Interview On Newzbreaker
Parris Afton Bonds – The Mind of a Writer: Dancing with Wild Woman, Giving Back & More
Exclusive Interview by Geno McGahee of newzbreaker.com
“To me, the mystery genre seemed the most natural format for presenting these mystical, indigenous people.” – Parris Afton Bonds
Parris Afton Bonds is a fantastic writer that has been responsible for 36 novels and was named as one of the three best selling authors of romantic fiction by ABC Nightline.
Her most recent work: “DANCING WITH WILD WOMAN,” is a romance with a twist, featuring Native American culture, a serial killer, and a great story. Bonds presents a writing style that flows smoothly and is immediately captivating. A born writer, Bonds has been featured in many major newspapers and magazines, but has also found time to give back to society. She donates her time, teaching creative writing to grade school children and female inmates.
The winner of numerous awards, Bonds sat down with NewzBreaker to discuss her career and just what makes her tick. Her latest book “DANCING WITH WILD WOMAN” is available at Amazon.com and is also available as an eBook for Kindles/Nooks and Pads.
GM: What was the main inspiration for writing Dancing With Wild Woman?
Geno, in researching for another novel of mine, Indian Affairs, I stumbled upon Frank Waters’s “The Book Of The Hopi.” I had read his The Man Who Killed the Deer in college and had greatly valued not only his literary skills and his depth of research but also his innate integrity and wisdom prevalent throughout his books. The Book of the Hopi is ultimately about the challenge for all of us to either change and become a part of a higher consciousness of oneness among the peoples of the earth or to face a world that will no longer exist as we know it. Some scholars believe that this prophecy coincides with the prophesied date of the Mayans, attributed ancestors of the Hopi, which is December, 2012.
GM: What are the Hopi Prophecies?
Other Hopi prophecies are petroglyphs incised on a huge rock on their reservation. Prophecy Rock is forbidden to non-Indians, although Waters and a few others did see it, and drawings exist of these petrogylphs. The Hopi believe a time is coming when their Blue Star Kachina dances in the plaza and removes its mask. The Kachina represents Blue Star, which scientist already designate as Nibiru. Blue Star, or Nibiru, is still far off and invisible, but it will draw inexorably close enough to our sun to bring about the end of the world as we know it. Another Prophecy Rock petroglyph is interpreted as a symbol of WW III, most likely started by those people who first received the light (Divine Wisdom). Those people are believed to be from India, China, and the Egypt/Palestine area. This world war will most likely arise out of a spiritual conflict over material matters. From certain of these petrogyphs, it is speculated the United States will most likely be destroyed by atomic bombs and resulting radiation and only Hopiland will be left for people to flee to.
GM: How do they relate to Dancing With Wild Woman?
The Hopi believe that by dancing they will keep the earth in balance and believe we must become “One Heart people,” instead of “Two Heart people,” if we are to ward off this end-of-times cataclysm.
Dancing With Wild Woman is ultimately about not only keeping the earth in balance but also our relationship with others and, most importantly, our relations with ourselves and our souls.
GM: How did you design the plot for this book?
After reading The Book Of The Hopi and visiting their reservation several times, I, too, like Waters and many others, was caught up by the Hopi mystical and spiritual approach to life. They have a missing stone tablet, inscribed the earth’s Guardian Spirit, Masaw, much like the stone tablet inscribed with the Ten Commandments by Jehovah for the Hebrew people. The Hopi tablet says that the Hopi would be a subjugated people but that a long lost white man would come to deliver them from their captors and establish a universal brotherhood of man.
I knew I HAD to write about this, but it wasn’t until I read about the Shadow Wolves, an all Indian unit that tracks for US Customs (ICE), that I put the two concepts together – the missing stone tablet, last seen in Phoenix in 1945, and the Indian trackers for U.S. Customs. I wove a romantic suspense about Janet Lomayestewa, Hopi tracker for ICE and a white man, Jack Ripley. These two people are powerfully drawn to each other. There’s this strong, ineluctable chemistry, like that which draws Nibiru and our sun cataclysmically toward each other. But in tracking down the Hopi’s missing stone tablet and, in conjunction, her missing daughter, will Janet and Jack extinguish each other, as well?
GM: How has Native American culture influenced this book?
Native American culture has influenced a great many of my thirty-six novels. I am three-eighths Native American myself. In Dancing With Wild Woman, the cultural traditions of dealing with death and birth, courtship, and survival, are juxtaposed with our more modern approach to life. So the Hopi’s Special World is more sharply and starkly contrasted with our Ordinary World.
GM: Why have you chosen the mystery genre?
You know, Geno, only a few of my novels have actually been of the mystery genre, but the Hopi approach to life is one of mysticism. Even the Dali Lama came to the U.S. to meet with the Elders, the Hopi Spiritual Leaders, and came away proclaiming the Hopi to be THE People of Peace, which they have always termed themselves. To me, the mystery genre seemed the most natural format for presenting these mystical, indigenous people.
GM: Can you give a summary of Dancing With Wild Woman?
