Bonnie S. Calhoun has a great sense of humor, but when it comes to her work, she takes it seriously. All of it.
Her exhausting list of job titles includes writer, speaker, webmaster, certified Google expert, Director of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, Publisher of Christian Fiction Online Magazine, professional seamstress/clothing designer, and Bible Study/Teen Sunday School teacher. She is also a faculty member of the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference and the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, teaching workshops on Blogging and Social Media. Recently she was named the American Christian Fiction Writers 2011 ‘Mentor of the Year’ and elected President of the Christian Authors Network. And this month— Bonnie added published author to the list, with the release of her new light-hearted mystery from Abingdon Press, Cooking the Books.
When she’s not working, Bonnie relaxes with her husband Bob at their log home on fifteen acres in Upstate New York.
How do you find time to do it all?
LOL . . . sleep is sorely over-rated. As a matter of fact it is about 2:00 AM right now . . . my best interview writing time it seems lately. I also love Excel spreadsheets! They make my life quite easy as long as you do the things on the list, when they should be done. No procrastinating allowed!
Let’s go back to the beginning . . . what sparked your writing journey?
Oh several things sparked this journey including a tendency to invite and enjoy misery . . . LOL . . . writers are a crazy bunch. Where else do you find people who create all day, then go back and spend the night throwing it away. *snort-giggle*
One other thing that sparked my journey was Jerry Jenkins and the Left Behind series.
Why Christian fiction?
LOL . . . why not? I guess because I identify with people who are kids of the King . . . and like people attract like people. And I like the temperament of people in Christian fiction a lot more than in the secular world.
Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?
Yes, indeedly! This whole writing journey. It started out to be something totally different and one day I woke up here. But God tends to do that to me a lot. It’s like that song, Jesus Take the Wheel. I was like the GPS lady . . . I’d start out in one direction and He’d make a turn and I’d be like, *heavy sigh* “Recalculating!” But I’ve learned to follow where He leads.
Let’s talk about your debut novel, Cooking the Books (Abingdon Press, April 2012). Please tell us about it.
Ohhhh, I love taking about Sloane. After her mother dies from a heart attack, Sloane Templeton goes from Cyber Crimes Unit to bookstore owner before she can blink. She also “inherits” a half-batty store manager named Felicia Tyler, better know as Fefe, bright red, tightly permed hair, wearer of noisy jewelry and ungodly bright spandex. She’s the half-batty manager of mom’s bookstore, and the batty part plays with loaded guns.
Then there’s a strange bunch of little old people from the neighborhood who meet at the store once a week called the Granny Oakleys Book Club who smell like food, but never read books. And Aunt Verline Buford, mom’s younger sister, who fancies herself as the Iron Chef, when in reality you need a cast-iron stomach to partake of her disasters. She had her last husband die of food poisoning, but they swear that she didn’t cause it.
And with a group like this you should never ask, “What else can go wrong?”
Mix in a pair of professors, several gun-toting thieves, and a couple books worth a fortune and the outcome could be murder!
Besides entertainment, what do you hope readers will take away from it?
Sloane Templeton is a third-generation battered woman. I hope the takeaway is that you can overcome your circumstances . . . if you really want to, because the Lord is always there to back you up. In other words, for every behavior there is a payday, and you don’t choose to change a behavior until the pain of remaining the same becomes larger than the pain of change.
You have a large Internet presence. What advice can you offer to other writers who want to establish their platform? What are a few of the most important “dos and don’ts”?
The most important do’s . . . gather a team that are your target reader group (and that does not contain the whole world), supply them with a product or a service, and make yourself more of a help than a hindrance. In other words . . . why would they come back to visit? Don’ts . . . Don’t spend all of your time consumed with yourself, don’t just talk about yourself, don’t just offer your products . . . in other words . . . there is no “I” in team.
A few fun questions…
Yikes . . . fun for you or for me??
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
Chocolate, and that works just fine whether I’m doing or don’ting. But as a comfort food . . . sheesh . . . I’ve got a fluffy butt! You can tell I have a myriad of favorite and comfortable . . . oh . . . you meant comfort. Well they’re that too! I love buffalo chicken wings, cheese jacks, fried haddock, and I mean the deep fried kind, and baked macaroni and cheese . . . and I’m getting really hungry . . .
This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
Actually I do sing, mainly praise and worship. This is my absolute favorite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcNP7X-Zw4s.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
One word . . . Gospel : )
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
Ohhhh, there’s an evolution there that leans toward the strong, female lead but personally I’d rather be the one with a much narrower butt than what I have now. 🙂
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.
I have a fifteen year old large dog named Sly, who thinks he’s five and a Chihuahua. And I had a cat named Misty but she passed away two months ago at eighteen. I’ve always had dogs and cats . . . and tropical fish (Koi) . . . which grew too large for the tank and now reside in our pond outside.
Thank you, Bonnie! It’s been fun having you as a guest at DivineDetour!
To learn more about Bonnie, visit her website at http://bonniescalhoun.com/.
To learn more about Christian Fiction Online, go to http://christianfictiononlinemagazine.com/.
To order Cooking the Books, logon to:
Thank you for hosting me on Divine Detour. This was a lot of fun and absolutely…divine!
It was fun for me too, Bonnie 🙂