Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Author Bonnie Engstrom: An Interview, Giveaway…and a fun little contest



Welcome, Bonnie. You and I go back a ways, don’t we? Let’s visit a while so we can get to know you a little better. Ready?

If you were a book, what would the title be?

That’s a tough one. Either God’s Girl or Blessed Grammy. I am both.

How do you start your day?
Half decaf coffee with tons of flavored Italian creamer, 5-7 devotional books, take dogs for walk with hubby. Oh, and major texting with my daughter. What did we ever do without IPhones? Real phones, I guess.

Tell us something about yourself most people don’t know about you.
Hey, Peg, that’s cheating! If they don’t already know, why tell them now? Ok, I’ll play. How about my compulsion for entering online contests? Especially ones where I could win a fabulous trip? And, I don’t even like to travel any more.

Also, I hate TV. Only watch Sunday nights, and only when Downtown Abbey and Mr. Selfridge are on. Read the newspaper every day instead. But, most people know that.

What is the funniest, strangest, most interesting thing you’ve come across?

You have a point! What is your favorite material item you own? Why?
It’s a toss-up between my computer and my cell phone. My computer is a wonderful social outlet. In addition to writing professionally, because of email I have made many wonderful friends and faithful prayer partners and keep in touch with old friends as far back as high school. I hate to admit it, but I carry my phone almost everywhere, even sometimes to the bathroom. Texting is my main connection to my daughter, especially when she is at work. We are very close, obviously.

That is so very special, Bonnie. You mentioned walking your dogs. Any other pets? Tell us about it/them.
We used to have 3 cats, a bird and a dog when we lived in California. Since we have moved to Arizona we just have two dogs. All of our animals have been rescues, even Luciano Pavarotti our masked lovebird who flew onto my car’s side view mirror one day.

Now we have Sam and Lola (the world’s silliest looking dog). Ancestry unknown for both. We are pretty sure we saved Sam from being put in a dog-fighting situation (long story for another time), and we adopted Lola because after three weeks with a rescue organization at PetSmart, no one else took her. Even our vet when he first saw her said, “WHAT are you?”

We are major animal lovers – you think? Every one of my stories has at least a cat or dog in it. Oops, one has a horse. But, it isn’t published yet.

BULLETEN! Just in from Bonnie: Lola, the cute goofy looking dog, is in hospital having surgery on her back. Yesterday, her hind legs stopped working. Apparently, she IS part Dachshund, and this is a problem with wiener dogs. We didn't know. PLEASE PRAY.

Plotter, pantser, or hybrid?
Definitely pantser. Probably why I get the old ‘stuck in the middle’ syndrome. But, when that passes, I’m off again. Kristy Dykes gave a great tip many moons ago. She said “Have an explosion in chapter eight.” So, I did, and I was off again in my story.

When is your most productive time to write?
Usually between 3 and 5:30 p.m., or when a grandchild is not on my computer playing Animal Jam.

What have you learned recently about yourself and how has it affected your writing?
I love writing in deep first POV. I have no idea what inspired me to write Butterfly Dreams that way, but I had so much fun ‘being’ Betsy. I think it gave me the opportunity to be my sassy, sarcastic inner self.

If you could be any character in any literary book, who would it be, and why?
Probably Claire in Ane Mulligan’s Chapel Springs Revival. Claire is such a bumbler, always making a mess of things, yet she is always forgiven and can laugh at herself.

 I haven’t read that yet, but it’s on my Kindle. Smile What sparks your creativity when feeling drained?
I get inspired by people and the funny things they do. For instance, the other day at the Hallmark store post office, two bumbling old ladies packed and re-packed the books I was sending. They were so funny and so sweet. They will definitely be in a scene in the sequel to Butterfly Dreams.

