Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Interview with Author Lynnette Bonner and Book Giveaway!

Before I get to my post, I wanted to let you know that I'm guest blogging today over at Seriously Write: A blog for Christian writers. Check out their site!

OK. Today I'm doing my first author interview, combined with a blog tour and book giveaway! Lynnette Bonner is with me today to talk about her new release, Rocky Mountain Oasis. I read this book in just a few days and really enjoyed it. Lynnette was kind enough to answer some questions from my therapeutic angle, which I've included below.

First, a blurb about the book:

She's been living in a desert all her life. Suddenly she's come upon an oasis. But is it just a mirage?

Brooke Marie Baker, eighteen, has been sent west as a mail-order bride. As the stage nears Greer's Ferry, where she is to meet the man she's pledged to marry, she tries to swallow the lump of nervousness in her throat. Can it be any worse than living with Uncle Jackson...or Hank? she wonders. All men are the same, aren't they? But with her parents and sister dead, she has no choice.

Sky Jordan, a rancher, holds a single yellow daisy in his hand as he watches the ferry cross the river. Ever since he'd found out his surly cousin, Jason, had sent for a mail-order bride, his mind and heart had been ill at ease.
No woman deserves to be left with the likes of Jason. But now he questions his own plans to claim the bride for himself. Why am I drawn to this woman I don't even know?

Rocky Mountain Oasis is Book One in Lynnette's The Shepherd's Heart series.

Jeannie: Tell me a bit about what got you into writing. Readers always love hearing about an author’s journey.

Lynnette: I always loved to read. And after awhile I started having stories of my own floating around in my head. Writing is something I’ve toyed with for a long time. But I didn’t seriously start writing until about 1999.

The oasis is a desert metaphor prominent in Brooke’s life as she thinks about her history with men and how different Sky is from them. What made you choose this metaphor?

I think there are many women today who may feel a little like they’ve been living a dry, parched life. I want them to know that it doesn’t have to be that way. Not all of them can have a nice guy like Sky. But all of them can have the relationship with Jesus that Brooke finds in the book.

What is it about a marriage that brings the hero and heroine prematurely and permanently together early in the book that just touches a chord with women? If this happened in real life, we wouldn’t have such warm fuzzies. Why do you think it’s different when reading about it?

Romance is all about the happy ending. I think we all know how hard that situation would be in real life – so the happy ending is all the more fulfilling when it comes about.

For someone with such a battered past as Brooke, it’s not any wonder that she found trusting Sky hard to do. What primary method did you choose for Sky to win her trust and why?

Sky had to show her he was trustworthy through kindness and patients. She wasn’t going to believe him until she experienced safety and True Love for the first time in her life. I chose that method, because I honestly think it would be the only one that would work in that situation.

It’s said that Christian marriages have 3 partners: the husband, the wife and the Lord. But in Sky’s marriage, there is another partner: Brooke’s baggage. How hard was it writing Sky’s perspective as he dealt the fourth party in his relationship?

I don’t think it was any harder than writing the other scenes in the book. In a sense we all bring some baggage into our relationships.

Brooke suffers from terrible nightmares about her past. These are bad enough to effect how she views her present. In effect, she has post-traumatic stress disorder. Did you know anything about this disorder when you were writing?

No. I’d heard of it. But had no firsthand experience with it. I just tried to put myself in the shoes of someone who had been treated in that way and imagine how that might affect Brooke and her relationships with others.

What kind of research did you do on the effects of opium withdrawal?

I did most of that research online. There is so much information available online now. It is wonderful for writers. If you are typing a scene and you don’t know what the symptoms of opium withdrawal are, within 5 minutes you can have your answer.

Usually there is only one salvation experience in fiction books. What was behind your decision to include two?

I didn’t originally intend to redeem Jason. But as the story unfolded I just fell in love with him. And I knew I couldn’t leave him wallowing in his misery. He is the hero in the second book in The Shepherd’s Heart series, High Desert Haven.

Where did you find And Five Were Hanged: And Other Historical Short Stories of Pierce and the Oro Fino Mining District by Layne Gellner Spencer from which you based your book?

I lived in the town of Pierce, the setting of the book. That book was in our local library. The history of Pierce (previously known as Pierce City) was so interesting that a story begged to be told.

