Hey there! Glad you could join us. I’m excited to introduce you to (for those of you who don’t already know her) Celia Bonaduce. If name recognition doesn’t hit you between the eyes, then you’ll know of her through her work on TV shows, like say, Extreme Makeover Home Edition.
I met Celia five years ago at Jodi Thomas’ Writer’s Academy. We keep track of each other on Facebook through our Writer’s Academy alumni group—Jodi’s Pioneers. Last year, when Celia was producing an HGTV show—House Hunters—in Atlanta, I caught up with her at Flip Burger.
Celia shared with me that she’d signed with an agent. (Yes, I made her post the breaking news for the group so her success could inspire all of us.) This year, she has more great news! Her debut novel The Merchant of Venice Beach is a new “must” read.
Here’s the deal. At the end of this interview, you’ll find a two minute clip: Celia Bonaduce’s 2013 Director’s Reel. Leave a comment about this post (you have until Friday at midnight Eastern time) and tell me WHERE in the clip you see Celia. Your name will be entered to win a Kindle version of Celia’s debut book, The Merchant of Venice Beach. One of you will be a lucky winner!
(Folks, this is a USA deal only and I’ll need your email address.)
What, you ask, is the book about? Let me introduce Suzanna Wolf ~
The Rollicking Bun—Home of the Epic Scone—is the center of Suzanna Wolf’s life. Part tea shop, part bookstore, part home, it’s everything she’s ever wanted right on the Venice Beach boardwalk, including partnership with her two best friends from high school, Eric and Fernando. But with thirty-three just around the corner, suddenly Suzanna wants something more—something strictly her own. Salsa lessons, especially with a gorgeous instructor, seem like a good start—a harmless secret, and just maybe the start of a fling. But before she knows it, Suzanna is learning steps she never imagined—and dancing her way into confusion.
Now on with the show!
Celia: I can’t think of a time when I didn’t consider myself a writer. My parents were both professional TV writers, so writing never seemed exotic or unusual – it was there in the house, like peanut butter. I always did well in writing in school and of course, my parents took an interest in helping me (and my brothers) turn in the best essays!
LJ: What inspired you to write?
Celia: I’ve had a roller-coaster professional life. Currently, I’m a producer on HGTV’s House Hunters, but I decided to tackle my first novel (The Merchant of Venice Beach) a few years ago, when my career was, shall we say, stagnant. I was looking for something new to do that utilized my skill set, but, in case I was done with TV or TV was done with me, was outside of entertainment. With my familial background, writing a novel seemed like something I could tackle.
LJ: What is your writing process?
Celia: I work on the story in my head for months…it’s just always with me, rattling around. I figure out my characters and some of the plot lines. It’s sort of like walking through a maze, collecting bunch of stuff here and there to build something – but I’m not a sure what I’m building. Suddenly, I come across that clue that makes everything fall together and then it’s time to hit the keyboard.
LJ: Is the book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Celia: My sister-in-law was home for the holidays a few years ago and she was telling me that after years of dance lessons, her instructor had left town without saying goodbye. She was so upset she went into therapy. I found this fascinating. I mean, my sister-in-law is a paralegal – it’s not like she is a flightily person. So I started noodling around with a story revolving around a woman and a dance instructor.
LJ: What books have most influenced your life most?
Celia: Many Lives, Many Masters, by Brian Weiss, M.D. – a provocative book on reincarnation and Progression Therapy shook me to the rafters. I never felt as if I were on a spiritual quest, but this book seemed to answer so many question I didn’t even know I had.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, books or plays by super smart, hilarious people always inspire me–Nora Ephron, Neil Simon, Steve Martin, P.J. O’Rourke. I remember seeing Biloxi Blues, by Neil Simon at the theater when I was a teenage and thinking “I would love to write like that.” (What I really thought was, “Wow, I’ll never be as funny as this guy, why even try?”–but I make a valiant attempt not to think that way any more.)
LJ: What book are you reading now?
Celia: I’m reading The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan. It’s set in Paris in the 1890’s, when Degas was working on his famous “dancing” series of paintings and statues. I read for pleasure, but I am really studying this novel, because it is written in two voices–and the novel I am writing now is told in three.
LJ: What about writing challenges you?
Celia: Everything about writing challenges me. That’s why I took it on. I needed to shake things up–and boy, did that ever work!
LJ: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Celia: I hide behind humor, so the hardest part of writing the book was getting into my characters’ deeper emotions. Unless you’re doing stand-up comedy, you can’t always go for the joke.
LJ: What did you learn from writing a book?
Celia: That I wanted to write the next one!
I hope you enjoyed learning some of Celia’s secrets. Here are places to find Celia:
AND HERE’S the CLIP