Bonnye Matthews will share how (1) a depth of understanding and sense of reality beyond that of ink-on-paper can be attained by mixing media with novels; (2) the DVD can be used in presentations to provide consistent quality; (3) a quality product can be created by someone new to the DVD genre; and (4) the finished DVD can become an additional item in the author’s product line. Those who attend will see the DVD, be able to compare it to the original book’s Introduction, and have a chance to ask questions about any phase of the processes involved.
Bonnye Matthews retired to Alaska in 2005. Scoping out her environment, she heard about Beringia and the first Alaskans as the first Americans. In less than a day of research, she knew that premise was likely false, and she wondered why people were teaching it. She researched journal-by-journal, issue-by-issue. She quickly realized she’d never know who was entitled to the “First Americans” label, but wondered—did it go further back than the 250,000-year-old human skull fragment found under volcanic debris in Mexico? After 5 years she had a mass of information—for what? She wasn’t credentialed for non-fiction which had already been done and done well. Fiction? No series was devoted to the peopling of the Americas before the Ice Age, despite more than 400 sites in North and South America that may well show signs of pre-Ice Age occupation. She’d found her niche—a strange one. Fiction, from someone utterly literal, not trained to write
fiction, and definitely not given to unleashed creativity?
She has written four novels, each an award winner garnering comments such as: “well founded in pre-historic detail and research . . . extraordinary in originality and imagination.” Her arcane subject area needed introduction for the reader to share her vision. She added Introductions with distaste, for the non-fiction seemed to interfere with the entry to the story. Finally, she realized she was using the wrong medium, at least wrong in this Digital Age. She learned how to make DVDs. The DVD—“Cook Inlet, Alaska: the Setting of Tuksook’s Story, 35,000 BC” introduces the
novel while serving other uses. Groups of third to fifth grade students to whom she showed the DVD at a Young Writers’ Conference were captivated—for 22 minutes not one student ever looked away from the screen. The same was true of adults. The DVD was a hit! She saw a number of values in using the DVD but was aware she needed to bring her publisher along. She met with her publisher and he agreed to take on the DVD, insisting she add a music bed. She did. At present she’s removing the Introductions from her novels and replacing them with DVDs.