Nicole- thank you for hosting me today. I love to talk about my books. RC
Tell us about the book you're featuring today.
My title is A Blanket for Her Heart, and the book is available in all formats at the moment. You can get it at Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, or at your local bookstore. See the links below.
Tell us a little about A Blanket for Her Heart --, what inspired you to write it?
A Blanket for Her Heart is the book of my heart- my first full-length novel, about Anne Hoskins and the man who sparks her to give wings to her life. It's a tale of courage and setbacks, about a woman attempting to turn her life upside down despite fear and uncertainty. Some might say she's willing to try for nothing more than a man, but I maintain she's driven by far more than that.
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
I can't stand to decide every last detail of the plot, but I had to re-write almost an entire book one time when the story wouldn't work out. So, now I plot a couple of chapters at a time by "telling" what happens, as one would in a synopsis. Then I write those chapters, see where I am, and summarize a little more. As long as I keep the ending and a few turning points clear in mind the process works very well.
I usually start with a clear first chapter in mind before I plot anything. A Blanket for Her Heart began as a dream, which I recalled in detail and which became the Prologue and first chapter.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
I've written contemporary romance, played around with historical and suspense novels, (all love stories) since I wrote A Blanket for Her Heart. My most recent book is a contemporary romance titled A Little Bit of Baby. That was published by Silver Publishing, along with A Little Bit of Blackmail, which preceded it. I like happy endings and love stories, so the romance genre choice was simple.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
I actually have a couple. Jessie in A Little Bit of Baby is a mixed up but feisty woman at the start, but she gets her act together and makes sure Ike plays straight with her. Anne, in A Blanket for Her Heart, is an older woman faced with the most difficult decision of her life- whether to retreat into her quiet, withdrawn existence or take chances with her fate. Her choice leads to an unexpected challenges and consequences. She and Jessie are both strong, determined, and lovely women.
Who was the toughest character for you to "get right" that you have written so far?
The answer to this one is Megan, who I am writing at the moment. Her book doesn't have a title yet, but she's got me fully occupied. She's living with a jerk at the start of the book and why she's putting up with him escapes me. Of course, she's had a daughter by the man and worries about Jordan, so-? I go back and forth with her sense of duty towards her daughter, whether or not she fears her boyfriend, and how she decides to leave him for the hero.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
My inspiration comes entirely from my imagination. I sometimes try to relate a character to someone I've met, but I need to know much more about my characters than I know about real people. My funny stories are all fictional I'm afraid. One scene in A Little Bit of Baby cracks me up, but it's at the end of the book so I will not reveal the details. In the new book, Megan fears Wade, the hero, is about to announce he loves her. Not ready to hear that, she dashes from house and wanders down the street, then goes back without a good explanation for her behavior. When he asks why she ran off like that she blurts out, "I had gas."
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
Bringing my characters to vibrant life, without a doubt. But, there's also that little factor one must deal with after publication- Promotion and marketing! I'd much prefer to be in Anne's head, or Megan's, telling their story, living their struggles and triumphs.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
One thing? Hmm. My wife and I have celebrated almost fifty-five wonderful anniversaries together- which tells you I'm a guy and a grandfather! We have four daughters and a son and twelve wonderful grandchildren we love dearly.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
I've had many in my life- guy stuff mostly- sailboat racing, bass fishing on a beautiful lake in an ancient red canoe, but now it's a nice glass of red zinfandel with cheese and crackers on the side while reading a great review of one of my books.
What TV Show are you addicted to?
I'm not much for TV, but I love Downton Abbey and MASH re-runs.
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don't flow?
I need an idea for the scene I'm working on. I actually think about the scene for a bit before I put words to paper. I can write with the TV blasting or in silence, early in the morning or late at night. If I have the scene figured out very little distracts me. If I don't nothing helps.
Where were you when you got your first contract? What problems did you have getting published?
I received contracts for two books in two days, so I was ecstatic. My wife was the first to hear the news since I was home and at my computer when the word came in. A Little Bit of Blackmail and A Blanket for Her Heart were published within a couple of months of each other, though Blanket took a detour on the way to the bookstores. My second publisher made a policy decision to handle only religious books just two days before Blanket's scheduled release date. Blanket doesn't qualify as a religious book, so they cut me loose! Since I had the cover and edited manuscript ready to go, I chose to indie publish the book rather than go through the submission process again. So, after a brief delay Blanket finally hit the shelves at Amazon.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
Now there's a hard question. Do fairy tales count? In living memory I'd have to say I read my first Harlequin romance about ten years ago. The heroine was a tow truck driver as I recall- good book
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
My friend and mentor, Kristan Higgins, whose book The Best Man just came out.
If you still have one of those pesky non-writing jobs what is it?
It's called "retirement"
Do you have a favorite movie you have seen in the last few months and/or an all time favorite?
My all time favorite is Sleepless in Seattle
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
As I mentioned above, my current WIP has no title at the moment, but the tale of Wade and Megan is through the first draft. Now the hard work starts- the editing. After that? I may try my hand at re-writing a suspense novel I developed years ago. Or a historical that I played around with once upon a time.
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
I'm actually doing that with my critique partner of many years, Judy Roth. Judy is a busy editor these days and I'm tied up, so our joint book is moving at a snail's pace. But we're working on it.
How do you pick your characters names?
Out of my head. Sometimes I change them halfway through the book if the character doesn't fit the name anymore (in my head).
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
I write both now, though I believe in love at first sight. I told my wife I would marry her on our first date and here we are more than fifty years later. A Blanket for Her Heart is a love at first sight story, but the love of Wade and Megan in the new book develops slowly.
Anne Hoskins faces the most difficult decision of her life. Will she grab for the brass ring, or choose the safer, more familiar path she's traveled since her youth? Will temptation divert her from the choice she selects? She has much to learn about herself - and tests galore to overcome. A BLANKET FOR HER HEART is a story of courage and love, uncertainty and challenges. And an unexpected turn of fate.
A BLANKET FOR HER HEART- EXCERPT PROLOGUE
He checked into the old Victorian hotel, dragged the ancient ten-speed bike from the rack on the Toyota, and headed along the shore, away from town. The route was familiar, ridden many times with his wife long ago. Back then, only two or three boats rocked quietly in the harbor. Now there had to be three hundred, rivaling Newport just across the bay. Shops and restaurants, once part of a sleepy little town, thrived on the bustle of early season tourists.
He cleared the harbor and headed south over the sandy isthmus that held the island together. The land had a name he’d seen on maps, Conanicut Island, but he called the whole place Jamestown, after the town. Passing Fort Getty, he started up the long hill he hadn’t seen since Carol died.
Proud of her riding, she’d always beaten him to the top, except once, that last time. He had teased her, laughing with victory. She had smiled and said it was just a fluke; she hadn’t had her vitamins that day. A first warning, it had gone unrecognized.
That was a long time ago, before he met Ellie and before she dumped him last year. Inactive since then, the last of the climb he had to do on foot.
Back on the bike, he pedaled toward the lighthouse, up and down the rolling hills. The New England air was crisp, but warm enough, and the ancient bike rolled smoothly under one of those clear blue early June skies. Scrub trees and bushes lined the road and an old rock wall, nearly hidden in the undergrowth, followed the pavement, its neglected top missing stones.
The heaviness of his last few months returned with a sudden certainty the island was a lonely place to live, not at all as bright and open as he’d remembered it.
A bird high overhead caught his attention. An osprey or a hawk soaring, probably seeking prey. He caught his breath as it dove suddenly, flashing downward like a dart.
The bike lurched. His attention diverted, he had drifted into the ditch at the side of the road. Pulling hard to the left, he tried to recover, but the front wheel struck one large rock and then another. As if a spectator, he watched in disbelief as the wheel collapsed, pitching him forward, over the handlebars. The rocky ditch offered a hard greeting.
As his body registered pain, he lay unmoving, hoping someone would come by. But the road was devoid of homes or cars. He was alone.
Raw flesh against the rocks and pavement brought an involuntary cry as he struggled to get up. He lurched to his feet, his left arm crooked, panic clutching at his heart. Sliding his right arm below the left for support, he took a step and groaned in spite of himself.
A single driveway beckoned. It had to be followed, but its slippery, sloshing gravel made each step he took a grim adventure into pain. Finally, a house appeared deep in the woods, barely visible but a very welcome sight. Waves of pain ripped through the arm with each stumbling step, but he goaded himself onward.
"One more step, one more blasted step."
At last, the house. Thick shrubs shrouded the front, extending from the garage around to an L-shaped wing, a castle wall to block his entry. The garage was closed, no car in sight. Silence lay heavy in the air. He stared, numb, his mind uncomprehending. So much effort for nothing.
The deep roar of a motorcycle reached up from the road, unmistakable help gone by, a blow to his belly. Someone had to be home. Three steps toward the garage revealed a path, barely visible in the shrubs. He eased through, trying to avoid branches, and emerged in a sheltered courtyard.
Where can readers find you or your books?
My books are available at:
Barnes and Noble:
My blog/website http://www.rcbonitz.com
Once again, thank you Nicole. RC