Well read and schooled in the art of Netflix and Chill, independent author Ang D’Onofrio brings enthusiasm and an indomitable spirit to the writerverse. With the tools of the trade always in reach, she is quick to record what she sees for translation later into her bold and inventive fiction. Welcome Ang!
Your character Buster Heywood lives in Aviario. A quick Google tells me that Aviario is in Costa Rica. Is FROM THE DESK OF BUSTER HEYWOOD a South American novel?
Short answer: nope! Long, more interesting answer: I named my fictional Connecticut town “Aviario” (pronounced AY-vee-uh-REE-oh) ages ago, back when it only had two inhabitants. At the time, I had been writing my stories with the characters as animals – think Brian Jacques’ Redwall in a more modern time. But I knew that I’d reach a wider audience with human characters … so the town name became a nod to the characters’ beginnings. It took me until partway through my first draft in college to Google the word, and realize that there were other Aviarios. Here’s a map I made of mine … minus the key, which is still under construction. I keep it hanging next to my desk.
So nice to meet another cat woman. My feline chap is also my muse. Do your kitties contribute to your process?
They supervise. Bella likes to sit on the arm of one writing perch in the living room, but on days when I’m on my laptop, The Sneak sits under my chair and hopes I drop snacks. One of the characters in my second novel, In The Cards, has some strong ties to cats, and I took a lot of inspiration from my girls when I wrote a couple of his scenes.
We met on Twitter. Care to tell the readers how?
It was #1lineWeds that brought us together, back before I started #2bitTues. I noticed the theme of Heuer Lost & Found, and thought,”Hey! I have a mortician character, too. And this lady seems super neat. Maybe I should follow her.” I had no idea what I was in for … but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Our conversations never fail to make me smile.
Ed. Lol. Morticians have a sense of humor. You didn’t see that coming! *wink wink*
BE SURE AND VISIT ANG AND CREW EVERY TUESDAY ON TWITTER AT #2bitTues, A PLACE WHERE AUTHORS CAN TROT OUT THEIR CHOICE ONE-LINERS FROM WIPS. BE PREPARED TO BE AMAZED.
THE BOOK BLURB:
As lives go, Buster Heywood’s got it pretty good. His job with the town offices of Aviario pays him just enough to keep a roof over his head and food in his kitchen. His job even keeps him free from having to deal with his social anxiety. He’s always seen things a bit different from everyone else, and now that he’s found a comfortable little bubble, he’ll do everything he can to stay inside it.
But life never goes as planned, and a combination of the wrong place and the wrong time warp Buster’s cozy, quiet life into something he would never have imagined. His problems quickly become more than just a contest between his structured worldview and the way things are: soon he’s toeing a line between following his sense of duty and losing himself to a dark, dangerous underworld.
I love the book blurb and immediately think of Winston Smith from Orwell’s 1984. To what extent are we, as individuals, removed from the day to day world outside? Is this by intent or is it beyond our control?
Wow, what a GREAT question! I love getting the Big, Deep Ones. I think both extent and intention depend upon the individual. Introverted people are, no doubt, more removed due to their natures … but it doesn’t stop them from being curious, either (For example: my hero, Buster, avoids face-to-face interaction, but he’s a very, very avid reader, and likes to consider himself knowledgeable). People have a very deep-seated, subconscious drive to protect themselves, and sometimes that protection is so amped-up that it shields us from our community and our world, whether we’re aware of it or not.
I like to think there are levels, too: someone can be a very gung-ho volunteer for their local community, but be oblivious to refugee plights or natural disasters in other countries … or, vice versa. In a way, this sort of protection can be good: too much involvement would, without a doubt, overwhelm a human soul and tear it in too many different directions.
It’s my belief that if we’re lucky enough to notice that subconscious protection, overcome it, and make the effort to involve ourselves with our world, we need to be able to pick and choose our battles. Sometimes, that’s a very hard choice to make: and most of the novels of Aviario deal in one way or another with those choices, and their consequences. For me, the best stories happen when you push a character past their comfort zone and make them grow.
You tote your tools around with you in case inspirational lighting strikes. Care to give us an anecdote?
Several years ago, my dad, bless his stubborn soul, injured his wrist in a fall at his job as a telephone lineman. He was on workman’s compensation, and I had found myself unemployed due to some legal skullduggery at my workplace that ended up, shall we say, putting them completely out of business. So we were stuck with one another, and usually pretty happy about that fact. I went along with him to his check-ups for the injury, and we’d go out to lunch, maybe a movie, and generally make something good out of the miserable hand we’d both been dealt.
