Interview with Bonnie M Hennessy

What initially got you interested in writing?
I grew up enjoying writing and from about middle school on, I knew I was good at it. I wasn’t a great student, so this was my one way of shining with very little effort. As an adult, I became a high school teacher and teaching was my focus for many years. However, in the background in between grading papers, I was always writing novels. Most of them were bad, and it is a good thing I have kept them in boxes and never showed them to many people. I think I had to write all those ‘practice’ novels to get to Twisted and all the books that are waiting for me to write. I don’t know if there was any specific moment that made me declare myself a writer. It’s just something I’ve always done. Runners run. Chefs cook. Lumberjacks chop wood. And I write books.
What inspired you to write Twisted?
While putting my daughter to bed one night, I read the tale of Rumpelstiltskin from the yellowed pages of my childhood book. The first page’s illustration showed a demur girl bowing her head dutifully before a king who pointed his jeweled finger at her and, as the story goes, ordered her to spin a whole room full of hay into gold - all because the girl’s father had bragged that his daughter could turn anything she touched into gold. While she was left alone to cry over the futility of her task, a little man with magic showed up and said he would help her if she promised to give him her first born child.

After I put my daughter to bed, I kept thinking about this poor girl in the story who had been cornered and tricked by every man she came across in her life: Father, King (eventual husband), and magical little man. Every feminist bone in my body was annoyed, and I found myself imagining all the comebacks I would have said to these men if I were her. You know, the kind of stinging rebuttals you always think about after the argument is over.

Like an itch in my brain that I couldn’t quite reach, this girl’s predicament kept nagging at me until I got out of bed at 5:30 the next morning and snuck past my two little kids’ bedrooms and out the door to a coffee shop with my laptop under my arm. I spent every Saturday and Sunday morning getting up at the same un-Godly hour to drink coffee and figure out what really happened to this girl until the last page was written and rewritten and rewritten again and again.
How did you decide to make the move into being a published author?
I had written plenty of bad novels and received many rejections from agents. With Twisted, I just knew that I had written something good, something that I finally wanted to share with people. I kept rereading passages and instead of cringing that they didn’t sound the way I wanted them to, I smiled, wishing I could show the book to my friends. Many people are afraid of getting older, but I feel like as I look forward to 40, there’s this incredible sense of confidence and intuition that has grown in me over the years of trials, joys, accomplishments and, yes, failures that told me that this was my moment to see my greatest wish of becoming a published author come true. It also helps that I have an amazingly supportive husband beside me who thinks I walk on water! He was the one who gave me the final nudge I needed to make the move.
What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
I want them to realize that we are all walking contradictions and that we are all only who we are at any given moment. Today I’m an author, wife, and mother who yelled at her son a little too harshly. Tomorrow I will take my kids to the indoor trampoline metropolis of the world with five friends and I will be the greatest mom ever. But I am neither the worst nor the best mother. I’m just a woman doing the best I can at any given moment. I think if we could look past people’s short comings, the way Aoife looks past her father’s alcoholism, Maeve’s career as the Madam of a brothel, and even her mother’s abusive cruelty, then maybe we could gain a better understanding of each other. I look at the political landscape, the cultural divides, the religious extremities and realize that we don’t see each other as imperfect humans, but as caricatures of stereotypes that have been sold to us by the media and the societies we live in. I think what made me fall in love with Aoife was her ability to accept the flaws of others and still shake their hands. That’s a lesson I’m still working on cultivating in myself!
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
I love feeling like I’ve let go of myself and let inspiration in. I don’t think I ever experienced that until Twisted. The first time it happened was when I was writing the scene where Aoife goes back to Rumpelstiltskin’s house for the first time. I had it all planned out in my head as to what would happen in the chapter and even the whole outer frame of the story. Then suddenly, the story turned. The characters did not and would not do what I had planned for them. After a reluctant moment, I took a breath and stopped thinking about what I had planned and let the scene between them unfold, allowing them to write their own dialogue, describe their emotions, and choreograph their movements. When I finished, I knew something special had just happened. I remember telling my husband, “Now I know I’m a writer because I didn’t write that chapter by myself.”
What do you find most challenging about writing?
Time and leg cramps. There never seems to be enough time to write. And when there is plenty, my eyes and brain eventually give out before I’m ready to quit. And who what writer doesn’t lament leg cramps and a sore butt! I know it’s not the intellectual answer readers may expect and it’s not as cliché as discussing the very frightening reality of writer’s block, but leg cramps and a sore butt are definitely some of my biggest challenges. Maybe I should start writing from a treadmill.
Published 2017-02-27.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Twisted: The Girl Who Uncovered Rumpelstiltskin's Name
Price: Free! Words: 75,100. Language: English. Published: March 8, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fairy Tales
In the classic tale a little man spins straw into gold and tricks a girl into trading away her baby. Aoife must now find his name, the clues to which are hidden deep in the woods, a moldy dungeon, and a dead woman’s chamber. Twisted is the story of a tenacious, young woman who solves a mystery so elusive that not even the enchanted man who spins straw into gold can figure it out.