Renato Bonasera is the son of Sicilian migrants and was born in Perth, Western Australia where has lived all his life. From a young age, Renato loved reading and writing. His first major attempt at extended writing bore fruit in 11th Grade when he wrote a 20 page historical novella based on the tragedy of the Jewish Holocaust. His love of literature and writing led him to major in the study of English, an area of study that also became his major teaching area.
As a teacher and writer, Renato has enjoyed exploring the questions that all humans ask at some point in their lives; questions about the meaning of life, the destiny of the human race, and the mystery of suffering and evil. One of his greatest joys is inviting others to share this journey with him, whether it be his own children, his students or his readers. This desire began to blossom after his conversion to a deeper Christian faith just before his 16th birthday. Eventually, this desire has led him into the Cloud of Knowing; that place in which one meets, albeit in veiled form, God in our midst.
In Into the Cloud of Knowing, Renato invites readers to share his journey towards truth and meaning; a journey that will take him, and other witnesses, to places as far away as Australia, Italy, England, Zambia and South Africa, to discover that all things, whether deep suffering or wonderful miracles, reveal the enduring presence of God.
Renato is married and has five children.
Tell me more about your latest book
It is hard to narrow down the genre of my book, except that it is a narrative non-fiction. The book is more than a collection of autobiographical and biographical memoirs. The book can also be considered in part a travelogue, recounting my, and others’ experiences, of the diverse places where these experiences of goodness and hope amidst suffering and evil, have occurred.
While I have been told that the book is still easy to read, I have also included a level of academic rigour to the book that is seen in some of its philosophical explorations about the existence of a higher power or the mystery of evil. I have consciously tried to adopt a journalistic style as well, as I present commentary on a range of related issues that have great relevance to a contemporary audience, from different walks of life, and different ages. Sometimes this commentary is humorous, sometimes political and sometimes meditative. I think those with a faith and a belief in a world beyond our own, those struggling with their faith, lovers of history, as well as parents or even social commentators, will find something of value in the book.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing this book?
I would say that the most challenging part of writing the book was the amount of time it took. I ploughed through my own journals over many years, read many books about some of the events I wrote about, had much research to do, and finally, I interviewed about 17 people over the course of a few years.
Another challenge for me was the need to ensure that I accurately represented the stories of those I interviewed, especially in the case of those whose stories of loss I recount, or whose stories of miracles and wonders needed to be treated with the utmost respect.
Of course, post writing, the most challenging aspect is letting people know the book exists!!
What is your normal procedure to get your books published?
I decided I would go down the line of self-publishing due to the freedom this can bring. I don’t regret it, although it would be nice to have an official publisher so I don’t need to worry about the marketing side of things. Yet, I am learning to enjoy that part too.
What motivated you to become an author?
I explain this best in my preface and I will let that speak for itself here.
“Death was the first impetus for this book. My mother’s passing in 2003 left me with a longing to remember what could easily be lost – my mother’s own memory and the imprint that her life had made on my soul.
Then came the desire to share the story of others. Soon my heart’s longing to grab hold of all the treasures of the past, and to see my life in its context, quickened all the more. And as I got older, married and became a father to five children, with many cherished memories of what God had done for me, these treasures became more brilliant and more coveted. Indeed, the sufferings that inevitably came only intensified this longing.
I do not want these treasured memories to be lost to the sands of time. I want to continue to be a father to my children beyond my sojourn here and lead them to see the footprints of God in their midst. Accepted as pure gift, spiritual experiences draw us ever deeper into the ‘cloud of knowing’, wherein lies both the mystery and the assurance provided by our Christian faith, and where we hear God speaking with that still and small voice.”
How many books have you written so far?
Into the Cloud of Knowing is my first book, but I am in the process of writing another one and still have the original copy of a hand written historical novella I wrote when I was 16, which was about the Jewish Holocaust. I hope to develop that novella further one day as well.
As an author, do you prefer the traditional book or online version? Why?
I think the traditional book is great for those of us who love the sensory experience of holding a print copy of a book, turning over (and for some people, even smelling) its pages, curling up with it by candlelight, or taking it places. But I feel there is also a place for reading ebooks and, as in my case, certainly listening to audiobooks. Today’s world is very busy. I like the flexibility of all on offer today.
How hard or easy is it to establish and maintain a career in writing?
I imagine it will not be easy to maintain a career in it if it is your sole income. I am fortunate enough to be a teacher, and even during those times when I have not had a contract, there has been enough relief work to sustain me. However, if I could spend more time on my writing, I would be very happy indeed. I kept a blog for years and did so with the pure satisfaction of just knowing people would read it. To be able to have people, well known to you, or strangers, share in your journey with you, is a beautiful experience; a communication of the heart.
What is your advice for aspiring writers?
Keep writing, whatever comes from your heart and which is aimed at making a positive difference in this world. The writing serves itself and can reach people you least expect.
Visit Author Renato Bonasera book links:-
Website – www.renatoantonio.com
YouTube Playlist – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsZxjsJU6cFfNqk0YyvUS1JcOaUeiw7LR
Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/renatoantonio17
Inspiring Book Shop – http://www.inspiringbookshop.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=681
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