Interview with Carina Author Bonnie Paulson

on February 7, 2011

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: