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"Writing a book is wonderful is many ways, but there are times you just want to throw it right out the window."

Interview: Jonathan L. Ferrara, Author of ‘The Blackwell Family Secret: The Guardians of Sin’

unnamed copyJonathan L. Ferrara is an author of young adult fantasy. His books tend to sway towards darker themes and he is an avid reader of such stories. He is newly married to an artist, and they live together with a puffy cat named Merlin and a fun loving pup named Koda in Los Angeles, California.

Congratulations on the release of your latest book, The Blackwell Family Secret: The Guardians of Sin. When did you start writing and what got you into young adult/fantasy? 

I’ve written since I was fourteen-years-old. I would write everywhere. Even in school when my teachers were giving a lecture. They always thought I was following along because it looked like I was. But really, my mind was elsewhere in some far off land, battling villains, slaying a dragon, and ultimately becoming a hero. I’ve loved young/adult fantasy for as long as I can remember. I couldn’t even imagine writing anything else. There is something about writing about magic that is never dull.

What is your book about? 

My book is about a sixteen-year-old boy named Nicholas Blackwell, whose parents die trying to protect him from two demons, forcing him to live at a Catholic boarding school in England.  Nicholas thinks life is as exciting as it will ever get, until an old serpent lures him into the woods and tricks him to unleash the Seven Deadly Sins. Nicholas must journey through the City of Demons to undue his awful mistake, and while doing so, he will discover his family’s dark secret; the secret his parents died protecting.

Did you have any struggles or difficulties when you started writing? 

I was actually going through a really bad depression right before I started writing The Blackwell Family Secret. I had been working on a book for many years and I just didn’t see it going anywhere. It was my first book that I had been writing since I was fourteen. It was great in the sense that I learned to develop a story, world building, and character development, but it was time to move on. At the same time, my fifteen year old dog had just passed away, the university I had been working for years to attend was experiencing budget cuts and though I was accepted, I wasn’t able to attend and had to settle with my backup, and I was having to move from a home I was happy in. The list adding to my depression continued, but I focused that energy into a positive way and wrote The Blackwell Family Secret. Writing became my antidepressant drug, pulling me out of my funk.

blackwellWho is your target audience? 

The Blackwell Family Secret is a young adult novel, but it’s fun for all ages. Anyone with a love of fantasy will find joy reading this adventure. There was a release party for my book, and everyone from teenagers to grandparents showed interest in the idea of the seven deadly sins as an adventure story.

What do you hope readers will get from your book? 

The readers will get to see the origin of the Seven Deadly Sins. They will learn who and what they are and why they came to be.

Did your book require a lot of research? 

It did actually. I wanted to get the Seven Deadly Sins perfect. I studied the bible and added elements from there, as well as christian folklore. I also went on a trip to London for my honeymoon, all the while taking in the landmarks and small towns surrounding to add to the reality of the book.

What do you do when your muse refuses to collaborate? 

Listen to music while walking through forest scenery alway gets me going.

George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” 

Writing a book is wonderful is many ways, but there are times you just want to throw it right out the window. Many times you find the characters have a mind of their own and story lines you had originally planned for don’t work out the way you wanted them to. This story however came very natural to me, and I always felt as if I was writing from my inner self for this one. It can be extremely exhausting, but as a writer, you have to write. It’s like a possession. You forget to eat, sleep, and everything else in life until you complete your story. There is a drive; a need to tell this specific story. I wouldn’t say it was horrible, but I would say it’s difficult. You don’t choose to be a writer, it chooses you.

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About Mayra Calvani

Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Multicultural Review, and Bloomsbury Review, among many others. Represented by Serendipity Literary.

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