What could possibly be more kickass than the Reaper, hell hounds and finding out your dad is the Angel of Death? Today, my guest and first Middle Grade writer/interviewee is Jonathan L. Ferrara, author of ELIJAH DART: ANGEL OF DEATH (May 2015).
Jonathan L. Ferrara was born in San Pedro, California to an Italian fisherman and a mother from New York. Growing up with one older brother, Jonathan had several hobbies: finding the best hiding spots to jump out and scare his mother, discovering new fantasy book series, and imagining outrageous, whimsical worlds full of magic. He is now happily married, residing in California in the City of Angels. He has two wonderful children-his dog Koda and cat Merlin.
Vanessa: So tell us a little about the book.
Jonathan: The next Angel of Death has been chosen…
Before his fourteenth birthday, ordinary Elijah Dart would not have gone snooping around in a graveyard, joined an old ghost for tea, or battled hell hounds with an ancient scythe. It all lead back to the day he followed the Reapers through the graveyard on All Hallow’s Eve – the day he learned he would train to take his father’s place as the next Angel of Death.
V: Sounds exciting! How long did it take you to write this book?
J: Well…The story has been sitting in my brain for years now. I actually wrote the first draft in a little over a month. I didn’t sleep much and was fueled on coffee. I spent a few months after editing.
V: I bet it was great to finally get it on paper. What Genre do you write and why?
J: I love middle grade/fantasy. I don’t know exactly why, but this genre seems to pour out of me. There is just something so very fun writing for a younger audience.
V: You have to write what you love. Can you pick a favorite line from your latest work and tell us why this is your favorite?
J: During one of the scenes, Elijah Dart’s younger sister (Myra Dart) is having a tea party with a very plump, old ghost named Bertha. This quote comes from Myra.
“Thank you.” Myra blushed. “It’s my favorite flavor, chocolate, coconut, raspberry and candy corn. Those are the secret ingredients of a spectacular tea,” Myra told Bertha as though it were a sought-after receipt.
V: Sounds like my kind of tea part. What can you share with other writers were your 1-2 biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process?
J: I actually self published Elijah Dart: Angel of Death, however my first novel is published through Dragonwell Publishing. I would say that the biggest learning experience was how much of an author’s career isn’t about writing a book, but what comes after.
V: Do you have a favorite author(s)?
J: J.K.Rowling, Brandon Mull, J.M.Barrie
V: I’m a Rowling fan, too. What are a few things that you’ve not often shared about yourself?
J: Most people think that authors are only just that. They tend to think you write for a living. While one day I do hope to be able to do so, I currently work. I am, and have been for nearly eight years, one of the managers for the Disney Store.
V: I love that place! If you could cast your characters in a Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?
J: I think actor Ian Nelson would do a great job as Elijah Dart.
V: Now just for fun. Chocolate, Coffee or Wine (or any other adult beverage)?
J: Coffee. Coffee. And MORE coffee!
V: Most definitely for late night writing 🙂 What is your favorite meal?
J: I might be cheating here, but cookies!
V: I’m all about dessert. Favorite Color?
V: Oh, I totally agree. If you were a superhero, what would your name be? What would you wear?
J: Super Jon and I would have to steal Superman’s blue and red.
V: Can you offer one or two helpful tips for fellow writers?
J: Learn the industry inside and out. Understand that writing the novel is only the very first step of a very long process. Make sure you throughly comprehend that the publishing world is a business and that you need to learn that business inside and out. Make sure you do your research. Most of all never give up.
Great piece of advice. What’s next in your future?
J: Writing and more writing.
V: Like you said never give up. Thanks for joining us today, Jonathan. And for our readers, check out all of Jonathan’s links and an excerpt from his book below.
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Excerpt from Elijah Dart: Angel of Death:
Elijah toppled over. His cheek collided with the dirt. The man’s cackle rang in his ear, fading gradually as Elijah’s soul drifted from his body, the world. He began to convulse, twitching with every gasp of air, feeling as though he had swallowed broken glass. But that, too, went numb. He couldn’t feel a thing now. There was nothing he could do to overcome death. It had come for this fourteen-year-old boy. He would never get the chance to grow into a man, attend college, or pursue a career for himself after. He would never know what it was like to fall in love. He would never get married nor have children of his own. He would never know old age. A whole life terminated before it had the chance to begin.
It’s true what they say: when you die, your life flashes before your eyes….