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Interview: A Conversation with Trailblazing Scribe Parris Afton Bonds

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Parris Afton Bonds is, first and foremost, a proud mother and grandmother to an amazing family, while being a novelist follows somewhere after being soaked in the radiance of family love. Bonds is the author of over 35 published novels, she is the co-founder of Southwest Writers Workshop and cofounder and first vice president of Romance Writers of America.

Bonds attributes her specific fascination with historical romances and, precisely, Native Americans, to writers she had read as a child and teenager such as Frank Yerby, Rafael Sabatini, James Fennimore Cooper, Dale Van Every, and Edna Ferber. The plight of the Native American as described in the novel Romana by Helen Hunt Jackson, most influenced Parris Afton Bonds.

The author donates her time to teaching creative writing to both grade school children and female inmates. The Parris Award was established in her name by the Southwest Writers Workshop to honor a published writer who had given outstandingly of time and talent to other writers. Prominent beneficiaries of the Parris Award include Tony Hillerman and the Pulitzer Prize nominee Norman Zollinger.

Ms. Bonds has given me the honor of this interview and I am so grateful. As a teen, I was swept away to exotic lands with lively characters as only Bonds can create. Growing up amid chaos,  Parris Afton Bonds was a gift who inspired me to dream beyond what I was born into and I will always be grateful for the imaginings and this full circle moment.

Enjoy!


What is your ultimate vision when it comes to your career?

My ultimate vision is to be the magician behind the curtain. Storytellers are magicians in that they weave tales that enchant.

What do you want for your legacy to be?

Diane, my legacy would be like those of most others — to know that I have made a difference for the better.

What are the three key ingredients you must have to make your dreams become your reality?

Great question! Passion, persistence, focus.

What does the word perseverance mean to you?

This question reminds me of something I often mutter in an off-day: If I don’t succeed, it sure won’t be because I didn’t try.”

When you reach your breaking point, what do you do to recharge?

Rollerblade, yoga, work in my garden, muffle my screams with a pillow (kidding on this one).

What do you think are the three essential components to a successful life?

Easy-peasy ~ my children, grandchildren, and friends enrich my life, thereby balancing it with the solitary focus that writing brings.

How do you find balance?

Easy-peasy ~ my children, grandchildren, and friends enrich my life, thereby balancing it with the solitary focus that writing brings.

Describe yourself in three words?

What great questions, Diane! Multifaceted, grateful, passionate.

What is your end game?

My end game is my favorite cliché: To slide into home base thoroughly used up (and, oh yes, with a margarita in one hand and a Godiva chocolate bar in the other).

What did you learn about yourself while penning Dancing With Wild Woman?

That I am not a religious person but more of a spiritual journeyer, ever expanding with the cosmos, I hope. The Hopi are a mystic tribe who designate themselves as the People of Peace. The Dali Lama, who met with their Elders, agreed. Coming away from all the research I did for Dancing With Wild Woman, I knew I had been changed in some mystical, undefinable way.

What do you want your readers to walk away with after reading your books?

I hope to impart that sacrifice for the sake of a large issue is ALWAYS worthy of a reward. I want the readers to believe that love triumphs over all, even death.

If you were able to go to a spa retreat with whomever you want (past or present), who do you pick and what are you talking about?

Hanging out on a massage table next to the Dali Lama’s would be a good place; It’d be nice if you were on a massage table on the other side of him. With your mind (and your delving questions) and his insightful responses, I am sure that boredom would be kept at bay.

Click here for Parris Afton Bonds website and all the latest info.

Hmmm… the secret is screaming into a muffled pillow… got it, Ms. Bonds! Margarita is the name, eh? I like Jack. Well, at least I got the Godiva chocolate bar part right. Hahaha!

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About Diane Morasco