Tell us about your book.
butterflydreams_cover-214x300Betsy is a fifty-eight year old once widowed, once divorced personal chef. A client and friend, Bett, practically pushes her into the chiropractor arms of handsome Noel. While trying to decide if she should succumb to his charms, especially because he has numerous incidents that send him to the hospital, her daughter Brie shares she is pregnant and abandoned by her husband Derek. This is déjà vu for Betsy whose last husband, The Jerk, left her when she was pregnant with Brie.

Betsy rises to the occasion and transforms Brie from fat and sloppy into a lovely, and loving, woman. When Brie does a turnabout, Betsy is shocked, and scared. Nose wax? Teeth whitening? Yikes!

Are there any new projects you’re working on?

I’m about a fourth of the way through the sequel (as yet unnamed) for Butterfly Dreams; I have several completed novellas that I plan to re-edit and submit and at least three novellas half-way or almost finished. I also have a women’s fiction that will be the first in a series and a family saga partially set in Sweden.

My second book, A Winning Recipe, was released a few months ago, and my novella, A Cup of Love, is both a standalone and in a collection. All available on Amazon.

Do you have any parting thoughts you’d like to share?
Writers are always asked to encourage other writers. My mother, who passed on before I even had children, had two mantra-type phrases I always remember: “Let go and let God” and “Never give up.” I have added another one I learned from a Bible study partner. “God’s got it!” It’s a wonderful affirmation, because He does – always.

Also, PLEASE, rescue, i.e. adopt, an abandoned animal. Give one a forever home in exchange for the forever love you will get.

~♦~♦~      ♦      ~♦~♦~

Now for a little contest. I will let Bonnie explain.
Bonnie, here. I hope many of you will leave comments to win a FREE print book copy of Butterfly Dreams. 

When you do, please take a stab at naming the sequel to Butterfly Dreams. It’s not nearly completed yet, and since I’m a seat of the pants writer, even I don’t know where it’s going. But, just to give you a taste, here is Bett’s comment at the beginning:

I pretended to not notice Betsy’s smirk and her dramatically raised eyebrows. I really don’t want to be deceptive, Lord, now that I’m committed to You. But, as much as I adore Betsy and Noel, as much as I played a major role in their romance and even planned their wedding, I don’t want them questioning my motives. I truly believe You guided me, maybe even set me up (hee, hee) to be a matchmaker. Is that my new persona … Matchmaker for Jesus? I love it, and I know I’ll have fun doing it, or my name isn’t Bettina Bethany. Thanks, Sir, for being on my side. Thanks for Your wonderful sense of Holy Humor.

The winner of the free book will still be chosen randomly, but … if I use the title you suggest, you will be acknowledged in the book and maybe even be a character. It’s fun to see your name in print. Do be sure to keep either the word butterfly or the word dreams in your suggested title. Have fun! Giveaway AND contest ends at Midnight (Central Time) Friday, October 16. Free book winner will be selected and notified via email on Saturday.  Suggested titles selection will be up to Bonnie Smile

About Bonnie:

bonnie_headshot-150x150Bonnie Engstrom loves to write and she loves food, especially salad and sashimi. She used to love to cook, but since her husband semi-retired he took over as resident chef. She grew up in Pittsburgh, he in Chicago, and they met in Washington, D.C when they attended George Washington University. They raised their children in Southern California (that is a separate state from Northern California, isn’t it?), so several of her stories are set in Newport Beach. (Not Butterfly Dreams, though.)

She and psychologist husband Dave of fifty years now live in Arizona. They are the parents of three grown children and the proud grandparents of six grandchildren, four of whom live in Scottsdale and two in Costa Rica on the beach! Pura Vida! Surf’s up!

The couple’s eldest son is an IT expert who taught his mother everything she knows about computer literacy. Unfortunately, he and his wife Sandra live in Maryland, too far to fly home for a weekend to help Mom as he used to when she lived in California and he in Arizona.

