Let’s Chat! Author Bonnie Mae Evans

Welcome, Everyone! And Welcome, Author Bonnie Mae Evans!

Bonnie Mae Evans, Author
Bonnie Mae Evans

This week we chat with author Bonnie Mae Evans who hails from the Maryland Eastern Shore. Let’s form a friendly circle around Bonnie and give her a hearty readers’ welcome!

Bonnie’s offering a signed and personalized copy of her debut novel, The Trees Will Clap, to someone who comments below.

7-26-17: Woo Hoo! The winner of the drawing for Bonnie’s novel, The Trees Will Clap, is Wilma Bates! Congratulations, Wilma. You’ll be hearing from Bonnie about how you want the book personalized and to give her your mailing address.

Pre-Author Life of Bonnie Mae Evans

Bonnie Mae Evans
I was raised near the town of Berlin on the Delmarva Peninsula—the Maryland Eastern Shore, in the late 50s, through the 60s. It was, and remains to this day a very unique and rural area. My family was made up of quirky, hard-working, country folk. We lived plainly, but rich in family traditions and church activities. It was a carefree time for the most part, although  race relations and the Vietnam War rumbling in the background created turmoil. This distinctive 

background inspired my book, but not until decades later. I realized with nostalgic remorse that this type of lifestyle was quickly disappearing.


Power of the Written Word: Bonnie Mae’s Inspiration
Bonnie Mae Evans
“Back home” for Bonnie

One of my favorite activities on those long, hot summer days growing up in the country was reading. Waiting with eager anticipation for the Bookmobile to arrive, I checked out as many books as allowed and escaped for hours on end between the covers of those books. It was magical. This is the same feeling I hope to capture between the pages of my own book and pass on to future generations.

In school, I excelled in English and reading classes. But, once I took a course called, Creative Writing, I was amazed at the power of the written word. On more than one occasion, I got into a scrape because of my imaginative writing.

College & Adult Life for Bonnie Mae Evans

But, alas, there was little time to pursue such “frivolous” things, as my upbringing called me to find a suitable career for a woman. I was the first in my family to attend college, where I became a nurse.

Bonnie Mae Evans
Baltimore, Maryland

My hubby and I married young and started our family late. We moved to the big city of Baltimore, which may as well have been a foreign country to me. My grandmother wrote me long letters in her beautiful cursive handwriting, describing every detail of life back home. I, in turn, wrote to her of my strange new life in the city. We were prolific letter writers. She often encouraged me to write a book, but I never found the time. 

A Family of Bonnie’s Own

Then our daughter was born 15 years into our marriage and our son in time for our 20th anniversary. I first began to put together thoughts for my book on scraps of paper. My children attended high school and college at the time. Two years after my dear grandmother passed away, I realized the notes were actually taking the form of the book she had hoped I would write.

Debut Novel for Bonnie Mae Evans

Bonnie Mae EvansThe Trees Will Clap is my debut novel published by Fruitbearer Publishers. I actively wrote it for 5 years, critiquing and tweaking with the help of my writer’s group for another 6 years.

However, I made a HUGE mistake immediately after finishing my book. Being new to the world of writing, I was anxious to get my masterpiece out there. I submitted it to a contest without editing (other than mine). It was the Women of Faith contest sponsored by Westbow Press. When it placed in the second round of finalists—top 30 of 750 entries, I was greatly encouraged, but quickly realized my mistake. I continued to try and edit it with the help of my writers group. I submitted to 2 more contests, placing in the top 10 finalists in Crossbooks Inaugural Writing Contest and Deep River Books Writing Contest.

Time for Growing

Something more was needed. The competition was tough. It was during this time I pursued publishing by attending conferences and making personal contacts. I was blessed to have several well-known authors and agents ask to see my manuscript. They gave me wonderful advice and I accepted almost all of it.

