Sunday, May 2, 2010

Spotlight Author with Bonnie Hearn Hill

My faithful readers will remember today's guest from a few weeks ago. She was my very first attempt at promo!!! When her name and book covers graced the pages of my blog she was introducing to us her latest ARIES RISING in her Star Crossed series. Now she returns for an interview as well as an introduction to the second book in the series TAURUS EYES. Please welcome Bonnie Hearn Hill.

Hello Bonnie. Please let's not waste any more time. Tell us about TAURUS EYES.

It's the second in the Star Crossed series. At a Monterey summer writing camp led by a famous writer, Logan meets Jeremy, the guy of her dreams. But Jeremy is only interested in the ghost of Sean Baylor, whom the instructor has asked Logan to write about. Baylor, a dead rock star, may be haunting the seaside town. Logan has only her knowledge of astrology to help her solve the mystery.

I'm very close to this novel, which is a love story, and ultimately, I think about learning to let go.

What do Bonnie Hearn Hill fans have to look forward to in 2010?

Three novels--woo hoo. All three star Crossed books will be out this year. GEMINI NIGHT publishes in August.

What are you working on now?

I am playing around with a new idea. I've also done some co-authoring of nonfiction books.

You have recently taken a jump from Thrillers to Young Adult. How has the crossover of genres been for you? In writing and publishing aspect?

I've written several genres, including short fiction and nonfiction. I love YA. Not that i didn't love thrillers. Because I want to write character-driven fiction, the process is basically the same. Writing a single, first-person point of view after writing large thrillers has been a challenge, though. I think it's forced me to get really tight and focused with my writing.

You know, I never think I'm writing for teens.I just think about the characters, and the words pour out. Part of the joy is including astrology, which I learned about right along with my character. My best friend is Cosmopolitan astrologer Hazel Dixon-Cooper. She's in my critique group and has been extremely generous with her input.

Some writers sat that they have a story that has to be told others say that the characters come to them and demand that their story be told... how does it work for you?

Both ways. In this case the astrology came to me first, and I went looking for a character to tell the story. I just let Logan write me a letter.

With INTERN, my first thriller, my character, the political intern, needed to tell her story. She came to me when my husband and I were taking Amtrak back from San Francisco. i thought I smelled cigarette smoke and became ill. Somehow I was able to scribble down her words. Later, I asked my husband if he had smelled the smoke, and he said, "I don't know. I think I smelled it because you smelled it."

Another time, I knew I wanted to write about a slave after the end of the Civil War, but I didn't hear her voice until I was taking a bubble bath. I dripped bubbles all over the floor.

Bonnie, as an aspiring romance writer I am always looking for a good piece of advice or that secret that may help get me into that "published" group. Do you have any advice or writing secrets for me or other aspiring authors?

That is a great question, and I spent 23 years (after writing my first novel) looking for an answer. You are probably not that far away from the group. Craft is major. Ask yourself if your story has a hook. Is it a specific genre, not a hybrid, and does it have a high concept? Most people stop right there. The next step is to be sure you are showing and not telling. Are there well-developed scenes with goal, opposition, action, dialogue, conflict, resolution?

Most beginning writers fear conflict. They don't realize that it is just "I want A, and you want B."

If you follow the three-act structure, you need a major act every 25 percent of the book--at the end of Act I, in the middle of Act II, and at the end of Act III. the remaining 25 percent (Act III) is pretty much climax and resolution. There, I'll bet that's more than you wanted to know;-)

Does writing ever get any easier?

Great question. Someone compared it to riding a bicycle up the mountain, and I think that's a good comparison. Riding up the mountains tough, but i remind myself I've done it before, and that after I reach the top of that mountain, it's going to be a great ride down. With hat said, I do want to add that some books come easier than others.

When you were a guest speaker at my local romance writer's chapter, Yosemite Romance Writers you spoke highly of your weekly critique group. How do you know when your critique group is right for you?

They were all students at one time, so they were trained by me. Each one brings something different to the mix. Aries Christopher Allen Poe is brilliant, and I think it's fair to say no one critiques fiction as well as he does. Foe instance, in TAURUS EYES, I wrote a kissing scene in Chapter 4. Chris shook his head and said, "Bon, if you put that there, they will be in bed in Chapter 5."

He was right. I put the scene in the Word Spa and brought it out when the kids were going to be separated for a time.

Hazel Dixon-Cooper, as I mentioned, is wonderful with astrology input. Like every good Pisces, she's also well read in the paranormal field and can tell when something is a paranormal cliche. She's funny as hell, which always helps in an intense group, and she's very honest about her own challenges, which makes it easy for us to be honest too.

