Today I interrogate Bridges DelPonte, whose story "Chasing the Moon" turns lycanthropy from a curse to a reprieve from something even worse. She also used to direct family plays, which is so Dickensian it just makes my day.
Tell us about yourself. What do you write? What do you do besides write?
I have been writing since I was a kid growing up in the Boston area—one of nine kids. I tortured my siblings with my writing and directing of annual family plays. So far, my published works are both non-fiction and fiction in the legal, travel, science fiction, and mystery genres. I have published two books and numerous articles, short stories, manuals and editorials and contribute small business educational content to nolo.com and blog articles about local events and business profiles at golojax.com. I have always enjoyed the puzzle of finding the right word, phrase or plot twist. I live and teach law full-time--but would love to earn my keep someday as a full-time fiction author.
What's your writing routine?
I wish I could say I have a routine, but I tend to write in sporadic streaks sandwiched in between my scholarly research and writing efforts. Being a bit of a night owl, I write mostly late at night into the early morning hours. When the rest of the world is quiet, my brain likes to fill up the silence with story ideas or plotlines.
Who or what are your influences?
I read many short story anthologies that expose me to a broad range of authors and writing styles. I am a bit partial to traditional authors like Poe, Dickens, Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie who navigate life’s darker impulses. I am impressed by authors who have remained relevant for decades and whose work often seems so contemporary.
What's on your bookshelf (or shelves!)?
You will find a lot of short story anthologies in the science fiction, fantasy and mystery fields. I also like to read biographies since I am fascinated by the strange twists and turns of people’s real lives. One book that has really stuck with me was Beryl Markham’s, West with the Night. She turned her autobiography into a series of time-jumping vignettes that didn’t follow a standard linear approach. Her incredible life story unfolded in a mysterious way that I found fascinating. Normally, you will also find a stack of reference books on all kinds of writing since I am always trying to improve on my craft.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Join a critique group. Objective third parties will really tell you the truth about your writing which every writer really needs to hear to fully develop your work. Be prepared to write and rewrite until your eyeballs fall out and your fingers are worn to the nub. But in the end, I am more satisfied with the final (at least for now) draft.
What's your favorite thing about writing?
I have always enjoyed the puzzle of finding the right word, phrase or plot twist. When I start something, I have a rough idea about its course, but prefer not to prepare detailed outlines. I like to see where my writing will take me and sometimes it is not where I expected to end up.
Why did you decide to write a werewolf story for Tails of the Pack?
Oddly, I was channel surfing on my car radio and some DJs were joking about teenage werewolf movies. One of them mentioned Michael J. Fox who is living with Parkinson’s Disease. That chance radio snippet led me to this story about a werewolf with Parkinson's Disease.
Did you have to do any research for your story?
I am a New Englander and the story is set in Maine. I used to drive up to Acadia National Park and other smaller lakeside communities to canoe, fish and hike during the off-season. There is so much natural beauty and rugged terrain in Maine. I remember bumpy rides exploring old dirt logging roads. These Maine folks are a tough breed and have to work hard to scratch out a living during long, harsh winters in some pretty remote places.
Give us a blurb for your story.
In Chasing the Moon, Zeff, a former high school ice hockey star and Maine logger, is struggling with early onset Parkinson's Disease. His illness is robbing him of his speech, his strength and maybe even his beautiful wife, Lupe. Zeff’s only respite is his monthly transformation into a werewolf when he can once again wander and hunt in the Maine woods of his youth. What was once his curse is now his only reprieve from his physical prison--until an old rival for his wife's affections threatens his secret.
What other projects or publications are you working on that we should know about?
My legal mystery, Deadly Sacrifices, set in my Boston hometown, won a 2012 Royal Palm Literary Award (unpublished - mystery)from the Florida Writers Association. The protagonist, Marguerite “Monty” Montez, is a female DA of Portuguese heritage who is handling her first murder case after years of toiling in the small cruelties of district court. I am working on the next book in this series. You can check out my writing at www.bridgesdelponte.com.
Tune in tomorrow for Esther and Frog Jones, same bat-blog!