Author Spotlight

 

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 hear from

Bonnie Dee

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 His withdrawn silence and her pushy forthrightness made a perfect combo in my mindóand something we would never be treated to on the show.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 favorite?
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. Great stuff!

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 Erotic Muses.  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bonniedee/ and http://eroticmuses.blogspot.com/

Do you enjoy hearing from your readers and what is the best way to contact you?
I love letters. Who wouldnít? My email is bondav40@yahoo.com

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 something else.

Does your family support your writing?  Do they read your work?
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.  Perfecting Amanda

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.

 

     

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