Interview with Bonnie Engstrom about her book “Restoring Love”:
Bonnie: Hi, Alexis! Thanks for having me. You sure do have a lot of questions for me. You plan to make me work here! (grin) Fire away. I will do the best I can.
Alexis: What or who inspired you to write this book?
Bonnie: This was one of the first stories I’d written, although not really a book at that point twenty-plus years ago. When I was browsing through my old, unfinished stories I came upon this one about Cambridge Springs and decided to play around with it.
Alexis: What is the meaning of your book’s title as related to the story?
Bonnie: My publisher and I decided since Jenni and Jake were once in love, now back in love, that their love had been restored. Seemed like a good title. Isn’t Jake handsome?
Alexis: Your story’s heroine and hero have been apart for 15 years. What draws them back together?
Bonnie: I think a combination of memories and that they still can’t resist each other. They both like to tease each other, too. That comes out a lot in the story. And, Jake is so handsome!
Alexis: Jenni (the heroine) and Jake (the hero) have very different careers. She is a teacher now and when they met, he was a stable boy. What does their work experience say about their individual personalities and how does it play into their story?
Bonnie: Becoming a teacher was not only an acceptable career but a safety net for Jenni. With a teaching credential, she could move to almost any state and get a job. Why she chose Arizona, though, is still a mystery. Teaching salaries there are almost the lowest in the nation. I hope she chose it for the weather.
Jake has an amazing work ethic and he had the wonderful opportunity to stay where he loved and fulfill his desire to be an entrepreneur, but mostly to be a loner and the boss. He doesn’t have the supportive family background Jenni has, but he does have a good relationship with his brother who helped him buy the vintage car. Maybe in a sequel, his brother could have his own story.
I would love to know what readers’ think about that.
Alexis: Who threw cold water over Jenni and Jake’s budding romance 15 years ago? Why?
Bonnie: Her stoic, old-fashioned dad believed she was too young to have a serious romance. Sadly, her mother went along with her dad – typical of tradition in those days. But, even then, Jake was so handsome!
Alexis: Why does Jenni still have a flame for Jake after 15 years of not seeing him?
Bonnie: She’s never lost it but pretends to herself it’s bygone history. Then when she sees him, how he’s matured and still drop-dead handsome . . . well. She can’t fool herself any longer. But, she tries to.
Alexis: Describe the town of Cambridge Springs, which is a setting for your story.
Bonnie: There really wasn’t much of a town years ago. Now, it’s still pretty small and uninteresting. The hotel was located way on the outskirts.
Alexis: Clearly Cambridge Springs is special to Jake because he never left. What makes it so special to him that he desired to stay?
Bonnie: Partly the comfort level he has and the opportunity to own the hotel. He is motivated to be his own boss and to own something he can claim.
Alexis: What brings Jenni home to Cambridge Springs? How long will she be in town?
Bonnie: It’s a memory trip for her (notice the subtitle), and she wants to “get away” all by herself and figure out what to do with her life. Is there life beyond being a teacher? A single thirty-year-old teacher? It’s also revealed in the story why her one former infatuation fizzled. Then, she sees Jake again, Mr. Super Handsome.
Alexis: Describe the scene where Jenni and Jake are reunited. What were their first thoughts when this happened?
Bonnie: Again, Alexis, I don’t want to spoil the fun of reading the story. So, no, I don’t want to describe it. Sorry. But, it does have something to do with food and eating. It’s a fun scene that involves a lot of chocolate. Yum.
Alexis: What was your favorite part of writing this book? Explain.
Bonnie: My own memories of Cambridge Springs and the funny old hotel played a major part, but I loved making up how Jake and Jenni are now. Remember, the story isn’t dated, just assumed to be somewhat in the past.
Alexis: Was there any scene in this story that was difficult for you to write? Why or why not?
Bonnie: I loved writing every scene. The story just seemed to flow. This is one of my favorites because it was so much fun to make up the two personalities. Especially Jake who is so handsome.
