One of the frustrations I occasionally have as a reader is that books often don’t feature women over 40 as their protagonists. With that in mind, I am delighted to welcome Bonnie McCune to Linda’s Book Bag to tell me about one of her books.
Staying in with Bonnie McCune
Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Bonnie. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me. Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
I’ve brought my latest, Never Retreat. Like all my books, it features a real woman (not a teenager or an empty-headed flirt), and is set in my home state of Colorado. Her life’s complicated by challenges—money problems, a teenaged son, tension at work. The hero, too, has his share of trials—a pressing need for funds, a job transfer at the telecommunications firm where both he and the heroine work.
(I’m always eager to read about more mature women Bonnie. Sounds good!)
Still the book’s breaking some new territory for me. The story is more substantive than earlier novels. Raye and Des face more difficulties than usual. In addition to the push-pull of the possible relationship, the two and their co-workers are trapped by a massive summer storm and flash flood in the mountains.
What can we expect from an evening in with Never Retreat?
A healthy dose of believable characters who learn from their challenges and struggles, just as we all do. Like my characters, I believe in equal opportunities at home as well as work, in relationships as well as employment.
(Now, that’s a philosophy I strongly agree with!)
The story follows Raye and Des as they discover to overcome assumptions about each other and value the viewpoint, the history, and the strengths of their opposite. No losers in this struggle. Still, some troubles are too huge to solve easily or alone. A mere life-threatening deluge can be over in a matter of hours, but tangles between personalities last far longer. I think readers will enjoy how the two may tussle and argue but eventually find they’re much better with one another than apart.
(That sounds like real life to me.)
One reviewer said about Never Retreat: “More than a love story, Bonnie McCune has created a tale of partnership and equality, sure to remind us of both contemporary gender struggles and hope for the future of men and women as a united, beneficial partnership. . .an intelligent love story.”
Another said, “Clashing characters early on turns into a nice dose of chemistry between the pair. Strong well-written characters with a fleshed- out background for each of them makes this an enjoyable read. An imaginative storyline that hasn’t been overdone.
(Those are wonderful responses. It sounds as if you’ve achieved perfectly what you set out to do in Never Retreat.)
What else have you brought along and why?
I thought I’d tell you a little more about the impetus for my writing.
(Please do. I love hearing why and how authors gain their inspiration.)
I’ve found I often use major catastrophes in writing. My work is replete with floods, fires, blizzards, and disasters. One reason I use them is because everyday life can sound boring, and people often read fiction to escape. Because my work avoids rich or famous characters to favor everyday people, I find calamities can show there’s no such thing as a “normal” human. Everyone’s different, everyone has strengths, weaknesses, loves, interests. A crisis simply brings these to the fore and allows me to parade the character in all her wonderful strengths. So Never Retreat incorporates one of the flash floods notorious in this state and asks, “What if?”, the basis of all creative thought.
The second reason, I admit, is I’m a coward. I’m afraid of nearly everything, whether it’s getting fired (one of Raye’s fears), facing a flood, having a child in a car accident, or being broke (another of Raye’s fears). Writing novels allows me to consider these and come to grips with them, which defuses the fear.
(I’d never really thought of the author’s personal responses to the ‘What if?’ scenarios they create. How interesting Bonnie.)
Bits and pieces of my life seem to show up in my writing. The episode in which Raye reveals her skill at roping was based on my awe when my older sister, then age ten, taught herself to lasso. The lodge is similar to one I stayed in for a work conference and impressed me with its opulence. The teen’s confidence mimics that of my grandson’s. As a writer friend of mine said, “Everything’s material for writing.”
(Now THAT I am familiar with. Authors are real magpies when it comes to finding material to write about.)
Thank you so much for staying in with me to tell us all about Never Retreat, Bonnie. I think it sounds a brilliant story.
A feisty single mom clashes with an ex-military, sexist, corporate star at a business retreat in the Colorado mountains…
Years ago, Ramona (“Raye”) Soto faced harsh reality when a roving conman knocked her up. Now, at thirty-something, she’s concentrating on her career with a major telecommunications firm and funding college for her teenaged son. Enter Desmond Emmett—a fast talker and smooth operator. New to the office, the ex-serviceman possesses every negative quality in a guy Raye should avoid.
Thrown together at a corporate retreat in the wilderness, the reluctant duo struggles to complete management’s extreme mental and physical tests for a huge reward. But only one can win the prize, and Des needs the money to underwrite medical treatments for his adored younger sister.
See-sawing between attraction and antagonism, the mismatched couple faces their biggest challenge: learning the meaning of true partnership. When a massive flash flood sweeps down the rocky canyon and threatens their love and survival, they must put aside their differences to rescue their colleagues—and their future as a couple.
Never Retreat is available for purchase here.
About Bonnie McClune
Bonnie McCune has been writing since age ten, when she submitted a poem about rain rushing down the gutter to the Saturday Evening Post (it was rejected). Her interest in the written word facilitated her career in nonprofits where she concentrated on public and community relations and marketing. She’s worked for libraries, directed a small arts organization, and managed Denver’s beautification program. Simultaneously, she’s been a free lance writer with articles in local, regional, and specialty publications. Now her true passion is fiction, and her stories have won several awards. Never Retreat is her third novel and her fifth book of fiction.
To find out more visit Bonnie at www.BonnieMcCune.com, where you also can read her blog “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives.” You can also follow Bonnie on Twitter @bonniemccune and find her on Facebook.