Friday, March 1, 2013

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow - Q And A with Rita Leganski

I am absolutely thrilled to welcome Rita Leganski, author of The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow to A Bookworm's World today!

Hi Rita: As a reader I am constantly fascinated with where an author's ideas spring from. Although I'm sure you've been asked many times - I wonder if you could indulge myself and my readers....

Why New Orleans as a setting? (You hail from a much colder climate!) Why a time in the past rather than the present?

THE SILENCE OF BONAVENTURE ARROW actually began as a short story in a graduate school fiction-writing class in which the professor pleaded with us to give him something different. I decided to try my hand at magical realism, and you can’t get much more magically real than New Orleans. Growing up as I did in northern Wisconsin, the South seemed to me an enchanted place, and New Orleans the very embodiment of magical realism. Like its history, the city is colorful and surreal. Catholicism, voodoo, and hoodoo—things possessed of great mystery—have co-existed in New Orleans for a very long time. Since I consider setting to be another character in a story, I let New Orleans influence the other characters’ perceptions.

Synaesthesia is a condition in which hearing a sound can produce a visual image and more. Bonaventure's gift is beyond this though - what was the origin of this idea?

Bonaventure’s gift of supernatural hearing connects him with the intangible. For instance, if he hears expressions of anguish or courage or joy, he also hears their cause. The idea of supernatural hearing fascinated me because by its very nature, hearing invites imagination to put a look, taste, smell, or feel to the sound. With his gift of wondrous hearing, Bonaventure uses sound to give form and substance to the originator of that sound.

I adored the story of The Book You Did Not Want and The Land of Possibilities. Do you see the world through these eyes in your everyday life as well as your writing?

I’m so happy you liked that piece; I had a lot of fun writing it. I don’t know whatever happened to that little book, but I certainly wish I still had it.

Most situations bring a number of possibilities, though we don’t always realize it because we’ve fallen into the habit of looking at life through the same lens all the time. We all have a favorite way to learn things: some of us gather information, some of us are very hands-on and need to experience; some of us need to plot and plan, while others prefer to just dive in. I’ve found that applying each of those methods to an idea offers quick passage to the Land of Possibilities.

Magical realism plays a large part in The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow - do you believe in the possibility?

Magic is an interesting concept. Children readily accept it and don’t concern themselves with limitations. They put all trust in wands and fairy dust and superhuman powers, because those things bring wonder. Most of us lose that trait when we grow upthe responsibilities that come with adulthood just won’t allow it. I like to think that Bonaventure’s world really does exist; it’s just a matter of being open to it.

Favourite authors? Favourite childhood book? Influential authors?

My favourite authors include: Carson McCullers, Harper Lee, Flannery O’Connor, John Steinbeck, Kaye Gibbons, Annie Dillard, and Ann Patchett. My favourite early childhood book was Mr. Popper’s Penguins. In later childhood it was A Wrinkle in Time.

In addition to the authors I’ve mentioned as favourites, I’ve been influenced by Yann Martel; Leif Enger; Sheri Reynolds; F. Scott Fitzgerald; James Joyce, and, of course, William Faulkner.

Plans for your next novel? Anything else you'd like to share?

I’m dabbling around in three different stories. Sooner or later, one of them is bound to overpower the other two.

And I for one cannot wait to see the winner! Thank you Rita!

If you missed it this morning, here's a link to my review of The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow. Hop over to that page to enter a Canadian giveaway for a copy of The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow - thanks to the generosity of Harper Collins Canada. Ends Saturday March 16/13.

Check out what the other bloggers on The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow tour thought - full schedule can be found on The Savvy Reader.

1 comment:

Janel Gradowski said...

I have never been to New Orleans, but since I am from and still live in Michigan, it certainly appeals to me. It's the kind of place where I can imagine stranger than fiction things happening all the time. Lovely interview!