Interview with Author Bonnie Dodge

AK Turner: Thanks for joining me, Bonnie. Let's talk about your latest book Waiting. Is it about leaves?

Bonnie Dodge: You would think so, wouldn’t you, by looking at the cover. Actually, the story takes place in a small fictitious town called Aspen Grove. The leaves on the cover are aspen leaves, so bright and colorful. Also, some of the characters in the book leave, but you’ll have to read it to find out where they go and why they leave.

AKT: Wait, I thought you wrote ghost stories. Are you sure you're the right Bonnie Dodge?

BD: Umm. Let me look. (Checks reflection in mirror and sees dark circles under eyes.) Yup, and it looks like I need to comb my hair. 

AKT: I won't judge.

BD: And, yes, I do write ghost stories, and poems, and essays. That’s what I call the short work. For the long work I like to write women’s fiction. I’m afraid if I wrote novel-length ghost stories, I’d probably scare myself to death and then my husband would have to find someone else to do the laundry. 

AKT: Good point, that would be sucky for him. Your cover is beautiful, and while the book sounds interesting, I'm still a little disappointed that the book is not about leaves. Did you have any input on the cover or was this solely in the hands of your publisher?

BD: Greg Simanson from Seattle designed the cover. He presented me with three cover choices, and, yes, I did have final say. My publisher is Booktrope, also out of Seattle. They are very hands-on and easy to work with.

AKT: Tell me about writing the book. When did you start, how do you write, where do your ideas come from? Basically I want all of the details of your writing process. And you have to answer in 140 characters or less. Just kidding. But try anyway. 

BD: Started writing WAITING seriously in 1996, I write badly, and steal ideas wherever I can.

AKT: Not bad! Okay, give me the extended version. 

BD: Waiting was actually inspired by watching my mother navigate life with an alcoholic husband. She kept saying, “I can’t wait for him to die.” Ironically, as life so often does, she died first and all her waiting and whining was for nothing. Men don’t wait around like women do. I wanted to write a book about women and the emotional baggage they juggle to attain their dreams. So often we settle, feel guilty, or plain stop dreaming. I hope this book inspires women to take more control to make their dreams come true. My writing process is a mixed bag. I do something writing-related everyday, and I have many projects in the air. One day I will work on a novel. The next an essay, or marketing, or a blog, or research. I’m a little bit OCD and there is never a minute when I am not writing, at least in my head. Deadlines are my saving grace. They force me to finish projects and move on.

AKT: I hear that in addition to writing, you are also a professional athlete. Tell me about that.

BD: When I was younger, I ran track, but now that I’m older, I do good to climb a flight of stairs without collapsing. The one thing I do consistently bad is yoga at the senior center. Once a week I try to turn myself into a pretzel or try to balance on one foot without peeing my pants. Going into airplane pose is even worse, with the instructor yelling, “Don’t forget to breathe!” The other day I was so focused on the arm movements, I did forget to breathe and almost passed out. Trust me, yoga is not for wimps.

AKT: You're preaching to the... other person who consistently does bad yoga. In any case, thanks so much for joining me. Every author interview must end with the question of what you are working on next (hopefully a book about leaves). And if you don't have a plan for what you are working on next, make something up quick.

BD: I have several projects in the mill. Booktrope has agreed to publish my novel Sarah’s Daughter, a story about a young girl (her mother was the camp prostitute) growing up in the mining camps of Idaho, which we plan to release in 2015. I’m also working on another anthology for the From the Snake River Plain series (see Oh, and I will be sure to add a book about leaves to my project list. Idaho has some wonderful leaves: elm, maple, poplar, Russian olive, and locust. Maybe I’ll turn it into a series!

And now, Amanda, I have a question for you and your readers. We all wait for something. What are you waiting for, and what will you do to make it happen?

AKT: I wait for no leaves! Wait, does that even make sense?

BD: Thanks so much for having me. I’ve enjoyed our conversation.

AKT: Thank you, Bonnie. You are exceedingly tolerant. 

Back cover blurb:  
Three generations of Foster women–senior citizen Maxine, attention seeker Grace, and aspiring artist Abbie–think they are nothing alike. But they all share a secret. They wait. For love, for attention, for life, for death, for Idaho’s warm, but promising summer to return. In their journeys between despair and happiness, they learn there are worse things than being alone, like waiting for the wrong person’s love. With sensitivity and humor, Waiting carries readers into the hearts of three women who learn that happiness comes from within.

Bonnie Dodge lives and writes from her home in southern Idaho. Her award-winning fiction, poetry, and non-fiction have appeared in several newspapers, magazines and anthologies in the Pacific Northwest. For more information about Bonnie Dodge visit her web page at or follow her on Twitter.

Waiting is now available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

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