Meet Debut Novelist Bonnie R. Paulson

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?

  1. I began writing as soon as I could hold a pencil.
  2. I dabbled in high school but didn’t get serious until recently.
  3. A romance-reading friend dared me to write one.
  4. 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?

  1. Sweet contemporary romance
  2. Romantic suspense
  3. Stories with medical elements
  4. None of the above
  5. 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?

  1. While watching the evening news
  2. While rushing to the Emergency Room
  3. While waiting for a traffic light to turn green
  4. 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.

Essay Questions

(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’s Drawing

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

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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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28 Responses to Meet Debut Novelist Bonnie R. Paulson

  1. Keli Gwyn says:

    Welcome, Bonnie! It’s great to have you here. I had such fun reading your answers to my questions. I was laughing out loud by the end of the interview.

    My passion is writing, and I’m privileged to be pursuing my passion daily.

  2. My passion is my family but since they are all grown (even the grandkids ) I guess it would be reading & listening to Gospel Music. Sometimes at the same time.:) I do this everyday.
    Wilma

    wilmamet6(at)gmail(dot)com

    • Thank you for stopping by Wilma! I love family. It warms my heart to hear that yours is your passion. People like you will keep this world from falling apart with your love.

      Thank you! Good luck!

  3. Thanks Keli, I had a blast. You are so creative and my jaw was in perma drop at the sheer research you did. Very well done.

    Thank you for having me!

  4. Jeanne T says:

    Wow, what a fun interview! Bonnie, I confess, I just got to know you a little bit today. Reading this interview. You sound like a woman of depth, and it sounds like your stories reflect that. 🙂
    Hmmmm, my passion…..well my first passion is my family. I love hanging with them, and getting to know my kids as they grow in and through each stage (and they keep me on my knees!). I also love scrapbooking, and I am excited to be exploring writing, which will become a daily event once school begins again. Thanks for giving us the chance to get to know you better, Bonnie!

    • Hi Jeanne!
      Thank you for the kind words. You made me go “aw” 🙂
      I wish I could scrapbook. That is so great that you do. It takes creativity to do that task. I’m glad you’re getting to know your kids as well. Too few parents take the opportunity to do just that with the small amount of time they’re given.
      Thanks for coming by! and Hugs!

  5. Wendy says:

    Doesn’t Keli do an awesome job with these interviews? I can just picture you on your dirt bike coming up with ideas and controversial plot concepts.

    Love the way this inteview played out…multiple choice, true/false.
    ~ Wendy

  6. Brooklyn Ann says:

    Wow, what a fun interview! Your dirt biking fetish sounds like me with classic Mopar muscle cars. 🙂 Can’t wait to read BREATHE AGAIN.

  7. Hello Bonnie, I love your post and as usual Keli has introduced her readers to a dedicated and inspirational writer. You only prove once more that writers can do what they must … write … no matter their family/jobs or whatever life brings their way.

    I can see you have a true passion and do not try to color wash over the harder issues. My passion is a place and the people who I grew up with, worked with, fought and loved with … New York City … in particular Brooklyn where I was born and raised … next Washington Heights the most unique neighborhood in the five boroughs of NYC.

    I look forward to reading your work, the first, the next and as you continue what I am sure will be a successful career. Thanks for this post 🙂

    • What a beautiful comment, Ramblingsfromtheleft! Thanks you.
      I would LOVE to see NYC. From what I understand the city is more an experience than a place. People talk about it like an old friend they have a tumultous relationship with. I’m so glad to hear it is your passion and holds those you love within it.

      Thank you for stopping by and the kind words. Good luck with the drawing!

      Keli, your followers are awesome and I’m feeling the love! Thanks!

  8. Julie Witt says:

    My only passion is my family. I have hobbies but they are not a passion, they are a way I spend my time when I’m not with my family. Reading and knitting come close to passions, but I just don’t know if I would categorize them quite that way.
    Great interview, Bonnie! I feel like I learned a lot about you that I didn’t know before today 🙂

  9. Wow what a great interview–not the norm at all! Bonnie is awesome, and I’m glad you got to showcase her talents a bit here.

  10. This was such a fantastic interview! Great questions and I really enjoyed the answers. Good luck with BREATHE AGAIN! 🙂

  11. tammybarley says:

    Bonnie, your book sounds wonderful! Keli, thank you, as always, for your creative and entertaining interview!

    My passion? My kiddos, family, and friends. My other passion? CBA fiction. Oh, and hugging horses (a horse–that’s a dirt bike with hooves.) =)

  12. Corinne proctor says:

    Bonnie, I enjoy your comments! I often wondered how you do everything you do!!! I had a great visual of you in a mall with 6 guys shopping!! Lol!!! Good luck in your next books!!!

  13. cassie says:

    I am so excited for the 22nd!!!!! i love reading all your books.

  14. Cindy Porter says:

    You can count me as one of your biggest fan!!!! I love everything about you,always have even before you became all famous.!! 🙂

  15. Keli Gwyn says:

    Thanks to everyone who stopped by and to those who left comments for Bonnie.

    I’ve held the drawing for the two prizes Bonnie so generously offered, albeit a day late. Sorry about that. The winner of the Amazon gift card is Wilma Metcalf, and the winner of the digital copy of Breathe Again is Brooklyn Ann.

    Congratulations Wilma and Brooklyn Ann! I’ll be in touch.

  16. Thank you so much Keli for having me and everyone that was kind enough to comment. I really enjoyed this and you all made me feel so welcome and loved.

    I hope we meet again. I will be watching for you!

    Hugs, Bonnie

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