Bonnie, what makes you laugh?
The human condition. I can’t take most of life too seriously. We’re so nonsensical with our concerns about material things, status, what others think about us. That’s why my writing has a definite humorous touch.
What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun?
I like to get into other people’s heads. I think if we could feel what others do, we’d be a lot kinder to one another, as well as more pleasant. For me, fiction writing is the closest we can get to this perspective. One of the best books I’ve read recently is The Absolutely True
Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.
Told from the point of view of a fourteen-year-old Native American boy, it’s hysterically funny while simultaneously dealing with tragedy such as alcoholism, death, and racism.
I’ll never be fourteen, a male, or a Native American, but Alexie is so skillful a writer that I became young Arnold for the duration of the book. Needless to say, the quality of the
writing helps immensely. That includes good grammar!
Have you noticed any changes in your writing style or approach compared to when you began writing?
I used to think fiction writing was all inspiration and creativity, as if it sprang from the author’s mind and fingers with almost no effort. I couldn’t understand why it was so difficult for me. Now I believe that although inspiration and creativity play a role, regular hard work is much more important. And actually this has made me feel more in control of my efforts because I’m more in control. I can rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. I can benefit from suggestions by my critique partners, friends, and readers.
The real work does begin after you’ve created the fiction world and gave the
characters life. Besides writing and reading, what are your favorite activities?
Rudyard Kipling wrote, “The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” That’s the way I feel. My favorites cost almost no money and aren’t splashy or fancy, but I love doing them. Sometimes they’re based at least partially on guilt—like exercising, taking walks, riding bikes. It took me years to realize and admit I enjoyed them. Sometimes I have to control them for my own best interests—like eating
out (limiting myself to vegetarian choices helps). I have a strong commitment to volunteerism, although right now I’m reviewing my options to find ones that fit with my lifestyle. I like to people-watch. I like to be with people who have curious, active, learning minds. My very favorite-ist right now is being with my two-year-old grandson,
who’s the biggest comedian in the world.
It sounds like you have a busy life. I’m not surprised you enjoy people. Authors have a unique way of focusing on life. I too keep my grand’s and have found the most important things-cost nothing.
It sounds great, do you have any other works in progress?
I’m currently working on a contemporary romance tentatively titled Burn: Playing with Fire. When a woman first loses her job, then gets dumped by her boyfriend, she fears she’s destined to be homeless and loveless. But a raging forest fire lights flames between her and a brusque small town mayor to show her what’s really important in life. The setting is a town in Colorado loosely based on places I’ve known. I love these hamlets. They always have a wonderful mix of eccentrics, loners, and regular neighbors; yet their problems are universal. I also am working on a satire about government and government employees entitled Civil Servants. Not a romance although at least one occurs in the course of the book.
Bonnie McCune has been writing since age ten, when she submitted a poem about rain rushing down the gutter to the Saturday Evening Post (it was immediately rejected). This interest facilitated her career in nonprofits doing public and community relations and marketing. She’s worked for libraries, directed a small arts organization and managed Denver's beautification program.
Simultaneously, she’s been a free-lance writer with publications in local, regional, and specialty publications for news and features. Her civic involvement includes grass-roots organizations, political campaigns, writers' and arts' groups, and children's literacy. For years, she entered recipe contests and was a finalist once to the Pillsbury Cook Off. A special love is live theater. Had she been nine inches taller and thirty pounds lighter, she might have been an actress. For reasons unknown (an unacknowledged
optimism?), she believes that one person can make a difference in this world.
Her true passion is fiction. Her credits include a novel, A Saint Comes Stumbling In (2012) and a novella, "Heart-Strong" (2013), both from Prism Book Group. See information about these, as well as samples of her published short stories, on her website, www.BonnieMcCune.com