Interview with Carina Author Bonnie Paulson

Hi all!  Today I interviewed my friend Bonnie Paulson, who writes for Carina Press.  Bonnie and I are in a local critique group together called Sassy Scribes, which is a group of writers from the Pacific Northwest who also blog together.  So, I’d like to welcome Bonnie to the blog today!

1)      Congratulations on your sale to Carina Press!  Tell us a bit about your book.

Thanks so much! I’m very excited!  Maggie, widowed by suicide, fights attraction to Brodan and faces his brother’s fatal disease.  Can love heal what loss destroyed?

I got the idea from this book walking down to a trauma in Deaconess ER. The technologist I was with had lost her son the same way and she turned around. I wrote the first scene that day.

2)      What do you like better:  when you’ve just started writing a book or when you’ve just finished one, and why?

OOOHH!! Great question. I like starting the book the best.  But on the other hand, nothing feels quite as solid as wrapping up the story and typing The END. 

3)      Your current sale is a contemporary romance.  Do you plan to stay in this genre or do you see yourself writing in more than one genre? 

Carina Press acquired my contemporary romance (sweet) for release this August. I write both romantic suspense and contemporary. I think, for now, I’ll stay with these two subgenres. I’ve always read historical and paranormal but, let’s face it, to read a historical/paranormal versus researching and writing one are two ENTIRELY different things – one requires the love of the story and the other requires huge kahonas!

4)      What’s next for you?

My next manuscript I turned in to my agent is a romantic suspense, Broken Choices, and my current work-in-progress is a contemporary romance with a fun premise.  Just keep revving it on is my motto.

5)      If you weren’t an author, what career path would you choose?

Actually, I have two degrees, one of which is as a Radiologic Technologist.  I’d probably head back in the direction of the medical field if writing suddenly turned on me.

6)      How long did you submit work before being accepted by a publisher? 

It was less than three months.  But the call started a terrific two days.  This past November (the 4th and 5th to be exact) on a Thursday, I had just settled three of my four kids down for afternoon naps. Naptime is my writing time – literally only get three to four hours a day of this diamond time and there aren’t a lot of things I consider “worthy” enough to take away from it – this includes phone calls.


Most of my friends and family know this. So when the phone rang and the number was uber weird, I rolled my eyes and almost didn’t answer it.  But something told me to. So I answered – annoyed.


“Hello, is Bonnie Paulson there, please?”  Very sweet voice, but way-too-professional.  Lady had to be selling insurance – only insurance salespeople are that nice on the phone.

“This is.” Another eye roll, extremely curt.

“Hi Bonnie, This is Angela James from Carina Press,” yes, you read right! “I’m calling about your manuscript Whispers of Me that you submitted.” 

“Uh huh.” Great, what’d I do?  Horribly offend someone?  Send in a virus that corrupted the entire Harlequin database?  Did I somehow and very unwittingly, but albeit totally me do something to upset someone?

“You did submit this, correct?”

“Uh huh.”  And this where I’m sure Ms. James had to think she’d gotten a loony bin on the phone. 

“Well, Mallory, one of our editors, read it, really liked it and suggested it go to acquisitions. I’d like to offer you a contract.”  Or something to that effect.  I honestly can’t remember past Mallory really liked it. I do remember saying the next line because Ms. James tweeted about it and it was very hilarious – hindsight and all that, you know.

“I think I’m going to throw up.” Me, very serious and truth be told, I’d had a hot dog for lunch and this I do not suggest!  But in my defense, I hadn’t thought I’d hear from anyone by phone – in fact assumed most things happened over email.  Anyway, back to the throwing up. 

“Okay, don’t throw up. You can cry, I’ve had people cry, but don’t throw up.”  Wow, she was so nice – and tolerant!

“I’m not the crying type, throw-up, okay, crying, not so much.”  Was I seriously debating what action to take with THE Angela James?  I was loony. 

The rest I don’t remember.  I remember floating and wanting to basically dive into some tiramisu or coconut cake but I called my writing friend first and we talked FOREVER about it.  The next morning I took that offer and contacted an agent I’d been eyeing for almost three years and signed with her.  November 4th and 5th were great days – oh, and the baby got his first tooth that day too (surprised I noticed, to be honest).


7)      I know you donate a lot of your time to judging contests.  Based on what you’ve seen this last year, is there any advice you have for new writers?

This is a funny question because I still consider myself new! From the contests though, I’d say work on your manuscript more than just getting it into the word processor.  More often than not, the style and quality of the writing is what grabs low scores for contestants. You need to approach a contest like approaching an agent or an editor. POLISH. And when you’ve reached the fifth edit and you feel it’s perfect, have a critique partner look at it and revise again. (I love my CPs! And CG)

8)      What’s one question you’ve never been asked yet you’d like to answer?