Bonnie Mae Evans
Nostalgia in Bonnie’s book

And the journey continued. I received several rejections because of my literary writing style. I was once told, “We’re writing for the ADD generation. They don’t want descriptions of the setting, etc. They want a quick read.” That’s just not my style and I believed there were still serious readers out there who wanted a book they would remember long after putting it down because they had been there. The story drew them in, and they smelled the smells, heard the rustle of the leaves, felt the heat of summer on their necks, cried with the broken hearted and most of all, remembered with nostalgic fondness and maybe pain, their own childhoods.

Some Advice & Encouragement

First, it’s impossible to read the unwritten word. (Tweet That!) A sequel has been beating around in my head since I finished The Trees Will Clap. It hasn’t made it to the pages of my computer yet. I intend to start it soon.

Bonnie Mae Evans
Bowen United Methodist, Bonnie’s home church in Newark, Maryland

You see, writing consumes me so that I disappear from life for long periods of time. You miss a lot like that. It’s a real sacrifice. I have however, continued to be a contributor to the devotional blog of my writers group, Mountain Christian Church WritersPortions of Grace at portionsofgrace.blogspot.com. I’ve been committed to this for many years.

Writers who raise families, keep a blog and engage in other interests while churning out book after book amaze me. I guess they have found the key of balance. Hats off to them!

Finally, I advise a writer to be true to your own voice. Listen to what your heart is telling you to write and get it down on paper. Never be discouraged by advice other writers offer. Be enlightened. And lastly, I will say again, do not abandon your unique voice. It is a gift given specially to you.

How to Find Bonnie and her book

Facebook: @thetreeswillclap
Amazon
Twitter

~ ~ ~

Lord, You amaze us by giving each person his or her unique gifts. With the gift of writing, Bonnie wrote an inspirational story that honors her upbringing—and You. You blessed her with tenacity and faith, as well. Bless Bonnie’s every word for You. ~ For Jesus’ sake

 

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32 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! Author Bonnie Mae Evans

  1. Thank you for sharing your writing journey. I am writing my first Christian fiction novel and wow, what a process! I appreciate the wisdom of other writers. 🙂

     
     
    1. Hi, Melissa. Love your comments. Thank you. May the Lord bless your writing journey in untold ways!

       
       
      1. Bonnie Mae Evans

        Welcome Melissa!
        That is wonderful to hear. I pray you will find joy in the journey of writing your first novel.
        Blessings!

         
         
  2. Lucy Reynolds

    This sounds like something I would love. Descriptive books that have some meat instead of fluff…..❤️. Enjoyed the interview. I’m a WV neighbor. Have a blessed and happy day.

     
     
    1. Bonnie Mae Evans

      Hi and welcome, Lucy from beautiful West Virginia!
      I’m so happy to hear from you. I hope you will enjoy my story and be blessed as you journey back to the 60s with Lacey.
      God bless your day!

       
       
    2. Hi, Lucy. How wonderful to read your comments. Thank you for taking the time to encourage Bonnie (and me, too!).

       
       
  3. Bonnie Mae Evans

    I feel the same. If I can’t surround myself and get lost in the story, I struggle to keep reading. I try to give readers what I enjoy, but it’s truly the only way I know to write.
    Thank you so much for your good wishes!

     
     
  4. Bonnie Mae Evans

    Hello Victoria,

    I feel the same. If I can’t surround myself and get lost in the story, I usually struggle to keep reading. I try to give readers what I enjoy. But, it’s truly the only way I know to write
    Thank you so much for your good wishes!

     
     
  5. victoria

    Thank you for taking time out of your day to chat with your readers. I am new but really excited about your book . I saw a post about your book on a facebook Christian fiction readers group . I really enjoyed your interview . I love to follow you on twitter and facebook . God bless ,;)

     
     
    1. Bonnie Mae Evans

      It’s a pleasure having the chance to chat with readers. Thank you for taking the time read the blog post and comment. I am truly honored knowing how many are out here to choose from! I will look forward to seeing you on FB and Twitter. God bless you as well, my dear.

