Bonnie McCune lives in Denver, Colorado and has been a writer since the fifth grade. In her writing, she avoids clichés about superhuman achievements, extravagant wealth. Her stories are about ordinary people and their unique lives, their highs and lows, and their extraordinary lives.
I've been a writer since fifth grade and have never lost my enthusiasm for telling stories. My interest in the craft led me to a career in nonprofits doing public and community relations and marketing. Simultaneous, I published news and features as a free-lancer.
At the same time, I became involved in civic and grass-roots organizations, political campaigns, writers' and art's groups, and children's literacy. For years, I entered recipe contest and was a finalist once to the Pillsbury Cook Off. A special love of mine is live theater. If I had been nine inches taller and thirty pounds lighter, I might have been an actress.
For reasons unknown (an unacknowledged optimism?), I believe I can make a difference in this world.
2. Where do you live today? What are your favorite activities when not writing?
I primarily grew up in Colorado where I continue to live. My stories take place in Colorado. When not writing, I read. Jogging, weight lifting (light ones) biking with my husband are frequent activities. Doing them with another person makes them more fun. We live near superb outdoor trails in natural areas. We've even seen deer and a wild coyote!
3. Tell us about your family. Did you have an occupation outside of writing.
My family lives in Colorado, too, two kids and three grands. I've worked my whole life in public relations and communications for nonprofits. I took official retirement a few years ago to concentrate more on writing.
4. Why and when did you start writing and in what genres?
I decided to be a writer at age 10 and have never completely stopped. I write contemporary women's fiction along with literary.
5. Who is your publisher or do you indie publish?
I've been published by several small publishers, but when the last one closed shop, I contacted others and have just signed a contract for a reprint from the Totally Entwined Group in Britain. It should come out this fall.
6. Do you write series or single title books? Where do your ideas come from? How do you create characters, decide on conflict and time period and do research?
I write single-title fiction about women. Characters are a conglomeration of people I know, read about, meet, see in the media - contemporary for now. Lots of research. On of the reasons I write is because I love to research.
I've been at this activity for years. I'm always looking, and failing to find, shortcuts. Not of the actual writing, for marketing and promotion primarily. I once had a brilliant idea to create a pseudonym using the last name of a famous author. I thought a publisher or agent might think I was his illegitimate daughter. If I remember correctly, I chose William Faulkner or William Burrows. Not a soul was fooled.
I don't believe in writer's block. Only the wealthy can pamper themselves with that excuse. I spent years doing freelancing, mostly news and features in small publications. I learned to sit down and crank out the work because upon occasion, part of my family's groceries came from that source.
On the other hand, I do view writing as a kind of spiritual practice. Maybe not "spiritual" so much as cerebral exploration and learning. Writing's given me new subjects to research. Even more important to my mental well-being, writing enables me to figure out people and interpersonal relations. Maybe you can tell I majored in psychology in college, although a friend accused me of doing so because the case studies fascinate me.
So what characteristics does a fiction writer demonstrate? An insatiable curiosity, a need to know. Another is a what-if mind.
A big ego is possibly the least desirable attribute. A writer needs to be an observer, not a braggart. She should be a spectator, not a leader in the writing world where she lives most of the time. A writer certainly might be an egoist, i.e. self-centered, but not an egotist, a conceited, boastful person.
7. How long does it take you to write a book? Do you have a writing schedule and a special place set aside for writing? Do you keep notes on what you're writing and do you make outlines?
I try to write every day for 1 to 2 hours, but I don't always succeed, in a spare bedroom I've made into an office. I start with jotted notes, start inserting times and sequences, keep adding notes and ideas, clean up an outline, go back and rewrite, then do it again and again. I have thousands of scraps of paper, computer files, and filled tablets and don't always remember what a scribbled note means. No wonder it takes me years to write a book.
8. Do you instill some of your own life experiences into your characters?
The foundation of a writer's work is experience, but readers may not realize which parts are from her life. A fund exercise for your imagination is to try to figure this out. In Never Retreat all the sections dealing with a flash flood are NOT based on anything I've experienced. However, I lived through the media coverage of the 1976 Big Thompson River flood. I tapped that information and my second-hand emotions watching the tragedy as it was revealed. On the other hand, the parts in which Raye twirls a lariat, are based on childhood adventures with my gig sister as we played cowboys. The singing scenes had their beginnings in one college job as a singing waitress.
I often use major catastrophes in writing, replete with floods, fires, blizzards and disasters. Everyday life can sound boring and people often read fiction to escape. My work avoids rich or famous characters to favor everyday people. Calamities show there's no such thing as a "normal" human. Everyone as different strengths, weaknesses, loves, interests. A crisis allows me to parade the character in her strengths.
9. What do you hope readers will take away from your books?
This is new fiction for you" unafraid to debate contemporary concerns. . .pulls no punches. . .provides a fresh look at age-old issues. This is your kind of writing if you think. . .People are smarter than an phone. . .Feminism is just starting to come alive. . .You'll always take a human over the most advanced app. . .You can laugh at yourself. . .Women use four-letter words, including love.