Spotlight on the Author – Barb Day, Author of Zanzibar

May 15, 2016

June 23rd & 24th some of Southern Ontario's finest author's will gather together for a two night literary festival featuring games, giveaways, raffles, a silent auction and a Q & A session about any of your writing questions. Normally I personalize my interviews to make my readers feel the characters in the author's books. In this case, however, I would like you to come to visit the Starving Artist Cafe in Brantford Ontario and find out for yourself.

Two Day Book Festival / The Starving Artist Cafe / Menu

Landlubbers! Come and set sail from the rugged, rocky shores of Labrador onto the tossin’ sea. Aye matey, ye too can join in the escapades on board the Black Fortune. Zanzibar, the youngest pirate on the ship accepts the challenge to rescue the kidnapped Reginald, King of the Sea. Lured by the anticipation of adventure, Zanzibar is off and running on a daring quest. On the decks of the Black Fortune, the crew encounters the pirates of the Treason, and the action explodes. As the scoundrels of the enemy ship try to steal the Black Fortune’s loot, a comical battle takes place. Certain to entertain a large audience, this swashbuckling tale will appeal not only to children, but also to the child in the adult.

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Barb Day is a spoken word artist from Paris, Ontario and a member of the Cambridge Writer’s Collective and Toastmasters International. She has competed nationally at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word for the past four years and performs regularly at various events and festivals across the Province. Barb runs The Brant Rant, a poetry slam that is held at The Starving Artist in Brantford on the first Friday of every month.

I had the opportunity to ask Barb a few questions about her recently published children’s novel. Zanzibar is an exciting tale of the adventures of pirates for children ages 8-12. Pirate lovers keep reading.

Carol Ann: What genre would you say the book falls into?

Barb: Fantasy – the book is a delightful mix of mermaids, dragons, unicorns, sea monsters, a giant squid, a witch and even Abe the likable Big Foot!

Carol Ann: Are there any trigger warnings and/or explicit content readers should know about?

Barb: No – any fight scenes and violence are very minimal and portrayed in a comical manner to remain suitable for young readers.

Carol Ann: Who is your favourite character in the book and why?

Barb: Zanzibar is my favourite character. Zanzibar was brought up by his father, Darius, aboard the pirate ship, The Black Fortune and lived a life surrounded by the likes of fierce pirates such as Captain Bleak, Toothless, Dour, Bones and Blackjack, but Zanzibar had a good heart and was always willing to lend a hand to help someone down on their luck.

Carol Ann: Please describe him/her/they a) physically b) their personality.

Barb: “Zanzibar swaggered in fine pirate form. He drew a bandana from his pocket to tie back his long, dark hair. His earrings and tattoos were similar to the other pirates, but his face did not have the chiseled, weathered lines of the men who had spent all their days at sea.” Zanzibar loves a life at sea, but he is not a fierce and bloodthirsty pirate like his comrades and the crew of The Black Fortune. Although his goal is to someday find gold and become a wealthy man, his kind-hearted personality leads him on many adventures when he is called upon to help.

Carol Ann: Do you have a couple of quotes from your book of dialogue that shows that personality?

Barb: “Corsair headed to the tree trunk where she seated herself at one end. Zanzibar had planned to sit beside her, but he was so nervous he tripped over the log and landed flat on his face. Corsair giggled. He swiftly jumped to his feet and brushed himself off. He felt like running off into the bushes. He did not want to look like a complete fool though, so with his best swagger, he headed toward the log, and the two sat side by side in the sunlight.” “Farewell Abe. I’ll miss ye, mate. I truly hope our paths will cross again. Ye saved me life, and y’ar me best friend.” Abe flung his hairy arms around Zanzibar and embraced him so tightly, Zanzibar gasped for air. His voice came out in a squeak. “Lad, let go! Y’ar squeezin’ the life out of me!”

Carol Ann: Do you have any upcoming events?

Barb: Friday, June 17th – reading from “Zanzibar” at the Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts in Cambridge, ON Hosting The Brant Rant Poetry Slam from Sept. – June every month at The Starving Artist.

Carol Ann: What is next for you? Do you have anything in the works?

Barb: Eventually there will be a sequel to “Zanzibar” that will focus on the female character in the novel “Corsair.”

Carol Ann: Do you have any special mentions? (Editor, cover art etc...)

Barb: Cover art by German artist, Nathie Author photograph by Colleen Rintoul Photography Edited by Becky Alexander, Ella Pankatz and Marcie Schwindt Printed by Brant Service Press Ltd. Dedicated to Joan Plyler

Carol Ann: If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be?

Barb: The breeze swept across the sand on the shore. The early morning sky was a misty pink. I splashed through the waves, and my worn boots filled with salt water and became heavy. I felt at home near the water and drawn to the sea. I could feel the spray from the waves and smell the salt in the air. I watched a northern gannet spread its vast wings and take flight.

Carol Ann: If Zanzibar was in that place what would he be doing?

Barb:  “Believe me, when I tell ye, I lived many adventure on board that ship. I’ll never forget the great stormy seas in bad weather and the boat swayin’ like a rockin’ horse. We had us some wicked storms, we did. The cruel waves thrashin’ the sides of the ship, navigating forward with nothing but a silver crescent of moon, just barely visible through the thickest fog ye ever saw. Fifty foot waves bashin’ so hard against the rocks along the shore, ye think they’d leave bruises. The raw, angry wind shreikin’ and howlin’ like witches around a cauldron. The slanting rain drummed hard on the deck, and ‘twas bitter cold. ‘It’s slightly rough today, boys!’ Zanzibar would holler, and somehow Captain Bleak would keep the ship movin’ along.”

Carol Ann: If Zanzibar was allowed one chance to say anything to your readers, what would he say?

Barb: You can’t live a life of greed and selfishness. Family, friends and generosity are what is important at the journey’ end.

Carol Ann: If Zanzibar could donate to any charity, which one would he/she choose?

Barb: Kids Can Fly – a local charity that promotes learning and literacy.

Thank You for your time!

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