieces for newspapers, magazines, and anthologies. But when I began teaching full-time, I found I couldn’t manage it all. Now I no longer teach and am writing full time.
What book(s) has most influenced your writing?
Terry Brooks’ first Shannara books made me realize we didn’t have to follow rigid rules of genre.
When and where do you prefer to write?
I like to write when there’s nobody home, especially because I use a text-to-speech program. I tend to feel self conscious thinking that someone might be listening. Luckily, I’m retired but my husband isn’t, so I have a lot of time by myself. Sometimes I write when he’s sleeping, but then I type.
What was your biggest challenge in writing your book?
Containing the story was the most difficult challenge. Once I created the Sphere of Vision, ideas came flooding in for Desiccate. That’s okay though, I’ll use all those ideas in the sequels.
What advice do you have for other writers?
Put in the necessary time and effort, which is a lot, to develop your skill. Treat it like any other profession. Take classes, sign up for courses, attend workshops, read books about writing, follow blogs, find a mentor, and join critique groups. Put in the crucial work to develop your skill before you start self publishing or sending out your writing.
About you …
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I’ve had to change my hobbies dramatically because of the onset of Parkinson’s Disease. I no longer do hand needle arts like embroidery or cross stitch, but still sew a bit with the sewing machine. I’ve turned my vegetable garden into a play area for my grandchildren but I’m still keeping my flower gardens. I no longer canoe very much and when I do, my husband does almost all the work. I still bike, but I use a motorized bicycle. I have switched from working with pencil crayon, watercolor, and acrylics to digital illustration. I love attending live theater. I read, obviously. I enjoy spending time with my family, especially my three little granddaughters.
Can you share something that is happening in your life that would surprise us?
Even though I have a tremor on my right side, I’ve been able to illustrate my children’s books using Photoshop. It’s an enormous learning curve. For example, I just learned how to make the program draw a straight line for me. That would’ve been so helpful with my first six picture books. The great thing about Photoshop is how easy it is to undo a mistake. As well, I can zoom in to draw and then when I zoom back out the shakiness of the lines doesn’t show.
Do you have any unique talents besides writing?
I don’t know if you could call it a talent. My husband would probably call it a curse. I love landscaping and turning my yard into a little Shangri-La. There isn’t much space left to do anything and I can’t really manage on my own anymore, so there’s probably not too many changes in the future. The scariest words my husband hears are, “I have an idea for the yard.”
What can we expect from you in the future?
I have several other books at various stages both in my young adult and picture book streams. I am still working with Tradewind Books on a young adult historical paranormal book called “Switch” that was supposed to come out this year but might be pushed back.
Quick hits …
Is there an author that you would really like to meet?
What book are you currently reading?
The Concubine’s Children by Denise Chong.
Who designed your latest book cover?
I did. I take my own photographs and draw my own pictures.
What is your favourite quote?
“The glass is already broken.” It’s a Buddhist quote that means it’s best not to become preoccupied with possession because they are intransient. Immediately let go of your attachment to things like the new car. When it gets its first scratch, as it inevitably will, you won’t get all worked up about it because you know every single thing on this planet, every single person as well, becomes damaged with time. There is an end to everything. Enjoy beautiful things while you have them but don’t covet them. Accept that everything changes.
Where can new fans can follow you?
Website – BonnieFerrante.ca
Amazon – www.amazon.com/Bonnie-Ferrante
Facebook – Bonnie Ferrante – Author
Bonnie Ferrante – Books for Children
Twitter – @BonnieFerrante
Linkedin – http://www.linkedin.com/pub/bonnie-ferrante
Goodreads – Bonnie Ferrante
Pinterest – Bonnie Ferrante
Youtube – http://www.youtube.com/user/Bonnie0904
My Blog – http://steppingquietly.blogspot.ca/
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.
Other books from Bonnie Ferrante
Bonnie, Words on a Limb would like to thank you for your time. We wish you much success with Desiccate and your future books.