       
       
    2. Hi, Victoria. I loved hearing from you on this blog. Bonnie is a dear, and I know your words have encouraged her too. Your name’s in the hat!

       
       
  6. Mary A Collins

    Your book was a great read. I loved the vocabulary. It kept me wanting to read more. I will be praying for you & your second book.

     
     
    1. Bonnie Mae Evans

      Thanks for your kind and encouraging words! I’m so happy you enjoyed it. I so appreciate all your prayers. If not for many prayers and God’s direction none of this would be possible!
      Blessings!

       
       
    2. Hi, Mary. So good to hear from you in this blog chat. Your comments bring a breath of fresh air our way.

       
       
  7. Evangeline

    Bonnie, I just followed you on Amazon and discovered that you wrote a book used by WGM missionaries. My husband is a minister, and we have had numerous WGM missionaries in our home across the years. Our son has a dear friend who is presently serving with WGM in Uganda, along with his family.

     
     
    1. Bonnie Mae Evans

      Dear Evangeline,

      First of all, bless you and your family for showing love and hospitality to WGM missionaries. I too have a deep affection for Africa, its people and the missionaries that serve there. We have had a sponsored son there for many years. Thank you for your comments.
      God bless.

       
       
  8. Evangeline

    Our two daughters were born on the eastern shore of Maryland, but we now live in NC. You are a new author to me, and I would love to read your book. Thanks for the chance to do so.

     
     
    1. Bonnie Mae Evans

      Wow! It sure is a small world. Some of my story will probably be familiar to you. I would love for you to read my book. I hope it blesses your heart! Good luck with the drawing!

       
       
    2. Evangeline, you and Bonnie make me want to visit the eastern coast of Maryland! Thanks so much for joining in the conversation. You’ve encouraged both of us. You’re entered!

       
       
      1. Evangeline

        Thanks! 😊

         
         
        1. You’re welcome, Evangeline. Please come back next week for another author.

           
           
  9. Jill Taylor

    Bonnie has already been kind enough to sign a book for me at one of her book signings, so I don’t need to be in the drawing – I just wanted to say how much I (and everyone I’ve given this book to as a gift) love her book!

     
     
    1. Bonnie Mae Evans

      Hi Jill,

      Thank you for your kind words. I am always happy to hear when someone has enjoyed my book!
      Blessings!

       
       
    2. How wonderful to hear your comments, Jill. You have encouraged Bonnie—but me too.

       
       
  10. Lisa Harness

    It’s refreshing to hear of your style. I enjoy books that make me see, feel & smell. Being “in” the setting is pkeasant.

     
     
    1. Bonnie Mae Evans

      Hello Lisa,
      Thanks for your comment. I agree and it’s always pleasant to hear from readers who enjoy escaping into a good book!

       
       
    2. Thanks for participating in the conversation, Lisa. Bonnie and I both appreciate it very much. Your name’s in the hat!

       
       
  11. Wilma Bates

    Hello Bonnie and nice to meet you! I enjoy reading Christian fiction very much. You are new to me so I haven’t read any of your books yet but I will look them up.

     
     
    1. Bonnie Mae Evans

      Hi Wilma,

      It’s great to hear from you. Christian fiction is one of my favorites also. I would be thrilled to have you read my story. My book is available in kindle, paperback and Large Print versions. But, don’t rush to buy it, just in case you win the drawing!

       
       
    2. Thanks so much for joining our chat circle, Wilma. You’ve encourage both of us by doing so. You’re entered in the drawing!

       
       
  12. Victoria Gentry

    I was raised in the same generation and remember the “Bookmobile” so well!
    You stay true to your style – I enjoy reading books where I can feel myself there (scents, sounds, etc) and become a part of the story.
    Good luck on your future successes!