I want to add a note of thanks to Jeannie for allowing me to be here today. I’d also like to give away one e-copy of Rocky Mountain Oasis to a winner drawn randomly from this post's commenters. The winner will be announced next Wednesday the 9th of September.

Big congratulations to Lynnette for her book release and thanks for being on my blog. Don't forget to leave a comment in the comment section to be entered to win a copy of Lynnette's book!

If you aren't the lucky winner, you can find Lynnette's book at Amazon or

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Justina Clayburn said...

Looks like a really good one. Can't wait to read it. I'd like to throw my name in for the give away.

Katie Ganshert said...

Jeannie - those were kick-butt questions, girl. Seriously...very specific and intriguing and much different than the typical author Q&A. Well done!

And thanks for the reponses Lynnette!! Congrats again on your book release! It's been fun to learn more about you!

T. Anne said...

I have the book so you can pull me out of the drawing. Just wanted to stop by and wish Lynnette big blessings!!!!

Lynnette Bonner said...

Justina, thanks. I'm glad the story sounds interesting. :)

Katie, Those were good questions, weren't they? Some of them were hard to answer - they really made me think about my characters.

T. Anne, Thank you! You are sooo sweet. :)

Jeannie, Thanks for allowing me to visit today. :) I'll run over and see your guest post right now.

Lynnette Bonner said...

Okay, I read your post and it made me realize I could talk to you about this character that is giving me fits. :)

I have a character who is very insecure. She was adopted and feels like "less of a person" because of that. And then several people who've meant a lot to her died, or moved out of her life. She kind of feels like God has it in for her.

So how would she respond when the man of her dreams (who has a dangerous job, where she knows he could get killed anyday) tells her he loves her?

Anonymous said...

I would love to be entered in your draw. Thanks.
wandanamgreb (at) gmail (dot) com

Anonymous said...

Terrific questions--and answers! Really makes me think about the psychological effects of what I put my characters through... Mwuah-ha-ha-ha! :D LCS

Keli Gwyn said...

Fantastic interview. Your questions were insightful, Jeannie. Thanks.

Mail-order bride stories are my all-time favorites. When I read about this one on another blog, I had to have it. My copy of Lynnette's book is en route from Amazon, and I can't wait to read it. I work historical events into my stories and love it when authors I read have done so too. And Sky sounds like my kind of hero.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

lynnette - thanks for being here today!

as to your question, my guess is that she'd feel like his declaration of love must not have been that genuine, or else he wouldn't put himself at danger so that she might lose him. does that make sense? feel free to drop me an email with more info and i could post to The Character Therapist.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

I've heard about this book a lot lately. Must get it!

Lynnette Bonner said...

Wanda, you're in! :)

Annonymous, I know, huh? Thinking about the psychological problems our characters might have just makes them more real, though.

Keli, thanks. :) I hope you really enjoy the story.

Jeannie, yes, that makes sense - and I like it! What a great addition to the tension! :D I'll think on it some more, but I just might email you with more. Thanks!

Eileen, you're in the drawing now. Maybe you'll win it. :)

Tara said...

Great questions. I like the personal touch to the interview.

Susanne Dietze said...

Wow, what a great story. Thanks for the introduction to Lynette and her story.

And you did such a good job on the interview, Jeannie! And this was your first interview? W-O-W.

Please enter me in the drawing! I'd love to read it!

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Hi, Jeannie! Thanks for the interview! I enjoyed reading it!

Congrats to Lynnette!!!

Tara said...


I just won the contest for this book on Katie's blog, so make sure someone else gets a great chance to win this one! I'm excited to read it--yeah!

Terri Tiffany said...

Yay to Lynette! SHe had really done well with making an online presence:)

Lynnette Bonner said...

Hello everyone, Just dropping back by to announce that Susanne won the book! Congrats, Susanne! I'll get it sent off to you right away. :)

Lynnette Bonner said...

Susanne, I need an email address from you to send the book. Drop me an email through the link in my profile and I'll get it sent off to you asap. :)

Susanne Dietze said...

Wow, I am so excited! Thanks, Lynnette. And thank you, too, Jeannie! What a blessing. I'll be in touch!