Welcome to the five hundred and twenty-fifth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with multi-genre author RC Bonitz. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, RC.
RC: Hi Morgen. Thanks for having me today. You are a gem for doing this.
Morgen: :*) You’re very welcome. I’m delighted you could join me. Please tell us something about yourself, and how you came to be a writer.
RC: I’m a Yank, living in Connecticut, in a town called Guilford on the shores of Long Island Sound. Kids from our town visited Guilford, England years ago to play “soccer”. I’m a latecomer to writing. I love books and always dreamed of being an author, but never had a story to tell until a vivid dream stayed with me one morning. That dream became the prologue of my book, A Blanket For Her Heart. Once I started writing, the stories kept coming and I now write constantly.
Morgen: How funny. I’m off to Guilford (Surrey, south of London) on Friday for a talk by Peter James (who I’ve met, but not yet interviewed), Ann Cleeves (who I met at the recent was my 500th interviewee) and hosted by Jane Wenham-Jones (who was my 249th and my first blog design client ). What genre do you generally?
RC: For the moment I’ve settled on contemporary sweet love stories, but I’ve written suspense, a historical, some mystery and a number of short stories. I decided I had to concentrate on one genre and get that right if I wanted to be published.
Morgen: Certainly mainstream publishers want one genre, especially series, so they can build a brand but smaller presses do seem more receptive. What have you had published to-date? Do you write under a pseudonym?
RC: I use my initials- RC Bonitz and I’ve had two books published within the last couple of months. A Little Bit Of Blackmail, a sweet romance, came out as an ebook in November and the print version came out in April. A Blanket For Her Heart came out in print almost the same week. What a kick that was.
Morgen: How exciting. You’re self-published, what lead to you going your own way?
RC: Now, there’s an interesting question. I do both, but not by choice. I had both books under contract to publishers, but with the editing and cover ready to go, one publisher decided A Blanket For Her Heart didn’t fit the genres they wanted to publish at that point. There I was expecting to be notified the book was being released, and instead I got an email saying they couldn’t publish it. They very nicely gave me the cover and editing without charge, but I was on my own. So, rather than go through the submission process again, I went the indie route. My next book, the sequel to A Little Bit Of Blackmail, was just submitted to Silver Publishing who published that book. I still want a publisher’s stamp of approval on my writing.
Morgen: The best of both worlds. Are all your books available as eBooks? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
RC: Both books are available as ebooks and in print. There’s nothing like holding a paper copy in your hand and one might as well sell in every medium one can. I do most of my reading on my Kindle now though.
Morgen: Me too, although I have enough books around my house to last my lifetime (and more probably)… and that’s if I read constantly. Do you have a favourite of your books or characters? If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s?
RC: I love all my heroines when I’m writing them. Anne, Diane, and Jessie, I really can’t choose among them. I have only one choice for an actress if someone offered a movie- Kate Beckinsale would be my heroine for any of my books.
RC: I participated in the design of both covers. I’m quite pleased with the results. Both artists wanted my input. That was pretty amazing in the case of A Little Bit Of Blackmail. Silver Publishing’s cover artist, Reese Dante, is a prize-winning designer. I think she came up with a fabulous, elegant cover. The titles in both cases were entirely my own. I’ve received compliments on both, so I hope that approval translates into sales. Early results look very good so far.
Morgen: Let’s hope so, they are classy. What are you working on at the moment / next?
RC: I’ve just completed A Little Bit Of Baby, a sequel to the Blackmail book, and now I’m writing an as yet untitled sequel to the sequel. I also have a book that’s calling to me, the story of a young Englishwoman determined to break out of poverty in the early 1900′s. That story is loosely based on the life of my paternal grandmother, who was born in Leeds. I wrote twenty-three chapters of it years ago, but didn’t like the way it was headed and never finished it.
Morgen: But now you have the experience to revise and finish it. Twenty-three chapters is too much to let go of. Do you manage to write every day?
RC: I try to, but promotion’s cutting into my time these days. I’m usually at the computer six to eight hours each day. Need to walk a little on occasion though- the legs dislike the sitting all day long.
