Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book Reading and Author Inteview – John Fioravanti

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore

Please extend a warm welcome to my guest today on the Cafe Book Reading.. author John Fioravanti. I know that having read John’s interview you will have your own questions and please put those in the comments section of the post.

First something about John Fioravanti in his own words.

I taught high school history for thirty-five years in just two schools in the Waterloo, Ontario region. My wife and business partner, Anne, and I have been married for more than 40 years. We have three adult children and three grandchildren. In 2002, I wrote an educational book for high school students about writing skills in the discipline of History. “Getting it Right In History Class” is available in Canadian and International editions at Wintertickle Press.

In 2006, Iceberg Publishing commissioned me to write an inspirational book about my years in the classroom. “A Personal Journey to the Heart of Teaching” was published in 2007. The book won a Bronze Medal at the IPPY International Awards in Los Angeles in May, 2008. I retired from teaching the next month.

My wife and I decided to strike off on our own and founded our own publishing company in December, 2013. We called it Fiora Books. Our good friends at Iceberg Publishing turned my award winning book back over to us to publish under the Fiora Books imprint. The 2014 edition of “A Personal Journey to the Heart of Teaching” was released in May, 2014 on Amazon in paperback and eBook formats.

This was followed by Passion & Struggle Book One of The Genesis Saga in 2014, Treachery & Triumph Book Two of the series in 2015

One of the latest reviews for Book One of The Genesis Saga.

Mr. Fioravanti wrote a thought provoking science fiction story set in the year 2796. There is a lot of detail in the beginning of the story, that slowed me down at first. Although, once I got into the story, I was hooked. I found some chilling parallels with the story line and what is happening in our own world. Genesis is a tropical planet that humans inhabited after they had to leave Earth when a virus got out of control. Earth was left to evolve in new ways. A common enemy united both planets for a past war. This led to Genesis trying a new form of government modeling after Earth.

Implementing government reform does not go well, because Genesis is a society evenly split between religion and science/warrior classes. But, “Passion & Struggle” is about more than politics, war and religion. There is romance, adventure, hidden agendas, friendships, enemies and intrigue. The relationship between Earth and Genesis is fascinating within itself, but it’s the people that kept my attention. When I got to the last page, I wanted the story to continue and luckily it does! I will be reading the rest of the series!

Reflections: Inspirational Quotes and Interpretations in 2016.

REFLECTIONS was a perfect book to read over the holidays. Each chapter focuses on an inspirational quote from such notable people as Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and Anne Frank; and, because of this approach, the book can be read non-linearly. The reader can move from one reflection to another, as interest dictates.

There are 50 quotations included in the book, each of which author Fioravanti provides his interpretations, a practice he adopted for his weekly blog. His thoughts, measured and insightful, spur the reader to consider his or her own. This book earns my endorsement and support with Five well-deserved Stars.

Find out more about John’s books and his latest reviews:

Now time to discover more about John and his life and work. He is looking forward to answering your questions and please pop them into the comments at the end of the post.

Welcome John and could you tell us about your chosen genre of books that you write and why?

My first chosen genre is Inspirational Non-Fiction. I entered the teaching profession in 1973 to help young people navigate the treacherous waters of the teen years, and my desire to help others has never gone away. I also write Science Fiction having been inspired by Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek TV series when I was in high school. I never lost my fascination for space exploration. My sci-fi books are best described as human drama in a futuristic society, as opposed to classic space battles with otherworldly technology.

Tell us about your blog and your main features. With a link to what you consider best sums you up as a blogger?

My blogs have fallen into three categories – the first two reflect the genres in which I write. In the MY INSPIRATION blog series, I select an inspirational quote by an author or well-known person and then write an interpretive reflection about the quote.

The second set of blogs are vignettes called GENESIS CHRONICLES. These are a set of 25 prequels to my current sci-fi series called The Genesis Saga.

My latest set of blogs reflects my interest in teaching History in the classroom for 35 years. JOHN’S ARCHIVES put forward five events that happened on the current date in history, as well as three famous people born on that date:

What do you believe is the most important event to have affected our lives in the last 100 years?

I believe the most important event that has affected our lives in the last 100 years is the advent of the World Wide Web in 1989-90. Although there were other networks established two to three decades earlier, the Internet has profoundly impacted just about every aspect of our lives. I won’t list all of those ways here, but there are a few that are most important to me.

First, the Internet allows families to connect regularly, keep those bonds of affection, and support alive and well. As well, The WWW has revolutionised the global economy allowing many people to support themselves through online businesses. Now we can shop from our computers and other devices! Finally, the Internet, through social media, has impacted world events like no other medium in history. Would the throngs of women who marched in most major cities around the world recently have happened without the linkage provided by social media? I think not.

As a history teacher for thirty-five years what do you feel has been the most significant change to the education system in that time?

