Sunday, March 25, 2012
Interview of Author BonSue Brandvik
Latest Book: Pearls: Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore, Book One
Buy Link: For paperback and Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/7gtrzqp
The e-book version is also available from:
Smashwords, Barnes & Nobel Nook, Apple iPad/iPhone, Kobo Reader, Sony Reader.
When I left my home in St. Louis MO to become a wife and mom at the age of seventeen, I thought I knew everything I needed to know about life.
Five years later, following my divorce, I decided a little more education couldn’t hurt. While working at a string of “interesting” jobs (ranging from selling cookware door to door, to cocktail waitressing in a strip club) I managed to earn my college degree, marry the true love of my life, and raise a fine daughter. In time, I developed a lucrative career in the field of Human Resources.
Then I quit my job and became a writer.
My next education began shortly after I mailed the rough draft of a partially-completed novel manuscript to several agents in New York. At the time, I thought the agent of my choosing would assign an editor to work by my side as I finished writing the story. Then she would proofread the manuscript, publish my novel, and schedule my television interviews and book signings. Ah, yes...
So here I am a few years later, having learned how to plot, edit (over and over again), critique and publish my novel. Now I’m learning how to market my work, while also trying to save a historic hotel from demolition. No kidding.
The setting for my series is the historic and haunted Belleview Biltmore Resort, in Belleair, Florida. It was built in 1896, and is the largest wooden hotel in the world (820,000 square feet.) While I was busy writing Pearls: Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore, the resort was closed and gutted, in preparation for a complete renovation. It was scheduled to reopen in 2012, just in time for my book launching. But then the real estate market collapsed, the owners defaulted on their mortgage, and the property was sold in lieu of foreclosure. Developers purchased the property in 2011 with the intention of demolishing the hotel and building180 town homes in its place. Along with preservationists and worldwide fans of the hotel, I am fighting to stop the demolition, while searching for investors to complete the planned hotel renovation.
When I’m not busy with preservation/activist projects or marketing activities, I can be found working on the second book in my series, Ripples: Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore, tending to our flower and vegetable gardens, caring for our koi pond, taking pictures, running around in my little Fiat named ‘Button’, or reading a book.
Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: World building. Maybe it’s because, as a Leo, I like making all the rules. Seriously, it’s a blast to let my imagination run wild and then write as if I know the answers to mysteries, like “What really happens when you die?” or “What if the walls really could talk?”
Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you?Why?
A: Sex scenes. I tend to worry about what my friends and relatives will think of me when they read my bodice-ripping segments. It doesn’t stop me from writing them, though (wink, wink!)
Q: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
A: Margaret Plant, one of the two spirits that connects with my heroine, Honor. She always seems to know the dirty little secrets people are trying to hide, and she uses her influence to help other women improve their lives.
Q: If one of your books became a movie, which celebrity would you like to star as one of your heroines? Tell us about your heroine.
A: Amy Acker or Jennifer Love Hewitt. Honor Macklin is pretty and smart, but has lost her self-confidence after years of being married to guy who tells her she’s neither. She lost her father in a car accident when she was a child and the story begins shortly after she loses her mother the same way. When she begins interacting with the spirits at the Belleview Biltmore, it’s fun to watch her reevaluate her life and begin to take risks to get what she wants.
Q: If one of your books became a movie, which celebrity would you like to star as one of your heroes? Tell us about your hero.
A: Ben Affleck. Josh Lancing is a great guy who is not living the life he once imagined, but he’s trying to be a good father to his four-year-old son. He is smitten with Honor right away, but neither of them lives in Florida, and he’s positive long-distance relationships never work out.
Q: Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”?
A: Heavens no! But they do all look amazingly like people I know and/or movie stars.
Q: Do you eat comfort food when writing?
A: I try not to, but sometimes jelly beans and/or pumpkin seeds are just plain necessary.
Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: Photography. There’s just something about capturing a moment in time that no one will ever experience in the exact same way as I am at the moment I press the shutter button.
Q: What is your favorite romance book that you’ve read?
A: An oldie (1970s), but goodie: “Time and Again” by Jack Finney, a time travel romance, which was later the basis for the screenplay and movie, “Somewhere in Time”, staring Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour.
Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
Facebook: BonSue Brandvik, Author
Software developer Honor Macklin believes she’s equal business partners with her philandering ex-husband, but when family responsibilities take her to Florida, she discovers her ex may have cheated her in more ways than one. Spirits at the Belleview Biltmore hotel try to help Honor by invading her dreams to share memories from the life of Darcy Loughman, a young Victorian woman with big problems of her own. When the two worlds collide, Honor and her new lover, Josh, along with his clairvoyant four-year-old son, try to figure out how Honor can use lessons from the past to change her destiny.