I was sitting in the cab of his truck, waiting for him to come out of such an appointment and dealing with an allergy flare-up … his dog, Lucy, loved truck rides to the dump and hardware store. My nose did not love the dander she left behind afterwards. I’d just managed to stop a particularly horrid attack of the sniffles, when I saw a very unique woman heading toward the hospital doors at a fair clip. She was a consummate professional from head to … er, ankle. The neon running shoes were the only exception. I had a tiny little notebook stashed in my purse, and scribbled down the detail. That scribble became one of the plot points of From The Desk of Buster Heywood, and since then, my friends & family have learned to be very patient with me, should I call a grand halt to whatever we’re doing and dive for the notebook. Everything can be used. Everything!
Ed. I hear you, although family are less tolerant, I find, when I go for the notebook in the middle of the night.
Do you Netflix and Chill? If ‘yes’ why? If ‘no’ why?
Oh, I Netflix, all right. My fiancee, Laurel, is a huge TV and movie buff… bigger than me, which is saying something. We’ve been known to burn through a season of something in a weekend, if we don’t have anything planned. Currently our guilty pleasure is the animated Clone Wars series (we’re Star Wars fans), and I’m waiting until she’s in the mood to burn through American Horror Story: Freakshow. As for the Chill part? Well. Let’s keep that private, shall we? Wink wink.
Ed. I gotcha there. Maybe staying indoors isn’t such a bad thing after all???
What are you working on right now this minute?
RIGHT NOW THIS MINUTE? These questions. (Sorry. I am a proven Grade-A smartass … something else I got from my father. THANKS, DAD!) Ahem. Beyond that, I’m carving away at the stubborn, knotted block of wood that is my next villain. My third book, The Proper Bearing, is set in a 1970s British Public School, and the sinister Biology professor, Cole Goddard, has been very tight-lipped about himself since last September. I’ve just barely managed to get to the heart of the block, and I can see him much more clearly than I could when I started my draft … so hopefully, by the time Camp NaNoWriMo rolls around in April, I’ll be ready to dive back in. If nothing else, it’s keeping me occupied while I wait for my beta readers’ feedback on In The Cards, so I can spiff it up for its September release!
Ed. I love, love, love NaNoWriMo. It’s the only way I can get new stuff down. Also love the block of wood analogy. Michelangelo said the same thing about marble and the figure inside. He was just taking the extra away, liberating the inner beauty.
Your favorite woman in literature or history? Your favorite man in literature or history?
I’m going with literature, because my history brain is really out to lunch, today… I’ll probably have brilliant answers for historical figures at about 1 AM this morning, with my luck. My favorite literary female is, hands down, Clarice Starling from Silence of the Lambs. She’s written with such a perfect balance of vulnerability and strength! The scene when she goes to review Frederica Bimmel’s body in the morgue will always be one of my favorite pieces of writing. Clarice draws her strength from such a painful memory and uses it to her advantage: not just to do her job, but to overcome a bit of sexism, as well. I know most people remember her for the showdown in Buffalo Bill’s basement in the film, but the novel gives that morgue scene so many more layers that show her strength.
My favorite literary male is a tougher question: I have a few that fight for first place. Given the gonzo nature of your books, though, I’ll go with the zany answer: Zaphod Beeblebrox! I’ve got a soft spot for characters with huge egos, questionable intellect, and an immense amount of dumb luck – and Zaph takes the cake.
Ed. In your face intellect always bears close examination for the awesome flaws it reveals!
The place you run to?
Great, now I have Madonna’s “This Used To Be My Playground” stuck in my head, thank you for that. I have two. The first is my bedroom, which is a careful mess of ancient books, art from around the world, my mask collection, and a snuggly cat. The second is as close as a gal like me can get to a Mind Palace: the first building in Aviario I ever created. Marlowe House is a big, Victorian mansion, the kind of house I want to own someday, and if I really need to get my head on straight, I go hang out there. Sometimes I sit in the foyer window seat and read, other times I chill out in one character’s bedroom and let him play piano.
Ed. Great answer! And I love Madge BTW.
Your greatest joy?
That lovely high that comes from writing a perfect scene that sucks you in as it unfolds. The world drops away so hard and fast that I forget it’s even there, and I’m always a little baffled when it comes back in around me after I’m done.
Thanks for sharing, luv.
For more on Ang and her books, visit her website at www.angeladonofrio.com where you can sign up and receive regular updates.
Angela (or Ang, but never Angie) lives in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire with her lovely fiancee, Laurel, two particularly eccentric cats, and one opinionated conure named Jupiter. She roots the places she creates in the places that she loves, and friends and family may just find hints of the familiar in the streets of Aviario. While writing is not currently her only bread and butter, she spends much of her free time on aspects of the process, toting around her tools of the trade in case inspiration strikes.