Monday, April 9, 2012

Lynette Bonner tells how a fictional character comes to life

1. How did Nicki from High Desert Haven come to life in your mind?

I’m a seat of the pants writer. When I started this story all I had to go on was a glimpse of an Hispanic woman, struggling to scratch out a living with her family. I knew she would have to be tough to make it in another country, and especially in the hard-scrabble west. Jason, a secondary character from the first book in this series, needed a tough woman in his life. The two just seemed to naturally go together. :)

2. How did you choose the setting?

The setting was chosen for me because of the historical details I wanted to bring out in this one. I had come across some very interesting research about Crook County, Oregon and that made choosing to set the story near present-day Bend, easy for me. Especially since I spent several of my growing up years in a small town only about 13 miles from there.

3. Did you have the crisis—the dark moment—figured out when you started Chapter One?

No. Like I said, I’m a seat of the pants writer. The story comes to me as I write it and I sort of go along for the ride.

4. How did the final draft of Chapter One win your approval? Which took the most thinking—the beginning or the dark moment?

The beginning of a story is always fairly easy for me. Because I have several characters in my head and I am starting out to explore their stories. Definitely the middle of a book is generally the hardest for me. That and the wrap-up – deciding how many details are important to share and which already feel tied up for the reader.

5. Did any of your characters take on a life of their own? Who was your favorite minor character who was able to steal a scene?

I had two minor characters in this story that I loved. The first is Ron, the elderly ranch hand who has stuck with Nicki through thick and thin. I love his fatherly concern for her. But I think the character that surprised me the most by stealing a couple scenes was Janice, the daughter of the local mercantile owners. Her talkativeness and insecurity combine to make her an endearing, memorable character.

6. Was it easier the create the female lead or the male? In my historical romance, The Belle of Peachville, Jenny is the lead character and is running away from abuse, but William always captures my critiquers’ hearts. William often is Jenny’s rescuer and encourager who keeps popping into her life, although toward the end of the book he could be as fearsome as her pursuer.

I think I generally have an easier time creating my female leads, over my male leads. Although, at the start of this book I was more familiar with Jason, since I’d already written about him in book one, Rocky Mountain Oasis. (

7. How does Nicki’s faith or lack of it affect your story? If she actually were alive today, would she have a word of encouragement for my blog followers?

Nicki’s faith is a key element in the story, although she struggles with why God allows bad things to happen to good people. In the end she comes to the surrendered faith of realizing she has nowhere else to turn. Faith is, after all, putting our hope in things unseen, sometimes, yet being certain that our hope is not in vain.

8. What is your favorite fictional character of all time?

Hmmm…. This question gives me pause. I’ve been a reader all my life and have had many stories that I loved. When I was very young, I loved The Adventures of Peter Cottontail series by Thornton W. Burgess. The series name isn’t coming to me right now, but they had many different stories each about a different animal in the forest. When I got a little older Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys were favorites. Then in high school, I read and reread the Zion Chronicles and Zion Covenant by Bodie Thoene. Those stories have so many memorable characters, but I think Lucy, whose baby was going to be taken for the cause of the Reich, might be my favorite. My heart is still stirred when I think of her story. I would be remiss if I neglected to mention Angel from Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, Percey Blakeney from The Scarlett Pimpernell, Hawkeye from The Last of the Mohicans (movie), or Benjamin Martin from The Patriot (movie.) And there are many more, but I will stop with those.

9. Why and how did you become a novelist?

I’ve always had a love for great fiction. And I toyed with writing for many years. But it wasn’t until I came across the historical tidbits at the center of Rocky Mountain Oasis, that I had a story I simply couldn’t stop writing. My journey to publication after completing it took nearly a decade, but the Lord kept prodding me to keep submitting. I was finally pulled from the slush pile at OakTara and, trust me, no one was more shocked than I was that I was finally going to be published.

10. What is your greatest ambition now that you have achieved seeing your books published?

I think every writer would love to see their stories made into a movie. But I think the thing that would give me the most joy would be to hear about a life that was changed because of these books.

Note: The book will soon be available in many locations but right now it may be purchased at: