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Interview with Bonnie Calhoun

Bonnie Calhoun is indeed one very busy lady. As she phrases it on her author bio,“… sleep is sorely over-rated.” As a member of her blog alliance, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, I can testify personally that she has responded (unexpectedly) to an email from me to request a book for review in the wee hours of the morning – so I know she isn’t just saying that! Bonnie also publishes the Christian Fiction Online magazine, is the director of ACFW’s Northeast zone, teaches workshops on blogging and website construction at more than one writing conference, runs her own clothing design store, and still manages to teach a bible study and a weekly Sunday school class for teens.

Bonnie, I confess that I get a headache even trying to imagine juggling the many roles mentioned in your bio. How do you stay organized enough to tackle so many things?

Spreadsheets! I love Excel spreadsheets! And I think part of the penchant for organization comes from the fact that I am an “ENTJ” on the Myer-Briggs Personality test. I love it when a good plan comes together!

You have been supporting other writers for some time, in many different ways, was this always with the intent of building a platform to support your own writing, or is that a happy bonus?
It’s a happy bonus! Sometimes I find such easy ways to help people, and I can’t just waste those opportunities. The Lord gave me a great gift of organization and design, and that translates into being able to see the big picture. So anything that is furthering the Lord’s Kingdom is right on my work list.

What’s your secret to staying up late (chocolate, coffee …)?
ROFLOL…that one’s easy…work. I have a certain amount that I need to get done every day, or risk falling behind. So I stay up till I’m satisfied with the day’s progress. For example…I’m writing this interview at 2:30 AM…

Your characters in “Cooking the Books” are so zany and full of unique quirks. Are they based on real people, or what gave you the inspiration for some of their unique traits?
They are a conglomeration of relatives and people I know. We all have zany characters in our lives. All you need to do is meld a few of them together to create a really fun personality. And if you have a single person that is uber-zany, so much the better…*snort-giggle*…just don’t name the character after them.

One of the topics woven into your story revolves around the idea of tendencies for women of different generations in the same family to be drawn to the same type of man. What drew you to this topic?
All of my stories will have the “bones” of an issue that many women deal with. I know many dysfunctional families that if you look back at their generations…their mom made the same mistakes, and so did their grandmas, in choosing unwisely. This is the time where we need to pray to break these cycles. And I am going to try and portray women who learn to overcome.

What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing career (so far)?
That is a totally easy question! Holding my first novel in my hands. (The box of author copies came this week. Holding them makes it all real in a tangible way that I can’t describe…but other published authors understand.

Who is your writing support system?
My agent, Terry Burns and his Client group, my crit group, the Penwrights, My ACFW Northeast Loop, my editor, Ramona Richards, and several other people as they have time…but most all of us are writers, and we’re all…writing. ☺

What writers do you feel have influenced your own writing style the most?
Jerry Jenkins, Brandilyn Collins, Robert Liparulo, and Janet Evanovich…in that order.

Any parting words?
Yes…a great quote from my agent Terry Burns that I love to share on a regular basis, “Publishing isn’t a selection process. It’s a survival process.”

Thanks for sharing with us, Bonnie, and congratulations on making it on the cover of Publisher’s Weekly with your upcoming book!

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