Today we welcome New York Times Bestseller, Parris Afton Bonds.
Book ‘Em: Tell us about you and your life outside of writing.
Parris Afton Bonds: Because I am obsessed/possessed by writing and the written word, an enormous part of my day is occupied with the ecstasy of writing (and, yes, it is sometimes agony). And obsessed with reading, as well. I think, because I did not speak a single word until I was three (and then I blurted out, “Daddy, please don’t whip me. I love you.”), I much prefer to write rather to speak before book clubs, radio & TV interviews, public forums, and conferences, but I suffer and suck it up and do so, alas!
With so much inactivity required in the writing process, the need to feel my body move is paramount, so I play tennis, rollerblade, jog, and do yoga. Also, my extended family keeps me delightfully in touch with reality: I have five sons, ten grandchildren, and one great granddaughter. With most of them, I enjoy engaging in a game of chess ~ and with all of them I enjoy unique adventures – exploring on segways, skydiving, ziplining, etc. I took five of my oldest grandchildren to Italy four years ago, which impoverished me for years to come.
Book ‘Em: Which books have you written? What are they about and why did you choose to write them? Do your books have a message? Are they fiction or nonfiction?
Parris Afton Bonds: Although I write both fiction and nonfiction, my DNA has been wired for romance since as early as I can remember. Certainly, at the most, beginning at six years old, when we got our first TV and I became enamoured with the Jeanette Macdonald/Nelson Eddy musicals. Corny, yes, but oh, how I did sigh. And, of course, how can I forget TV’s Zorro, with Guy Williams and the masked Lone Ranger? Music, art literature ~ well, for me, love makes the world go round mayhap, that is why I had so many children.I just finished my 45th novel ~ Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves. And, yes, all my novels have a message: that sacrifice for the sake of a larger issue is always worthy of a reward. Five of my most recent novels are a part of The Texican series, which is now in submission negotiations, and I am fervently trusting I will be soon be dancing on sunshine yet again with a publishing house contract.
Book ‘Em: Do you have a work in progress?
Parris Afton Bonds: Yes, I just started on Book I of the Montlimoux series. I know this is backwards, but the already published Sweet Enchantress is Book IV. I got swept up in courtly love and chivalry and knew I had to write the entire medieval series, beginning before Book IV.
Book ‘Em: What was the most difficult section/piece you ever wrote? What made it difficult?
Parris Afton Bonds: I think Indian Affairs may have demanded I step far beyond my Christian upbringing, into the distinct possibility that there is a world beyond our five senses, beyond this life, beyond this death, reached, among other ways, through the Native American shaman’s soul retrieval ~ and that supreme love serves as the conduit.
Book ‘Em: What sort of research do you do for your work?
Parris Afton Bonds: Immense amounts. Because I believe my characters are driven by circumstances in which they find themselves, those of events beyond our control. I love writing historical romances, because, while contemporary novels reflect our issues and angsts, it is the historicals that allow us to escape the daily mundane into an alternate reality.
Book ‘Em: Which books and authors do you read for pleasure? Is there an author that inspires you?
Parris Afton Bonds: Oh, my gosh ~ I love the old historical romances by accomplished authors like Dale Van Every, Edna Ferber, Hellen Hunt Jackson, Mary Stewart, Phyllis Whitney, Daphne du Maurier, Frank Yerby, Dorothy Dunnett, Rafael Sabatini, Alexander Dumas, and Sergeanne Golon.
Book ‘Em: Was there a person who encouraged you to write?
Parris Afton Bonds: This will be a disappointing response ~ no. My mother provided me with piano, violin, organ, and accordion lessons, as well as, tap and ballet dance lessons, but my calling was, alas, not that of the musical accomplishments. You would cringe if you heard me sing. Now, dancing . . . my body revels in this artistic expression.
Book ‘Em: What would you say are your strengths as an author?
Parris Afton Bonds: Easy-peasy answer. Plotting. Fast moving (as are my thoughts and my body). Stories/paragraphs, sentence tend to get to the point.
Book ‘Em: How often do you write, and do you write using a strict routine?
Parris Afton Bonds: I write EVERY DAY. It is not a routine. It is a compulsion. I am obsessed with the written word. I am crazy, admittedly.
Book ‘Em: Five years from now, where do you see yourself as a writer?
Parris Afton Bonds: Doesn’t matter where I am five years from now. As long as I am enjoying the process of writing. I pray that I have a fatal stroke, slumping over my keyboard, as I write. What a wonderful way to go ~ allowing, however, that I get in my daily, ”I love You” to each member of my family and friends.
Book ‘Em: If you could offer one piece of advice to a novice writer, what would it be?
Parris Afton Bonds: Don’t write for fame or fortune. Write because your soul is consumed by this obsession. AND NEVER GIVE UP.
Book ‘Em: What would you consider the best compliment a reader could give your book?
“It touched my heart,” or “It changed my life for the better.”
Book ‘Em: Provide an excerpt of your writing that you would like to share with our members.
Parris Afton Bonds: Okay, I am cheating here. I am providing the blurb for GYPSIES, TRAMPS, AND THIEVES, which goes on Preorder 11/15:
“Happy is the Gypsy woman, with feet dirty from dancing and a heart reckless from romancing.”
Rapscallion Irish Traveller, Romy Sonnenschein, may bamboozle the gullible with her fortune telling and other tricks of the trade, but she is all too often nonplussed when, during fits of boredom at the Nazi’s Gypsy relocation camp, idle Tarot readings for herself consistently turn up the Magician, the Emperor, and the High Priestess.
Of course, she doesn’t believe in card reading, fortune telling, palmistry and fated events like destined soul mates and such bloody rot. Still . . . .
While she easily foils Sachsenhausen’s Angel of Death, she is having monumental trouble with a handsome but slick, silver-tongued Jewish attorney and a no-quarter-given Texas saddle tramp.
Both she has flim-flammed with her supposed matchmaking skills and more. And both would do whatever it takes to rid themselves of this capricious thorn who has burrowed beneath their skins ~ or, conversely, give their lives to keep her.
But, to which will she give her Gypsy’s wild heart?