Welcome! Thanks for taking a little time out for this Q&A! It’s great hosting you! As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Costumes intrigued me as far back as I can remember. My mother thought I wanted to be a ballerina because I wanted to dress like one – but it was all about the tutu! In high school, I tended to wear outlandish outfits, because my body-type went out of style four hundred years ago and I thought I looked better in renaissance garb or boots and petticoats.
What group did you hang out with in high school?
High school had its ups and downs – much like everyone’s experience, I suspect. I tried to stay away from any one group – and it was a smart decision. I was a little too goofy to interest the cool kids long term, but I was funny, so they let me drift around their edges enough that non-cool kids thought I was an anointed one. Of course, the drama and literary group was a natural fit, and if my goal was to meld into a group, it would have been that one. But I had a miserable time in middle-school (again, much like everyone’s experience, I suspect) and got dumped by my group – so it was a lesson I took to heart! The only people who wouldn’t have anything to do with me were the math-nerds…and with my math and science grades, who could blame them?
Are the names of the characters in your novels important? How and why?
My parents were both professional writers, so I got an early education on what it takes to write a good story. My father, especially, drilled into me that characters had to have strong, defining names, so the audience can remember each character. He said, ”I don’t ever want to see a character named Michael in anything you write.” I have lived up to that. I spend hours coming up with names that mean something – at least to me. But this can backfire! In MUCH ADO ABOUT MOTHER, I introduce a character who becomes the protagonist in the WELCOME TO FAT CHANCE, TEXAS series. I wanted the audience to question this woman’s sanity when they first meet her, so I named her Dymphna, after St. Dymphna, the patron saint of the insane. I thought the name was perfect. However, one woman on Goodreads said, “Sorry, but I can’t read a book with a character named Dymphna…my eyes came to a screeching halt on that name ever time.” OUCH!
What are the most important attributes for remaining sane as a writer?
I don’t think remaining sane is the goal for writers. The goal is to turn out creative, often fanciful stories. Whatever frame of mind gets you there – go!
Tell us about your current release.
SLIM PICKINS IN FAT CHANCE, TEXAS is my current release. It’s a continuation of WELCOME TO FAT CHANCE, TEXAS, my romantic comedy about eight strangers who have to make a go of it in a ghost town in Texas. In SLIM PICKINS, a year has gone by and the townspeople have not made much of a success of themselves or their town – but romance, determination and several four legged animals keep them moving forward! The third book in the trilogy, LIVIN’ LARGE IN FAT CHANCE, TEXAS, leaps another two years. I don’t want to give anything away…but my characters finally start getting things right!
Where do you do research for your books?
While the math geeks in high school wouldn’t have me…I fit right in with the “general smart nerds”. I loved term papers and investigation in general. I write present days romantic comedies, so you’d think I’d be able to write without doing a bunch of research. But I can’t resist. My first trilogy, THE VENICE BEACH ROMANCE SERIES takes place in and around tea shop. I researched the history of tea and joined a MEET-UP group in Los Angeles that visited a local tea room once a month. That series also had me delving into angora rabbits, historic preservation and George Washington. For the FAT CHANCE series, my husband and I took three road trips to Texas, exploring ghost towns and wineries. I also had to research buzzards, tornadoes and the history of the Hill Country. Whether behind the keyboard or doing physical research, I’m in my element!
Is there a piece of advice you have received that has really stuck with you? If so, what was it?
“As long as there is movement, you’re succeeding.”
