Bonnie R. Paulson delves into discovering sweet contemporary romance stories in the green wonderland of the Inland Northwest. Her debut novel, Breathe Again, releases from Carina Press August 22, 2011.
With passion geared toward dirt bikes, her romantic husband, and her children, Bonnie finds it easy to transition between the stories she writes and the life of a busy mom. While certified as a radiologic technologist, she works as a medical transcriptionist and writes well past the point of aggravated carpal tunnel. Four kids keep her busy. She couldn’t be happier.
Bonnie includes something medical in each of her novels. She can’t seem to stay away from the medical field or dirt bikes. When she’s not writing, buzzing around the Rockies, reading, or playing with kids, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen. Most of the time, her original recipes end up in her stories. Her idea of Heaven? Sitting on a dirt bike with a chicken parmigiana sandwich in hand while the family revs around her.
Bonnie has chosen my Writer’s Quiz interview format. Since she has not one, but two degrees, this seems fitting. Rest assured, there are no grades involved. Bonnie is already a winner in my book.
Thank you so much for having me, Keli. I love RWotJ. I am so honored to be here!
Multiple Choice Questions
(Please explain your answers.)
1) When did you first experience your love of writing?
- I began writing as soon as I could hold a pencil.
- I dabbled in high school but didn’t get serious until recently.
- A romance-reading friend dared me to write one.
- None of the above
I would have to say all of the above. When I was little, I wrote poems – Roses are red and that type. Then in high school and college I started a bunch of stories but never finished them. The seriousness of writing didn’t occur to me until a friend in my A&P (anatomy and physiology) dared me to try writing. It’s been one great roller coaster of emotion since then.
2) What kind of stories do you write?
- Sweet contemporary romance
- Romantic suspense
- Stories with medical elements
- None of the above
- All of the above
All of the above. Sweet contemporary romance is my focus right now. Advice from multiple agents, editors and other authors is to focus on a main genre until you establish a readership at which point you can explore other genres. I have a couple romantic suspense manuscripts completed, but I have chosen to focus on the contemporary aspects right now. And no matter what I do, medical elements slip in and take over. I can’t avoid it.
3) When did you come up with the idea for Breathe Again?
- While watching the evening news
- While rushing to the Emergency Room
- While waiting for a traffic light to turn green
- None of the above
Rushing to the emergency room. Keli, you’re good! I was rushing to the emergency room with my mentor for a trauma. Halfway down the stairs she got a call on the radio that she needed to turn around. The trauma was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. She had discovered her son with the same injuries not long before. I wrote the first few pages while she recovered in the break room.
True or False
(Please explain your answer.)
1) I like to deal with controversial subjects in my stories.
True! I can’t help it. I know a lot of authors that baby their characters. Mine start out in a pickle. Breathe Again deals with death – suicide and terminal illness. Both are tragic, of course, but one is easier to accept than the other. Maggie almost loses her chance with love as she discovers the differences.
2) I spent years querying before I finally received a contract offer.
False. I actually completed Breathe Again (then titled Whispers of Me) in the hospital after delivering my fourth child in April of 2010. I sent it out soon after and received some R&Rs (revise and resubmits) from a few editors. While those were in, I sent the original manuscript to Carina and forgot about it. In November (the 4th to be exact), Angela James called me with an offer. Six months. Not bad. Now writing, yes. I’d been writing for a while.
3) I got The Call and told the editor I thought I was going to throw up.
True. Angela James called me and first I thought she was a telemarketer. Then she explained the call and when she asked if I had any questions, I told her I was going to throw up. She laughed and tweeted it a bit later that day.
(Maximum of two paragraphs per question.)
1) How did you come to be represented by highly respected agent Rachelle Gardner?
I got the call from Carina and emailed Rachelle the next day. We discussed representation over the phone that evening and I was ecstatic to announce it. In March, unfortunately, Rachelle and I amicably parted ways. I have a great respect for her clients and what she has worked hard to build in the industry, but she and I just weren’t the right fit. And in this industry, it’s a like a business-marriage, you need to fit or there is just frustration on both sides.
2) With four kids and a job outside the home, when do you find time to write?
I have to say, I have no idea. I utilize nap times, down time, snatches of free moments (ha) here and there. Sacrifice the majority of sleep. I think I get an average of 4 hours a night during the week. But writing for me isn’t something I fit in around my schedule. I seem to fit my schedule around the writing. I write down goals with my critique partner, Maggie Fechner, and then stick to them… no matter what. Time just seems to find me, I guess.
3) How has your job as a radiologic technologist served you in your writing endeavors?