The most significant change in education during my career (1973-2008) was the advent of the Internet coupled with the use of computers in the classroom. The Internet has revolutionised research for every level of education. In my day, we researched at the school library and the local public library. The use of computers at home and the classroom has given students an invaluable learning tool to use in every area of study across the curriculum. As a teacher, my effectiveness in lesson presentation, skill development for students and in assessment and evaluation – and reporting, was enhanced many times over by the computer and access to the Internet. The exciting thing is that these twin tools are still evolving!

You have written both non-fiction and fiction. Which do you prefer and why?

Of the two genres, fiction and non-fiction, I prefer to write my science fiction novels. Just as reading a great novel is first-rate escapism, so too is writing such a book. As the author, I love to escape my reality in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada in 2017 to write stories about people living on a fictitious planet in a distant galaxy, six hundred years into the future.

I devoured novels by the dozen as a kid growing up and always regarded the authors as special beings. How did they come up with these plots and characters? How did they weave subplots together? When I discovered later in life that I can do this too, I was thrilled! I also love the act of creation – bringing something into existence that was not there before. Writing fiction is exciting stuff!

Having been a history teacher, which era do you feel has been the most significant in terms of the nations we are today?

As a history teacher, I’d say that the most significant era that impacted the nations that we are today is the period of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. This period saw the decline and breakup of the global European empires, the rise of independence movements among colonies, and most importantly for all of us, the ascendancy of the United States to the #1 world power status by 1900 and super power status by 1945. The Americans have had more influence on the world regarding economics, culture, politics and the military than any nation in history. We were spared World War III because the USA assumed the mantle of “World Cop” and enforced Pax Americana with a military unparalleled in size and power.

Connect to John on his website and social media.

Fiora Books website
Twitter Accounts:  and
Facebook:  and

My thanks to John for his thought provoking answers to the questions and it is now your turn to take over the interview with your own questions. John will be popping into the interview over the next two days or so to respond.



89 thoughts on “Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book Reading and Author Inteview – John Fioravanti

  1. Thanks for sharing John. You radiate a love and excitement for learning and sharing. My question- how has your knowledge of history impacted your science fiction books? Also- I’ll sneak another question- what are your hobbies? All the best to you!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book Reading and Author Inteview – John Fioravanti | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  3. Thank you for your service to young people as a teacher, John. That is a profession that requires dedication and diplomacy to deliver your message. I have a question about history. Did you find that the books written under the heading of historical text were as accurate as they could have been? And, did you find yourself using non-traditional resources as part of the lessons for your students? Thanks!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for your kind words and questions, Annette! History is the interpretation of what we think happened in the past. The key word here is ‘interpretation’. If I am writing a history of a country or of an event, I have to pick and choose which facts to include that fit my interpretation. Every historian does this. To attempt to include every fact known to mankind on a topic would render the history totally unmanageable and boring – like a shopping list. Accuracy is, therefore, a tricky and subjective concept. For the most part, the basic texts we used were pretty good. I always supplemented with other sources when we dealt with a topic in depth. I was big on teaching students how to write argumentative essays, so I trained them with shorter assignments based on resources I provided that gave conflicting points of view. The process taught them the writing skill and an understanding of the craft of History.

      Later in my career, I was able to use sources gleaned from the Internet in my classroom. Had to be careful though because there’s a lot of garbage out there!

      Liked by 3 people

      • That makes sense. So often, people are under the impression that if it is in print, it’s the cold, hard fact. But as you say, it is really only an interpretation. When I was in school, we were taught to memorize not necessarily question and investigate. How nice to know you taught your pupils to use their brains for more than simply storage bins! Cheers to you!!

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Nice to meet you, John. I’m fascinated by the eclectic interests, 3 different blogs, and 2 very different genres! How do you ever keep it all going? My real question is regarding your writing and to what extent you find your reflections on inspirational quotes and knowledge of history feeding your science fiction world and characters. Is there a lesson for the future in your books based on the wisdom and knowledge of the past? Fascinating interview – thanks to you both!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your interest and question, Diana! The different styles of blogs came from experimenting with the expression of my interests. The Character Interviews were based on a marketing strategy for my sci-fi novels – they were originally written for blog tours. One of my favourite subjects in university was Philosophy – I enjoyed the process of deep thinking that it fostered. I discovered that a role I fulfilled while serving on the governing board of Rave Reviews Book Club, selecting daily inspirational quotes, gave me the opportunity to explore those quotes by way of reflections – and a new blog series was born. That inspiration came from RRBC president, Nonnie Jules. In February I started a new blog site and created “John’s Archives” which I renamed “John’s Believe It Or Not” two weeks ago. It reflects my interest in History. I write those daily.

