She learned to read in first grade from the famed “Dick and Jane” readers. Many years later, her first novel for children (The Haunted Igloo) was published by Houghton Mifflin Children’s, in 1991. After that book was released, Turner visited grade schools with a life-sized, handmade Inuit (Eskimo) doll, encouraging students to keep reading and writing–and offering polar bear hugs along with her autograph.
Currently residing in Wisconsin, Turner is a mother, a grandmother, and a great-grandmother. Her interests are many and varied, including astronomy, astrology, geography, geology, history, yoga, philosophy, psychology, politics, metaphysics, and parapsychology. Her sun sign is Scorpio, with Cancer rising. She’s a self-educated jack-of-all-trades, a Mensa *almost*, a classical music and jazz fusion aficionado. She owns a feisty tortoiseshell cat named Jazzbaby, who dances on the keyboard, walks on the printer and photocopies blank pages, and–when she’s not making mischief–sleeps in a ream-size manuscript mailer on Turner’s desk.
Bonnie Turner’s favorite authors include: Mark Twain, James A. Michener, poets Robert Service and Edgar A. Guest. Some favorite books are: Giants in the Earth (O.E. Rolvaag), Steamboat Gothic (Frances Parkinson Keyes), Chesapeake (Michener), the epic poem, The Odyssey of Homer, and Harvest Home (Thomas Tryon). Favorite genres: historical fiction, young-adult fiction, literary fiction, romance, suspense, mystery, humor, Americana, mainstream, commercial — almost anything except violent, gory tales.
What inspires you to write?
Everything inspires me to write. Life itself inspires me, from nature to inanimate objects, and everything in between, from life to death and beyond. Love inspires me…being in love and being loved.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m a seat of the pants writer. I do not use an outline or anything mechanical, except my word processor. I’m basically a right-brain writer and left-brain editor. It’s easy for me to switch from one mode to the other, and this enables me to contact my subconscious storehouse of memories, from which my stories arise.
I often use music while writing. For example, while writing my Arctic historical novel, DRUM DANCE, I played Enya’s “Watermark” repeatedly during a hazardous canoe scene, and to this day, whenever I hear that music, I’m right back into that scene.
And for my Great Depression novel, Face the Winter Naked, I played banjo music while following my banjo-playing main character hobo from place to place. Again, hearing those tunes now takes me right back.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I start with a character list, or at least the main ones. And I’ve often played “20 Questions” to get them talking to me. You’d be surprised what fictitious characters will say if you give them an opening. Sometimes a character will balk at doing something I’ve asked him to do. Those phantoms of my mind certainly have personalities.
What advice would you give other writers?
The main piece of advice I would give other writers is to NOT talk your story out with anyone else until you at least have a rough draft. The reason for this is because, as I mentioned before, our stories come from our subconscious minds. Input from others will destroy the harmony you have with your own subconscious. It will become confused and may stop working for you. Other people’s input will change your story, and it’ll no longer be the one your subconscious is working on.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Yes, I would advise new authors to explore. My first book for children was published by Houghton Mifflin, in 1991, but they rejected the sequel because they felt it slipped from middle grade to young adult. I refused to change it.
I had a children’s agent for a while, but dropped her when she became too involved in her own writing to pay attention to mine. And since my hubby was ill and on hospice at the time, I didn’t want the hassle of an agent/editor search. So I self-published. I’m not sorry, and I love being my own boss.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think digital publishing is here to stay and is going to grow HUGE. There may still be traditional publishers, but IMO, they’ve screwed many authors with their big demands and unfair contracts. Those authors–some who have wasted a lifetime looking for an agent–now have a way to fight back. Can you hear the cheers from the bleachers?
What do you use?
What genres do you write?
I’ve written middle-grade, young-adult & historical fiction, some for preschool and early grades, and also have dabbled with stage plays and nonfiction (biography about Sacajawea).
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print