Butterfly Dreams, a Lady Lit contemporary Christian romance, was released May, 2015 by Forget Me Not Romances, a division of Winged Publications. Check out to see all the wonderful authors I am in company with. <Oops! Dangling preposition.

It can be purchased in both Kindle and print form at:


Thanks, Bonnie, for being a guest here on Whispers in Purple. It’s been a pleasure hosting you.
It’s been my pleasure, Peg. Even though you tossed me some tough questions, it was fun! Thank you. 

But that’s my job! Mwaaaaahhhhhaaaa!


  1. What a fun interview. A rescued lovebird named Luciano Pavarotti? That's remarkable! :) For next book title, how about "Social Butterflies"?

  2. Matchmaker Dreams
    I would have said Holy Butterfly, but in my mind I'm actually saying: Holy Butterfly, Batman! so that titled probably wouldn't do. :)

  3. JUst checking in, Bonnie, to see if I can learn anything else new about you. ou don't need to put me in the giveaway unless its paper, although your own Matchmaker for Jesus phrase might be cool.

    Thanks!! And I did learn about your Lola…hope she's ok by now.

  4. Thank you, Dana, Daphne and Gail for great comments. Keep thinking about a title. You are welcome to comment again. Nothing is quite 'hitting' me yet. I drove home today mulling several ideas in my head, but none gripped me. Keep thinking, please.

    Love you all,

  5. Wonderful interview Peg and Bonnie!!

    How about Matching Love, Matching Dreams? A little longer than the original, but, hey! God Bless you all!! alice

  6. I enjoyed what I read of Butterfly Dreams, it certainly keeps a reader engaged! I have a few suggestions, hopefully they aren't too off the wall....I am one of Bonnie's e-mail, prayer partner buddies, have been in contact with her since 1998! :o)

    Unforeseen Dreams? Dreams in the Making? Dreams Realized? Maker of Dreams? Butterfly Hopes? Butterfly Faith? Butterfly Love?

  7. I wasn't going to play (grin) but I just had a thought:
    How about "On the Wings of a Dream"? Too many words? That's okay, just thoughtI'd share

  8. Hi, Rita! Thank you so much for checking out this wonderful blog. Yep, we've been friends for a long time, although we've never met in person. I like two of your possible titles - Butterfly Hopes and Butterfly Love. Mmm. Thanks for playing.

    Hugs, Bonnie

  9. No reason you shouldn't share, Peg. Yes, that's a long title. I want to keep it to two words if possible so it's easily identified with the first book. Special thanks to you for a great blog interview.

    Hugs, Bonnie

  10. Bonnie has known me since the early '90's. Talk about your thick and thin, and that would describe us! Bonnie has been the sister I have never had, and she is my sister in Christ as well! I would lay my life down for this sister. She is the best!!!

  11. I thoroughly enjoy reading Bonnie's works and fell in love with her 2 furbabies when she sent me a pic of them. I do believe Lola would love to scoot around on a skateboard LOL. Hmmm.......title for the next book with either butterfly or dreams in the title.... Timeless Dreams (which was actually the title I used for a sci-fi book that will never be read by anyone else lol), Butterfly Wings, or maybe Cocoon Dreams - Bett sounds like she's going to be metamorphosing soon.........hmmmmm......Metamorphosis Dreams....

  12. I agree with Jaynie, Bon, I consider you a sister in Christ! <3 <3

    Love & Hugs,

  13. Ooh, ooh, I just had another title pop into my head: Whispering Wings

  14. Hi, Jaynie/Sister! Thank you for the affirmation. Love you, too, so much.


  15. Rita ~ I am so blessed by you and all the prayer chain prayer warriors.

    Love you!

  16. Ha, ha! Lola on a skateboard! Thanks, Ann, for good title suggestions. I like Timeless Dreams a lot. I am keeping all suggestions, though. Thanks for your comments, good friend.

    Love ya,

  17. Keep popping, Peg. Thanks again for a good suggestion. Love, Bonnie