     
     
    1. Bonnie Mae Evans

      Hi Victoria,
      Whoops! I think I pressed comment instead of reply. It was a “Bonnie” glitch. Lol! My original reply to your comment ended up at the top.
      I’m copying it here just to be sure you see it.

      Hello Victoria,
      I feel the same. If I can’t surround myself and get lost in the story, I usually struggle to keep reading. I try to give readers what I enjoy. But, it’s truly the only way I know to write
      Thank you so much for your good wishes!

       
       

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Let’s Chat! Author Henry McLaughlin

Welcome, Everyone!

This week we chat with Henry McLaughlin, a writer who like me has a bit of gray on top. 🙂 He and I both won the Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel contest (2011 and 2014 respectively). I’m eager to know Henry better.

So let’s gather ’round to learn more about this gentleman writer. Please comment below. You’ll help make this a richer conversation. And you just might win one of Henry’s books.

Henry McLaughlin Before Writing

Henry’s heritage is Irish.
Henry married a girl of Italian heritage.

Born and raised in Rhode Island in a strong Irish-Catholic heritage, I married at age twenty a beautiful Italian girl of nineteen. This may not seem like much to many people, but, at the time, ethnicity was a very strong component in the state. When it was announced I was getting married, one of my father’s Italian friends expressed amazement that he was letting me marry an Italian girl. My father, in a perfect Irish brogue, responded, “Well, you see now, Tony, it’s the curse of the Irish that we must help those who are less well off than ourselves.”


W
e raised five wonderful children—or more accurately, they raised us. (Tweet That!) The oldest is in heaven and the others are all grown and on their own.

I earned a bachelor’s degree in American History and a Master’s in Social Work. For thirty years, I worked in public child welfare. This was a rich experience I draw on to get into the emotions of my characters.

In 1999, my wife and I moved to Texas to be part of Kenneth Copeland Ministries. I served with the ministry for nearly ten years until God opened the door for me to write full time.

Henry McLaughlin, the Writer

For many years I dabbled with writing and started my first book in the 1990s. A writer without a clue, I loved to read and figured that was all I needed in order to write. Undisciplined for several years, I wrote sporadically. Actually I rewrote the first chapter many times, never getting to chapter two. And was never satisfied with chapter one.

In the early 2000s, with my wife’s loving support and encouragement, I decided to get serious about this whole writing thing. I signed up for the courses offered through Jerry Jenkins’ Christian Writers Guild.

The Guild sponsored the Operation First Novel contest in partnership with Tyndale. I entered my novel and received a polite letter congratulating me on completing a novel. And to keep trying.

I rewrote the manuscript and reentered the following year. I celebrated when I was named as a semi-finalist, but when the four finalists were announced, I was not listed. I figured being a semi-finalist would help when I pitched to agents.


On the first night of the Writing for the Soul Conference of 2010, Jerry Jenkins announced a mistake had been made. Five, not four, entries reached the finals. I was the missing finalist, the one who was left behind. Then he announced my book as the winner of the contest. The prize: a publishing contract with Tyndale House and $20,000.

Only God could arrange such a total surprise.

Tyndall released Journey to Riverbend  in February, 2011.

I indie published two more books, Riverbend Justice, and Riverbend Reunion  and re-released Journey to Riverbend as an indie publication in 2016. Together, the three novels form the Riverbend Sagas series.


A Bit of Wisdom from Henry McLaughlin

  • Writing is hard work. An author needs to develop patience, diligence, and a thick skin.
  • We can only control so much. We need to write the best stories we possibly can. And leave the rest to God.
  • We can’t control if or how we get published. There are too many aspects of the business beyond the author’s control.
  • Never stop learning the craft. Write every day if possible. Read magazines and books on the craft. Read novels to learn how others do it.
  • Attend conferences and workshops. Network. Build relationships with writing partners for critiquing and encouragement. Hook up with a mentor and give that person freedom to speak honestly and, at times, bluntly, into your life. I whined to my mentor once about not having enough time to write. Her response: “Get up earlier.”
  • Never stop learning and discovering yourself as a person and a writer. Work on your relationship with God as much as you do with your spouse and as you do on your writing. Be in a position to be guided by him on both your personal and writing journeys.

