Author Interview with Bonnie Dee!

Give us a little bit about your background and when you first started publishing. 

The first story I ever wrote was in second grade. It featured a boy and his talking cat rescuing children from a witch. I still have those painfully printed yellow legal pad pages!

I did not start writing in earnest until around 2000, when I got involved in the Buffy fandom and wrote fanfiction. It was a good practice before inventing my own works and seeking publication. By 2005, when e-books were still an unknown thing to the majority of people, I had a contract with Samhain Publishing. My novels have ranged over historical, contemporary, fantasy, and paranormal romance. But not developing an author brand can make it difficult to find a faithful audience. Once I turned my hand to gay historical, along with co-writer Summer Devon, I found my niche, developing a solid following.

Now it’s time to switch courses again. I decided to write a series featuring forward-thinking women at a time of great change.  I hope readers will enjoy Hattie Glover’s Millinery and all the ladies of Prospect Street, who run their own businesses against the odds.

 

Historical Setting Related:

Have you visited the places you’ve written about or just read about them?

  • I’ve rarely visited the places I write about and have never been to England. The internet is a writer’s best friend, with immediate resources at one’s fingertips. Imagine having to go to the library and slog through piles of books to research the details that give authenticity to a period setting. Now you can look up something like “art noveau” to see examples of the décor to describe. It only takes a tidbit to really place the reader that world.

Why did you choose the particular period you write in? What is it about that era that speaks to you?

The Edwardian period is my favorite due to the clash of past ways and modern inventions and progressive thinking. Of course, the elegant clothes and exquisite Art Noveau style totally win me over! This staircase was my inspiration for Guy Hardy’s house.

Writing Process:

What inspires you to create a certain character (give example)? Have you ever changed the character arc because it didn’t work with the storyline?

  • I tend toward particular archetypes in my writing. As a young girl, I fell in love with the Artful Dodger in the movie Oliver! and find his impish charm and morally questionable ways creeping into my heroes quite often. Guy Hardy in Hattie Glover’s Millinery is that type of rather slick character. What could be more interesting than watching a protagonist develop from selfishness to self-sacrifice?
    Knowing your character’s arcs and sticking with them can be difficult when your plot starts to zig rather than zag, but I try to always serve the hero or heroine’s growth first and foremost when nudging them toward their happy ending. In Hattie Glover’s Millinery, I knew Hattie’s arc from distrust to an open heart would require her to come up against situations that would force her to let down barriers and take chances.

Do you have a certain quirk in your writing process? Do the stars have to be aligned or do you have to have your favorite tea? Where do you do your best writing?

  • My writing process is to take the seed of an idea and write a stream of consciousness treatment which I may or may not follow later. As the story takes clearer form, I roughly outline the progression of events so I know what I’m heading toward. Creating an appropriate dark moment and exciting climax is the really difficult part of writing. I often get bogged down in the latter third when charging for home plate turns to churning through mud. This is the point at which new writers can tend to abandon a project. I am here to tell all newbies to keep pushing no matter how difficult things get. Just crossing the finish line is the first big leap in becoming a published author. Let your editing process sort out the rest.

Miscellaneous:

From all your books, who is your favorite hero and why?

  • One of my favorite heroes was from my first novel, Bone Deep. Tom, no last name, is a nearly silent beta hero. I chose to write the romance from the heroine’s POV so the reader can only surmise his thoughts. The single POV is not too popular, but I was a new writer and didn’t know any better. As if the book were a movie, I worked hard with his body language instead.  The enigma became approachable through glances, touches, quiet smiles, brave behavior, etc. First published in 2006 by Liquid Silver Books, Bone Deep is one of my all-time best sellers.

Outside of your own genre, what’s your favorite genre?

  • When asked, what sort of books I read, my answer often surprises romance readers. I grew up on a steady diet of horror from those old Alfred Hitchcock Presents books in the seventies to Stephen King, my hero. I was a teenager when he exploded on the scene with Carrie! , Salem’s Lot, The Shining, and my all-time favorite, The Stand. What wins me is his folksy charm and characterizations that make you root for even a red-shirt you know is going to die by the end of a scene. His books have heart and are all about the hero’s journey, rising above evil to find the good.
  • For me, it is not a leap from horror to romance to any other genre. All writing should be about a character who starts in a negative spot and through the events of the story is forced to grow. If there’s no change, the point of some novels being that people can’t fundamentally change, then I’m not interested.  Bring on the feel-good happy endings for me.

We hope you enjoyed learning more about Bonnie Dee. Check out her latest release “Hattie Glover’s Millinery”, Book 1 in her new series The Providence Street Shops.