Dennis C. Lewis is an Aquarius psychologist. We'll all be on Page 6, and he'll say. "Ah, back here on page 2, you said this, but a paragraph before that you said..." And, you know, he is always right.

Genevieve Hinson is the newest member of our group. She's a social media genius who has helped me with promotion, and she's writing a killer young adult book. We worked together at the newspaper and are extremely close. Her comments are thoughtful, helpful and supportive.

I think that's most important. You have to love the people in your critique group, and they have to love you. I've been in other groups years ago that actually hindered my writing. that's because most groups are run by the strongest personality, and the strongest personality may not have the best agenda or the most knowledge.

This group brings out the best in me, and that's how you know if a group works. What does it bring out in you?

In your last answer you mention something that sparked my interest... What's a "Word Spa?"

In my private critique group, we have what they call Bonnie-isms for certain terms. Here are a few.

CINDERELLA GOES TO THE BALL: Not enough conflict in a scene. Protagonist achieves goal to easily.

ROBINSON CRUSOE SYNDROME: One character alone and thinking about his life. Again, no conflict.

STAGE BUSINESS: Smiled, shrugged, frowned, etc. Meaningless actions the author inserts only because she knows there needs to be action but not because they are organic to the character or the conflict.

THE OLD WORDS HOME: Where we send old-fashioned and/or out of place language. Located just past my backyard, it's a place where these words are cared for and live out their days in comfort.

THE WORD SPA: You write a brilliant description in the middle of a fast-moving scene. you write a love scene or an action scene too soon in the story. Simply copy it and send it to the Word Spa (located across from The Old Words Home). your brilliant writing will relax and hang out in comfort until it's time for you to retrieve it for this story or the next one. (I actually have a file on my computer labeled "Word Spa.")

I love it!!! Thank you, I will be refering back to this part for future reference!:-)

When you aren't writing Thrillers or Young Adult novels, what do you do in your spare time?

Writing is all I've ever wanted to do, and it takes up much of my life, thank goodness. Most of my friends are writers, and all of them totally support my work. I recently connected with Jeani Tokomoto, who was my first girlfriend. We met in kindergarten.

I also teach writing and speak at conferences. My husband Larry is a gifted artist and writer. I'm interested in health/fitness, a supporter of literacy causes and Cat House on the Kings.

Any other events or appearances coming up?

Bouchercon--this fall in San Francisco. I can't wait. It will be my version of a vacation. I also will read a story, "BLACK MOON LILITH," on KVPR's Valley Writers read. I was one of the first six readers, and the first woman, when the show made its debut in the 1980s.

Bonnie, I am so glad you were able to come back and visit with us here at Micole Writes Romance. It has been a pleasure getting to kn ow more about you, your writing style, and your books. I wish you much success with the release of TAURUS EYES. I am looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of the book. Readers you can find Bonnie's books at Barnes and Noble, Borders, or Amazon.

Thanks for letting me drop by, and please keep writing. That's what gets you published. I am only where I a because I refused to give up.

Thank you. I will remember that!;-) See you next week friends when we will have another author in the Spotlight!




Bonnie said...

Thanks, Micole

Sarah Simas said...

HI Bonnie and Micole,

Awesome interview! I loved the Bonnie-isms. Too funny! The Word Spa was my favorite. Your critique group sounds like a very nuturing and healthy environment. I really liked the pictures you posted on your website featuring your CP's. A very chic tribute!

Best wishes on your Y&A series, Bonnie. :)

Great job, Micole! You asked some killer Q's. ((hugs!))

Donna O'Brien said...

You rocked it again Bonnie...I totally concur with Sarah...absolutely LOVED the Bonnie-isms! Thanks again for being so generous with your tips and tricks. Can't wait for Taurus Eyes and your other projects! Keep 'em coming.

Thanks for another great interview Micole!


Ginny M. Christensen said...

Hello ladies,

Bonnie, you've given a lot of great advice and tips. I can relate to your Bonnie-isms. Seems like quite a few of my pages could go visit those places. Perhaps they'll grow and mature or morph into something intelligent and usable. :D

Best of luck with all your accomplishments.

Micole, great, great interview. You're the rock star!


The Stiletto Gang said...

Loved the interview and your advice. I'm afraid I'm guilty of a couple of your Bonnie-isms. Good reminder.


Micole Black said...

Thank you ladies for stopping by!!! I love you all!