Oh man. Well, Maggie – in Breathe Again – is a radiologic technologist. It’s a position that goes relatively unrecognized and yet RTs are in the middle of everything. You have a terrible cough with a fever? Go to the ER and you’re going to get a chest x-ray. Fall down the stairs? You’re getting x-rayed. Have a lump? Mammograms are radiology. Stroke? CT scans are radiology. So are MRIs, ultrasounds, radiation therapy, fluoro treatments (esophagrams, barium enemas, etc.), DEXA scans (bone scans for calcium density), and the list goes on.
If you go to the hospital or the doctors, there is a greater likelihood you will see radiology than a low bill. Since RTs are in everything, it gives me a chance to see a multitude of techniques and experience procedures I would have no idea of otherwise.
Fill in the Blank
1) The quirkiest thing I’ve had a character do is _____________________.
Great question. Maggie goes to the store and stares at a gallon of chocolate milk. She can’t help herself and then suddenly there is Brodan.
2) I’m excited about writing for Carina Press because: ________________.
Oh, the team members. I have had more author building focusing on craft, brand, marketing, and more since I signed with them than in the three years since I started writing. Not once have I been given the impression they don’t have time for me or aren’t interested in what I have to say. Add to that the fact that Carina Press is a Harlequin imprint and therefore a member of the H family. Everything about CP is terrific. I have had an exceptional experience with them so far.
3) The members of The Bonnie R. Paulson Fan Club are: _______________.
Me! Just kidding. Actually, I have serious insecurities about myself, so I would never be in a fan club for me. But my biggest fan is my hubby. He is my rock. And yet, he’s never read anything of mine. True, he has typed my work and when I do red-ink corrections, he types them in for me, but he’s never read anything of mine. My mom and sister-in-law, Cassie, would probably be next as well as my grandparents and other family. Wow, I didn’t realize how many people support me until I wrote this down. Thank you.
Story Problems: Just for Fun
(X is an unknown number. You get extra credit for tackling these. )
1) You’re contacted by a major dirt bike manufacturer and asked to be one of X models in their latest ad. In exchange they’ll give you the bike of your dream as pay. Which model would you choose, and what special features would it have?
Oh. My. Heaven. Hello! This would be great! Of course it would be the Honda CRF250X. Not the R. The X has more affinity for trails with a lower end torque to climb up trees if you want. Headlight, electric start AND kick start, a 249 cc liquid-cooled single cylinder four-stroke engine, 12.9:1 compression ratio (purrrr!), and a solid 37.7 inches seat height (ideal for my vertically challenged self) among other things too numerous to list. I actually haven’t even declared this as my new choice yet. You are getting an exclusive!
2) Your best friend, who knows you very well, calls to invite you to lunch and suggests your favorite X restaurants. Which are they, and which one wins out?
This is going to sound so immodest. I don’t like restaurants much because I cook better than most . Is that bad to say? If I had to choose one, though, there is a terrific little Chinese dive in eastern Spokane called Ching Hua. Their egg flower soup and sweet and sour chicken is AWESOME.
3) One studly snowboarder, two fine-looking fishermen, and three buff dirtbikers enter your favorite mall with you, where you were the winner of a $2,500 shopping spree. Each of the six men was provided to tote the bags for you from your favorite X stores. Where are the bags from, and what is in each of them?
One store and I could spend that money in no time! I’d take those hot men into Motion Sports and buy up LBZ pants, Fox jerseys, Fox riding boots, a fog-resistant helmet, sports bras (of course), knee high socks, Fox gloves, a Fox bandana, Spy sunglasses, Fox stickers for my bike and maybe an after-market muffler if my ride didn’t have one already. New plastics for the bike would be up my alley, but the men would have to be STRONG to carry all of it. Plus, new gas cans, a few duffels (certainly Fox), as well as some lanyards and maybe a backpack, too. (I have a bag fetish). I could do with a few extra pairs of Skechers and another pair of Keens, but I’d be more than happy to buy each of the guys something too. Can’t go into the testosterone store with men and not buy them something. Poor guys. And more likely get double of everything but in my hubs’s size. He loves this stuff more than I do!
Bonnie’s Question for You
Not everyone loves dirt biking (gasp), but everyone does have a passion about something. What is yours and how often do you get to spend time doing it?
Bonnie has generously offered to give away a digital copy of Breathe Again as well as a $10 Amazon gift card (separate prizes for two winners).
To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Bonnie by August 15th and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process.
On August 16th, I will hold the drawing and post the winners’ names here as well as in a comment and will contact them via email to get an address.
Congratulations to Wilma Metcalf, winner of the Amazon gift card and to Brooklyn Ann, winner of the digital copy of Bonnie’s book, Breathe Again.
Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.
Prizes will be mailed to U.S. or Canadian addresses only.
Learn More About Bonnie
Visit her website ~ www.bonnierpaulson.com
Visit her personal blog ~ Bonnie R. Paulson
Friend her on Facebook ~ Bonnie R. Paulson
Follow her on Twitter ~ @bonnierpaulson