Celia Bonaduce Interview Published on: 13, Nov 2018

Where did you grow up and how do you think your experiences growing up may have influenced your writing as an author?

I was raised by two professional TV writers in Los Angeles, so I would be hard pressed to say what about my experiences growing up DIDN’T influence my writing. The biggest gifts I received through my childhood in regard to my profession are: a) Do the work (plot and TELL the story, finish what you start) b) honor you deadlines (there are more people involved in this than you) and c) Look at a scene from all angles…even if you’re only writing in ONE voice. Know what your other characters are thinking.

How did you first pick up the passion for writing? Are there any other creative arts that you like to dabble in?

I think my love of reading led to my passion for writing. When I was in the 4th grade, it took me two months to read Dr. Doolittle, but I loved being in my own world with these characters. It was just a natural progression to decide to create worlds of my own. I also have my living room set up as a sewing room – I love to quilt!

How long do you typically write for in a day? Are you one to set certain goals or do you just treat each day as it comes?

I’m very focused on writing when I’m on a deadline, otherwise, I’m a slacker. I’m in awe of writers who write every day come hell or high water. Sadly, I’m not in their club.

(skipping “being an indie author” question…I’m with Kensington)

What are some best memories from your coolest day job - a field producer on HGTV’s House Hunters? How has it helped you to shape into a writer?

I was already a writer when I started House Hunters, so I think the question works in reverse for me. I took my skills of “what’s the story here?” and “don’t lose track of the story” to my day job. My days on TINY HOUSE HUNTERS were wonderful and gave me the ideas for the houses in the Tiny House ON THE HILL and Tiny House ON The Road. One woman we were following made quite an impression – she’d grown up in a mansion and her CLOSET at home was bigger than her new house! I used that in TINY HOUSE ON THE HILL.

Which book in the entire Tiny House series took the longest to write?

Tiny House in the Trees took the longest to write BY FAR simply because I had ZERO experience with tree houses! When I realized I didn’t have enough knowledge to write about designing and building a tree-house (which is the story of the main character, Molly), my husband and I spent a weekend in a treehouse B&B near Santa Cruz, CA. As luck would have it, the woman who owned the tree house was a civil engineer and she kindly answered all my questions over the six months I worked on the book.

What sort of new techniques and styles did you play around with and develop with the "A Venice Beach Romance" series? How do you find your inspiration for the hot men and women in this series and who has been your favorite so far?

The "Venice Beach Romance” series was all new techniques and style, since it was my first series! I wrote and rewrote 'The Merchant of Venice Beach' six times! I actually don’t “see” characters in my head…I HEAR them (probably since my parents wrote for TV, I am very attended to dialogue). Once I have the voice, I have the characterization. Very often, I hear the voice of someone I know and that helps me decide what a character would do in a certain situation. I have a soft-spot in my heart for Erinn (she’s in all three books, but her story is A Comedy Of Erinn (book 2 of the series). She’s always the smartest person in the room and such a fish out of water. She pretends she doesn’t care that she is constantly “getting it wrong” in social situations, but soldiers on.

How do you know whether to let a book remain a standalone or create a series out of it? If you had to choose to continue as a series "A Tiny House”, “Welcome to Fat Chance, Texas” or "A Venice Beach Romance", which one would you choose and why?

I’ve had three contracts with Kensington Books – and luckily for me, they decided these books would be series. As time goes by, I get the itch to revisit all of them. I have an idea what twists and turns have overtaken Suzanna in The Venice Beach Romances, but I do wonder how the band of weirdos inhabiting Fat Chance, Texas are getting on. The idea behind the Tiny House series – where each book features a different protagonist and house – offers a way for the series to go on and on. Currently, I’m at work on a Christmas anthology with two other Kensington writers – it’s my first historical! I don’t think I’m allowed to go into any detail yet, but it’s going to be a good one! One of us (not me :) ) is a NY Times Best Selling author, so I lucked out on this assignment!!!!

What was hardest about writing "Tiny House on the Road"? Who inspired the character of Seventy-year-old Priscilla?

I set myself up for difficulty I could avoid – but I love to research. Instead of just opening my story in New Mexico, I followed Vivien across the Untied States.,,and then took the three heroes on their quest from New Mexico to California. I had to spend a lot of time on Mapquest! Pricilla was the embodiment of any older person who has withdrawn to the point where you can’t even see the kid they once were. But with Pricilla, every once in awhile, you see glimpses of her younger self. She hasn’t quite thrown in the towel. The novel is about getting herself back in touch with who she once was.

Which book has made you most emotional while writing and why? Would you publish a book that didn't move you?

I named Vivien in honor of a friend of mine who was very sick at the time. She always said “That’s Vivien with an “e”. I thought following her namesake’s process would cheer her up. Sadly, she died while I was finishing the novel. Spellcheck kept trying to correct the spelling to “Vivian” - and every time I fixed it, I would cry, knowing I’d never hear her say "That’s Vivien with an “e”. I knew I could make the correction automatic, but somehow that felt like a betrayal. Instead, I fixed it every time.

I don’t think I would ever have to worry about publishing a book that didn’t move me, because I can’t imagine writing one!

What was the inspiration for anchoring your books in particular places? Have you visited any of those places?

One thing I love about working on House Hunters is traveling all over the country. Being a writer, I get to revisit all these great places in my head for months on end as I work on a novel! I have been to all 50 states thanks to House Hunters (well, we don’t shoot in Alaska, so I went there with my mom, just to knock it off my list!), so I’ve been everywhere. The Venice Beach series was easy – I live just up the street in Santa Monica, CA. Since it was my first foray, I decided to go with “Write what you know”. I was taking dance lessons at the time, so dancing became all important in "The Merchant of Venice Beach”. The 'Welcome to Fat Chance, Texas’ series originally was set in the Colorado Rockies, but my characters somehow let me know they’d be more at home in Texas. I made up the town of Fat Chance, but it’s halfway between Austin and Dripping Springs – both places I love. When it was set in Colorado, Fat Chance was near Georgetown, outside of Denver. Since the tiny houses are portable, they can go anywhere (and do!).

( Skipping "In what ways has writing women's fiction books helped you grow as an author and what do you hope to accomplish with these books?” - don’t really have an answer)

What has been your greatest accomplishment as a writer so far? What are some of your other goals going into 2019?

I’m not sure if I should say “greatest accomplishment” or “had the best luck” - but to have a continued audience since first being published 6 years ago has been humbling and wonderful. My goals going into 2019 are to a) write a non-fiction book followed by b) another series that will be a slight departure from the romantic comedies I write now. While this new series will still have a comedic edge, it will also hit on a few more serious topics.

Do you ever get hit with writer's block? If so, how do you get the juices flowing again?

I get blocked all the time. I find if I go for a long drive and listen to any ALEXANDER MCCALL SMITH audiobook, I return in a mood to write.

How were you introduced to AllAuthor and how would you describe your experience so far?

My media guru, Jaidis Shaw hooked me up with AllAuthors – and I’ve loved the experience. Getting my banners every week is my favorite part!1.

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