Please give a big welcome to BONNIE CALHOUN.
rem: Thank you, Bonnie for being on my blog this week.
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
BONNIE: I was raised in the coal mining area town of Scranton, Pa where the majority of work was at the Army Depot, the textile mills or the clothing factories. I left that area when I was 27 and came sixty miles north to the Binghamton, New York area. Now I live in a log home in the country with 15 acres, an apple orchard that feeds the local deer, and a pond full of bass, but I only eat haddock from the grocery store. I share my domain with a husband, a dog, and two cats, all of whom think I’m the wait-staff.
rem: I’d love to have 15 acres, especially with apples! Tell us three things about yourself.
BONNIE: I am an extrovert and never tire of crowds. I’ve sewed since I was like 5 years old and sold doll clothes in my backyard on weekends when I was 7. I went to the real Woodstock and lost a sandal in the mud because it was let it go or get run over by a really big tractor.
rem: My Granny was a seamstress also, and I learned to sew when I was young although not at five! Which book have you read the most in your lifetime?
BONNIE: That’s easy because even if I love a novel I don’t usually read them again. The book would be the Bible. I’ve read it through five times and I began the bible study at church in 1996 and literally have read every word of the Bible, out loud in the church.
rem: If you’re gonna read anything more than once, the Bible’s the one to read! Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
BONNIE: Sorry…don’t have one…never had one as a child either.
rem: If you could chose to be a character in a book, who would it be and why?
BONNIE: Well, it’s not a book…it’s a movie. If I have to have someone cool to be it would be Laura Croft from Tomb Raider, because of how she handles herself, and her abilities.
rem: Movies count, and good qualities to aspire to! What do you most value in a friend?
rem: Me too! Without honesty, all else is rather pale and worthless. What quality do you most admire in a man or woman?
rem: What do you do as a hobby?
BONNIE: Write HTML code. LOL…seriously! That’s the most relaxing thing in the world to me!
rem: Whatever floats your boat! LOL Me, I don’t even understand it… What would you do if you weren’t writing?
BONNIE: Read more…and really retire.
rem: Reading is good. Dogs or Cats? Which do you prefer?
BONNIE: I have one dog that is 18 years old, and I have two female black cats that are two and a half years old…and they pretty much dote on the dog. He’s the alpha pack leader. I prefer both…and at the same time. They give different kinds of love.
rem: Yes, they do. I’ve five cats, and my daughter had a dog when she lived with me. Bonnie, I was so sorry to see your dog had died. You have my sympathy. Losing a pet after 18 years is, well, it’s losing a member of the family.
What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?
BONNIE: I have no real routine other than I’m a night writer. I stay up till about 5am each morning writing, and just never seem to get much done during the day. I’m either at my desk in my office or on the couch in the living room.
rem: Something about those quiet night hours, eh? Tell us a little about your writing journey.
BONNIE: Not a lot to tell. I started writing a Stephanie Plum type character named Sloane Templeton, but became re-enamoured with the dystopian fiction of my youth, and featured it as a YA series. I like YA, and when I return to my Sloane Templeton character she is going to get a YA sidekick. On the writing side, I got my agent at the second writers conference I ever went to, and from there I’ve had three contracts in a row.
rem: Congrats on the contracts! What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?
BONNIE: Sorry but no writer’s angst here. I’ve never struggled with anything about writing. I’ve got more ideas in my head than I will ever need in two lifetimes, and I spend copious amounts of time reading and studying the craft.
rem: I, too, have stories bumping into each other in my head! Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?
BONNIE: Both because creating and editing require different parts of the brain. So this way my head doesn’t get lopsided from only exercising one side of it.
rem: Never thought of it that way – I enjoy both also; now I know why! What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?
BONNIE: Get a good thesaurus. Invest in good books on the craft of writing. Keep writing.
Three things not to do…quit writing. Let someone talk you out of writing. Don’t avoid learning the craft because you think you know it all.
rem: Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?
BONNIE: Just watching people, especially at the airport. And Walmart! The characters I get outta Walmart…Oy Vey!
rem: Oy Vey indeed! Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?
BONNIE: No, I like each one for different reasons, so they don’t compare to one another.
rem: Makes sense; like asking a parent to pick a favorite child. Tell us a little about your latest book?
BONNIE: My book is Lightning. In this second book of the Stone Braide Chronicles, Selah has found her real father and life for should have feel settled. But the horrors have just begun. In her broken world of toxic earth and tribal clashes, Selah must battle the forces of nature alongside those in the Mountain who are calling for her blood. Haunted by the pain of mounting losses, she forges on, seeking her lost family and uncovering new mysteries. But the ultimate betrayal of her own body may soon make her quest impossible as it becomes apparent that what has made her new could also drive her to a life of madness. There is also a FREE digital short story that should be read before this, and it is called Aftershock. It is the story between Thunder and Lightning.
rem: What is your current project?
BONNIE: My current project(s) are the 3rd short story and the 3rd book in the series, titled Storm. After starting the transition into a novarium, Selah has less than nine months to connect with the Third Protocol or this change that is presently supercharging her strength and numerous abilities will begin to attack her physically and she will go mad. But there are those that would stop her from making contact because when she does, all Landers will be changed…and no one knows what that will mean.
rem: I’ve read the first prequel and I’m intrigued. What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?
BONNIE: That God is sovereign. When we think we know how He will accomplish something, He loves to surprise us.
rem: Oh yes, He can surely surprise us sometimes! And absolutely sovereign. How did you go from seamstress to author to marketing?
BONNIE: I have always been a seamstress. My mother was a master pattern maker, so I could sew before I started school. Then I decided to write, and while I was learning the craft I started marketing to build my own platform for when I was ready to have books of my own.
rem: I need some serious marketing coaching… oy. You are involved in multiple aspects of the writing industry: Director of the CFBA, Owner/Publisher of CFOM, Director for the Northeast Zone for the American Christian Fiction Writers, an author member of International Thriller Writers, web specialist for NovelRocket.com, and webmaster and marketing analysis assistant for agent Terry Burns of Hartline Literary Agency, and the webmaster for Hartline Literary. (I’m out of breath typing all that!) How do you balance each separate duty?
BONNIE: Well that would be very tiring if they all occurred at the same time, when thankfully they don’t! Some of them are months or years between activities. And some used to require more time but now require a lot less. LOL…and who knows. I may soon start retiring myself J
rem: Do writers ever really retire? wink wink What is your reaction to Terry Burns’ recently announced retirement?
BONNIE: Happiness and sadness. Happiness because I know how it feels to finally say “I really retire.” It can be very freeing. Sad because Terry has been a great friend, an awesome mentor, and a good agent. Every book project I have proposed to him has been published by either Abingdon Press or Revell. Thankfully our friendship has a lot more years left on it, so I will still be in contact with him regularly.
rem: Thanks for joining us today, Bonnie. It’s been a pleasure having on my blog!
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