      Both genres fascinate me, so I enjoy writing both. My proclivities to history, politics, and philosophy can be found in my novels. My novel plots do parallel the struggles that occur today in our real world, and this is intentional. I guess I’m still teaching. The characters come from my imagination, my life experience and my study of history. I have based a few characters on real people, with their permission, and used altered versions of their names. I hope I answered your questions.

      Liked by 3 people

      • You sound incredibly BUSY! Ha ha. Yes, you answered my question. I wonder how many of us use the speculative genres to comment on “real life” human struggles. Happy writing and good luck with all your endeavors!

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Wonderful interview, John and Sally! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
    John, I’m thrilled to have a signed copy of Journey into the Heart of Teaching. It’s such an inspirational read. I’m taking my time with Reflections, as you probably can tell. I’m fighting the urge to read it in one sitting, though. It’s an inspirational read to savour and I highly recommend it.
    Wishing you both a lovely day!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Great getting to learn even more about you as a writer in the interview, John. I’ve read, reviewed and highly recommend “A Personal Journey to THE HEART OF TEACHING,” an open, honest and inspirational book with lots of heart! xo

    Liked by 3 people

    • Good question, Robbie. I started out with another small publisher, Iceberg Publishing. They encouraged and helped met to set out on my own. At the time, I didn’t know where to turn as I had zero connections, so I set up my own shop. It is a struggle, but I have total control. If things go well, I take the credit. If not, the blame is mine. Today, I have many connections and could find a new publishing home if need be.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Thanks for your response, John. It is always nice to have total control. I am pleased that I have a small, third party publisher though as Anne does the administrative side for me. I honestly also didn’t have a clue and am glad that side is lifted off my shoulders.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much, John! The most critical problem is finding a way to unify the nations of the world so that we, the people of the world can effectively tackle problems like warfare, poverty and hunger, the environment and many others before we destroy our planet and each other. Clearly, the status quo is not working. I hope I have answered your question.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. Reblogged this on Fiction Favorites and commented:
    John Fioravanti is a talented author as well as a teacher. He regularly produces posts that are timely and thought-provoking. This interview is an example of some of his thoughts. Take a visit and then go on to read some of his work. You won’t be disappointed. Thanks to Sally Cronin for this interview

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Nice to meet you John. My history teacher at school made us read loads of textbooks and memorise dates, which was dry to say the least!
    You come across as someone who is passionate about their subject, how did you keep your students engaged during lessons?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Judy, I’m pleased to meet you too. You’re right, I’m passionate about teaching – History in particular. I struggled with all kinds of pedagogical approaches and ended up leaning heavily on my strength – storytelling. I had, from my outside reading, all kinds of background stories that I’d share with my students. They told me often that this was what made my class so special to them. Often, kids would stop to thank me at the end of the semester – especially the ones who admitted they disliked History before sitting in my class. My professional development training over the years said that my method was all wrong. My students told me otherwise. I decided to trust them. Thanks for this question, Judy – you put your finger on one of my toughest struggles during that 35-year span in the classroom.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I would have love to have heard stories from my teacher. I think you were right to listen to what your students wanted especially as it was obviously working. I can imagine how tough it must have been to engage everyone, but the fact that you were often thanked after your lessons spoke volumes 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  9. Wonderful interview, John and Sally! My favorite subjects in my school years were history and science. John, I know I would have been enthralled in your history class. Your passion for learning and sharing knowledge shines through. I love your daily posts in John’s Archives, and your inspirational posts are always thought-provoking. The Genesis Saga is on my Kindle and I need to bump it higher on my TBR list.

    I loved what you said about the US at the end. For a native Canadian you know so much about my country and others. With your broad knowledge of history, do you have a time period you favor studying among others? In the U.S., as example, there are many armchair historians passionate about the Civil War. I love the 1800s and Victorian England.

    Or, are you like an artist who can’t really choose a favorite color 🙂
    My artist father used to say that was impossible.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree with your father, Mae. My favourite colour is royal blue and next to that is powder blue! I spent most of my time teaching 20th Century Canadian History to grade 10 students. It was my favourite course because it tells the tale of Canada coming of age on the world stage. On April 9th we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Army’s victory at Vimy Ridge in France during World War I. Some Canadian historians claim that WWI was Canada’s war of independence – even though we fought alongside Britain as their colony and ally. Canadians pushed for independence after the war, but it did not come until 1931. Did you know that Canada declared war on Germany in September 1939 before Britain did? Believe it or not! Thanks for the soap box, Mae!

