All my life I’ve been fascinated by the written word. As a toddler, I would snuggle in my father’s red plaid wingback chair and “read” his newspaper, turning the floppy pages over and over and rubbing weary eyes. One day when I was five years old my eyes swelled shut and my face broke out in a nasty rash. When wise Dr. Anderson decided I was allergic to print ink, my mother put a kibosh on newspaper reading.
Although my mother only had a high school education, she was a prolific reader. Besides loving to lose herself in a story, reading was perhaps her way of self-educating. She adored mystery novels, and when she died I donated her Nero Wolfe collection and all her other books to the local library in her name.
Mother provided me with my own perpetual library. I gleefully unwrapped books every birthday and holiday. Even my Easter baskets held books. One Christmas “Santa” left twenty-seven books under the tree! By the time I was nine, books lined every wall of the basement playroom. Unable to part with those treasures, my entrepreneurial mother had an idea. Since we lived in a rural area where there was no public library, we created one – just for children. I still have the newspaper clipping showing my chubby eleven year old face bedecked with red-framed glasses holding up some of the books in “my library.” I think I charged a quarter for a “library card” and five cents for each book borrowed, and late fees were a penny a day per overdue book. That summer, although I didn’t get rich financially, I was rich with friends.
In junior high school I discovered a blossoming love for writing and I joined the staff of the newspaper. My new involvement in journalism, and the fact that I had a flair for it, led me four years later to become the editor of my high school newspaper. At seventeen I was mentored by the editor of a community paper who asked me to write a weekly column. My secret dream was to be an editor for a major fashion magazine in New York City. During high school and college I submitted poems and short articles to magazines. I actually considered papering the bathroom walls of my college apartment with the rejection slips.
Life, wonderful life, interfered and put my professional writing plans on hold. I met the man of my dreams to whom I’ve been married for over fifty years. During our engagement, while he was studying for his Ph.D. in psychology at USC, I had the privilege of studying creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh in my hometown. Creative writing as a discipline was unique in the 1960’s, and I remember my professor constantly repeating what has since almost become a writer’s mantra, “Write what you know.” I also remember during my first year of college submitting a three-page critique that was supposed to be a minimum of ten pages and receiving an A+ because of its succinct content. My confidence was building, despite my high school English teacher’s kindly remark that I could really be a good writer someday, if only I’d learn to spell. Mrs. Dunham was a dear, but neither she nor I could have predicted spell-check.
As a homemaker raising three children I became involved in another passion, education, and I used my creative writing and journalism talents to produce informative educational newsletters to thousands of parents throughout Newport Beach and Costa Mesa, California. In the early 1970’s production was accomplished by using a hand-held hot waxer and laying out copy on my kitchen counter. As time progressed, and computers became common household entities, I learned programs that would format the text. I even produced newsletters and brochures for professional corporations, retail businesses and volunteer organizations.
My involvement in education led to full-time volunteering by founding a parent-cooperative preschool with two other moms, and later serving five times as a PTA president. It also led to a weekly column, Beyond the Basics, for two newspapers.
If you have read this far, it is evident I love to write.
Twenty years ago, while I was tearing up lettuce for a salad, God spoke to my heart. The feeling was so overwhelming that I immediately rushed to my computer and began writing about my Internet prayer partners and how we blessed each other with faith lifts. I shared my excitement with Beverly Bush Smith (Caught in the Middle, Tyndale and Wings of a Dove from The Zoë Journals Series, Word Publishing) from whom I had taken Bible studies and who I considered my writing mentor. Sadly, Bev passed away several years ago.
During the last few years, I have committed myself to writing for publication. I had been very encouraged by Smith (Oops! There goes the journalist in me. Correction, Bev ) who implored me for several years to attend the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Only, through God’s grace, did I have the opportunity to attend. I say through God’s grace because when I finally gathered courage to sign up, I was put on a waiting list. Three days later the conference registrar called to say there was one opening. Did I want it? God’s timing is so incredible.
Mount Hermon was a benchmark for me. I had no idea what to expect, and I had reservations. As God often does, He surprises us! Not only did I find it fun and enjoyed meeting so many other writers, but the workshops were extremely valuable, and the editors, agents and authors I met were inspiring. Sadly, no one understood the concept for my E-mail prayer partner book. I refused to be discouraged (I truly believe it will be published someday), so I returned home and began writing the novel the Lord put on my heart, Family Secret (as yet unpublished), based on the death of a dear friend.
The second year I attended I was accepted into a Fiction Mentoring Clinic mentored by James Scott Bell. His tutelage and the thoughtful critiques of the clinic members taught me more than I’d learned in five years of English Lit and creative writing classes. My eyes were opened to a genre I’d never heard of when I took a novella workshop from Rebecca Germany. I set aside my novel to concentrate on novella writing. After reading more than a hundred in over thirty collections, I’ve found my niche. So, catch my books on Amazon. When God opens a window, a fresh breeze blows in. His timing is always perfect.
CONTACT BONNIE (that’s me!)