Morgen: I’m fortunate that I have a dog so I get out two or three times a day, plus I have to move to feed him… and myself. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
RC: I used to say I didn’t but I’m in a little funk right now. Not in putting words down but in plotting out the finish of my WIP. I’ve never had a problem with that before. My response is always the same if I hit a dry spell though- I keep writing something, anything. I may end up with a throw away, but the writing gets me somewhere useful when I do that.
Morgen: Absolutely, it’s all practice. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
RC: I call myself a half-pants plotter, as in not writing by the seat of my pants entirely, and not plotting in detail. I start with a few turning points identified, then “tell” the first couple of chapters. After I’ve written them, I “tell” a few more and so on, keeping in mind what turning point I’m heading for. The method seems to work, though if I can’t come up with an ending for my WIP I may have to just let the words flow.
Morgen: Quite often my pieces find their own ending but then they’re mostly short stories. I’ve not decided what I’m doing for NaNoWriMo yet and it starts in a couple of weeks but then in 2009 I only decided the day before what I was doing and that ended up being 117,540 words (in 28 days!). I’m definitely a pantser. Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
RC: My first book went through at least a dozen re-writes before I was somewhat satisfied with it. A Little Bit Of Blackmail and the sequel, were each ready for submission in four months. Yes, both required editing but very little, so I guess my writing has improved a tad.
Morgen: Wow, four months is good going. I knew when I finished the NaNo book (it was my second of, to-date, four) that the hard work had only just begun and it’s had five edits since then. Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
RC: Oh yes, many on my early work. You get down on yourself when that happens, but you have to pick up and go on. I recall a phrase from my school days- a line by a famous poet or writer (can’t recall who unfortunately)- “Take your profits from defeat.” That’s been my watchword ever since. I’ve also learned how to write query letters and synopses now, so the rejections don’t come anywhere near as often.
Morgen: According to http://www.unz.org/Pub/Forum-1937nov-00228 it’s William Moulton Marston but he could have just borrowed the phrase. Do you enter competitions? Are there any you could recommend?
RC: I stopped doing competitions after a number in which I received two top scores and one low one that would end my chance to final. Now that I’m published I’m reconsidering my position since it would help sales to be able to say “Winner / Finalist in XYZ contest” on my cover.
Morgen: It certainly doesn’t do any harm. I haven’t entered any competitions for a while but I like those with themes because it invariably gets me writing something new. I’m one of the first-round judges for H.E. Bates Short Story Competition and this is the first time (in 20-something years) that we’ve had a theme (‘A walk at midnight’) and I’ve already marked the first batch (the competition doesn’t close until midnight November 5th) and it’s surprising how different they all are (and a high standard). I must admit having a crime novelist, Stephen Booth, this year (the previous few years have been romance), I thought we’d have more crime (my favourite genre) as I know some authors write to the judge’s genre but really it’s about quality of writing, not topic. Sorry, I’m waffling. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
RC: Learn to write before you write a novel. I re-wrote my first book a dozen times before I got it right. Polishing four or five chapters would have taught me just as much with a lot less wasted time and effort. And, once you’ve refined your writing- think about the reader. What do you want them to feel when they read your book?
Morgen: Absolutely, they should feel something. Where can we find out about you and your writing?
RC: You can check out my blog at http://www.rcbonitz.com or my author page at Amazon. I’m also on FB but not that active there. I’m in a flash fiction group, so you can find some free reads on my blog as well.
Morgen: Thank you, RC.
I then invited RC to include an extract of his writing and this is from ‘A Little Bit of Blackmail’…
Thirty minutes late, she was rushing toward the office when she saw the black limousine parked in front of Lorton Realty. Not a gigantic one, but a real live limo nonetheless, with those dark tinted windows you couldn’t see through. Not moving, just sitting there like a tiger ready to strike. It couldn’t be him, could it? Or had he sent the rough guy back to kidnap her and drop her in a pond?
Don’t be stupid, Diane. He wouldn’t dare. But she shifted her steps and walked as close to the storefronts as she could. Which caused her blazer sleeve to snag on a bit of metal window frame and almost tip her over backwards before the fabric ripped. Which would have upset her no end if she hadn’t been waiting for someone to jump out of the limo and grab her.
