As I mentioned in a previous post, I have a story coming out soon in the Love Dust anthology. The contributing writers have decided to do a blog tour leading up to the release date. So over the next few weeks, I will be posting author interviews to give readers an opportunity to meet my fellow writers.
Today’s interview is with Brandy Bonifas. Brandy lives in Ohio with her husband and son. When she isn’t busy reining in her rambunctious preschooler, she spends late nights at her laptop working on her next story. Her speculative fiction spans several genres and her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in anthologies by Clarendon House Publications, Pixie Forest Publishing, and Zombie Pirate Publishing. She is also working on an epic Sci-Fi/Fantasy series. To find out more, visit her at brandybonifas.com.
Where did your inspiration for your story come from?
When I was seven or eight years old, my dad and I would go for these long walks in the woods behind my grandparents’ house. One day, we found a huge beech tree and he carved my initials and the year into it. It became our tradition to hike back to that tree once a year and carve the year below my initials. As I grew up, the tradition fell by the wayside, until a few years ago when my cousin and his wife were hiking in the same area and came across the tree and they carved their initials into it. When my uncle passed away earlier this year, my cousin added his initials and the date to the tree also. This beech tree marks a lot of memories for my family and became the inspiration for my story “The Beech Tree Carving”.
Who is your favorite character in this story and why?
That would have to be Nick, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers, so I’ll let readers wait until the end of the story to find out why.
When you aren’t writing, where can we find you?
I’m a stay-at-home mom, so you would probably find me on some adventure with my four-year-old son, whether it’s fossil hunting by the lake, exploring old railroad tracks, or making up wild tales on rainy days at home.
What author has influenced you the most?
I can’t pinpoint just one. There have been many. When I was younger I had a hard time finding books that I connected with. Not because they weren’t out there, but because I hadn’t stumbled upon them yet. This is part of what made me want to write. If someone else didn’t write what I wanted to read, I would write what I wanted to read myself. I remember when I was 11, my mom had just finished Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel and handed it to me saying, “Here, you’re probably old enough for this.” It was the first book I really remember devouring from cover to cover. The author did a lot of research for her historical fiction, and it was the first time I really made the connection that sometimes the best fiction is based on facts and the process of stretching those facts into what could be possible. I followed up this revelation by reading a lot of Michael Crichton during my high school years. Frank Herbert was another major influence for me when it came to world building.
Where do you write? Is there a special place?
For now, it’s just me and my laptop at the kitchen table after my son is in bed for the night and my husband goes off to the gym. It’s the only time our house is quiet enough for me to get any writing done.
Do you consider reading as part of your job as a writer? Why or why not?
Absolutely! I do a lot of reading for research purposes, but even when I’m reading for pleasure, I’m always thinking in the back of my mind about what the author did that really worked or stood out to me in a story or novel. I learn something from everything I read whether it’s some idea I’m purposely researching or simply noticing an author’s style or way of telling a really good story.
Other than family, what are five things you cannot live without?
1. Writing, for sure. Even during periods in my life when I’ve been busy with work or family and not focusing on writing seriously, I would still do some writing here and there. I’ve thought of myself as a writer since I was in grade school. I don’t think I could give it up completely if I tried.
2. Books, of course. I thrive on them.
3. Nature. Getting out into nature is a huge source of inspiration for me.
4. Art. Drawing and painting are other creative outlets for me. Most of the time, I’m a perfectionist. I like being organized and in control, but art is a great way to let go, get messy, and see what happens. If I’m having a dry spell with writing, art is a great way to get the creative juices flowing again.
5. Needlework. It’s a hobby I picked up from my mom when I was younger and it’s still my favorite way to unwind and relax, especially when combined with an audio book or a podcast.
What is your all-time favorite TV show?
I would have to go back to my college days for this one and say Buffy the Vampire Slayer, not only because I am a huge Joss Whedon fan, but also because I had a creative writing professor in college who taught an evening Vampire Lit class. After class she and a group of us would meet to watch the latest episode of Buffy and discuss it. So not only did this show have some very clever writing, but it brings back good memories with good friends. This professor has since passed away, but she was one of my first mentors and taught me a lot about the craft of writing.
Not picking your own, which story in Love Dust is your favorite?
I don’t think I could narrow it down to just one. Love Dust showcases some really talented authors and each story is beautifully written in its own right. But a few of my favorites include “Sugar and Ink” by Alisha Massinet, “Tootsie” by M.R. Ward, and Alan I’Anson’s “To the Moon and Back”. I think because I’m drawn to the type of speculative fiction presented in these stories, they stood out to me in particular.
If you could meet one writer in the history of the world, who would it be?What would you talk about?
That’s a tough one. Maybe Jules Verne. I would be curious to know his thoughts on modern day science in relation to his works. Also, if he could continue writing, what ideas would he take from the scientific revelations of today and where would he go with them?
What are you working on now?
I’m currently focusing on short stories, but I also have an epic Sci-Fi/Fantasy series in the works.
Where can we find more about you and your work?
You can visit my website at brandybonifas.com and sign up for my blog to receive writing updates on my latest projects and releases. You can also find me on Twitter @BonifasBrandy and on Instagram @brandy_bonifas where I also post pics of some of my artwork and needlework projects.