      Liked by 2 people

      • LOL! Anytime, John! I just learned something new as I always do when I visit your Believe it or Not posts. Thanks for another lesson 🙂
        And, hey, would you believe my favorite color is royal blue followed by aquamarine? 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  10. Hi John. What a fascinating interview. I think all people who love History as much as you are truly educated and informed about the world. It is a great pity that a lot of youngsters today feel that History is a useless subject to study. Maybe that is why the world is in the state it is. But my question for you concerns the growth of the Internet. I have found that since computers and the use of the Internet in the classroom is now commonplace, far fewer children and young adults read books. Some teenagers brag about never having read any book, ebook or traditional. If they want to know anything they just ‘look it up on the internet’ without doing any in depth study or reading about the topic. Is the same thing happening with Canadian youth?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your kind words, Kim. You ask a tough question and I don’t know the stats on that. I’m retired 9 years this coming June, but throughout my career, the kids who were in the advanced level stream that led to university studies were the readers. Kids in general level studies that led to trade schools and community colleges were generally not avid readers. I doubt that has changed. That was true back in the 1960s when I was in high school.

      Also, the ‘utilitarian’ view that History wasn’t worthwhile because it wouldn’t land you a job has been prevalent for decades. For that reason, I taught my students what real history was about (not memorising dates and events) so that they could see the relevance in their current world. It worked well with some, not so much with others. It was always a challenge and I’m sure it still is. Thanks for your question, Kim, I hope I answered it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You did answer it thank you. What is happening at some schools here in SA, is that books are being removed from the ‘media centres’, sold to anyone who wants to buy them or put in store rooms, and the bookshelves are being taken down and replaced by tables containing computerrs. Progress in inevitable and necessary, I know, but the fact that even teachers don’t read books and rely totally on the Internet, is sad and scary. For me anyway. Thanks for a great interview John. I have learnt a lot from it as I do every day from your blog posts.

        Liked by 2 people

  11. Terrific interview, Sally and John. Sally, your three personal questions were on point and thought-provoking. John, I loved your post ‘What Price, Freedom?’ You state that we live in a ‘culture of entitlement’ that ‘threatens to banish the ideals of duty and service,’ and you challenge us to ‘make humanity great again.’ What change do you think needs to occur in order to move humanity into becoming caring and service-oriented stewards of our planet? ♥

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Tina! Yesterday, my blog post entitled “Nationalism: Have We Outgrown It?” begins to tackle the problem of what is needed to make humanity great again and to save ourselves from the apocalypse we seem so determined to bring upon ourselves. On the one hand, there clearly needs to be changes made within ourselves, and I also believe that changes outside of ourselves need to be made soon. If we patiently work within ourselves and our own spheres of influence to help humanity transform into truly caring and empathetic beings, we’ll run out of time. The issues that threaten our very existence are global in their scope and I believe that the solutions lie in the global realm. My next post in the “Let’s Talk!” series will put forward a vision of a new reality that will give humanity hope. I don’t presume to have all the answers, but I’m hoping that people with greater minds than mine can participate and enrich the discussion. Tina, we are blessed because this Internet is a global platform. I know I’ve hedged on my answer to your question, but only because I’ll be addressing it soon on my blog.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Reblogged this on TINA FRISCO and commented:
    John Fioravanti, teacher and author, is Sally Cronin’s guest on her Book Reading and Author Interview series. John is a multi-genre author who also writes inspirational articles. One that touched me deeply is What Price, Freedom? #Recommended

    Liked by 2 people

  13. A thoughtful and insightful post, John. If I may ask a personal question,or two … have you met up with or followed any of your students on their chosen career path, since your retirement? Did any of them astound you with the path that they chose to follow? Thanks so much Sally for presenting such an interesting post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind words, Soooz. You may not believe this story in answer to your question. My writing/publishing mentor is my former student Kenneth Tam. He has his Masters in Military History and is a prolific novelist in the Sci-Fi and Alternative History genres. He served as MC at the launch of my book “A Personal Journey to the Heart of Teaching”. Another of my former students attended. As I spoke to her later, I discovered that she was a History Professor at Sir Wilfrid Laurier University and was currently teaching Kenneth. She laughed about it because she had asked him who taught him to write an essay. He told her that I taught him the finer points of essay writing. She said to me, “I should have known! His papers are structured in exactly the same was as you taught me years before!”

      Does my daughter count? I taught her twice in high school and today she is the Canadian CEO of an international insurance brokerage that operates worldwide. Yes, I’ve kept in touch with many former students through Facebook. I started teaching in 1973, and those ‘kids’ are now 56 years old!

      Liked by 3 people

  14. John, your dedication to teaching, to storytelling, and to giving back are an inspiration. I come from a couple of generations of teachers, and I know how much impact a good/great/awe-inspiring teacher can have. I’m going to post this link on my FB page.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. How wonderful to learn more about John through this interview! Sally, you’ve spotlighted him so well here. John, I am in awe of your ability to write both fiction and non-fiction books, from inspirational reflections to sci-fi. Keep at it!! Congrats on the publishing company that you and your wife formed, as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Pingback: Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Waterford 1930s, Rock Legends 1990s, Authors 2017 | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  17. Pingback: God Bless America « The Golden Age of Charli

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