Another debut novelist I've been looking forward to featuring. Welcome, Bonnie. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
More than I’d care to admit on color TV. Okay, here’s how it works. The plot is all made up. But I get my characters to say things, do things that I wish I could do. Or say. Jeepers, how do I answer this without sounding like a total geek living vicariously through her characters?
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
In life? Oh my, I’m the queen of quirk. Once, in a traffic jam, I handed my sister one end of my very long knit scarf, tied the other end around my waist and got out of the car. Hundreds of stuck drivers watched me pretending I was an astronaut, moon-walking in slow motion around the car. Helped pass the time.
What a hoot! When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I discovered it in bits and pieces over time. I can follow the trail through my past and put the pieces together. But the big “ah ha!” moment came a couple of years ago. I was working a contract job in Alberta and I was in a meeting with my boss, and the project consultant (whose name was Tammy).
Tammy turns to me and asks, “What are you going to do when your contract ends?”
Without hesitation I replied, “I’m going to write books.”
There were three people in that room and all three of us were startled. Tammy asked what kind of books I would write.
“I have no idea!”
And I didn’t. But the truth of what I had said, the words that came out of my mouth were true. I was going to write books. Right there in the meeting, I did a quick, silent check with God, Books? Write? Me? There was a calm assurance in my spirit.
Hokey dokey. This should be interesting.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I have young kids, so Junie B. Jones is a regular on my reading rotation. I’ve discovered there are some fantastic kid’s books out there. I read non-fiction more than fiction; I’d say two to one. My husband is a pastor, so much of that is related to what he’s reading – it’s important to me to keep up with the things he’s into ministry-wise.
For fiction? Wildly diverse. I’m all over the map, reading both Christian and mainstream novels, short stories. One book I’m savoring at the moment is Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems for Hard Times. My husband and I take turns reading selections aloud.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
I have a non-fiction out called Your Best You: Discovering and Developing The Strengths God Gave You. The fine folks at Beacon Hill Press published that one, it released March 1, 2009, available wherever you buy books.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Not sure I have. No, kidding. Sort of. For our family it’s all about partnership. We try to all work together to get things done. And I’ve learned to let go of some things I used to feel were important (like a clean house 24/7). And I’ve learned to say no. Sometimes. Oh, okay, I’m starting to think about getting ready to learn how to say no.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Sometimes characters pop out already named. Others, not so much. One of my characters, Jack Slater, came from the phone book. Yep, I went looking. And I make sure each character’s name starts with its own letter of the alphabet. So no book with Judy, James, and Jerome wondering around confusing everyone.
Gee, that doesn’t should very magical, does it?
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
My marriage and family.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A cat. Have you ever watched a cat? One moment sleeping, docile and calm, then all the sudden they jump up, going “Arrgghhhh! I have to be in the other room RIGHT NOW!” and take off running. Yeah. Cat. That’s me.
What is your favorite food?
My life’s motto: if it ain’t chocolate, why eat it?
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
How to start? That was my biggest roadblock. Where on earth does a person begin? I overcame that roadblock by getting connected to other people who were writing. For me, that meant joining The Word Guild (www.thewordguild.com) an organization of writers and editors who are Christian. There I found people who took the time to chat with me, coach me, answer questions, and present opportunities.
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
Get connected to other writes as soon as possible in your journey. Get online, get blogging, join writer’s networks and absorb all you can. And read, read, read. Be passionate, electric, eccentric, yourself.
What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
Here is the blurb:
Talking to the Dead: Twenty-something Kate Davis can’t seem to get this grieving widow thing right. She’s supposed to put on a brave face and get on with her life, right? Instead she’s camped out on her living room floor, unwashed, unkempt, and unable to sleep—because her husband Kevin keeps talking to her.
Is she losing her mind?
Kate’s attempts to find the source of the voice she hears are both humorous and humiliating, as she turns first to an “eclectically spiritual” counselor, then a shrink with a bad toupee, an exorcist, and finally group therapy. There she meets Jack, the warmhearted, unconventional pastor of a ramshackle church, and at last the voice subsides. But when she stumbles upon a secret Kevin was keeping, Kate’s fragile hold on the present threatens to implode under the weight of the past…and Kevin begins to shout. Will the voice ever stop? Kate must confront her grief to find the grace to go on, in this tender, quirky first novel about embracing life.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Hop on by http://www.bonniegrove.com/ for updates, newsletter signup, and other cool stuff.
You are most welcome to pop into places I blog: http://www.fictionmatters.blogspot.com/
And at the multi-author blog http://novelmatters.blogspot.com/ where I hang out with authors Sharon K. Souza, Kathleen Popa ( both just named Mount Hermon’s Writers of the Year, 2009!) Christy finalists Patti Hill and Debbie Fuller Thomas, and Latayne C. Scott.
I’m also on Facebook and Twitter (@BonnieGrove)
Thank you, Bonnie, for spending this time with us.
Readers, here's a link where you can order Talking to the Dead:
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