How to find Henry McLaughlin

My website: http://www.henrymclaughlin.org
Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/henry.mclaughlin.79
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2riOpCQ

Lord …

You show Your faithfulness by calling Your servants from grand and lowly places. You called King David from a sheep pasture and Elisha from a plowed field, Esther from a lowly home and Samuel from the grandeur of the Temple. You call writers like Henry McLaughlin from their chosen professions to write stories that point others to You. We bless Your Name and ask You to bless the work of Henry’s hands and his heart that Your name will be lifted up in all it’s might and glory. ~ For Jesus’ sake

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22 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! Author Henry McLaughlin

  1. Lucy Reynolds

    I enjoyed reading this. Congratulations to you both on your award. Blessings

     
     
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Lucy! You’ve encouraged us!

       
       
    2. Henry McLaughlin

      Thank you, Lucy. I appreciate your stopping by.

       
       
  2. Marilyn R

    Linda and Henry, Congratulations on winning the Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel contest. Another new author introduced to this reader with a beautiful testimony about God’s leading and rewards when waiting upon him for that first publication. Riverbend Saga series will be a great series to read–the covers are beautiful and captured my attention. God bless you both as yo continue to write stories for His glory and honor.

     
     
    1. Marilyn, thanks for stopping by. Your comments encourage both Henry and me.

       
       
    2. Henry McLaughlin

      Thank you, Marilyn, for visiting and for your encouraging words.

       
       
  3. Wise words, Henry! Your story is inspiring.

     
     
    1. Glad you stopped by, Jenny. Henry’s a great author to follow.

       
       
    2. Henry McLaughlin

      Thanks, Jenny. You’re so sweet!

       
       
  4. Great interview, Linda and Henry. I, too, have more than a sprinkling of gray, and I have to fight the voices that tell me I’m too old for the writing life. Thank you for your example and encouraging story.

     
     
    1. Henry McLaughlin

      You’re most welcome, Kathleen. Those voices speak to me to. I have found a Scripture to stand on when they seem to be shouting. It’s Isiah 40:31 (NLT): But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
      They will soar high on wings like eagles.
      They will run and not grow weary.
      They will walk and not faint.
      Another word for faint is discouraged. Don’t let those voices sow discouragement in your heart. Trust in the Lord and you will soar.

       
       
    2. Hi, Kathleen. I love rehearing from authors who have been guests here before. Thank you for returning and joining our conversation. God’s blessings on you and yours! Linda

       
       
  5. […] Here is the link: http://lindabrooksdavis.com/henry-mclaughlin/lets-chat-author-henry-mclaughlin/ […]

     
     
    1. I’m honored to have you as my guest this week, Henry.

       
       
      1. Henry McLaughlin

        Thank you, Linda. It’s a blessing for me to part of your blog community.

         
         
  6. Being an older author myself, I identify with Henry. It’s nice to know God doesn’t let us sit around and get moldy in the last third of our lives. Henry’s wisdom on writing is up there with Solomon’s.

     
     
    1. Henry McLaughlin

      Thank you, Clarice. Especially for the comment about Solomon.
      My wife likes to tell people writing is my third career. I’m looking forward to continuing this journey God has started me on.

       
       
      1. God bless you on this journey, Henry.

         
         
        1. Henry McLaughlin

          Thank you, Linda. I receive that.

           
           
      2. I, like you, Henry, love having an opportunity for another career.

         
         
        1. Henry McLaughlin

          Amen, Linda.
          I like the challenge of a writing career especially when I know God’s hand is on it. And it’s never boring.

           
           
    2. I’m with you, Clarice! Thanks for chatting with us.

       
       

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