Interview with Rita Leganski- author of The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow

the silence of bonaventure arrowToday, Rita Leganski, author of The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow, has stopped by to answer questions about writing, her book tour through the South and much more.  On Friday, Rita will be back to reveal #literarycrush, #literaryconfessions and favorite authors.

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow was March’s She Reads book club selection so that is how I became familiar with Rita. When she came to an independent bookstore near me, I made sure to go and meet her- just so I could tell her in person how much I enjoyed the book!

 

Interview with Rita Leganski

In 15 words or less, how would you describe The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow to readers?

A mute little boy with magical hearing discovers family secrets.

 

Rita, you are not from the South- and yet, The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow sounds like a book a Southern writer created. How did your favorite Southern writers influence your writing style?

More than anything else, I think I was influenced by their literary “voices”. The cadence of their sentences contributes so much to the storytelling, and they take full advantage of Southern vernacular to convey a certain regional mystique. Characters written by Southern writers are almost always complex in that they inhabit their own inner world while functioning in the outer one. It makes them quite fascinating.

 

Recently, you and The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow went on a book tour of several Southern cities. How was that experience?

Oh, I just loved every minute of it! Let me tell you, I was on the receiving end of Southern hospitality nonstop. One thing I really enjoyed was the architecture. There’s a certain look to those cottage-type houses one sees in the South that I find really enchanting. The Southern environment in general, things like the landscape, vegetation, and climate exert such great influence on Southern literature. A Southern setting is like another character. Probably the thing about the South that I noticed the most was how Southerners are so fully invested in what they value, be it literature, food, manners, or reverence.

I’ve been invited to attend the Louisiana Book Festival the first week of November in Baton Rouge, and I can’t wait to go back!

 

Could you tell about the first time you saw The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow completely finished- what kind of emotions were you, as an author, experiencing?

The first time I had a really emotional reaction was when my editor sent me copies of the layout of the first pages. I saw the HarperCollins imprint and realized that it was the same one that appears in Mark Twain’s books (and many other famous writers).

My next really emotional reaction came when I returned the final version (still in manuscript form) and knew that there would be no more changes. It felt like I was sending my child away from me.  I would say I went through a kind of postpartum depression after that.

When I received the actual book, I had a rather odd reaction.  I liked the cover, and seeing my name on it made me cry. But I had a really odd reaction to the story. I’d only ever seen it on my computer screen or on typing paper. When I opened it and started reading, nothing seemed to make sense! I even compared what was on the page to what was in my computer to make sure they were my words. They were, but it seemed to me I’d never seen that story before. It took a while, but I got over it.

 

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow was March’s She Reads Book Club selection. Through She Reads, many people were able to see and read reviews, and get to speak to you, the author, with use of Twitter chat and the Online Book Club Discussion Forum.  As a debut author, how important were those opportunities?

Books and reading have been thrust into the digital age. The internet is a universe unto itself. I think its greatest contribution is how it has made so much so easily accessible.  Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool there is, and things like Twitter offer tremendous exposure. The audience is huge. It’s also efficient in the ways of spreading information.

But there’s a personal side to it as well. I get a lot of personal messages through Facebook and email. People send me favorite quotes or relate the story to their own lives. I find it very humbling.

 

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow- themes of forgiveness, of darkness, of light, love, family and hope. How was it to write a book like this- and with characters that were human, flawed; yet relatable?

Honestly, sometimes it was exhausting. There was a point when the characters took on lives of their own, and even I became an observer. The key word in your question is “relatable”. As an author, I felt a great responsibility to be honest about that which makes us human—our flaws—while presenting them to the reader as something they could relate to.

The human condition is a massive topic; a writer tries to understand it through her characters in an effort to discover truth. I like to think there are a number of truths woven into THE SILENCE OF BONAVENTURE ARROW. Some have to do with the darker side of the human experience, like grief, judgment, guilt, jealousy, and self-righteousness. But others speak of the very best in humanity; namely, our willingness to forgive and our capacity to love. Love is full of paradox; its greatest might is its greatest weakness. Love puts a heart at risk; it strengthens us as it makes us fragile; it is measured by joy and by sorrow.

 

 Rita- are you gathering ideas for a future book? If so, are you still in the early days- or do you have a definite idea as to what the next book will be?

I get asked that all the time! I have a couple of stories in the early stages. Sooner or later one of them will take prominence. Whichever one I go with, I plan to stick with magical realism.

 

*Special thanks to Rita Leganski for agreeing to be interviewed!