She slipped into the office, ready for a pot of black coffee and a chance to breathe again. No luck. Pat Hawkins had been gabby.
“Diane, what’s this about you hooking up with Brian Smith?” Joan Snyder, another of the agents demanded. “Is it serious?” Joan was over thirty-five and a lot more desperate for a man than Diane was. At least, she had been until yesterday.
Diane groaned. This was not a great way to start her morning. “I met him once.”
“Will you be seeing him again?” Pat asked.
“He was named the most eligible bachelor in town a couple of years ago,” Joan said.
“And he’s one of the richest people in New England,” Pat cried. “Are you sure you actually met the Brian Smith?”
“What did he look like?” Joan asked.
“Dark hair, almost black. Firm chin. Black eyes.”
Joan stared at her. “Such enthusiasm. Does he have any dimples? Or nice strong muscles?”
“It doesn’t matter. He’s a horrible man,” Diane said and started her computer.
The little brass bell over the door jingled as someone entered.
and a synopsis of his latest book…
Diane is out to rescue her kid sister, who has managed to get herself on the Net in flagrante. And the guy who posted her picture is keeping it there.
Rich and powerful, Bryan has no idea what he’s in for. His life is great, except for one tiny detail. He’s single and the women he knows are after his money. He’s at the bar of his own hotel when a drop dead gorgeous woman comes on to him. One minute she’s seducing him and the next she’s giving him a hard time. He finds the combination very intriguing.
Diane’s plan is dangerous but simple. Seduce this guy until his clothes come off so she can take his picture. Then it’s blackmail time.
Brian falls into her trap, but only to a point. Bad news for Diane – nobody blackmails Brian Smith. Furious but fascinated, he confronts her.
His fury fades once he hears her story. This daring, captivating woman steals his heart, but he’s still the villain to her. How will he win her heart?
Their story is just beginning in – A Little Bit Of Blackmail.
RC Bonitz’s second book has just been published. He has been writing for sixteen years and has more to come. He is a member of the Conn. Authors and Publishers Association, the Romance Writers of America, and the Connecticut chapter of RWA.
A father of five children, he lives in Connecticut with his wife, just down the road a piece from Long Island Sound. Many years a sailor, he has retired to a canoe and fishing rod. And his computer. He and his wife have twelve grandchildren, who keep them busy with soccer, field hockey, concerts and crew and… You can contact him via his blog at http://www.rcbonitz.com or at email@example.com.
Update January 2013: Hi Morgen. Thank you for the chance to update my interview. As I said in my email, you do a wonderful job of creating interesting interviews!
Morgen: You’re very welcome, RC. I’m so glad you like it.
My new book, A Little Bit of Baby, came out in ebook format a couple of months ago and I’m expecting the print copy to appear soon. I was very pleased the other day to discover Amazon had promoted it via email! I had a trailer made for it too- see my blog at http://www.rcbonitz.com or check it out on YouTube.
My heroine in my WIP hasn’t been happy with what I’ve been writing about her so things slowed to a crawl for quite a while. We’ve reached an understanding now though- these last couple of weeks the words have pleased her, at last! The future looks considerably brighter.
Here’s an excerpt from A Little Bit of Baby:
Jessie Wetherell lugged a load of dirty dishes into the kitchen and set them on the counter. Customers still poured into Tony’s Ristorante, but her shift had ended five minutes ago. From the looks of the crowd Tony’s twenty-fifth anniversary party could go on all night, but she had a date. No way did she want to keep handsome Ike Harris waiting. She drained her glass of Tony’s homemade grappa, gasped, grabbed her purse, and after a quick goodbye to all, she hurried out to her car
Jessie laughed. Despite the free food, the regulars had given her good tips. She should go out and buy herself a present, or do something silly just for the hell of it. Her crazy sister would be getting married after knowing the guy just a few short weeks. Of course, Brian had taken a bullet for her, so no wonder Diane loved him. And Jessie happened to be dating his best friend, the sweetest man she’d ever met. Just thinking about Ike Harris warmed her heart.
