I first met Bonnie Calhoun
several years ago via our blogs. I was new to blogging and found the
technical side more than a bit frustrating. It didn’t take long to
discover that in addition to her skills as a writer, Bonnie possessed
near-ninja-like technical prowess. It was through Bonnie’s blog that I
first learned about a writing opportunity where best-selling author
Brandilyn Collins was starting a fan fiction blog for her new Kanner
Lake series. Bonnie earned a role writing as the character Sarah Wray,
and I was fortunate enough to earn a spot writing as curmudgeonly old
codger Wilbur Hucks. Good memories.
I read Cooking the
Books by Bonnie Calhoun in one sitting. Once I started
reading, it didn’t take long for the snarky humor and the full cast of
quirky characters to win me over; however, don’t do as I did and read
this book in public, or you too will break out into frequent bouts of
gut-splitting laughter. This is one funny novel, but it is also so much
more: a life-transforming story with a powerful message of God’s love. Cooking
the Books has earned my highest recommendation.
A Brief Synopsis:
After her mother dies from a heart attack, Sloane Templeton goes from
Cyber Crimes Unit to bookstore owner before she can blink. She also
“inherits” a half-batty store manager; a strange bunch of neighborhood
old people called the Granny Oakleys Book Club, who meet at the store
once a week but never read books; and Aunt Verline, who fancies herself
an Iron Chef when in reality you need a cast-iron stomach to partake of
her culinary disasters. And with a group like this you should never
ask, “What else can go wrong?”
A lot! Sloane begins to receive
cyber threats. While Sloane uses her computer forensic skills to
uncover the source of the threats, she learns that someone is out to
kill her. Can her life get crazier?
on an excellent novel. I absolutely fell in love with your novel’s
protagonist, Sloane Templeton. I could be wrong, but I thought I saw
more than a little of your sense of humor written into her personality.
Is there any truth to this, and are there any other similarities
lurking within the story?
ROFLOL . . . I’m guilty! Sloane
is me. I’ve taken a slight amount of poetic license with her, but on
the whole, she acts the way that I would act . . . react. Oh, one
difference: I’m not afraid of guns, and my aim is spot-on!
Which are your
favorite characters,and are there any characters you “hate” for any
Hmmm. Well, Trey is the ego of a
person that I used to know. He met the same fate coincidentally, so I
could say hate, but that is such a strong word. I’d say it’s more along
the lines of a major, malfunctioning, chronic dislike that knows no
And my favorite would be . . .
well, there are two! Aunt Verline embodies a pair of cooking aunts that
I used to run from . . . er, uh . . . spend time with as a child. And
Fifi is patterned after one of my sweet friends who is also a Penwright
crit group buddy. (You can find her image in the book video.)
What is your
favorite part of the story and why?
Hmmm. I have several but I’d
have to say the climax scene in the top story of Sloane’s building,
because I got to write it as total suspense without quips or quotes or
anything extraneous to the action. Suspense is me, but sometimes I get
scary for the average reader.
an excellent time reading the story, are there any lessons you hope to
impart to your readers?
Most certainly! For the women
readers: you can overcome anything―yourself, your circumstances, and
your past. It sounds really simple, but all you need is faith that the
Lord is with you and will help you overcome, if only you will reach
And the second lesson is for the
men who think that the woman’s place is in the kitchen . . . that’s
where the knives and gun are kept!
What kinds of
do you have planned for Sloane Templeton in the future?
Ohhh, lots of thought-provoking
problems that are situated in daily life. (Actually, if I told you, I’d
have to kill you so you couldn’t share the plots with the unsuspecting
. . . er, uh . . . readers!)
When did you
first discover the desire to be a writer?
As a teen, but I never really
desired to be an actual author until I read the Left Behind series
(We’ll leave that one alone.)
Tell us about
your path to publication.
That’s difficult because I see
all of it as God ordained, so I really didn’t have a concerted plan. I
got my agent Terry Burns while having dinner with him (and I had an
appointment to see a totally different agent for that conference). And
my first publishing contract grew from an offhand comment that I made
to the acquisition editor at the time. God was in the driver’s seat and
I’m just a passenger. (Jesus, take the wheel!)
I can’t think
of anyone with more irons in the fire than Bonnie Calhoun. In addition
to managing Christian Fiction Online Magazine, CFBA blog tours, and
running your own clothing design business, when do you find time to
All the time, in between the
times, around the times, when I’m supposed to be asleep (sleep is
sorely over-rated), actually any time I can fit it in. If I’m not busy
with something, I feel I’m being nonproductive.
Bonnie S. Calhoun fans look forward to in the near future?
August of 2013 I have a Quilts
of Love series coming out from Abingdon called Pieces of the
Heart. This is not in the frame of Sloane Templeton snark,
but it is actually back story for her character. Sloane is a
third-generation battered woman, and this is her grandmother’s story
during World War II.
Then prayerfully there will be
other stories for Sloane. I have at least a half dozen lined up. And
I’d also like to try to dabble in another genre: the dystopia. Maybe I
can get some of this pent-up suspense aggression written down on paper
in an interesting and thought-provoking manner!
Thank you so
much for taking time out of your busy schedule to let us get to know
you a little better. I for one cannot wait to read Pieces of the Heart
when it comes out next year. Until then, may God continue to bless your
writing and all you do for Him.
Bonnie Calhoun is the owner/director of the Christian Fiction Blog
Alliance (CFBA), where she has 250+ book reviewer blogs that twice
weekly do blog tours for the latest in Christian fiction. She is also
the owner/publisher of Christian Fiction Online Magazine
(CFOM), a three-year-old 50+ page ezine with columns
and articles by the best and brightest authors and professionals in
Christian fiction. Bonnie serves as president of the Christian Authors
Network (CAN), and she is the Northeast Zone Director of American
Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW)