Thursday, April 12, 2018 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Finding Mercy with Bonnie Edwards

The Write Way Café welcomes Bonnie Edwards, who gives us a glimpse into her contemplative and zestful approach to writing.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
I was a young mother, with two children and my mind was turning to mush. I needed to change things or go mad. Being a mother was wonderful, but I needed to exercise my mind. Being an optimist I knew I wanted to write books with happy outcomes (still do). Romance was always my goal.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do? 
Finding Mercy changed a lot during the 5 – 7 years it took to write. It started as a sexy little romp but morphed into what it is today, a romance about a woman needing to redefine herself.

Where did the idea for your story come from? 
I wanted to write about a woman returning home to her small town with her life a shambles and see how I could make her grow from being a self-absorbed child-woman into a fully functional, emotionally mature woman.

Why did you pick the setting you did? 
After many false starts, I realized that the complexity of Mercy’s return to Welcome gave me many more characters to write about, so I created a small town of my own.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself? 
I doubt any writer can write without including aspects of themselves. My characters, I think, are based on types of people I’ve known, experienced etc.  I’m quite driven to write and some aspects of Mercy are definitely related to my drive. Her drive was just in a different area…my challenge is to write novels people want to read. And to feel.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret? 
I dropped this story time and again over the years while I wrote other books. Including grief, a young motherless child, a grief-stricken family was heavy going for me.  I think I was surprised at some of the heaviness. I hope I handled the issues lightly…there are lighter moments, breaks from the dark parts come from all the characters.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after? 
Reviewers constantly surprise me by what they pick out of the plot. For instance, I wanted to create a character who was never onstage but was created through memories.  What my first reviewer caught onto was that the subplot was about a family coming to terms with their grief…I wouldn’t have put it that way…but I see it very clearly now. OF COURSE, that was why the character was only seen through memories. Sometimes it isn’t until after someone’s gone that you can see them more clearly. Time helps!

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about beauty queens, career choices, and going home?  
I once interviewed two other Bonnie Edwards, a swimsuit model, and a blues singer. What struck me was how similar these careers are: we all need to define what we do: me=romance, one=swimsuits because of her curves (no wedding dress shoots), one=the blues because of her smoky voice. We all had to find our place in our fields and build on our strengths. We all needed drive and ambition to succeed. I tried to bring that to Mercy’s life. My process and the writing world?  (laughing) I was told by my content editor that I did NOT need a third point-of-view and that I needed to get rid of Hope Talbot’s inner thoughts.  I took a full year to accept that truth. It was a devastating blow to take out all her delicious scenes. In the end, I simply wrote them from someone else’s point of view and had her speak her thoughts, which, in the end, worked quite well.  This exercise taught me to focus more deeply in a complex story. I hope  I’ve brought that lesson to Loving Logan.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you. 
I have a dark and quiet home office. The window has a terrible view so I don’t gaze outside. When we moved houses I worried that my creative mojo was locked in my old office, but once I booted up my computer and heard that lovely hard drive grind into action, I knew my creativity was something I carried no matter where I am. I have actually worked on a book on a drive across Hwy 8 through Arizona into SoCal on my iPad so now I know I can do that if I have to.

What are some of your favorite books and why? 
Anything by Elizabeth Hoyt. I love her characters, how she sets up her series, her plots…everything, actually.

What are you working on now? 
I’m working on Loving Logan, Return to Welcome Book 2. I have a rough draft, the cover and the makings of a blurb. I’m also working on Diamond at Heart, a hot novella with some suspense and mystery tossed in.  And then…I have the rights returned to a very hot book, which for now, I’m calling Those O’Banion Brothers.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why? 
I never think of writing other genres. Cozy mystery is too cool a narrative for my voice. Sci-fi I prefer to watch, not read. I’ve written a read-aloud Christmas children’s story that I included as a bonus in my Christmas Collection. Friends and family tell me Father Mouse’s First Christmas is fun to read. But, nothing lets me explore human motivation, frailties, and beauty of spirit that romance does.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be? 
I can’t imagine not being a writer. I will write or tell stories with my dying breath.  I have little boys in my life now who want me to tell them “talking stories”. These are stories from our family life. I hope to inspire one of them to take up the quill!

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
Plotting…I wish I could know what will happen ahead of time, but I never do. I just start with an idea of what my character needs to learn and then take steps to teach them. They stumble as I stumble. By the second draft, I’ve got a handle on them and then I can plot better.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine? 
Of mine? I’d say the one I’m working on…which seems trite and cliché, but it’s true. Once written they’ve learned what they need to learn…there’s no more challenge for me. So, it’s always, always the still-not-fully-formed characters that make me crow with delight.

Seriously? Return to Welcome? She’d rather chew rusty nails…

Mercy Talbot left Welcome on a high—a golden-girl beauty queen who stepped confidently into a bright, exciting future. But that was a long time ago and that girl is far, far, away. She’s failed in her career, failed in love, failed her family—and she’s dead broke.

All Mercy wants is to forget her failures and move forward into a new life with a fresh set of dreams—and get out of Welcome before it sucks her back in for good. But one look at her precocious niece who desperately needs her sends Mercy on a journey into her past that will change everyone’s future.

Clay Foster used to be Welcome’s bad boy, but marriage and his daughter Dilly transformed him into a devoted father. Widowed now and struggling to be the daddy his child needs, Clay fights his sudden and unexpected attraction to Mercy. But, tempted as he is, Clay can’t afford to be taken in by a golden girl. Beautiful, talented women like Mercy always have an exit strategy and when her career beckons, Clay knows she’ll leave him and Dilly flat. His daughter has already lost her mother and he won’t put his little girl’s heart on the line.

When Mercy learns her tattered dreams and dead career have been reborn, will she leave the man and child who need her? Will Clay believe in their future and accept that Mercy has found there’s no place like home?


About Bonnie:  Multi-published author Bonnie Edwards lives with her husband and pets on the rainy coast of British Columbia. Her earthy, irreverent, love stories sometimes have a paranormal twist, likes curses and ghosts, other times not. But her books always entertain and guarantee a happy ending.
     With four ongoing romance series (Tales of Perdition, The Brantons and The Christmas Collection) and contemporary family novels in her newest series, Return to Welcome, she rarely spends a day without writing. She has written novels, novellas and short stories for Kensington Books, Harlequin Books, Carina Press, and Robinson (UK) although now she publishes her work herself. Look for more exciting releases throughout 2018…

For more info and sample chapters:
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Lynn Crandall said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts! So happy to have you on our blog. You're an amazing writer.

HiDee said...

I love the bright cover and your story sounds amazing. Can't wait to check it out. Thank you for being with us today!

Bonnie Edwards said...

HiDee, I LOVED these questions and appreciate this opportunity to discuss Finding Mercy and my writing process through this book. I believe this is my best, most complex work in the decades I've been writing.

Thanks so much for having me here.

Angela Adams said...

Bonnie, I enjoyed the interview, and I'm looking forward to reading "Finding Mercy." Best wishes.

Bonnie Edwards said...

Thanks so much, Angela. I hope you enjoy the read!