R.C. Bonitz is a graduate of Stevens Institute of Technology. He also has a Masters in counseling from SCSU and has been an engineer, a manager, an independent contractor, a psychotherapist, and finally an author. A resident of a small Connecticut shoreline town, he spent many years sailing and racing, but now finds pleasure bass fishing from an ancient red canoe. He's a volunteer in his town's Friendly Visitor program, which aims to keep homebound folks active and in touch. He has two books in print (A Little Bit of Blackmail and A Blanket for Her Heart), with a third to be released in September 2012 (A Little Bit of Baby). He'd love to hear from readers at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tell you about A Blanket for Her Heart.
It's a love story, but more. My heroine, Anne, has lived a sequestered and for the most part contented life, but there are moments when she thinks about just how much she's missed. She's single and seldom goes anywhere at all. And, she has buried the dreams of her childhood.
One day a stranger comes to her door seeking help. When he returns to thank her everything turns upside down. He likes her and keeps coming back. She's faced with the hardest decision of her life, to hide and send him away, or embrace the changes he presents her with. Will she gives wings to her life? And if she does, will she succeed? That is the essence of the story -- that and a twist of fate with success in sight.
What drove you to write this book?
Many years ago I had a dream that stayed with me the next morning. That dream became the opening chapter of A Blanket for Her Heart. I played around with writing it for a brief period, then decided to take a writing class. Unlike a romance novel, I really didn't know where the story was going when I started.
I always wanted to be a writer, perhaps because I read so much when I was young and thought authors were quite the romantic heroes. So, having dreamt an opening for a book it just seemed I was fated to begin writing. At the start, I wrote two or three hours a week just trying to get going. But the more I wrote the clearer Anne became, and the words began to flow.
What obstacles did you encounter?
Oh, just two minor ones - I didn't know how to write and didn't know how to sell to a publisher. No big deal! The writing class helped, and then I teamed up with Judy, one of my classmates, to keep writing and editing for each other. A Blanket for Her Heart was rewritten many times as I learned my craft. Then I put it on the shelf when I joined the Connecticut Romance writers and got excited about writing romances.
A Blanket for Her Heart sat unattended until I suddenly had an idea for a new ending. With that written, I really only made one submission to an agent who liked the book, but wasn't sure she could sell it. Then, the day I got a contract for my romance novel, A Blanket for Her Heart, a new publisher I knew asked if I had anything to submit. Sure, I said, and sent off A Blanket for Her Heart. One day later, she came back to me very enthused and offered me a contract... I was thrilled. Two contracts in one week. Both books were edited and covers designed, and we were ready to go.
Except the new publisher made a policy decision - she would only publish inspirational books. My book no longer fit her guidelines. Since the book had been edited, and she gave me the cover art, I decided to put it out through Amazon.
Who did you write it for?
I think I wrote it for me.
Someone asked me why I write love stories and my answer was that I fall in love with my heroines. Maybe that is connected in some way to this first book. My romance novels are written towards a specific goal I've had ever since I thought there was a possibility of being an author. I want to sell a number of books and be successful with them so I can feel comfortable calling myself an author. Some of that feeling applies to A Blanket for Her Heart. And, of course, I like to hear people say they enjoyed Anne's story.
Do you have any productivity tips?
My major recommendation is to find a good critique partner who will tell you the truth, then write your first three chapters over and over again before you tackle an entire novel. Use those first three chapters to learn, to discover your mistakes, and polish your writing until you get absolutely glowing praise for what you've written. Then go on and write the rest of the novel.
My other major thought has to do with writer's block. My solution is to write something. Consider it a throwaway, but put words on the screen. My romance novel, A Little Bit of Blackmail, came directly from such an action. I was working on a novel and felt stuck, so I put that novel aside and tried my hand at a short story idea just for fun and relaxation. Voila, A Little Bit of Blackmail was born and became a novel in itself.
That's not what usually happens, but the act of writing draws out my doubts and clarifies my thinking. The other part of the story is to remain open to new ideas. One of them might just lead you to a best seller.