Today, J9 is here interviewing author Bonnie Dee. This is a new author for J9 and so far has loved what she’s read by Bonnie Dee. You can check out J9’s review of Like Clockwork, a steamy steampunk novel. And be sure to stop by tomorrow for J9’s review of House of Mirrors, a M/M novel Bonnie Dee co-wrote with Summer Devon.
Welcome to The Book Vixen Bonnie Dee!
J9: Will you please share your journey to becoming a published author with us.
Bonnie Dee: I began writing Buffy fan fiction in 2000. I’d never heard of fan fiction before that. This was a great opportunity to play with the characters and write scenarios for them that I wanted to see. It was also an excellent opportunity to improve my writing with the help of critique partners. I moved on to another fandom and by early 2005 I decided it was time to try to create my own worlds. Not feeling confident enough to tackle an entire novel on my own, I joined with Lauren Baker, another fanfic writer to create Finding Home. We soon learned how difficult it is to enter the traditional publishing world.
And then I discovered e-publishing. E-publishers were willing to take a chance on unusual, outside the box stories. But in early 2006, nobody I knew even understood what an e-book was! Thank God for Oprah championing the Kindle and launching e-reading on a grand scale. I credit her for that turning point in publishing history. Who would guess that several years later the traditional publishing industry would be suffering so badly and e-books would quickly be outstripping paper books in sales.
J9: You write so many different romance genres: contemporary, historical, male/male, paranormal. Do you have a favorite to write? Do you write more than one kind at a time? Do you ever start writing one and it morphs into something else?
Bonnie Dee: In many ways I like historicals the best because that’s what I enjoy reading the most. But contemporaries may be the easiest to write, IMO, since we live in the same world our protagonists inhabit. I also find it way easier to have an internal problem (some inner hurdle to overcome) or a social issue keeping the lovers apart rather than writing some plot heavy thing with bad guys. I can never think of a way out of the corner I’ve painted the characters into when I write action/suspense stories.
I usually have several projects going at a time, often with co-writers. The most I had going at once was three: a zombie novel of my own, a fairytale with Marie Treanor and a historical with Summer Devon. Since they were three such wildly divergent types of stories, it wasn’t possible to be confused about which one I was working on (though I may have typed the wrong character name once or twice). And one sort of story never morphs into something else. A loose plan is in place from the beginning, especially when co-writing.
J9: I recently discovered you as a writer and am enjoying reading your backlist. I adore many of your unique characters with believable vulnerabilities, fears and desires. In my opinion, you write nuanced characters who don't always fit traditional romance stereotypes. Was this a conscious decision on your part to write leads you weren't seeing in romance?
Bonnie Dee: I was reading and writing a lot of The OC fan fiction (go ahead, laugh) which centered around outsider Ryan Atwood struggling to overcome his rough background and personal demons and fit into a completely different society. The OC fics my friends and I were writing strayed far from what The OC show became over the few years of its existence. It doesn’t take much of a stretch to see the Ryan character—a young man who life crapped on—in Mouth/Sean of Finding Home.
I have to admit I was never much of a traditional romance reader. I was weaned on a lot of horror; Stephen King, Peter Straub. And for romance I usually read historicals with romantic elements rather than what I’d consider straight up romance novels. I never felt like I found exactly what I was searching for so, yes, I would say it was a conscious decision to write the type of offbeat books with non-alpha heroes which I preferred and couldn’t find as a reader.
J9: Who are your favorite authors?
Bonnie Dee: I’m a nibbler. I don’t tend to glom on to one author and read everything he/she has ever written. Haven’t done that since I used to read every new book Stephen King (that ended sometime in the early nineties). Now I just choose books based on the blurb and whether it sounds interesting. I recently discovered Theresa Weir on a friend’s recommendation. She writes unusual and damaged heroes and has a great style I really enjoy.
The book I most recently finished was War Brides by Helen Bryan, set in WWII England. I’m currently reading Indian Maidens Bust Loose by Vidya Samson, which was rec’d on Dear Author blog. I love cross cultural stories so I’m very much enjoying the clash of a traditional middle class Indian family with American relatives they haven’t seen in years.
J9: Will you share your latest project(s) with us?
Bonnie Dee: I’m currently stuck on a couple of stories. Have been all summer. I blame it on the drought and heat and feeling listless—even though I’m in air conditioning all the time so that’s no excuse at all. One is a zombie novel. The other is about a young man brain damaged in an accident, limited by his disability to a janitorial job. One evening a young lawyer in the building he cleans is having a breakdown after blowing her first day in court. Hero finds her sobbing on a back stairwell and cheers her up. Slow blooming romance between two people with seemingly no common ground, who are socially miles apart. Plus there are the issues from his disability to deal with.
Since I got stuck on those two, I just started something new, a contemporary m/m. A divorced Beverly Hills couple hires a guy as nanny for their two young children. Recently “out” ex-husband fights attraction to the gay nanny, but eventually they’ll get together. The wife is NOT the villain of the piece in any way, but just a woman caught up in an unfortunate situation—her husband tried to bury his true feelings by marrying her and attempting to live a “normal” life. It’s an exploration of family dynamics as much as anything else.
So that’s what I’m working on when I can get myself to write instead of toodle around the internet wasting time.
J9: Thanks for stopping by and answering some questions Bonnie!
I began telling stories as a child. Whenever there was a sleepover, I was the designated ghost tale teller. I still have a story printed on yellow legal paper in second grade about a ghost, a witch and a talking cat.
Writing childish stories for my own pleasure led to majoring in English at college. Like most English majors, I dreamed of writing a novel, but at that time in my life didn't have the necessary focus and follow through. Then life happened. A husband and children occupied the next twenty years and it was only in 2000 that I began writing again.
I enjoy dabbling in many genres. Each gives me a different way to express myself. I've developed a habit of writing every day that's almost an addiction. I don't think I could stop now if I tried.
Thanks to Bonnie Dee, one lucky winner will receive an ebook from her backlist!!
Good luck to all who enter!