As I mentioned earlier, the Hopi believe it is their duty to dance in order to keep the earth in balance. But with the great Chilean earthquake last year and the recent unprecedented sunspot activity this year, our earth’s axis has tilted a lot! Maybe Janet Lomayestewa needs to learn to dance if she is to find a serial killer loose on the reservation and restore balance not only to the earth but also to her own off kilter love life.
GM: Your book concerns a serial killer. Are you a fan of the horror genre? If so, what films and books have you enjoyed in the horror genre?
My novels tend toward historicals, westerns, and romances. Dancing With Wild Woman is a romantic suspense. While not an outright fan of horror, I have been caught up by some of Stephen King’s novels as well as novels/films like THE EXORCIST, ROSEMARY’S BABY, and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.
GM: The landscape has changed for both film and books. With Kindle and other non-paper formats, do you feel that this is a positive change for writers, negative or neither?
Both. The eBook format is the proverbial double-edged sword this kind of format provides a venue for many very talented writers who would normally not have easy access to Manhattan’s publishing domains, but with the eBook we are more easily lost out in cyberspace with the promotion/marketing backing provided by the Big Houses.
GM: What is your writing ritual like and how often do you write?
I try to devote some time daily to write, even if it is only researching. When in the midst of actually writing, I aim for five pages a day, five days a week, but I play with that time factor and give it a quite a bit of leeway. I am learning to stop and smell the roses more often.
GM: ABC’s Nightline declared you one of the top 3 romantic fiction writers in the country. How did it feel to get that distinction?
I’m grinning even now at the memory. At the time I heard the newscast, I was in a hotel room in Washington D.C. at one of the Romance Writer’s of America conferences. I began jumping from one bed to the other and back, war-whooping! My sons, who were with me and who had been taught never to jump on the bed, stared with open mouths. Mom had lost her marbles.
GM: How old were you when you first began writing and was it something that you always saw yourself doing as a career?
I actually henpecked my first story on a manual typewriter at the age of six, give or take a year. The three-page story was entitled The Blackhawk Girls Ride Again, and my mom saved it. I still have those frayed pages tucked away somewhere. I wrote off and on after that, but it wasn’t until I was living in Mexico in my late twenties and sold my first article, along with photos, to Modern Secretary for a whopping $80 that I was hooked. At last, I had become a professional writer.
GM: What advice would you give the writer that has a story and hopes to make it in the field?
Clichés suck but hold merit: read, read, read; write, write, write; AND NEVER, EVER GIVE UP. Talent is cheap. Persistence is the mark of a true professional.
GM: You have 36 published novels…an amazing accomplishment. How long on average does it take to write a novel and out of the 36, which do you consider your best work and/or your personal favorite?
The early category romances (Silhouettes) usually took me about three months (outside the research period). Some of my sagas and generational novels can take up to a year or more. As to my favorite . . . one is supposed to say “This last one.” Looking back, I am always uncomfortably aware that I could have done better, so that tarnishes the fondness for any particular novel, but, man-oh-man, I sure had a good time sweating blood and tears onto the pages (as I do with every novel) of my 1917 historical about Pancho, Patton, and Pershing, entitled Blue Moon.
GM: You spend time with children and female inmates, teaching and inspiring. What drew you to volunteer with prisoners and how has the reaction been?
I know you have heard this remark often enough from others, but school children and inmates teach and inspire ME, not the other way around. I distinctly recall one session with about nine or ten inmates. I had requested they write for fifteen minutes without lifting pen from paper. Each sentence was to begin with the two words, “I am . . .”
Afterward, I asked each to stand and read aloud her writing. Standing is a vital pronouncement of one’s presence. One young black woman stood, she was eighteen, and would not look up at the rest of us. Her head was hung and she mumbled. “I am black. I am afraid. I am mad. I am mad at my mother. I am a mother.” I am , I am, I am. “I am that I am,” the most powerful sentence in the Bible. Then, gradually and about three-quarters of the way through the paper, her head began to lift, and she began to enunciate her words. She stood straighter. By the end of her reading, tears were in her eyes and ours, but I knew she had reached a break out point for her . . . all through the Power of the Word. Wow. I haven’t shared with inmates for awhile, and I have that feeling it’s time for me to volunteer again, so that I may learn even more about myself and my fellow journeyers.
GM: Before you write a book, do you write an outline or do you just see where the writing takes you?
I know there are four essential elements I need to create my stories ~ protagonist, antagonist, their vital (as in life threatening) objectives, and that most important element, a climax. Otherwise, I try not to nail down the story too much, because that takes away from the spontaneity and creativity that give life to a story.
GM: What has been the best piece of advice you have ever gotten?
The best piece of advice was to allow myself to weep my heart out for forty-eight hours over the disappointments that come one’s way in the writing business, which is far more emotionally wrangling than non-artistic fields of endeavor (these novels are, after all, one’s children); after forty-eight hours, dry it up and return to work.
GM: What is most fulfilling part of the writing process?
The words: “The End.”
GM: Anything to say to the NewzBreaker readers?
Yes, my five sons are malnourished, with protruding ribs and homeless little urchins ~ so please buy Dancing With Wild Woman.