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Interview with Bonnie Trachtenberg, author of “Wedlocked”

Bonnie Trachtenburg

Bonnie Trachtenberg worked as Senior Writer and Copy Chief at Book-of-the-Month Club and has written seven children’s book adaptations. She’s also written for three newspapers, and has penned countless magazine articles.Wedlocked is her first novel. She lives on Long Island with her husband, stepchildren, and cats.

Please visit her blogs at:

http://www.BonnieTrachtenberg.com

http://www.Wedlockedthenovel.com

and on Twitter athttp://twitter.com/WritebrainedNY

Q: Thank you for this interview, Bonnie. Can you tell us what your latest book, Wedlocked: A Novel, is all about?

A: Wonderful to be here. Wedlocked is the witty, engaging tale of a struggling actress named Rebecca Ross, who, after years of disappointment and heartache, finds herself catapulted into a disastrous marriage and onto a honeymoon from hell. Readers will find that the story is like a wild ride through Rebecca’s life, featuring zany, memorable characters; unique, unpredictable plotting; and lots of humor.

Q: Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

A: Rebecca starts out as a perfectionist Pollyanna and talented overachiever but gets taken down quite a few notches by her experiences in life—so much so that she begins to doubt everything she’s ever believed and is compelled to make a desperate decision. Rebecca does what her dictatorial mother, an overzealous convert to Judaism, has always wanted her to do: she marries a Jewish man, namely Craig Jacobs. Craig is charismatic and persistent but brash and defiant too, and he comes into Rebecca’s life like a hurricane. But it’s not until her wedding day that she begins to realize just how wacky and destructive a man he is—and just wait for the honeymoon!

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

A: The characters in Wedlocked are closely based on real people, as the story is based on my first brief and calamitous marriage. Some characters are composites and most were amplified—but not all! I guess you could say that with a few changes, Rebecca is really me. In fact, friends who have read the book say they hear my voice in their heads when Rebecca narrates.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?

A: In this case I was very consciously aware of the plot since it was inspired by actual events from my life. In my second novel, which is in the editing phase, I used an idea that had been marinating in my mind for a while. However, in both cases, I found that the stories took unexpected turns as I wrote.

Q: Your book is set in New York, Los Angeles and Italy. Can you tell us why you chose these places in particular?

A: I’ve lived in both New York and Los Angeles and therefore have a great affinity and good knowledge of both. Many of my life experiences can be tied to places and events in both cities. I chose Italy because I’ve been there three times and find it to be a paradise. What better place to set a disastrous honeymoon? Especially since that’s where mine took place.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

A: Yes, all three settings are like characters in what they offer and how they each affect Rebecca’s life. They also lend a certain richness to the story that only location can.

Q: Open the book to page 69. What is happening?

A: Rebecca is about to shoot her first national commercial and is practicing her lines. She wants to make sure absolutely nothing goes wrong since, thanks to her, all her other career opportunities have gone down the drain. Of course something will go wrong, but this time it will be totally out of her control.

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

A: Sure. This is from the prologue and sets the stage for what’s to come:
“As we were announced into a resplendent ballroom filled with enthusiastic guests, it was as if a UFO had plucked me out of my should-be life, only to plop me down in some sort of bizarre alternate universe. For it had been less than a year earlier that I was this close to seeing my dreams of fame, fortune, and romance come to fruition, when they exploded in my face like a cruel joke.

With Craig’s hand gripping mine, and the Starbright Orchestra’s lead singer channeling Frank Sinatra, the glorious, Gatsby-esque room that had so enchanted me, began spinning even faster than my shell-shocked, post-nuptial brain. What some brides know is that when you find yourself sashaying down the aisle on what’s supposed to be the happiest day of your life, things can sometimes turn bafflingly surreal. Sensing something’s terribly amiss, you chalk it up to jitters, refusing to acknowledge a most unpleasant fact: the man standing before you in white tie and tails is far from the soul mate you hoped for.

If I could have seen this truth in real time, I like to think I would have mustered the courage to make a mad bolt from the chapel. But I was thirty-six—trampled, lost, and romantically bankrupt—so the only thing running away that day was the train I was riding, and I kept my seat, although I was destined to wreck.” —from Wedlocked: A Novel

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Bonnie. We wish you much success!

A: It was a pleasure. Thank you!

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Why I Love (and write) Humor Books

Rose A. Valenta is a nationally syndicated humor columnist. Her irreverent columns have been published in Senior Wire, Associated Content, Courier Post Online, NPR, Newsday, USA TODAY, the WSJ Online, and many other local news and radio websites.

She is the author of Rosie’s Renegade Humor Blog. This is the blog for people who would be knowledgeable about current events and politics if only politicians and news anchors didn’t stretch the truth. “What else is there to do, but share an honest laugh?” Rose said.

Rose regularly attends the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop at the University of Dayton, is a member of the Robert Benchley Society and the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC).

Rose lived in Philadelphia for over 40 years, where she honed her humor writing skills by being married to a Philadelphia Policeman and giving birth to three children. “Times have changed. Now that we have 10 grandchildren, I’m not sure how I feel about children being exposed to the evening news. Humorous things happen, like the time my grandson asked us to come outside to see his version of ‘Frosty the Inappropriate Snowman’ right after Snowmageddon.”

Rose worked for a subsidiary of McGraw-Hill, Datapro Information Services, for 12 years as a technical staff writer, and also wrote freelance articles for other computer industry publications.

She claims that her Italian heritage stunted her growth. She is English on her Father’s side and believes that in a past life, during medieval times, she was probably a trusted member of the Counsel of the Jesters.

Her latest book is Sitting on Cold Porcelain which you can find out more about at her website at www.rosevalenta.com.

Why I Love (and write) Humor Books

by Rose A. Valenta

As long as I can remember, I have enjoyed reading and writing humor. I think everyone enjoys a good laugh and deservedly so.

Almost on a daily basis, we face all sorts of events that nibble away at our initial good mood. You wake up in the morning feeling pretty, maybe sing in the shower, remember something funny the kids did to make you smile last night – then it starts: rush hour traffic, road rage, unpleasant news reports, crowded coffee shops, and your daily routine on the job. If that isn’t enough, the company café has a lousy selection for lunch; so, you resort to eating a mundane salad; you find that you are overdrawn in your checking account by $30.00; and at 5:00 PM, it’s rush hour again. When you get home, the evening news is filled with doom and gloom and the kids need to be motivated to complete homework assignments.

You, my friend, need a good chuckle. Why? The weekend looms ahead and you already know what to expect. The kids are home from school and a fist fight will break out, your DIY project is waiting, and Murphy’s Law is always alive and well at your house – breeding offspring. Sometimes I believe the more free time we have on our hands, the harder Murphy’s reproductive system works. You have to turn the tables, or else!

In my case, I wait until the crisis is over and write satire about it on my bog, Rosie’s Renegade Humor Bloghttp://www.rosevalenta.com. You can also read humor books and blogs that address the conflicts you face, but with a funny twist.  If you do that often enough, you will actually lighten up and see things in a better perspective.

While my humor book, Sitting on Cold Porcelain, is designed to address myriad topics with a funny twist to entertain you, humor blogs have been underrated. There are hundreds of them that you can sneak read with your iPad or Kindle at work. Trust me; it will lighten your load.

Because of my humor writing, I have been blessed with the opportunity to meet some of the folks, who write humor blogs on the Internet. I have made friends with them on Facebook and have linked the best ones at the bottom of my blog page, so you can enjoy them also.

Just to name a few, we have a school teacher from Texas, Jody Worsham, who is retired and has adopted two children in recent years. She writes a blog called The Medicare Mom. You will love her mature witty take on motherhood. Marti Lawrence, a caregiver from Missouri, usually has to miss our bi-annual get-togethers at the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop (EBWW) in Dayton, OH; but we fill her in via e-mail. She is very entertaining and writes Enter the Laughter. Wanda Argersinger is a Director of the Lupus Support Network, she loves to write humor books on motivation and authors a blog called Lost in the Land of Confusion.  The Director of EBWW, Matt DeWald, writes My Five-Minute Commute. Our baby boomer dad, Jerry Zezima, is a very funny guy. He just released a book called Leave it to Boomer and his blog is linked on my page. If you are really feeling down, Dawn Weber’s blog Lighten Up is for you. Please check them all out. You will get more than a few chuckles.▪

 

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