Douglas Lanzo is an award-winning and inspirational author featured in WestWard Quarterly’s Winter 2021 issue and published in three of Vita Brevis Press’ bestselling poetry anthologies in 2021 and 2022 as well as in Cafe Haiku’s Fifth Poetry Anthology sharing my solitude, since 2020 Douglas’ poetry has found homes in fifty literary publications across the U.S., Canada, England, Wales, Austria, Mauritius, India, Japan, Australia, and The Caribbean. A graduate of Harvard College and Law School, where Douglas enjoyed writing editorials for The Harvard Crimson and articles for various other campus publications, he has published professional legal articles throughout his career.
In this interview, Douglas talks about his newest book, The Year of the Bear.
FF: What inspired you to write The Year of the Bear?
It was inspired by fond childhood memories of growing up on a large tract of land with a pond, forest and swamp in the semi-wilderness environs of rural Easton, Connecticut and my father’s nighttime readings to my siblings and I about black bears. Our yard teemed with wildlife, including deer, fox, rabbits, raccoons, skunks, opossum, muskrats, pheasants and aquatic birds, frogs, turtles, snakes and fish, and we even found arrowheads in our backyard. The Year of the Bear was also partly, the haunting life-death connections between humans and black bears I witnessed in Legends of the Fall and my fascination with the deep connections between black bears and the Penobscot Tribe captured in their legends.
FF: What is my motivation to write?
When asked why he ran, the Eric Liddell, the Scottish Olympic Gold Medalist who life story was chronicled in Chariots of Fire stated: “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” I similarly feel great joy in using my God-given talent to write in order to provide a voice to people during dark and troubled times to uplift and inspire them. I have been inundated with readers lately who have told me how much The Year of the Bear and my poetry have helped to bring them comfort, peace, healing, inspiration and joy. I can think of no greater reward than that.
FF: What is your philosophy in writing?
I only write when I feel inspired in order to unlock stories from deep within and share them in an authentic and compelling manner compelling to the reader. This immerses readers in realistic, ever-unfolding stories filled with characters who vividly come to life and transform before them, sharing tragedies, triumphs and epiphanies along the way.
FF: What is the relevance of The Year of the Bear to readers today?
The Year of the Bear shows through suspenseful storytelling how a seemingly ordinary teenage boy, with lessons learned from an orphaned bear cub and a wise Penobscot mentor, achieves extraordinary feats, coming of age before our very eyes. Set in the ruggedly majestic environs of Mount Katahdin and Moosehead Lake, the novel transports readers into an enchanting, suspenseful world that transforms its characters and readers alike. As many readers have attested to date, The Year of the Bear opens your mind, rends your heart, and uplifts your soul, taking you on an exhilarating journey that is sure to bring a smile, laugh and tear along the way.
The Year of the Bear
Genres: YA/Teen Coming of Age, Historical
Release Date: November 1, 2022
Discover the legend of the Penobscot tribe of Maine and their close ties to the black bear through the eyes of Jason Wilson, a boy on the cusp of manhood during the 1980s. Thirteen-year-old Jason is on the cusp of manhood, striving to fi nd his place at school and at home—especially after his mother has abandoned them and his father is left to deal with his own anger. When Jason and his father encounter a bear while out hunting, they shoot and kill it, not realizing that they have left a cub without its mother. When Sasquot of the Penobscot Tribe, a part of the Bear Family, discovers what they have done, he decides that Jason needs a lesson in caring for God’s creatures. Thus begins a year that Jason will never forget as he begins to care and train the cub in order for it to survive. As Jason forms a bond with the bear, he, in turn, learns valuable lessons for life
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