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Where do you get inspiration for your stories?
Everywhere! I see stories and book ideas everywhere. I suppose I’m conditioned, as I spent 15 years as a journalist, writing and broadcasting stories every day, sometimes twice a day.
I’ve always been a writer at heart. I could read and I could print my name and a few other key words by the time I was four – well before I started school.
My writing disappointments came early, too. When I was about ten years old, I was excited about a writing assignment in class.
“Write about whatever you want!” I recall my teacher saying. And with that, my brain was off, planning the plot and setting the scenes. (I believe I have a touch of ADD, attention deficit disorder, which means I hear the beginning, my brain races around during the middle, and I might pop back for the end, supposedly clear on what I was to do. I often miss something important.)
I left class that day happy and enthused. Big into the Nancy Drew mystery series at the time, I thought it was perfect that I build on the Nancy Drew characters and develop my OWN mystery. Seized with purpose, I ultimately produced a story that I was oh-so-proud of. It was really good.
But my little writer’s ego was soon crushed. The assignment was to come up with a story completely original, characters and all. I got a zero. A fail. And, this news was delivered in front of the entire class.
I took my writing into a more private place for the remainder of my time in school. I wrote poetry and philosophized narratives about the meaning of life, as only a teenager can, sharing with no one - or at least very few.
By my mid-twenties I was hell-bent on writing for television. Entertainment would be nice, I thought. Instead, I found in news. My first day of my first job as a reporter took me to the side of Highway 97 North outside of Prince George, British Columbia, Canada, staring at the wreckage of a head-on collision between a fully-loaded logging truck and a propane-powered minivan that had been carrying a high-school boys’ basketball team. There were bodies and logs strewn across a wide swath of highway. My cameraman and I got there early enough that we watched as police laid yellow tarps like Gerbera daisies on a graveyard.
Of all the thousands upon thousands of stories I covered, in all my years as a reporter, no image has stayed with me as clearly. But my passion for telling stories won over my trauma, as I believed that it might help someone else avoid a similar fate, trigger new safety regulations, or empower citizenry to engage.
My work started to win awards, and soon I was the Alberta Legislature Bureau Chief for a string of Western Canadian television stations. But public appetites for news started to dramatically swing to the sensational, and animal and weather stories would garner the best ratings. I seemed among a dwindling number that thought covering government and politics was still important. I moved on.
Fifteen years as a journalist, eleven in government communications, and a host of successive entrepreneurial endeavours, and I’ve amassed a healthy cache of experience in a wide swath of subjects.
I specialize in non-fiction, focusing on works that have a strong ‘helping’ message. And that’s where Rock Your Business comes in – my co-author and husband John and I have written about all the little things that can and often do trip up that person starting up a business.
How did you do research for your book?
Research for the book was done with boots on the ground, dirty hands, and blood sweat and tears. It’s a business book, for people who want to start or are just starting a business as well as those who work independently and not necessarily for a single employer. My husband and co-author and I have started and built business both together and separately, and we’ve worked with other business owners helping them build.
We’d also been asked to write a bi-weekly business column for Troy Media, a Canadian media content provider to more than 1800 media outlets. After we’d published a few, we realized just how much we had to say!
At the time we started writing the column, we had just sold everything and left Canada, and bought a sailboat in Mexico. We were still working full-time while living full-time on the water, we realized we had joined a bit of a revolution. The global growth of the ‘independent professional’ (we call them iPros), technology-enabled geographically independent solo-preneurs, and small business owners who might not necessarily want to be the next Elon Musk, but do want to do things right so they can live a comfortable life and provide for their families.
Being an iPro can be both exhilarating and isolating. We wanted to share what we know. Together we’ve amassed an embarrasing number of years’ experience in various aspects of business and we bring what we have learned – often the hard way – in what we think is an enjoyable, easy and informative read.
Do you have another profession besides writing?
Response to Rock Your Business, combined with other work we’d been doing working with authors, led us to launch our indie/hybrid publishing house, Ingenium Books. In our first six months alone we helped nearly a dozen authors move from book idea to published author. That keeps us busy, but we both love writing for ourselves, too.
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
I’ve never been one of those people who longs to revisit the teen years, or any other years. So unless I could pop into the early 1900s and flit around Russia, in particular where my grandfather grew up near the banks of the Volga River, I’m pretty content to stay right in the present moment!
What is your next project?
I have three other non-fiction books nearing completion – one about trauma and how it affects later health, one about breaking through fibromyalgia, and another about the role foods play in the explosion in autoimmune disorders in Western civilizations. I also has a historical fiction novel in the works based on the true story of my grandfather’s escape from Russia shortly after the Russian revolution.
John is nearly finished writing his novellette, about a boy-turned-man struggling to tell his dying father the truth about his feelings, his failings, and his hope for forgiveness.
Enjoy an Excerpt
The Geology of Business
Geology: a science that deals with the earth’s physical structure and substance, its history, and the processes that act on it.
The way we all work is changing – because of technology, a globalized economy, and business evolution. Our fathers – Mr. Wagner and Mr. Stafford – each worked for one employer for the bulk of their careers. Our mothers bridged that gap between doing the ‘right’ thing, which for a time was staying home with the kids, and doing what fulfilled them. That was, at various times and for each of them, owning and operating a store and working in the management ranks of a major Canadian telecommunications company.
In our parents’ day, it was expected and common to have a single employer, if not a single career. Today, not so much.
About 15 years ago, a person could expect to have five careers in his or her lifetime. Today?
In Canada, more people were self-employed in 2016 (nearly 2.8 million) than at any time in the previous 30 years. The OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development) reports self-employment rates from 2015 as a percentage of total employment as follows:
The United States 6.5% Canada 8.6%
United Kingdom 14.9%
European Union (28 countries) 16.1%
Entrepreneurs ask questions, challenge the status quo, compete successfully against “traditional” companies and come up with new processes and products that drive innovation.
About the Author:Boni Wagner-Stafford is a full-time writer, ghostwriter, editor, and author. Boni's writing has helped other authors, business leaders and coaches thrive.
For more than 10 years Boni was with the Ontario government. She held a number of senior communications and management roles. She worked on 5 consecutive Ontario budget documents. Most noteworthy is the 2008 Ontario Budget for which Boni was managing editor. She also played key editorial management roles in government reports such as Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors. While in senior management Boni led teams that managed strategic communications for files such as securities regulation, auto insurance, tax reform, credit union and real estate legislative reform and tourism industry modernization.
Boni also worked for 15 years as a television reporter. She was also a news anchor and a producer. As a journalist, she worked under the names Boni Fox and Boni Fox Gray (Globe and Mail story about the names here). Boni’s stories spanned politics, government, crime, health, environmental and social issues. Her work won several awards.
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