Friday, September 16, 2011

Teen Interview: Bonnie J. Doerr (Part I)

Anna Sattler
Welcome back, Anna!
Anna has interviewed author Bonnie J. Doerr, who is the award-winning author of eco-mysteries, including Island Sting and Stakeout. Because Bonnie's responses are so much fun and comprehensive, we're dividing the interview into two parts. Here's PART 1:

·                     What inspired your books?

There are many young people with huge hearts who actively care about each other and the world in which they live. A growing number of teens are involved in environmental stewardship. We never hear enough about these kids. They are my real inspiration. 

For years I lived in the fragile Florida Keys where environmental issues are impossible to ignore. Throughout this chain of islands, there are countless reports of mysterious assaults on wildlife and habitat. For example, recently a loggerhead sea turtle was found floating with a pneumatic spear-gun arrow protruding from its head. Fortunately, it was rescued and survived. My own stories are shaped from such sad tales.

I create heroic teens who investigate and solve ecological crimes and write these sleuths into fun, fast-paced, contemporary novels.How these kids manage to secretly investigate crime, nab treacherous criminals, deal with personal family problems, and engage in a bit of romance all at the same time is beyond me. They experience some scary, serious danger, but they always pull it off.

·                    What sparked your interest in wildlife preservation?

My father lit my passion for all things wild—animal or vegetable.  He was a Boy Scout leader who took our family on adventures across theUnited States. When we weren’t on the road, we spent weekends and summers lakeside in the Pennsylvania mountains. I had no siblings near my age, so I roamed alone imagining friendships with other living things—natural beings that were rooted, winged, finned, two-legged, four-legged, or had no legs at all. (I wasn’t on the best of terms with every six or eight-legged critter.)

These trips to the mountains usually ended with little Bonnie being frisked for live contraband before the drive home to suburbia. More than once, Mom realized she’d forgotten the inspection. So she’d pull off the road in the countryside, little Bonnie would be busted, and tadpoles, newts, or an occasional baby snake would be returned to the wild. 

Nature is the supreme creation. If we destroy it, we destroy ourselves. How can we not champion its preservation?

·                     When did you begin writing?

There’s a great deal of preparation before words are committed to the page. I spent most of my life in preparation.

As a child, I created plots in my mind and acted them out. Didn’t we all? Most every playdate started with the words, “Pretend that you...” Proceeded with, “Pretend that I...” And then the fun began. There was a mystery to be solved. A bad guy to run from. A thief to catch. An animal to save.

When I was alone I manipulated miniature figures and assorted props to act out stories. After I went to bed at night, I often imagined I was engaged in some exciting drama. I often woke lying sideways at the wrong end of the mattress. This after sliding off blankets folded saddle style over the foot of the bed frame. Sometimes I still had my reins in hand. (Okay, they were belts I’d attached to the bedpost for a bridle.) Dang, it was hard to stay on that horse. It seems like I’ve been creating stories forever. 

But it wasn’t until I reached high school that I began writing. I reported feature stories for the school newspaper and wrote poetry—the perfect outlet for teenage angst. As for novel writing, that came much later. After I was long established in my career, about fourteen years ago, I finally reached a point where I could carve out time to seriously study the craft.

And study it, she did. Bonnie has received several awards for her work. Visit her at her blog, Bonnie Blogs Green, and her website for more information about her books and awards, and for lots of information about endangered species.

 Here's Bonnie holding one of her awards:


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