Alexis: What is your favorite moment in this story?
Bonnie: When the two of them are eating pasta and criticizing each other for how they eat. Their first lovers’ quarrel, and over table manners. It’s a hoot!
Alexis: What do you want readers to remember most about Restoring Love?
Bonnie: I want them to remember that real love does truly last, and love can be fun! Especially, if God is in the mix.
Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Bonnie! Do you have any final comments?
Bonnie: I do, actually a few comments. Although I don’t capitalize on it, the story does take place at Christmas time, and there are some fun scenes – especially the Scrooge play. Sadly, though, is the fact the hotel no longer exists. I only discovered that after the book was complete and I did an online search to answer one question.
For more information, readers can go to http://www.meadvilletribune.com/news/full-story-fire-ravages-historic-riverside-inn-cause-yet-to/article_8055438c-2fa1-11e7-8d49-9f78e0cf6d34.html to see pictures of the original hotel and the grounds and learn what happened to it.
The other comment is to encourage readers to leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Reviews mean so much to authors; they are our lifeblood, or as author Carolyn Brown says, “Without reviews, we would be on the top of the endangered species list.” (Paraphrasing is mine, but I agree.)
Thank you, Alexis, for this opportunity to share Restoring Love.
Bonnie Engstrom holds a B.A. in English from the University of Southern California and studied Creative Writing at the University of Pittsburgh, as well as post-graduate work at the University of California at Irvine.
She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with husband Dave of fifty plus years, is the mother of three grown children and the proud grandmother of six grandchildren, four of whom who live in Arizona and two in Costa Rica where they surf. Pura Vida!
She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a PRO member of Romance Writers of America, Christian Writers of the West, and the Arizona chapter of ACFW, where she recently was part of a published authors’ panel.
A former education columnist for two Southern California newspapers, she has presented workshops at the California State PTA and the National PTA Conventions.
For over thirty years she volunteered in education as a co-founder of a parent-cooperative preschool and a five-time PTA president. She wrote and published hundreds of PTA newsletters that she produced using X-ACTO knives and a hand-held hot waxer before computers made late nights easier!
Most of her stories are set in Arizona, and in Southern California where she and her psychologist husband lived for over thirty years. If you are trying to catch up with her, look for her at the local Starbucks or Menchies with a nine-year-old Chess champion and his three giggling sisters. Chocolate is always the flavor of the day.
She is published by Forget Me Not Romances, a division of Winged Publications, and is honored to be in the company of many award-winning romance authors.
Book Blurb for Restoring Love:
A sentimental journey! Can romance still flourish after fifteen years? Will a teacher and a former stable boy remember their first kiss? Jenni wasn’t sure why she was taking this journey back in time. Surely, she didn’t expect to see her first teenage crush, Jake the stable boy. She had moved on from fifteen years ago and sneaking kisses in the barn after trail rides. Undoubtedly, he must have, too. Who on earth would stay in the tiny town of Cambridge Springs?
Looking forward to a peaceful respite from teaching, she planned to read, take quiet walks and indulge in delicious hotel meals. She hoped the old hotel still served the succulent roast pork, her favorite. At least no one knew where to find her, none of her friends, and not even her family. Odd that the name of the historic hotel had changed. She wondered who would have done that, who had the capability to do it. Maybe new owners. She hoped not much had changed and that the rooms were still filled with antique furniture. She wanted to soak up memories, alone. Unless by a Christmas miracle Jake was still there to share them.
Connect with Bonnie:
Please visit Bonnie at her website (http://bonnieengstrom.com) to see her grandchildren and learn more about her books. You can also sign up for her quarterly newsletter there and win great prizes. Last time she gave away a Kindle Fire!
You can see most of her books at https://amzn.to/2qPjmML
Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put BOOK in the subject line.
She loves to hear from her readers. So, please contact her.
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