Hi Bonnie. Tell us a little bit about Falling Like a Rock. Is the setting real, totally made up, or based on a real place?
Falling Like a Rock’s setting is loosely based on a real mountain town in Colorado, along with my other experiences in the geographic area. These locales exert influence on everyone who lives there; and the “Western personality,” independent, feisty, fit, affects the entire lifestyle. New surroundings for characters exposes their dilemmas, conflicts and growth.
What’s on your desk?
Laptop, printer, desk lamp. Stack of printouts and notes about books to read, topics to research. Lists of words to define. Websites to check out (“Having a Ball at Netherfield,” a recreation of Jane Austen’s ball). Exhortations (“God is in the details,” “You must change your life.”) Bills to pay electronically. Lists of activities to keep my mind active—French, harmonica, meditation, mind games. Photo of me and my best high school friend on a trip last year to Boston.
E-books, print, or both? Any preferences? Why?
Both. I still have at least 250 books in my to-read pile. I’ve begun collecting some works in electronic form, particularly those classics that are free online, or that I want to take extensive notes on for writing tips. Additionally, electronic books are much easier to take on trips or tuck into a purse than the bulky variety.
What triggered the story behind your latest release?
A number of years ago, an article ran in the local newspaper about a small mountain town combating weight gains in its citizenry by challenging teams to a weight loss competition. I’ve also been struck by the numerous wild fires occurring in Colorado and the community spirit that develops to combat them. Widely divergent inspirations, but they fit for this book. As to other details, every day life seems to wriggle in. For example, I broke my ankle badly years and years ago, and the incident, feelings (including some surprising ones toward my doctors!), and physical responses are featured in Falling Like a Rock in a major way.
What do you read? Do you read different genres when you’re writing vs not writing?
Nearly everything fiction. Women’s novels, literary, humorous, sci fi (especially dystopian), a few select mystery writers. When I’m working on a book, I read prize-winners in the same genre. My major exception—I actively avoid anything with overt violence, malevolence, or extremely depressing. I get too much of this in the news. Some favorites: No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, Julia Quinn’s Regencies, The Hunger Games.
Favorite beverage while writing and not writing?
Coffee. All seasons, all hours up until dinner. While writing, while not writing. If it gets to be too much and my stomach complains, then regular tea with sugar and milk. If caffeine is pushing me over the edge, then herb tea (or infusions, as the English say). In hot weather, I may intersperse with iced coffee and tea.
What makes you laugh?
The foolishness and follies, the sweetness, the idiosyncrasies, the kindness and foibles of humans. There’s very little about life I don’t get a kick out of except flat-out meanness and evil, of which, unfortunately, there’s an abundance. Examples—my four-year old grandson learning his father could be called “Pops” (he’d never heard the term), then collapsing in giggles. The feeling of astonishment when my husband was putting mustard on his hot dog and the top flipped out to douse me. Sitting in a meeting and hearing participants say the same things back and forth for hours, never realizing no one is listening to each other.
FALLING LIKE A ROCK
Watch out for falling rock! A mountain town and its rugged mayor captivate a woman in search of a new life and love.
Unloved and unemployed. That’s Elaine Svoboda, after she’s sacked, then flees across country to her boyfriend who drops her flat. Teetering on a rockslide of disaster, she calls a friend who invites her to a mountain town with fresh prospects. There she meets rugged, hunky Joe Richter-Leon, mayor of Falling Rock.
Sparks fly immediately, but Joe’s consumed with other challenges. Elaine butts heads with him at every turn in the rocky road. Is the problem her bungling attempts to help? Or does she remind him of a greedy, selfish ex-wife?
Before they can build a new life on the ashes of the old, she must overcome obstacles: a broken ankle, an eating disturbance, his stubbornness, her own fears. She’s smothering her hopes when a forest inferno illuminates their true feelings.
Funny and frank, poignant and perceptive, when two people are “Falling Like a Rock,” they learn surrender sometimes means victory.
The movement now wasn’t rocking but more like a grind. A slowness. A shiver. She knew she had to leave the main road and find help. She swerved onto a pull-off that appeared as if by a miracle, turned off the motor, and sank into the seat. In all directions she saw flat monotone prairie. If spring was about to arrive, no sign of it blossomed here. An occasional bush of greenish sagebrush nodded, but most of the landscape consisted of earth-toned dirt and dirt-toned pebbles scoured by a constant wind, which threw a thin top layer of particles hither and yon.
What she knew about auto mechanics fit on a matchbook cover. She’d been shown where to fill up on gas and wiper fluid, and that was the extent of it. She flicked the ignition off and on several times, peered at the dashboard, even popped the hood. Nothing looked out of place or broken.
She returned to the driver’s seat to think and worry her tooth with her tongue. It wasn’t safe to sit out here alone, and dismal warnings from her parents to never trust a casual passerby in a situation like this darted in her mind. So she hauled out her cell phone. No service. She slumped in her seat.
The plains spread horizon to horizon around her, and an appreciation rose in her for the courage and hard work of the pioneers who had traveled one slow step at a time over an endless landscape to reach their new homes. At least nowadays an asphalt ribbon transversed the plateau. On the road an occasional semi whooshed past, rattling her vehicle as it traveled. One trucker slowed to a crawl and honked, but by the time she decided he was offering help, he’d disappeared.
She twisted her brain in knots to find some way to save herself. Surely if she were careful, stayed in her car and blinked her lights and beeped, someone should rescue her. Perhaps she should wait until a woman stopped, but another female would be as afraid to pull over as she to chance an encounter.
Clouds began to build in gray billows, flowed from west en route the east, and the sun plunged toward twilight. If anything terrified her more than an appeal to a stranger for assistance, it was spending the night out here in the open. In her rearview mirror, a battered Land Rover appeared, and almost on impulse, Elaine switched on her hazard lights and leaned on the horn.
The vehicle slowed but didn’t stop. Not until it was some yards down the road. Next a tall, lean figure climbed out, the engine still in operation. A man dressed in jeans, ski jacket, and a black Stetson. Elaine would have laughed if she hadn’t been worried about the security of the car door locks. She was in the West now. It made sense for a cowboy to show up.
He approached with careful deliberation, halting a few feet from her, and she rolled her window down several inches and studied him in case she had to describe him later to the authorities. Not particularly suave or polished, but certainly with the rugged strength typically associated with cowboy types. Dark, as if he spent time outside or had some Mediterranean or Latino ancestors. A prominent nose, off-centered, perhaps from being bashed once too often.
“Need help, ma’am?”
Barnes & Noble paperback http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/falling-like-a-rock-bonnie-mccune/1119907983?ean=9781500386474
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Bonnie McCune lives in Colorado and is the author of novels, novellas and short stories. A writer since the fifth grade, her interest in the craft led to her career in nonprofits doing public and community relations and marketing. Simultaneously, she published news and features as a free-lancer. For reasons unknown (an unacknowledged optimism?), she believes that one person can make a difference in this world. Bonnie’s writing explores the highs and lows of everyday people and their unique lives with humor, close attention, and appreciation. Her blog addresses “ordinary people, extraordinary lives” and also features samples of shorter works. Visit http://bonniemccune.com/ to connect with her.
Blog : BonnieMcCune.com