Monday, May 12, 2008

A Painful Pleasure, Part I


For Bonnie Pemberton, author of ‘The Cat Master,’ writing is a painful pleasure. Join us as we discuss the ins and outs, the ups and downs of a life creative.

Creative Soul: Why writing?

Bonnie: I’ve written since I was a little kid, but I was never one to say ‘I want to be published.’ I never said ‘I want to be an author.’ There are art forms that people are born to express. Writing is not that easy for me, but it is always satisfying. There have been times in my life where I’ve gone long periods of not writing anything but an occasional letter to the editor or written in a journal. Acting and singing are much easier.

CS: It took you ten years to finish ‘The Cat Master.’

Bonnie: Yes, for a time after my cat Buddy died, I just couldn’t write about him. He is the main character of ‘The Cat Master.’ Once I start something, I want to finish it. It eats at me. It troubles me until I finish it. Eventually, I picked the manuscript up and finished it.

CS: Where do your ideas and inspirations come from?

Bonnie: Ideas and inspiration are two different things. An idea comes from something I see or hear. Like in the book I’m writing now, a news piece about a man gathering 300 plowshare turtles to sell caught my attention. There are only 600 of these turtles in existence and this man had captured 300 of them to sell on the black market. So I have a plowshare turtle character as part of the black market story line.

CS: What do you look for in a story?

Bonnie: I’m interested in a story with a haunting quality. Not horror, but a melancholy feel. A story has to have a depth beyond the plot. I create comedy and lighthearted moments around the seriousness of the story. I don’t want to write shallow.

CS: What about inspiration?

Bonnie: Inspiration is in the depth of emotion I feel when writing. Inspiration comes after I’ve fallen into the story.

CS: Do you keep a schedule?

Bonnie: When I wrote for myself, I wrote when it felt good. When I aimed for publication, I set goals for myself. Now that I am published, I do not want to be a one-book-wonder. I’ve set a goal to write one book a year. Today’s goal is to write three scenes on my work in progress.

What I love to do is go back over scenes I’ve written and tweak them. Writing new scenes is excruciating. Writing is a painful pleasure for me. Not fun at all, but satisfying. Very satisfying.

CS: Do you have ‘rituals’ that help you get in a writing frame of mind?

Bonnie, laughing: Like reading all the gossip possible from AOL, you mean? After I’ve read about Britney Spears latest adventures and exhausting all possible distractions, I focus on writing. The first paragraph of the first page is the hardest. Once I’m through that, I’ve fallen into the story and all is right.

Stay tuned for the second part of Bonnie's interview on Thursday when we will chat about the mistakes and successes in her writing career.

Learn more about Bonnie at

5 Other Creative Souls are Saying:

DebD said...

What a great interview, and encouraging as well.

thanks! I look forward to Thursday's edition.

pottermom said...

I enjoyed her thoughts. I'm looking forward to part 2.

Rose said...

I can't wait for the next part!

Leigh Attaway Wilcox said...

"Painful pleasure" . . . love it. Love Bonnie! Love you, Deb!

Tim said...

What great insights into the writing world. Thanks for opening our eyes.