The setting for this novel is the famous and currently endangered historic Belleview Biltmore Resort in Belleair, FL. The hotel was built in 1896 by one of Florida’s founding fathers, Henry B. Plant. The author is working with preservationists, hoping to find investors willing to save the wonderful, 820,000 sq. ft. hotel from demolition. For additional information, please visit: http://www.spiritsofbelleviewbiltmore.com and/or http://www.savethebiltmore.com
[Previous: After overhearing her ex-husband/business partner discuss her lack of bedroom prowess with one of their clients, Honor Macklin made a hasty decision to fly to Florida, to complete her responsibilities as executor for her late mother’s estate. She is staying at the Belleview Biltmore hotel while sorting out the remainder of her mother’s possessions. At the bottom of a deep cabinet in her mother’s kitchen, Honor found an old journal, which she brought back to the hotel.]
...As she began to drift off to sleep, Honor became aware of a chill in the air and she heard voices coming from… coming from where? The hallway? Her suite? She tried to focus on the conversation.
“She has the journal. It’s time for her to know everything,” a woman’s voice said.
Honor rose from her bed to investigate and was amazed to find two women sitting in her parlor, clothed in full Victorian dress. Then it slowly began to sink in. They weren’t exactly what you would call solid.
“Who… what…” stammered Honor, startled almost beyond words.
“Good evening, darlin’,” the larger of the two women greeted her. “I’m Margaret and this is…well, this is Darcy. We see you’ve found her journal, gone from sight these many years.”
Margaret turned to face the thin, older woman. “It’s time, Darcy. You know it’s the right thing to do.”
“But what if she doesn’t understand?” The older woman looked worried. Her anguished eyes locked on Honor.
“She comes from good stock. She’ll understand,” the plump
Suddenly, Honor found herself inexplicably fading from her hotel room, into a fog. She floated through the mist, enjoying the sensation. When the fog lifted, she was sitting at a cast-iron garden table with a cool breeze caressing her face.
She felt dizzy and a bit sick to her stomach, as if she had just stepped off a roller coaster. Desperately, she tried to orient herself to her new situation by focusing on a pink hibiscus bush nearby. She heard someone call out from a nearby path.
“A grand afternoon to you, Madam Darcy.”
Honor turned toward the voice and saw the heavyset woman who had called herself Margaret, waving at Darcy, who was seated across from Honor at the garden table.
Honor’s mouth hung open as she gazed beyond the courtyard to the original Belleview Hotel. She felt Darcy’s eyes upon her, pulling her attention back across the table. Darcy spoke as though they were still in Honor’s hotel room, seemingly unaware their location had changed, or that she appeared to be several decades younger than she had been only moments ago.
Darcy offered no explanation for the changes. “You must understand. I grew up in a world very different than the one I found when my husband brought me to this place,” she said, waving her hand in the general direction of the garden. “My father was an honorable man, but he was not blessed with a keen business sense and his dire financial situation caused his health to fail.” Darcy took deep breath, as if the words revived painful memories.
“My mother bore no sons to help support our family, so by the time I reached womanhood, my family’s name had become its most valued asset. I was forced to put away any thoughts I may have possessed about spending a glorious debut season in New York and face the reality that my marital prospects were quite poor. With no dowry, I was no longer viewed as a suitable match for young gentlemen of good breeding and wealth.”
After another long pause, Darcy continued, her voice a flat monotone. “And so I was given in marriage to Reginald Loughman in my fourteenth year. Reginald was thirty five years my senior.”
Darcy flinched, as if remembering the feel of the old man’s wrinkled touch on her tender, young body. After a moment, she lifted her chin. “My parents tried their best to secure my future, but…” She shook her head.
“I was Reginald’s third wife, he having been sorrowfully widowed twice before. He had already sired and raised his heirs; so thankfully, he didn’t come to my bed very often. My wifely duties were mostly confined to providing my husband with social companionship and running his household,” she murmured.
Without warning, the fog returned and Honor fell away from the garden.
"After reading Pearls, the heartwarming debut of the Spirits of Belleview Biltmore series, I can't wait for the second book. BonSue Brandvik deftly spins a tale that is part historical romance and part ghost story, which ultimately teaches a very compelling lesson about the strength of love and sisterhood."-- Cara Lockwood, USA Today bestselling author of I Do (But I Don't).
Anything else you’d like to add?
Yes. If anyone is interested in helping save the historic Belleview Biltmore Resort from demolition, please consider forwarding my website and a bit about our mission to anyone you believe is like-minded. And of course, buying a copy of my book would be appreciated, too!
Posted by Marianne Stephens at 12:01 AM