Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fabulous New Fiction: 2k10 Debut Author Bonnie Doerr

January is jam-packed with terrific debut novels, and among these is Bonnie Doerr's ISLAND STING. I'm excited to feature an interview with Bonnie as today's post.

Congratulations on the publication of your novel, ISLAND STING! I understand it's an "environmental mystery." Intriguing! Can you tell us a bit about the story and what inspired it?

Thank you, Janet. I’m very excited about ISLAND STING. It was a long time in the making. I can’t point to any single experience that inspired it, so I’ll share pieces that contributed to the whole.

From the time I was a small child nature was my place of worship, inspiration, and refuge. In grad school I majored in reading education, but briefly taught middle school science and loved doing so. I searched for fun, fast-paced novels to incorporate into the ecology curriculum and found very few. Fast forward a few years to my move to the Florida Keys. It’s impossible to ignore the human impact on these fragile islands and the water surrounding them. There I taught reading and study skills to college students, skills that can’t be taught independent of writing. My past and present collided, producing a revelation: I could write what I’d wished for years before.

The Florida Keys! What an exotic, beautiful place to set a story. Hundreds of acres of wildlife refuge surrounded me. The adorable endangered Key deer would be delightful subjects. There was a rich human success story in their survival. Wonderful science behind it. What mystery could surround them? How could teens get involved? Add a little danger, unique characters, a taste of the wild on land and sea. Shake it up and write it down.

How long have you been writing for children/teens? Have you written other books or is this your first effort?

I’ve been writing stories and poems for use in my lessons ever since I began teaching. (Thank you for not asking how long ago that was.) But I didn’t submit pieces to publishers until about twelve years ago. I’ve had a short story published and a novel for middle grades which was the predecessor to Island Sting, but was not marketed outside of the Florida Keys. So the publication of ISLAND STING is a dream come true for me.

Can you describe your path to the publication of ISLAND STING?

Long, painful, persistent, and finally lucky. Initially, a small, regional publisher believed in me, providing just enough confidence to last until I found a national one.

Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

Study, study, study—every aspect of the craft. Develop a thick skin. Celebrate your rejection letters because each one brings you that much closer the one that says YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Can you tell us something about your personal life – inspirations, plans for the future, goals, etc.?

Inside I am still the little girl inspired by nature. A personal goal of mine involves travel. I’ve seen a great deal of the United States, and now I want to explore Ireland, Italy, and France. Then on to adventures in other foreign lands. Major goals are to inspire readers to become environmentally active like the Keys Teens Care members in ISLAND STING and to appreciate and experience nature whenever and wherever they can.

Do you have any new writing ventures underway?

I do. I’m polishing a second eco-mystery, STAKEOUT, set in the Florida Keys. This mystery involves endangered sea turtles. It’s scheduled for release in 2011. I am also working on a new manuscript set in Key West, Florida, but this one is not heavily eco-oriented.

Do you have a website where readers can learn more about ISLAND STING?

Yes, please visit http://www.BonnieDoerrBooks.com where you can view videos of wildlife in the Keys, read an excerpt of ISLAND STING, and find other interesting tidbits. There readers can also contact me about their green activities so I can share them on http://www.bonnieblogsgreen.blogspot.com/

Bonnie also has a book trailer for ISLAND STING at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L54xiWa8IDc


Anonymous said...

I love the idea of an eco-mystery! What a great thing for my kids and I to read together.

Bonnie J. Doerr said...

Janet, thank you so much for the chance to spread the word about Island Sting. It was great fun!

Judith Graves said...

Great interview! So awesome to see you all around the blogospher, Bonnie! ;)

Judith Graves said...

Oops, blogosphere, I mean....

Anonymous said...

"Inside I am still the little girl inspired by nature."

Me, too, Bonnie! Look forward to getting my hands on your book. Congrats!

Janet Fox said...

Being something of an "eco-nut" myself, I can't wait to read this novel!

Thanks for the comments, everyone.

Denise Jaden said...

Awesome interview, thanks for sharing! And yeah, wow, what a lot of great books debuting!