Friday, May 27, 2011

A Visit With Author Bonnie Calhoun

My special guest today is Bonnie Calhoun. If I were to describe Bonnie as multi-talented, richly knowledgeable about so many different things, eager to help, and humble, it all would be an understatement! I first met Bonnie on-line when I joined ACFW, and then face-to-face at a conference two years ago. My hope is that you too will enjoy this interview and if you haven't met Bonnie yet, will look forward to doing so. Bonnie is looking forward to hearing from you!

Interview with Bonnie Calhoun on Writing, Conferences, and Chickens:

     With a military background as well as owning your own clothing design business, how did you end up writing a Christian suspense novel?

Being in the military was more than 30 years ago. LOL…that is a whole lifetime, so it really doesn’t have much effect on who I am today. In fact…who I am today is probably not who I’ll be tomorrow since I barely remember what I had for breakfast yesterday let alone what I did. Designing clothes has been part of my life just like breathing. My mom was a Master Pattern maker for all of the factories in my home town when I was growing up. So I was sewing from the time I could use a needle at about seven. Still…none of that has anything to do with me liking suspense. I just have one of those “what-if” minds that can think up bizarre scenarios even in my sleep. My favorite TV programs are all of the current suspenses like NCIS, CSI, Criminal Minds etc…I don’t know if the correct term is “Christian suspense” basically I create suspense and it just happens to happen to people that are Christians

Tell us about your journey to publication? What has the experience taught you about Bonnie Calhoun the person and Bonnie Calhoun the author?

Basically it taught me that I have a lot more patience than I ever thought I had. And I learned to lean on the Lord a lot more for His understanding. I lost the anxious feeling about wondering when I would get published, because I had a talk with the Lord several years ago and He told me that when He thought I was ready it would happen…and not a day before, unless I wanted to take it out of His hands and do it myself. So I just continued to study, learn to write, and prepare myself for the adventure.

Looking back, would you say you’ve had obstacles to overcome en route to seeing your first book published or stepping-stones?

For this adventure…definitely stepping stones. Our Lord is a Lord of order, and things in this industry have to be accomplished in a specific order. No one…and I mean no one can put an obstacle in the Lord’s path, so all I had to do was stand behind Him and let Him lead the way across the stones. It reminds me of the joke about the fishermen trolling on a creek. The first three easily appeared to walk on water when they needed to cross the creek to get a sandwich from their supplies or another bottle of water. The fourth man had watched them all day, marveling at their ability. So when he became hungry, he charged across the creek and disappeared under the water. One of the first three men looked at the other two and said, “Didn’t anybody show him where the stones were to walk on?”

Your name has become synonymous with nearly all things falling under that big word authors need to master: PUBLICITY. Any advice to the pre-published, the newly published, and the multi-published author?

      Yikes! Moi? I guess it just comes from determination and lots of practice. I didn’t know a single thing about anything when I started. I could barely turn on a computer, and the internet was a big scary place. But I was determined to learn, and I was determined to invest the time it takes to learn. You can’t do it all in one day, but you need to spend time EVERY DAY working on your internet presence, building your tribe, becoming part of communities, learning the mechanics and the mediums…and giving of yourself to others to help with their needs. The Lord loves a cheerful giver, and He rewards that with returning to you, people who are willing to invest in you with teaching

Please tell us a little about your novel COOKING THE BOOKS coming out in April 2012 by Abingdon Press.

Welcome to my life. I, Sloane Templeton had a fabulous, thought-provoking and exciting job as an internet forensics investigator for the black ops Cyber Crimes Unit that the CIA was developing at New York University. That was, until that good-for-nothing husband I had decided to hook my star to, decided that I was better as a punching bag than a significant other, and I had to flee New York City and move back to Brooklyn.
Just six months back and already my dear mother, God rest her soul, decided there was more pressing business with Jesus, and deserted me for a glorious Homegoing, leaving me to deal with the lunatic fringe that had become her life.
There’s Felicia Tyler, better know as Fefe, bright red, tightly permed hair, wearer of noisy jewelry and ungodly bright spandex. She’s the half-batty manager of mom’s bookstore, and the batty part plays with loaded guns.
Then comes aunt Verline Buford, mom’s younger sister, who fancies herself as the Iron Chef, when in reality you need a cast-iron stomach to partake of her disasters. She had her last husband die of food poisoning, but they swear that she didn’t cause it. Just to be safe, I take a food tester when I go to her house, usually picking whoever I’m mad at that day as the sacrificial lamb.
And last but by no means the least of my worries, the Granny Oakleys book club, a strange bunch of little old people from the neighborhood that meet at the store once a week and smell like food. I don’t exactly know what they do, but I’ve never see any of them with a book.
Oh, and let’s not forget that I did the ‘from the frying pan into the fire’ routine, and left the punching bag prize fighter to come home and hook up with a homicidal maniac. Heh, heh…got your attention didn’t I. Well he’s not exactly a maniac in the most literal of terms, but there are rumors about the homicidal part that I’d rather ignore, especially since I kicked him to the curb, and found my dream man…the love of my life…the pièce de résistance. Never mind that mom thought he was the wrong color and Fefe just plain don’t cotton to him. But it’s all good. We are the world. And it’s a purely rhetorical question…But what else could possibly go wrong?

Which part of writing do you enjoy the most?

It’s all about the same to me. I love plotting, writing and even editing!

Your spoon stirs many simmering pots these days—what is your secret for self-balance? Do you indulge in any Bonnie-downtime?

ROFLOL…downtime consists of writing HTML code or some such project. It really relaxes me.