 

rita leganski twitter

Rita Leganski’s first novel, The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow, was a tale of magical-realism set in the New Orleans area. It’s a book that book clubs should put on their list! Rita, when not writing or working, can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

For more information on Rita:

Traveling With T’s review of The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow

Meeting Rita Leganski- the author of The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow

Advertisements
Image

Meeting Rita Leganski- The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow

rita leganskiRita Leganski, author of The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow, came to Lemuria Books last Friday, the 12th to sign books and read/talk about The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow. As I watched her sign books that people had ordered and for the store- we talked about her book tour trip of the South. On her tour, Rita has been in New Orleans, Fairhope, AL, Oxford, MS and Jackson, MS. She talked of how she enjoyed each stop- meeting people, hearing about what “Bonaventure” meant to them. When Rita was in Oxford, she was a part of the Thacker Mountain Radio show- which is a pretty cool thing!

As I listened to Rita talk, I thought of how interesting a person she was. She was in her 40’s when she went to college, she’s now written a wonderfully imaginative book- my first “magical realism” type book to read- and it was a treat! Rita’s personality is open, nice, and she’s got a way with words that I just adored.

One person had asked her to inscribe the book with her favorite quote when she ordered it from Lemuria- and she laughed and put it aside for a few minutes since she said she’d have to think about what her favorite quote was. As she signed other books, a smile came to her face, and she picked the book up to write her favorite quote- and here it is: “Lord knows, nobody understand where love come from if not from inside a mystery- Trinidad” (page 293 of The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow). As she signed, I asked about next book plans. Rita let me know that she had ideas, thoughts for another book- but as far as a definite plan- it was still in the early stages.

Rita also gave me an insider look into the publishing world- while I knew there were editors, and other people to read the work- what I did not know was how specific it is. With her writing about the Catholic church, there was a copy-editor who read the book and made suggestions such as- at this time frame/era, this would not have been the particular wording or this could not have happened like this- and when she wrote of the Baptist church and had a quote from the Bible- another copy-editor let her know that in the Bible she needed to be quoting from, the wording would be slightly different.  Which I just found this all fascinating- I knew it took many people to get the book from idea to print- but it’s really like a village of people.  Now as I think about a book, I’m reminded of the statement “It takes a village to raise a child”, and that’s how I feel about a book now- “It takes a village to publish a book.”

We spoke of different things about The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow, how some characters were  not in the book originally, how she had changed things in her revision process. Listening to her, after reading the book- I’m glad she made the changes- because while I think The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow would have been great either way- I liked the changes Rita made from her original manuscript.

Me and Rita

Me and Rita

Me and Rita with The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow

Me and Rita with The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow

Thanks to Rita Leganski for the fun time and to Lemuria Books for hosting a great event.

My review of The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow: Traveling With T’s review of The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow

 

Literary Friday ya’ll….

Friday. Tomorrow going to a baseball game- fingers crossed for NO RAIN.

1. Book Blogger Twitter Con 2013– here are the details, the website, and more. Read and find out about it! #bbtc

2. Amazon Buying Goodreads. Here’s the thing: I don’t hate Amazon. I know some people are clutching their chest at that statement, but it’s the truth. Am I a total fan girl ready to defend Amazon to my last dying breath? No. But when you live in a small town, a town that barely has a grocery store- and never mind any Target/Walmart- Amazon becomes a place where you can shop, where you can get things that you can’t normally get. Now, I’ll admit: I’m a little cross with Amazon over stopping their “4 for 3” promotion because that is how I’d buy a ton of my cozy books, but not cross enough yet to cross them off my shopping sites.

Some scream “What about the indies?” And, yes, I suport the indies. Because, as much as I like Amazon- they haven’t figured out to have a bk signing virtually yet. I still like walking through the indie bookstore, seeing the books, and listening to people talk. I’ve even met some interesting people while I’m a indie store. I do my part to help keep the 3 indie bookstores that are near me in business- and I plan to continue. For me it all comes down to time, though. When you have to drive an hour to the nearest indie- it does get frustrating. But I do it as much as I can because I adore book signings. I walk in with my list of books that I plan to look at either before/after the signing- and I select a few. Sometimes, if I’m feeling super-generous- I buy an extra of the book that’s being signed- then I treat a friend.

For me- whether Amazon buying Goodreads is a good thing, bad thing, or will not change my opinion of Goodreads is yet to be seen. It’s just too early in the game- and there are too many variables (for me) at this point to formulate an educated response.