How do you eat your pizza?  Any toppings and I rip them and the cheese off first to eat then push the sauce to the crust and eat that. Yeah, I’m weird but it’s so good! 

P.S. Thank you so much, Rebecca, for having me. I’m so excited for the next book in your series to come out.  I loved and I mean LOVED Fated. Congratulations again!

Oh, and four-strokes rule!  (Bon is an AVID dirt biker!)

If you want to find Bonnie on the web, here’s her site:

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30 thoughts on “Interview with Carina Author Bonnie Paulson”

  1. Huge congrats on your sale. The story sounds really good. I look forward to reading it. Fantastic interview.

    1. Thanks Savannah, so much. It’s only a great interview because Rebecca asked such terrific questions!

      PS I LOVE your name!

  2. Thanks Savannah, so much. It’s only a great interview because Rebecca asked such terrific questions!

    PS I LOVE your name!

  3. Lynn Rush says:

    Great interview. I loved hearing your story about the editor call. That was freaking awesome!!! 🙂 Best wishes on your writing!!

    1. Thanks Lynn! It was hilarious. Thanks for commenting!

  4. Brinda says:

    Kudos to you on your new book… and for not throwing up!

    1. I know, right! Thanks for the Kudos! and for stopping by!

  5. Congrats on your sale. Loved reading the interview. When is it scheduled for release?

    1. Thanks Caridad, it’s scheduled to come out this August. I’m LOVING my editing time with editor, Mallory Braus, at Harlequin and will be interviewing her on my own blog soon.

      I’m so excited to be a part of the Carina team.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Debbie says:

    Awesome interview! Your call story is hilarious. I’m glad you listened for a little while! 🙂

    1. Lol. Debbie, Can you imagine if I’d hung up like I wanted to? Poor Angela.

      Thanks for coming to the blog!

  7. Becca Blair says:

    I love a good “call story!” Wonderful interview, ladies!

    1. “Call Story” I love that phrase!

      Thanks for the comment! Have a great day!

  8. Stephanie says:

    Another great book for my to be purchased pile! Can’t wait to read. 🙂

    1. Thanks Stephanie! When you do, let me know if you like it!

      Thanks for coming by!

  9. Gabrielle says:

    I like how you combined your careers into a great story that sold. Congratulations on your success!

    1. Thanks Gabrielle for the comment. I appreciate your time in stopping by.

  10. Karli A says:

    Great interview!

    1. Thanks, Karli! It was a ton of fun!

  11. Even in print (online, whatever) you crack me up Bonnie. I’m writing a paranormal historical right now so does that mean I have extra “huge kahonas?” 🙂

    I can’t wait to watch you eat a pizza!

    1. Heck yeah, you have like SHAQUILLE O’NEAL Kahonas! 🙂

      Yeah, eating pizza is an art form. Thanks for coming by Asa. I can’t wait to read your book! Hero!

  12. Janni Nell says:

    Congrats on your sale! Love your response to Angela’s offer. LOL.

    1. Thanks Janni! I’m glad she didn’t rethink making the call. Or maybe she did and I just don’t know it. 🙂

      Thanks for coming by.

  13. jeff7salter says:

    Fantastic story about the editor calling you.
    If this had been a TV movie, she might have hung up and re-dialed … hoping she got a wrong number.
    I’ve heard many good things about Carina; they must have terrific folks working there.

    1. You know what, Jeff? I love it already. Angela James offered a HUGE self-editing class that she normally charges 35 to 45 dollars for and she did it free for all the Carina authors. And Let me tell you, it is worth every cent. I’m thinking about taking it again at cost so I can redo it.

      She would have completely hung up and re-dialed. Thank Heavens she didn’t!

      Have a great day.

      1. jeff7salter says:

        I’ve heard Angela James’ name before … always in very positive contexts. You are very fortunate to be associated with her.
        And, obviously, very talented since she loves your work.
        And, maybe I missed something, but what is the TITLE of your recently-sold book to Carina pr.?

  14. Bonnie, that’s one of the funniest call stories I’ve read in ages. Congrats on the first of many sales! It was interesting and sad to hear what inspired the book. Sometimes I think storytelling is how we (everyone) make sense of terrible times.

    1. Thanks Jenny, yes, it was terrible. I didn’t know what to say. I still don’t.

      Thank you for the comment, it means a lot!

  15. cathy West says:

    That was great! Congrats on the sale and I’m looking forward to the book. Of course I already know it’s going to be awesome!

    1. Thanks Cathy!

      You’re sweet! Thanks for swinging over here! You’re awesome!