Writing and reading two of my favorite things alongside our Saturday author interviews of course! Today we have author Bonnie Milani joining us to talk about her books, writing process, and of course a bit about herself. As per usual I won’t keep you waiting. Time to get chatting with Bonnie! 🙂
Welcome Welcome, let’s begin with my first question:
What inspired you to start writing? *
I don’t think anything ever actually inspired me to start writing. I started telling stories as soon as I started talking. Other parents read bedtime stories to put the kids to sleep. I made up my own – and used them to put my mom to sleep. Wasn’t exactly the world’s greatest ego-boo…
When did you decide that you wanted to publish your first story? *
Probably sometime in third grade. I was reading a biography of Dr. William Harvey, the 17th century physician credited in the West with discovering blood circulation. The book’s phrasing was so clunky I started doing line edits, though I had no idea that’s what the rewrite was called. I wound up saying, “I can write better than this!” Never wanted to be anything but a writer from that point on. Mind you, it took me several decades to manage it.
Describe your writing space. *
It’s my regular business office, just before (& frequently after) regular work hours.
How do you do research for your books? *
Depends on the story. I write hard sci fi so I make sure to talk to specialists in whichever field pertains to a particular story to make sure I’ve got the science right. For my genetically engineered characters, I sat with the head of the genetics dept at Cal State Northridge while she worked out the mechanics that would achieve the desired result.
What motivates you to keep writing? *
The inability to NOT write.
Writing can be emotionally draining and sometimes stressful- particularly when stepping into the publishing realm of things. Any tips to share for the aspiring writers out there? *
Dive in and wallow. I’m a structural editor in one of my other lives as well as an old fiction-writing teacher. Too many beginning writers keep their characters’ emotions at arm’s length (occasionally at football field length!). Don’t! Let it all out. Drip those emotions all over the page. You can always go back and edit the excess slop up. Just don’t be afraid to let it show. It will help you to feel your characters as well.
Tell me about the books you write.*
Almost all my books are set in the Aliya War universe that’s laid out in my first novel, Home World. However, they’re all separate stories following completely separate story lines. They’re each in a separate sub-genre of sci fi as well: so ‘Liquid Gambit’ is sci fi noir (think Casablanca on a space station); ‘Cherry Pickers or The Sissy & The Pirates’ are both coming of age stories; ‘Monkey’s Luck’ is military sci fi, and so on. The short stories cover the gamut: ‘The Good Old Days’ is a VERY short bit of dark urban fantasy; ‘Lueger’s Wager’ is alternate history, while ‘Hot Day on Titan’ is straight up sci fi adventure. I tell each story as I hear it. Trouble is, I don’t always hear in a single genre.
How many books have you written so far? Are you in any anthologies? Which book has been your favorite to write? If you have a one that is. 🙂 *
Between novels, novellas, and short stories I’ve got nine out in the universe so far. My work has been included in two anthologies: Inkling Press’ ‘Tales from Alternate Earths 2’ and ‘Visions 2: Moons of Saturn’. As far as favorite book to write, I think that’d have to be ‘Cherry Pickers’, the first of the Nikki & Sam stories. Put those two together and the story pretty much wrote itself.
Do you have a favorite character that you have written? Why are they your favorite? Are they the main character? Tell us about them. *
I develop a fondness for most of my characters. Favorite, though…it’s probably Sam. He’s a hopeless romantic and partner-in-mischief to his adoptive sister Nikki Sotolongo. He’s also a native of the out-to-get you planet Sisyphus, which means he’s a nine foot tall sentient tarantula. But he’s so sweet he even has me more or less liking spiders.
Tell us about your latest writing project *
Working title is ‘A Piece of Paradise’ It’s a novella turning into a novel about a pair of siblings genetically engineered for life aboard a deep space mining ship who win a piece of land on Earth. It’s supposed to be a piece of paradise – but the advertisements are a bit deceiving…
Let’s get to know a bit more about you. What do you like to do when you are not writing? *
Read. Edit. Take long springtime walks. Travel.
If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be? *
I think I can do it in two: classic Aries
If it were possible to have your favorite season all year long what season would it be? *Spring
Why did you choose that particular season? *
I’ve aged into moderation & spring is a joyous expression of seasonal balance
What songs/ music are on your playlist? *None – not a music listener. Messes with my mood too much.
What is your favorite food? *
Who is your favorite author and why? *
Oy. At this point in time, probably Sir Terry Pratchett. I’ve probably reread every book in the Discworld series at least four times and I am awestruck by the sheer audacity of his imagination every time. And I get to giggle a lot, too.
What are you reading right now? *
Depends on what’s closest to hand: three of the Discworld series, an ancient Roman murder mystery, and ‘Wolves at the Door’, the true story of the US’ most successful – and unlikely – woman spy in WWII
What is one thing your readers don’t know about you? *
My first summer job was working for the FAA. I was fortunate enough to be assigned to the engineering team that was designing and testing a new type of engine in conjunction with NASA. Every time we fired that prototype off, cows across the southern half of NJ stopped giving milk. The local farmers hated us. The project was top secret, so I had no idea what we were doing while I was there; it wasn’t until the Columbia lifted off that I learned we’d been working on the prototype engines for the space shuttle.
Where can readers find out more about you and your books? *
Or you can drop me a note to sign up for my newsletter.
Thank you for joining me on my blog today. Is there anything else you’d like to say before we head on out?*
Thank you so much for having me! I hope you’ve enjoyed our chat as much as I have!
Yes! Thank you so much for being here on the blog today. Until next time folks! That’s all. don’t forget to head on over to Bonnie’s website.