You’re on the faculty at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference (where I’ve had the pleasure to meet you face-to-face for the first time a couple of years ago) and the Colorado Christian Writers Conference. Do you have any suggestions for attendees at any writers’ conference on how to maximize the experience?

Most definitely! Do your homework before you come. Read the faculty rosters. Understand what they are looking for as editorial needs. Go to their websites and look at the things they have acquired already and see where you would fit in that dynamic…and I can’t say it enough times…DO YOUR HOMEWORK BEFORE YOU COME!

In helping me prepare a one-sheet you gave me some wonderful advice on why I shouldn’t incorporate a photo of a chicken. These gals are my neighbor's feathered friends over for a visit. LOL. Now, seriously, whether on a symbolic or religious note, have you any last bit of advice on writing and chickens? 

Yea…writing is like chicken soup…it will sooth the soul. Never try to fry a roasting chicken ‘cause they’re tough as all get-out. And always open the chicken coop door with a pitchfork in front of your face (that’s a story for  another time ☺ God bless!

Author Bio of Bonnie Calhoun:

Founder/Owner, Christian Fiction Online Magazine
Owner/Director, Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

Bonnie is the Director of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, a 220+ member organization that conducts weekly blog tours for the latest in Christian fiction from the major publishing houses.

She also is the Publisher of Christian Fiction Online magazine, featuring 35+ of the best and brightest in Christian fiction as columnists and feature writers.

As a Google certified Blog*Star on the Blogger Help Forum, Bonnie dispenses advice and direction to people experiencing problems with the blogging platform.

 She is the Northeast Zone Director for the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).

And she is a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA)

And she is also permanent staff/faculty for the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference every August, and the Colorado Christian Writers Conference every May.

And she is also a debut author with a novel under contract to Abingdon Press Her first novel, entitled Cooking The Books(A Sloane Templeton Story) will be published in spring of 2012.


  1. Thank you for not making me sound as crazy as I really am! Blessings!

  2. I love it! Bonnie your personality shines through in this interview. Looking forward to reading the book.

  3. Bonnie is a treasure. We get to pick her brain on the ACFW NE zone loop ( and she's a riot besides)

  4. Thank goodness we didn't lose the real Bonnie, though. ;) Love ya, twin!

  5. A fun interview :-) Heed the advice!

  6. Oh, I LOVE Bonnie!! She's been a huge help to me many times. Loved this interview! But I really wanna hear about the chickens!! LoL

  7. Oh, Bonnie, what would we do without your expertise in so many things. You are such a tremendous help to fellow writers as well as an encourager. We all love Bonnie. Looking forward to reading your book. I love mysteries.

  8. ROFLOL...thank you all for the kind words. And the chickens were a matter of shishkabob!

  9. Great interview, Bonnie. I wish everyone still lumbering along the road towards publication could read this, catch your heart of faith and dependence on God to unfold things in His time. There's SO much emphasis out there on what WE need to do to make things happen.

    Loved it!

  10. My! How you shine in interviews, Bonnie! This really has me anxious to read that book you're cooking!

  11. That was one of the most fun interviews I've ever read! Thanks for the chance to get to know Bonnie. I can't wait to read her book

  12. Fabulous interview with a terrific writer, internet & publicity guru, and an all-around dazzling lady! I've said it before: can't wait to meet you in person!
    Congratulations on your new book, Bonnie! Looking forward to reading it!

    P.S. I, too, want to hear about the chickens! :-)

  13. So wonderful to get to know you a little better through this interview. Lots of great advice.

  14. Writing code? You truly are a multi layered phenomenon, Bonnie. Thanks for the peek into a fun conversation with such a wonderful lady.

  15. Love the excerpt--and the chickens. Chickens are very underrated in the arts. I wanna hear about 'em, too!

    Adina (chicken rescuer with 12 at present)

  16. AnonymousMay 28, 2011

    I've tried this three times and Blogger won't let me leave a comment. I'm going to try it as anonymous.

    Excellent interview. Bonnie might sound a bit nutz sometimes, but she's a very wise woman.

    nike chillemi

  17. Dan, I totally agree about "There's SO much emphasis out there on what WE need to do to make things happen." When I devoted my writing to God and started attending Christian writing conferences, that's the key thing I've picked up:it's all in His timing. One can be a wonderful writer (or lousy ) but it's all a matter when He deems it's the right time for publication!


  18. Great, fun interview. I enjoyed stepping into Bonnie's world just a bit. Thanks for sharing!

    Miralee Ferrell

  19. you are all fabulous people, and you soooo make me think I can pull off the sanity bit on a regular basis! If I tell you about the chickens all I'll have to fall back on is the skunk story...well and then maybe the pond story...and ooohh...the turkeys are a good one.... :-)

  20. Okay, I'm not into mysteries, but I WANT to read your book, Bonnie! The characters sound like a riot!

    And thanks for ALL you do for the Christian writing community.

  21. Deborah AndersonMay 29, 2011

    Great interview, B. It gives hope to those of us hobbling along (literally LOL) on this journey. I can't wait to read your book.

    I love you, girl.

  22. Bonnie, thank you so much for being a guest. I think everyone would agree with me that your insights have been fun, encouraging, helpful, and thought-provoking--just like you :) I'm so happy we met!

    May you, those you love, and your many talents be blessed and a blessing to others.


  23. This was great fun...but that's because of a lot of great people including you Elaine! You all will be fabulous writers because you all have the heart of a writer...LOL...we are continually crazy people. Enjoy all that the Lord has to pour out upon you.

    Blessings to all!


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