Insights from Bonnie Engstrom – and Giveaway…

Welcome Bonnie!
Thank you for having me, Gail. This is such a treat.

Thanks for offering a print copy of Butterfly Dreams to one of our commenters. Now, please tell us the most intriguing fact about you.
I’m not sure how intriguing this is, but here goes. I am married to a clinical, Ph.D. psychologist with whom I celebrated fifty years of marriage in August. Probably most folks don’t know, but shrinks (as we jokingly call them) don’t have a good marriage track record. Only a very few whom Dave went to grad school with are still married. One of our oldest couple friends (he, Gary, is a psychiatrist) celebrate their anniversary the same day we do, and Peggy is one of my most faithful prayer warriors. God does put amazing people in our lives.

Could you share how your desire to write originated?
OMGosh! Ready for this? I had been a member on a huge prayer chain for several years, often prayed a few hours each day for needs. (Obviously, I was an empty-nester at that point.) I had started reading Christian novels, one of which was Deb Raney’s Playing By Heart and Stephanie Grace Whitson’s A Garden In Paris.

But, I had this desire, this vision, to share how the internet could influence lives. So, one evening I was tearing up lettuce for a salad, and I heard this voice. “Write my Word.” I truly heard it in my heart. I stopped the lettuce-tearing and ran to my computer. What I eventually produced was a non-fiction called Email Angels.

Never published, but still on my heart. That year at Mount Hermon I presented the idea to both a publisher and an editor. Neither had the concept of internet prayer chains. It was too soon.

So interesting – maybe someday, still! Which of your manuscripts excites you most, and why?
I didn’t think it would, but I love Butterfly Dreams the most. Betsy’s personality was so much fun to get into, as well as the quirky personality of her mentor, Bett. I had never written in first, deep POV before, so that was exciting. I am currently working on a sequel to Butterfly Dreams. Betsy deserves one.

Butterfly Dreams

How do you work the natural world into your latest work? (landscape, seasons, weather, etc.)
That is easy since I now live in Arizona, but lived for many years in Southern California. I use both venues in my writing. I truly love both locales. For instance, when I finished writing Butterfly Dreams, set in Scottsdale, we were having what we laughingly call “a cold snap”- in the nineties, down from 114 degrees.

My second published novel A Winning Recipe is set both in Newport Beach and Scottsdale. A Recipe for Romance, both a stand alone novella and included in a collection published by Forget Me Not Romances, is set totally in Newport Beach.

One of my next novellas is set in Pennsylvania, my home state, but Family Secret, which I hope will be published next year, takes place both in Scottsdale and Sweden.

How does your location affect your writing, if it does?
Heat in Arizona and opulence in Southern California both affect my writing. I really do try to write “what I know” as far as locality. I know the streets, I drive or have driven them for years, I know all the outskirts and fun things that happen in each. Hopefully, readers from those two states will relate, but I also hope readers from far and wide will enjoy learning about Fountain Hills and Scottsdale, Arizona and Newport Beach, California. Both great places I am blessed to have lived.

What authors have inspired or mentored you?

Inspired: Definitely Randy Alcorn and Deb Raney, both powerful writers whom I’ve been blessed to meet and establish a friendship with; Stephanie Grace Whitson (if she could write about Paris, I decided I could write about Sweden); Dan Walsh and Dr. Richard Mabry, both of whose novels are outstanding; and, sadly, posthumously, Christy Dykes whose personality was even more outstanding than her writing.

Mentored: Barbara Warren, A.K. (Alice) Arenz, Christina Berry Tarabochia, Cynthia Hickey. All have encouraged me to never give up and have become good friends. But my first mentor, Beverly Bush Smith, now deceased, pushed and shoved me to attend my first writing conference (where I met Joseph Bentz who convinced me to go to Mount Hermon). There are still two books of hers in print, and I encourage others to seek them. Look up Joseph’s, too.
Mentored AND Inspired: Gayle Roper who started the Fiction Mentoring Clinic at Mount Herman the first year I attended, and who accepted newbie me in it. She suggested I make a list for Betsy. (I believe I have collected all of Gayle’s novels.)

Thanks, Bonnie – keep writing!

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6 thoughts on “Insights from Bonnie Engstrom – and Giveaway…

    • Thanks for stopping by, Alice – glad you encouraged Bonnie! And Bonnie, thanks for inviting your friends here – may your sales soar.

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