Thursday, June 16, 2011

Interview: Leonora Pruner, Author of In the Aerie of the Wolf

Joining us today is Leonora Pruner, author of In the Aerie of the Wolf. Born in Dubuque, Iowa, Leonora was brought to California by her parents during the Second World War, which has since been her principal residence. She graduated from Westmont College then earned an MBA from Pepperdine University. Having married in 1953, she has seen her family expand from two children to thirteen grandchildren and five great- grandchildren.

In the late ‘60s, an eighteenth-century English character on The Wonderful World of Disney, captivated her interest. The desire to create a variation of him, led to five years of extensive research, followed by the publication of two period novels in 1981 and 1987, Love’s Secret Storm, and Love’s Silent Gift. Feeling that all that research should be reused, eighteenth-century England continues as a setting for her work.

From 1987 to 1997, she lived in the Republic of Maldives collecting folklore and teaching economics and computer science. While there, she wrote the first drafts of Close to His Heart and The Aerie of the Wolf on her computer.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Leonora. It is a pleasure to have you with us. When did you begin writing?

It is hard to say. My mother once showed me some “stories” I had written in first grade or so which my teacher had said had more form and plot than was usual at that stage. I think of the beginnings when I was age 12. My mother and I had moved from Iowa to California to be with her parents. A friend and I corresponded, continuing an interesting story we developed in playing paper dolls. Other stories came to mind which I enjoyed writing by hand or on a very old typewriter -- it had 3 rows of keys instead of the now normal 4 rows. However, I never finished a story until in my mid-twenties. When I sent it off to Eerdmans, Mr. Eerdman wrote back that it was good, but not long enough for a book and too long for a short story.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

At irregular times when I can put together some uninterrupted time free of distractions.
What is this book about?

Basically, it is about relationships and the significance of trust, especially in a marriage. It is about having the courage to take a risk, to venture into the unknown and deal with fear, possible rejection, and uncertainty. It is about a person being freed from the crippling bonds of rejection through another’s acceptance. And, it is about learning to see past a person’s physical appearance to the qualities of character beneath the surface.

What inspired you to write it?

Probably stories of brides being escorted to wed a man they have not yet met (such as the German Charlotte’s arranged marriage to England’s George III) and the old tale of Beauty and the Beast. What if the man sending for his bride took great personal care to bring her safely to him? What if the magical kiss did not transform a person physically? What is the deeper meaning of “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”? Having spent 5 years in research for my first novel, in answering these questions, the setting that came naturally to my imagination was mid-18th century England where I am pretty much “at home”.
Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?
I do not have an agent and am sure one would be helpful.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Copies may be purchased through and from the publisher, Click on the cover of In The Aerie of the Wolf to go to a page of book information and the way to order it.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

So far, I am just on Facebook as Leonora Pruner.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

I found this was valuable after learning it in a writing class and have passed it on to many others. Find a book by one of the best writers in a genre you like, take out some scratch paper and a pen or pencil and proceed to copy it word for word (no abbreviations allowed), including all punctuation, paragraphing, etc. Concentrate on what you are writing. After 10 minutes, recycle the scratch paper and go about your life. If you do this for at least 30 days, it will impact your writing. I found I was writing my 4th draft as my first. You will not write like the person you are copying, but your own style will firm up and improve and you will understand better how to handle some of the mechanical details of writing.

What is up next for you?
I am currently working on another novel set in mid-18th century England, as are the others. Is a happy, satisfying life possible after being trapped in an abusive situation? How are other people affected? Where is the grace?

Thank you for spending time with us today, Leonora. We wish you continued success.

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