Interview with Bonnie McKernan
Affaire de Coeur’s
March Calendar Girl
Award-winning author of Cliff of the Ruin
Historical Fiction with a Touch of Fantasy...
Welcome, Bonnie McKernan
Welcome, Bonnie McKernan
Where are you from?
I was born in Hawaii, grew up in New Jersey, studied in England, lived in South Africa and Ireland, and settled in Pennsylvania. Phew! I guess I’ve been around.
What was the inspiration for your book?
In a word: Ireland. It feeds my imagination like no other place in the world, mostly because I’m such a romantic at heart. I love its culture, its stories, its gorgeous landscapes. I can’t say that I love its history because, well, so much of it is sad, but I do admire greatly the resilience of the Irish people. How can anyone not love the Irish!
Are you Irish?
If marrying an Irishman makes me Irish, then yes I am.
Any life experience tangled in the storylines?
I have to mention Ireland again. Having lived there gave me much more raw material to work with than if I had merely visited. I could really draw on the flavor of culture—everything from picking up subtle differences in Irish dialects to learning about obscure ancient folklore. This experience heavily influenced the characters, the plot and settings of my story.
Another experience can be found in how I once identified with the idealistic view about love exhibited by my main character, one that equates “true love” with something beautiful and perfect. But the search for perfect only gets us into trouble, doesn’t it? Nothing more than a myth. Thank goodness, both my main character and I grew up and changed our views rather quickly. Allowing love to be imperfect only grows it.
What is the best writing advice anyone ever gave you?
Ivory Madison, Editor Chief of the Red Room, spoke at a writer’s conference. She said, “Perfectionism is the opposite of high standards.” Explanation: Perfection paralyzes the writer; high standards get the job done. Wise words!
Easiest and hardest things about writing?
Easiest is also the most fun: Brainstorming. Like a rodeo, the gate opens and I watch my thoughts run wild and free in every direction. Hardest part? Lassoing an idea and making it to submit to the central story question. If it doesn’t submit, the lasso flies again. An idea isn’t good unless it moves the story along.
Do you have social/political cause you are passionate about?
I have many, but here are two: Compassion International, which helps care for children around the world, an organization I’ve supported for decades. The second is Humankind Water, which provides drinking water to villages by building clean, safe wells—something almost a billion people need desperately.
Any new authors who have caught your interest?
I’m not sure how new Susanna Kearsley is, but I just discovered her. She writes what I write: historical romantic adventures with a touch of the otherworldly. I would put her up there with Diana Gabaldon for imagination, good research, and intelligent love stories.
What author would you like to have a cozy lunch with?
George R.R. Martin, the mastermind behind the Game of Thrones book and television series. I would ask him how he is able to offer so many details, so many characters and so many story threads, yet never lose the reader. There has to be some grand, calculated method behind all his wonderful madness!
What are you reading now?
A travel guide for Denmark. I’m planning a trip there to see where my ancestors lived. They say my great-great-grandmother, a milkmaid, fell in love with a baron, who returned her affections and gave her a child, but was not permitted to marry her. Hmmm… that sounds like the premise for a future story.
What would you like to say to your readers?
Thank you for choosing my book. Thank you for following me. I would love to hear from you!
Read a Sneak Peek of Cliff of the Ruin
Give a Helping Hand:
Helps care for children around the world
Provides healthy drinking water to villages by building clean, safe wells.