I was born in Slovenia, as were my parents. When I was 2 months old, I was left with my grandparents while my parents crossed the border into Austria, where they spent time in a refugee camp. I joined them in the camp when I was 6 months old. We immigrated to Canada (London, Ontario) when I was 9 months old. My preschool years were spent up north in the small town of Kirkland Lake, and I grew up in the city of Kitchener/Waterloo, then went to university in London. The Slovenian Canadian community was a big part of my childhood. For most of my adult life, I’ve lived in Southwestern Ontario, in a village of about 400 people.
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
Home is where the family is. For me, it’s the quaint village where my husband and I bought our first and current house and raised our children. We’re fortunate enough to have a lovely view of the countryside from our front window, and to live in a friendly community where people stop to have a conversation during their daily walks. People care about their neighbours and look out for each other here. As well as having the peace and quiet of a cozy little village, we also have the amenities of the city only 45 minutes away. Then there’s Lake Huron, which is about an hour and a quarter away, with its beautiful beaches. As a writer, I find a lot of inspiration right here in my tiny corner of the world. And, of course, Canada is a great country to live in, for its natural beauty, its cultural diversity, and the really nice, polite people.
What turns you on creatively?
I love to read and write. I love animals and nature. Put those things together, and my creative juices flow. I don’t do well with on demand writing, with a given prompt and a specified amount of time. I don’t enjoy working from a desk. A lot of my ideas for writing come to me when I’m out for a walk or a drive. Simple everyday tasks also give me the opportunity to reflect. The quiet time before falling asleep or waking during the middle of night, along with dreams themselves, bring on my creativity.
What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
I love all words equally — nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and others. I spend a lot of time learning new words, searching for them in the online dictionary and thesaurus. It takes a large variety of words to write a novel, so the more, the merrier.
One word I like the sound of is empathy.
Walk with me, side by side, in my shoes, and know the beauty of empathy.
What is your pet peeve?
That would be ignorance and intolerance, and that includes my own. The pursuit of knowledge and understanding is a lifelong process. A steep learning curve is better than a flat one.
There are always two sides to every story — yours and everyone else’s. Smart people try to understand both, as difficult as that may be. Those who think they know it all and they’re always right, well… let’s just say they have a lot to learn.
What defines Ivanka Fear?
Wife, mother, sister, aunt, teacher, writer, wannabe bestselling author, crazy old cat lady. My family is what’s most important to me and what gives purpose to my life. I’ve also had the privilege of being part of so many children’s lives during my career as an educator. Writing provides me with a fulfilling hobby and a goal now that I’m retired and my children are grown. I’m also the mom of two very loving felines we rescued from a state of homelessness.
Ivanka Fear is a retired teacher and a writer from Ontario, Canada. She holds a B.A. and B.Ed., majoring in English and French literature, from Western University. Her poems and short stories appear in or are forthcoming in Spadina Literary Review, Montreal Writes, Spillwords, Commuterlit, Canadian Stories, Adelaide Literary, October Hill, Scarlet Leaf Review, Polar Borealis, Lighten Up, Bewildering Stories, The Sirens Call, Utopia Science Fiction, The Literary Hatchet, Wellington Street Review, Aphelion, Sad Girl Review, and Tales From the Moonlit Path. She has recently completed her first novel.