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: Slim Pickins’ in Fat Chance, Texas
Series: Fat Chance, Texas Book 2
Author: Celia Bonaduce
Published: January 5th, 2016
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romantic Comedy
Synopsis: It’s been a year since an eccentric billionaire summoned seven strangers to the dilapidated, postage stamp-sized town of Fat Chance, Texas. To win a cash bequest, each was required to spend six months in the ghost town to see if they could transform it—and themselves—into something extraordinary. But by the time pastry chef Fernando Cruz arrives, several members of the original gang have already skedaddled…
Fernando’s hopes of starting a new life in Fat Chance are dashed when the town’s handful of ragtag residents—and a mysterious low-flying plane—show him just how weird the place actually is. His hopes of making over the town’s sole café into a BBQ restaurant for nearby ranchers threaten to turn to dust as a string of bizarre secrets are revealed. But just when the pickins’ couldn’t get any slimmer, the citizens of Fat Chance realize they might be able to build exactly the kind of hometown they all need—but never knew they wanted…
Excerpt from Slim Pickins’ in Fat Chance, Texas:
Dymphna didn’t want Suzanna – or Suzanna’s sister Erinn, or their mother Virginia – worrying about her, so she tended to embellish how well things were going in town when she spoke to them. No harm done, until Suzanna sent an email to Dymphna, letting her know that the fabulous Fernando had sold his share of the B&B to his partner and was looking for a new place. Suzanna thought Fat Chance sounded like a ground floor opportunity and Fernando was very excited about checking it out. Without admitting to a pack of white lies, Dymphna convinced herself that he might actually like the place.
Fernando, Dymphna and Pappy turned towards the door as Thud, the enormous bloodhound that shared Dymphna’s farm, bounded into the room. Thud sensed the new blood and raced to welcome Fernando to town. The dog reared back, then jumped. He put his front paws on Fernando’s shoulders, knocking the chair over. Fernando and Thud landed on the floor, the dog looming over the man. Drool ensued. Dymphna hoped Fernando found this charming, but suspected by Fernando’s involuntary yowling that he was not a dog person.
Dymphna pulled the dog off him and Pappy righted his chair. Fernando wiped the dog slobber from his face, this time stuffing his no longer white handkerchief into his jeans.
“Tell him how great this place is, Pappy,” Dymphna said as she lugged Thud back outside.
“I won’t lie to you,” Pappy said, looking Fernando right in the eye. “Fat Chance is an acquired taste.”
They all thought of the place as a ghost town, but it was actually a study in “arrested decay.” The structures had been maintained, but only to the extent that they would not be allowed to fall over or otherwise deteriorate in a major way. That explained why the town was a mishmash of buildings from the turn of the twentieth century with electricity, running water, a few 1950’s appliances – and a faint internet signal.
“I have to get up to the farm,” Dymphna said to Fernando, as they all stood in front of the café. “I’ve got to shear my goats. Do you want to come up?”
“Less than anything on earth,” Fernando said.
“You go on,” Pappy said to Dymphna. “He’ll be fine here.”
Dymphna hesitated, but realized there was nothing she could say or do to make Fernando decide to stay. She and Thud headed up to the farm, the two men watching them until they were two small specks on the horizon. The speck that was Thud bounced all the way up the hill.
“Who maintained the buildings all these years?’ Fernando asked.
“I have,” Pappy said proudly. “Been here for more years than I can remember.”
“Why?” Fernando asked. “Why have you been here so long?”
“Can’t say,” Pappy said. “Probably same sort of reason you’re here.”
“Oh, I doubt that,” Fernando said.
“You might not stay,” Pappy shrugged. “But you could have gone anywhere. Back to Napa or Los Angeles. You could have gone to Chicago or New York. But you decided to check out Fat Chance. Not business as usual, you got to admit that. You were looking for something different. And you found it.”
About the Author:
Celia Bonaduce is an award-winning producer whose credits cover a lot of ground – everything from field-producing ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to writing for many of Nickelodeon’s animated series, including Hey, Arnold and Chalkzone. If Celia Bonaduce’s last name is any indication, she is proof that TV talent runs in the family.
An avid reader, entering the world of books has always been a lifelong ambition. She is the author of the Venice Beach Romances, including The Merchant of Venice Beach, A Comedy of Erinn, and Much Ado About Mother. Her dream continues with a brand new series called Fat Chance, Texas. Book one, Welcome to Fat Chance, Texas, is available now! The series continues with book two, Slim Pickins’ in Fat Chance, Texas, on January 5th, 2016.
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