3. The Battle to Save Bookstores.

4. Deep South Mag and their #literaryfriday.

5. Tell Me Something True: A Visit With Lisa Wingate

6. The Magic of Childhood Reading

7. A Final Word From Rita Leganski

8. The Rita Leganski/The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow discussion is still happening at She Reads.

9. What is your #fridayreads? I have 2! And Then I Found You by Patti Callahan Henry and Learning to Fly by Steph Davis.

Happy Reading 🙂

Monday Mashup!

Well- I’m back. After a fun-filled few days raising money for Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital, hanging with my Queen-ly friends, and many costume/outfit changes- it’s back to the normal, every day world. Time to put away the tiara and other glittery items until next year!

And, on a side note, I completed my first 5k- the Color Me Rad Run/Walk- we walked it in a pretty decent time and had fun while doing it! Plus- got totally rad with color!

Monday Mashup notes:

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow discussion is happening at She Reads today (and all week!) Come join in and see what questions I post each day for the discussion!

Tell Me Something True: A Visit with Peggy Hesketh– plus a #giveaway!

Deep South Mag posted their 49th #literaryfriday while I was away Friday at the Big Hat Lunch event- but here it is for your enjoyment!

And look soon for She Reads to announce their April Book Club Pick!

 

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski

Rita Leganski’s novel, The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow, shows the reader a world where everything has sounds and a story. From the crayons, to grass growing, clothes, and sunshine. Even the secrets, the secrets that have been well-kept for years- they have a sound and a story. And are ready to tell their story to Bonaventure Arrow.

Bonaventure Arrow, the child of William and Dancy Arrow, has special powers. While he cannot speak- his hearing is above what anyone would think possible. He hears things that no one else can hear- that no one else would even think has sounds.  Bonaventure Arrow has a special mission- and while he is learning more about his mission- the reader is involved in a story that is magical. With tales of voodoo, hoodoo, gris-gris bags, and the deeply mystical, yet magical New Orleans area- a reader wants to find out more about Bonaventure’s mission- yet enjoys the time spent in his world.

Bonaventure Arrow, loved by both his mom and dad, is both a victim and survivor of events set in motion long before his time- choices that were made, choices that were forced upon people. And some choices that were not made out of love or forced- but made out of wicked desires.

Literary Friday ya’ll…

FRIDAY. Enough said.

1. Deep South Mag and their #literaryfriday is up for the week- Amy Franklin-Willis tells why book clubs should read The Lost Saints of Tennessee, cakes that look like popular books, and #literaryfriday has a new look! Plus much more!

2. Meg Donohue is having a giveaway because How to Eat a Cupcake is turning 1! Check the link for the rules to the #giveaway!

3. Bookmagnet is giving away Falling to Earth by Kate Southwood on her blog!

4. She Reads is giving away Allie Larkin’s Why Can’t I Be You? today on their page!

5. My #fridayreads is The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski- what is your #fridayreads?

Happy Reading!

 

Food & The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow…

I began The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow yesterday. And I love it. I’ll admit that while the cover intrigued me- I was a teensy bit worried when I heard the word “whimsical” used to describe the reading. I’m a fan of “whimsical” in my art; not always in my reading. Happily, I’m enjoying “Bonaventure” thus far.  There are already at least 2 or 3 secrets that I’m eager to know about!

When you read, do you get hungry? Do you think food and books go hand in hand? If so, She Reads has a new food blogger- and judging by her first recipe- I think our waist-lines are in trouble from the scrumptious food headed our way. Shoo Fly Marmalade is the first recipe- and if that doesn’t conjure up images of the South, visions of New Orleans, and long sunshine-y days- then nothing else will! I know I personally can’t wait to see what Ingrid, She Reads Food Blogger, creates each month to complement the book club pick.

Now just in case you are absolutely on pins and needles- and you must discuss The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow with someone, anyone- Goodreads Southern Lit Lovers has begun their discussion. But don’t you talk you ourself out- because there will be a Twitter chat with Rita Leganski on March 20th 2-3pmEST and the She Reads discussion begins on March 25ht. I’ll be hosting both- and I plan to have some good questions and maybe a surprise!

Need a little more Southern Lit Lovers in your life (don’t we all)? Southern Lit Lovers is on Twitter- use @SouthernLitLvrs to tweet with them!

Other “Bonaventure” articles from She Reads:

March Book Club Selection

The Inspiration to Learn

Introductions, A Recipe, And Bonaventure Arrow