Twenty minutes after leaving work, she parked her ancient green Ford behind the beautifully restored old Caddy sitting in front of her apartment house.
“Hey, bright eyes, it’s about time you got home,” a now familiar voice said as she slid out of the car.
Her pulse quickened. She turned with a smile. Red-haired, chisel-jawed Ike leaned against a lamppost, a grin plastered on his face, all six feet of him just brimming with pleasure and happiness. And a little expectation if she knew men.
“I’m not late. Your watch is wrong.”
He chuckled. “Hey, no excuses. We’ve got places to go and things to do.”
A bubble of warmth filled her heart. “With you? No way.”
“That’s what I like. Easy going, cooperative women.”
“Me? You missed the boat, my friend,” she said, mock serious.
Eyes twinkling with silent laughter, he said, “Damn, and I thought you were something special.”
“You’re sure you don’t think I’m simpleminded? ‘Cause I know what you’re after.” His playfulness, the easy banter they exchanged, thrilled her. What a wonderful man, Ike Harris. “Where are we going?”
He touched a finger to his lips and then to hers. “I thought you might like to join Brian and your sister to celebrate their engagement.”
Jessie frowned. Why didn’t she know about this? “They’re partying tonight?”
“Yup. And the Wetherell sisters need to be together when one gets engaged.”
“Geez, I need a shower first,” she said, and opened the lobby entrance to the apartment house.
Ike followed her inside.
She turned and poked a finger in his chest. “Whoa there, cowboy. Where are you going?”
“Mind if I come in and wait?”
The sparkle in his eyes made her warm all over. She trusted him. That amazed her. There weren’t many men she could say that about. They’d known each other a couple of weeks and, despite what she’d told her sister, he hadn’t made half a pass so far. “Okay, but behave yourself.”
“You have my word of honor.”
She threw a deliberate glance in his direction. Ike wore a beatific smile. “Maybe you should wait in the car.”
He laughed. “I’ll be good. Get your shower and let’s head for the hotel.”
Fluffy, her four-year old cocker spaniel, greeted them with wagging tail. She looked up at Ike with big beseeching eyes.
“She wants you to pet her,” Jessie said.
“I know,” Ike said and stroked the dog.
The funny thing? He did know. And Fluffy had taken to him the first time she saw him. Jessie watched the dog respond to his gentle petting. There had to be something important in that. Her dog trusted the man. She shook herself and quickly poured dry food into Fluffy’s bowl, then added water to another and set them on the floor.
Ike fidgeted around her oversized living room, picking up her magazines, studying the flower prints on the walls, studiously ignoring her as she dashed from bathroom to bedroom and back again, clean clothes gathered in her arms. He might be very sweet, but no way would she leave the bathroom again without being fully dressed. Stripping off her clothes, her nipples hardened and a warm tingle started up her spine. Actually, he really didn’t have to be good. They could get to the party late.
And here’s a blurb:
Jessie Wetherell has atrocious luck with men. Even her father abandoned her before she turned ten. Trying to fill the void in her life has become a never ending struggle. Every guy she meets takes advantage and then leaves her.
When Ike Harris enters the picture, things start looking up. Handsome and sexy, Ike stirs her heart and Jessie hopes he could be ‘the one’. Except he disappears just like every other guy she’s ever known.
When an old boyfriend comes back, Jessie faces a difficult choice—the ex who wants a second chance or Ike, the potential man of her dreams with the power to break her heart.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on this blog but everything else (see Opportunities on this blog) is free.
If you go for the interview, it’s very simple; I send you a questionnaire (I have them for novelists, short story authors, children’s authors, non-fiction authors, and poets). You complete the questions, and I let you know when it’s going to go live. Before it does so, I add in comments as if we’re chatting, and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know.
Alternatively, if you’d like a free Q&A-only interview, I now have http://morgensauthorinterviews.wordpress.com on which I’ve rerun the original interviews posted here then posted new interviews which I then reblog here. These interviews are Q&A only, so I don’t add in my comments but they do get exposure on both sites.
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