I was given the
chance to chat with a very talented author this month, who
took time out of her busy schedule to spend some time with us
here at Joyfully Reviewed. So, without further delayÖletís
Writing and storytelling seem to have always been a part
of you. Did you always know you would one day be a writer?
When I was a child, I hoped to be.
By the time I graduated college, I realized being a published
writer was akin to the dream of being an actor, a professional
dancer or singerónot a practical or easy field to enter. For
many years, I worked clerical jobs, raised a family and
stopped writing entirely. Discovering then writing fanfiction
got me jumpstarted on the idea of writing again. So, instead
of a mid-life crisis, I ended up with a mid-life new attitude.
Are you able to write full time of do you have one of those
pesky day jobs?
I have a secretarial job that isnít at
all demanding so Iím able to devote some of my work hours to writing
and still get my tasks completed. I write at work and then again at
home in the evening. I write a LOT. Itís very addictive.
I read you write Fan fiction. What exactly is Fan fiction?
Fan fiction is stories written around
oneís favorite TV show or movie characters. I discovered it existed
when I was a big fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Of course, the
show could never get as deeply invested in Buffy and Spike as the
fans. Fan fiction is a wonderful way to take well-known characters
and give them your own stories to perform in. I would say I honed my
craft this way, writing first for the Buffy fandom then for The OC.
My particular slant in the latter was a very hot Ryan/Summer
pairing. His withdrawn silence and her pushy forthrightness made a
perfect combo in my mindóand something we would never be treated to
on the show.
Tell us what makes Bonnie tick.
Iím big on follow through. I hate when
people say ďLetís do lunchĒ with no intention of following up on it.
If I say something, I mean it. If I plan to do something, I will
make it so. And I donít believe in second guessing, procrastinating
or allowing self-doubt in. These things cripple people and hold them
back. Better to make a mistake but keep moving forward than sit on
your hands and whine about being stuck in one place.
When writing, do you plan the story out before starting or do
your stories develop as you write?
I plan the broad strokes of the plot and
character arcs, but always leaving room for change as things
develop. Sometimes those broad strokes donít tell you what to do
when you get down to the nitty-gritty details, especially in
suspense stories. Iím stuck near the climax of one of those right
now, trying to figure out a dramatic way to bring all the threads
together, solve the mystery and bring the couple back together.
Do you have a writing schedule you follow and how many hours a
day do you devote to your writing?
In the half hour or so before I get out
of bed, I let my subconscious drift and the next part of the story
becomes clear. I get up, take care of my pets, go to the computer
and jot down stream of consciousness ramblings. Later it gives a
framework to follow, making writing much easier. As I said, I write
at home, at work and at home again. Itís my work and my pleasure.
Now that we have an empty nest, thereís more time than ever to
devote to writing. I like to write 2,000 words a day if possible,
4,000 on a really good day. Iím a somewhat slow writer, because I
play with the sentences as I go along, looking for the best way to
word things so I donít have as much editing to do later.
Do you have a favorite character and why are they your
My favorite character tends to change
with whatever Iím working on. I get invested in the particular work
at hand and in digging deep into the charactersí psyches. Currently,
Iím enjoying my desert nomad thief. I love characters with moral
ambiguity. Thatís interesting reading to me.
Tell us some of favoritesÖhobbies, foods, movies, music,
books, authors, holidays, color, and any other favorites.
I play piano. I used to do crocheting
and needlepoint, but donít have time for them now. Iím a complete
videophile, love movies and TV shows and have an extensive
collection of my favorites which include a wide range. I really love
the HBO series like Carnivale, Deadwood, Sopranos and Sex and the
City. Iím a fan of Dead Like Me, My So Called Life, Freaks and
Geeks. I just love watching a story, especially after working on
computer so much during the day. Itís good not to have to read, to
simply watch the story unfold.
I just discovered a historical
romance writer from the mid-nineties, Penelope Williamson, and Iím
in love with her work. Check out The Outsider and The Passions of
Emma for some in-depth characterization and excellent period detail.
My favorite holiday used to be
Halloween, but without kids around it has lost some of its appeal.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? What was the
best advice you received?
Expect rejection but donít be affected
by it when you receive it. Just keep moving forward. Listen to
editors when they try to help you improve. Make sure the e-publisher
you get involved with is reputable. Check out Preditors and Editors
and listen to what people are saying online.
As for advice I received, I had a lot
of sloppy writing habits at first. I learned the use of dialogue
tags should be infrequent, adverbs are unnecessary, each new action
or piece of dialogue should start a new paragraph, and I learned the
ďshow, donít tellĒ rule. I learned that compound sentences in which
two different characters are performing actions are not good.
Separate them. My first editor and most of the others that followed
gave very useful advice.
How do you promote your work?
Online ads, some presence on loops,
forums and blogs, my Yahoo group and a joint author blog called
Do you enjoy hearing from your readers and what is the best
way to contact you?
I love letters. Who wouldnít? My email
How would you spend the perfect day?
A walk in the woods, or day at the beach
and a good meal afterward with my husband and/or daughters. A movie
at the end of the evening would be great. I know I should be talking
about a romantic evening and sex, but honestly, thatís not the first
thing I think of. Iíve been married a very long time. We have sex
whenever we happen to get to it. Itís not as urgent as it once was,
know what I mean?
Do you ever get writerís block and how do you handle it?
I donít completely stall out on writing
altogether, but I do reach ďstuckĒ places on particular manuscripts
(as noted above). I ask for help from writer friends. Get them to
check it out and give me ideas, while I continue working on
Does your family support your writing? Do they read your
My immediate family supports my writing.
I donít talk about it too much to my very Catholic sisters. And no
one reads my work. Iím not comfortable with it. If I came from a
family of people who loved romance and particularly erotic romance,
it would be different. But Iím sure many family members look on what
I do as little more than pulp fiction.
Actually, come to think, I did have
my oldest (and least stuffy) sister read Bone Deep and she liked it
(or said she did), although she told me she had to skim over a lot
of the sex.
Thatís my family. It is what it is.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I was very happy to receive a rating of
5 spurs from LoveWesternRomances.com for my historical Western,
Perfecting Amanda. I hope readers will check this one out. Itís a
complicated love triangle thatís very dear to my heart.
Iíd like to talk about my slate of
upcoming stories for 2008. At Samhain I have a January release
thatís part of the Strangers in the Night anthology called The
Valentine Effect. Itís the perfect date fantasy for Valentine
reading. In spring, The Countess Takes a Lover is a Regency about a
worldly widow who takes a bookish young man under her wing and loses
her heart. Later in summer, The Final Act is about a touring theater
company and the lives and loves of three different couples.
Over at Loose Id, I have my first m/m
story, Undeniable Magnetism releasing. Itís about a closeted African
American man who gets involved with a forthright, blue collar
bartender. My other Loose Id release is Rock Hard, a sci-fi romance
about a diplomatís daughter and her bodyguard.
As usual, Iím all over the place as
far as genres go.