Release Blitz: Becoming Bonnie

  1. How long have you been writing?

A long time, since I was a little girl. Those stories were funny—one-pagers where the storyline was always the same: Girl meet boy. Girl and boy fall in love. Girl and boy have baby. Don’t worry, Becoming Bonnie is a bit more complex than that!

  1. What is your favorite genre to write?

Historical fiction, which is ironic because History wasn’t one of my favorite subjects growing up (not even close to it). But now, the idea of history has great appeal to me and I’m drawn to writing and reading historical fiction, especially about events, people, and moments that are based on real life. I recently finished reading Girl In Disguise, which is about the first female Pinkerton detective. It’s such a fun concept and idea for a book.

  1. Which genre have you never tried before, but would you like to try out?

Fantasy has always been another genre that I’m drawn to. I’ll admit that I’ve begun drafting fantasy stories in the past, but they never went anywhere. Maybe one day, though.

  1. Please tell us about your book.

Becoming Bonnie is the story of how Bonnie becomes the Bonnie of Bonnie and Clyde. The novel begins with her as Bonnelyn, a fictional name I dreamed up to depict her as a wholesome, church-going gal. By the novel’s end, she’s Bonnie, half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo.

That transformation is the crux of the story, taking a young girl who was promised the American dream but who was instead given the Great Depression. The circumstances, hurdles, and obstacles she faces all lead to the pinnacle moment where she falls for a convicted felon—and turns to crime herself.

  1. Which character was your favorite, and why? Which character was your least favorite, and why?

I spent so much time inside Bonnie’s head that she’s my favorite. But Bonn’s best friend, Blanche, is a little she-devil who was a blast to write. I hope readers really enjoy when she struts into a scene!

As far as my least favorite, keep an eye out for Hazel as you’re reading.

  1. What was the hardest part about writing your book?

Being the book is based on real people, I felt some added pressure to be as historically accurate as possible. When you throw in the fact these real-life historical figures were criminals, it raises my blood pressure a bit. I didn’t want readers to feel like I was justifying any of Bonnie and Clyde’s actions. Instead, my goal is to make readers understand Bonnie’s justification for her actions. You may not agree with her, but I want readers to feel like her character is believable.

  1. What is your writing routine? Are there things you absolutely need to start writing?

I typically write when my two kiddos are sleeping, either at night or during naptime. It doesn’t give me too, too much time to write, unless I want to forego my own sleep, so when I sit down to write, there’s a pressure to get going. Though, I will admit there are plenty of times where the creative juices aren’t flowing. And I need those juices!

  1. How long did it take you to write your book from start to finish?

There was about seven months between the time I began researching/drafting to the point where I shared my manuscript with an agent.

  1. Can you tell us about your editing process?

There are many days where I wish I was one of those authors who gets words down on paper to get a first draft done. But I’m slow. Really slow. I like to tinker and massage as I go. In the end, my first draft takes a lot longer, but it turns out being closer to a third draft as far as completeness, which means I almost always share my “first” draft with my critique partners right away. Then, I concentrate mainly on any holes or questions my critique partners raise.

  1. Is this book part of a series? If so, how many installments do you have planned?

Yes! The sequel, Being Bonnie, comes out in 2018. I don’t want to give too much away about the ending of Becoming Bonnie, but Being Bonnie picks up where that one leaves off and dives more heavily into Bonnie and Clyde’s crime spree.

  1. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Read, a ton. I’m often inspired by other historical fiction authors.

  1. Why should everyone read your book?

Because it’s such a fun book, and these amazing authors were kind enough to say these amazing things about Becoming Bonnie:

“A compelling account of a nation and a life in disarray–readers will feel for Bonnelyn as she finds herself scrabbling for survival in a world turned upside down.” – Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author

“Jenni L. Walsh delivers an intriguing insight into the life of one half of the infamous duo, Bonnie and Clyde.” – Hazel Gaynor, New York Times bestselling author

“Debut author Jenni L. Walsh deftly pulls the reader into Bonnie’s world, and then deeper into her mind, so we see exactly how and when she made her choices—and her bed. Booze-soaked, southern-fried, and fully immersive, BECOMING BONNIE is a rocking good read.” – Heather Webb, author of Rodin’s Lover ​

Excerpt

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About the Book

From debut historical novelist Jenni L. Walsh comes the untold story of how wholesome Bonnelyn Parker became half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo.

​The summer of 1927 might be the height of the Roaring Twenties, but Bonnelyn Parker is more likely to belt out a church hymn than sling drinks at an illicit juice joint. She’s a sharp girl with plans to overcome her family’s poverty, provide for herself, and maybe someday marry her boyfriend, Roy Thornton. But when Roy springs a proposal on her and financial woes jeopardize her ambitions, Bonnelyn finds salvation in an unlikely place: Dallas’s newest speakeasy, Doc’s.

Living the life of a moll at night, Bonnie remains a wholesome girl by day, engaged to Roy, attending school and working toward a steady future. When Roy discovers her secret life, and embraces it—perhaps too much, especially when it comes to booze and gambling—Bonnie tries to make the pieces fit. Maybe she can have it all: the American Dream, the husband, and the intoxicating allure of jazz music. What she doesn’t know is that her life—like her country—is headed for a crash.

She’s about to meet Clyde Barrow.

Few details are known about Bonnie’s life prior to meeting her infamous partner. In Becoming Bonnie, Jenni L. Walsh shows a young woman promised the American dream and given the Great Depression, and offers a compelling account of why she fell so hard for a convicted felon—and turned to crime herself.

Author Bio

Jenni L. Walsh spent her early years chasing around cats, dogs, and chickens in Philadelphia’s countryside, before dividing time between a soccer field and a classroom at Villanova University. She put her marketing degree to good use as an advertising copywriter, zip-code hopping with her husband to DC, NYC, NJ, and not surprisingly, back to Philly. There, Jenni’s passion for words continued, adding author to her resume. She now balances her laptop with a kid on each hip, and a four-legged child at her feet. Becoming Bonnie is her first novel.

Please learn more about Jenni and her books at jennilwalsh.com.

Links

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Comments

  1. Dan Dykstra says:

    Becoming Bonnie sounds like a good read.

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