Internationally known biologist
and writer Dr. Ana Isabel O is constantly embarking on new projects. Educated in Europe and a self-taught Victorian patchwork maker since the early 90s, Ordonez has presented her work in France and Luxembourg. As a scientist she holds Masters and PhDs in Genetics, Forestry and Animal Biology and has lectured extensively throughout Europe, Africa, Japan, China, New Zealand and South America on insect-plant pathology and biological control research. She has also written several articles on the value of nature. Ordonez, however, has not confined her interests to the world of science. A true Renaissance woman, she is also a reputed jazz editor, independent filmmaker, music/art promoter and producer. In 2012 she contributed tirelessly to the Dizzy Gillespie Memorial tribute with Christopher Kennedy Lawford, because she believes in her heart that true valuable art of any kind must never be forgotten. Five years earlier, in 2005 with trumpeter Herb Robertson she had founded Ruby Flower Records with the plan to produce avant-garde music, exclusively for connoisseurs and purist audiophiles with the slogan "Creatively speaking...Where the talents blossom". Only recently she decided to expand the company's offerings to also include poetry and literature for children. In our conversation she talks about her organization, how and why she is adapting it and manifests an amazing sensitivity and sense of humor on just about every aspect. Her beautifully poetic expression fills me with wonder.
What inspired you to write these books?
What inspired you to write these books?
Meeting a man who could understand my mind and amusingly provide a counterpoint to my imagination was the spark. It was so unexpected. Throughout a year, I felt incapable of writing, All of a sudden I had this spark, this burst of generosity, love and caring. It became constant. My soul was nurtured, the wounds healed . Love brought a complex melange of energies. ...and voila The Extraordinary Love Story of Aye Aye and Fedor was born. I cannot convey with words how important this person is in my life but I surely identify a muse who influenced my writing. He has shaped my artistic and emotional vision. It keeps me waking up – love, the unexpected magic of it!
And the spark behind the second one?
Inspiration can be tricky, as in life. Robert Lydon ran his eyes into mine one beautiful spring several years ago. He was my second crucial muse. How Aye Aye Met Roibeard the Giraffe was born. Robert's rebellious impetus behind his character stroked me. The path was paved : mad concussion become fuel. I wrote endlessly, absolutely mesmerized with the dark, moving, troubled, attached but also ruptured side.I became very fond of his courage and also became well prepared for this marginal Irish lyricist whom I call subliminal to say the least. I am fine understanding what's marginal. I gave to Robert the original illustrations of volume 2, which in exchange, I know visualize rude-like rhetoric . Priceless...
Both volumes have been written through the mind of ineffable love, compassion and music.
Tell me more about the characters of the lemur and the lion.
As a biologist, I believe the Aye Aye should be known as a main character and of course the white lion too. Children will get familiarized with two species of threatened animals. There are world campaigns to protect the Aye Aye. Sir Richard Branson protects them no matter the controversies! The plot of Aye Aye and Fedor is about the extraordinary love story of a lemur Aye aye and a white Lion, Fedor who finally got what they were dreaming about, wishing for. .
Tell me briefly about the second book.
How Roibeard meet Aye Aye is a fascinating story about Roibeard a mysterious goofy giraffe and the lemur Aye Aye. Their deep soul connection helps us to understand how to tame our own fears and demons.
How have you matched illustrations to the story? How did you decide what you wanted to draw? Were you guided much by character emotions and conflict?
I'm always guided by emotions, I now channel their intensity through a spiritual way and I draw when I cannot talk. It took me years to put a story to Aye Aye. I did many drawings. They were boring at first; then I thought it would be interesting to give her a main role, but I had no plot. When love knocked at the door, Aye Aye and Fedor just cooked. However, trying to figure out how this small animal could free that beautiful lion was not easy.
The day of my birthday Hurricane Sandy covered the city with water and it was catastrophic (still in some areas of NYC!) . Nothing happened to me. I had power, food delivery; everything was the same. Except that the streets of midtown where unusually empty. Many of my friends struggled with Sandy. Sandy inspired me. As much as I like to run in the rain I was forced to stay in on the day of my birthday. We listened to the hurricane and I began to think about Aye Aye and I found it! Sandy! A hurricane could free the animals at the zoo. I did the illustrations first. I needed them to talk to me. The more I listened to the unfolding news, the more I drew. Every illustration was inspired by the events I listened to on TV regarding Sandy. The story was finished in three days.
What do you want readers to take away with them? Since they are children, what do you hope they will learn?
First of all awareness, I want them to learn the meaning of wildlife protection. We need to preserve the habitats of threatened species. A sense of values too. For instance the meaning of love, help and bravery is depicted in the first volume with Aye Aye and Fedor. I watch a lot of cartoons early in the morning; I see how important it is for children to prove they are brave. They dream big. The meaning of compassion and caring depicts the story of Roibeard and Aye Aye. Though Roibeard is wonderfully gifted, he can't see his beauty. The story teaches how to appreciate our blessings and how to share them instead of holding back. Children look at illustrations. They know all about what's up and coming. Parents often complain how hard it is to find new stories to thrill their imagination. Children are curious, so they will eventually find out more info by themselves and learn how to protect threatened animals.
Here's the Interview Part I: