Women In SFF Author Spotlight — Bonnie L. Price
Bonnie L. Price was born in 1990 and has lived in several different states. At the age of twelve, while living in rural Upstate New York, she turned to writing as a way to entertain herself. Without internet or TV, there was little else to do during the long, cold winters.
What started as a way to amuse herself soon became a passion, and she’s been writing ever since.
When she’s not writing, she can be found playing games, tinkering with Photoshop, or spoiling her dog.
Welcome to the Hive, Bonnie L. Price. Let’s start small: tell us about a great book you’ve read recently!
I think the last time I had the time to read a book, it was The Key by Marianne Curley. Her Guardians of Time trilogy was the first case of first-person perspective writing I came across as a young author, and I’ve always loved that trilogy. I need to carve out time to find out what happens in the new book four!
Okay, time to escalate things: reality warps and you suddenly find yourself leading a D&D-style party through a monster-infested dungeon. What character class are you, and what’s your weapon of choice?
I’d be a Monk, and my weapon of choice would be my legs. I love martial arts, and I’ve found that I have a preference for leg and foot techniques over hand techniques.
When you’re not trawling through dungeons, how do you like to work? (In silence, with music, or serenaded by the damned souls of a thousand dead shrimps? Do you prefer to type or to hand-write? Are you an architect or a gardener? A plotter or a pantser? D’you write in your underwear, or in a deep-sea diver’s suit?)
Tell us a little bit about your writing method!
If I’m writing at the computer, I have several writing playlists that I’ve curated that contain songs I can listen to while I write. Lyrics I can understand are off the table, as I tend to get distracted and transcribe what I hear. So, most of my music lacks vocals. There’s a lot of game and movie soundtracks, such as the recent FINAL FANTASY XIV: SHADOWBRINGERS soundtrack, which has some of my favorite scores from the franchise.
If I’m writing on my phone, as I have been doing a lot recently, then I write in silence.
I don’t have a preference between typing and handwriting, though I am looking into buying a Remarkable 2 since it looks like a great way to bridge the gap between handwriting and tech. Having something that can decipher my handwriting and turn it into editable text sounds fantastic.
I’m somewhere between an architect and a gardener, the same goes for plotter and pantser. For my first draft, I fully pants. As I go along, I have a Scrivener project where I place important notes such as world information, character information, and story beats. Then, I use that information during my editing passes to maintain consistency and to help my editors if I’m working on a particularly complex series.
Fluffy pajamas are love, fluffy pajamas are life!
What (or who) are your most significant female fantasy influences? Are there any creators whom you dream of working with someday?
Tamora Pierce, Diane Duane, and Marianne Curley would be my biggest influences. I discovered the fantasy genre through Tamora Pierce’s work when I was around nine or ten, and fell into the rabbit hole chasing after every book of hers that I could find. When I exhausted those, I would wander the shelves at my local libraries and bookstores and read the blurb for everything that had an interesting title or cover—which is how I found Diane Duane’s So You Want to Be a Wizard and Marianne Curley’s The Guardians of Time trilogy.
As for working with other creators, I’m not sure if I have the personality and writing methods to co-author with anyone. Aside from writing though, I’d love to some day collaborate with someone on manga, anime, game, or TV adaptations of my work.
What was the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it? Alternatively, what games have you enjoyed recently?
For TV, I recently finished Altered Carbon seasons one and two, at the recommendation of one of my alpha readers. Since I’ve been working on a cyberpunk series, he was excited to recommend more content in that genre for me to explore.
Games… FINAL FANTASY XIV has been my main MMO for a long time. I originally played during its failed 1.0 launch, and later returned for its rebirth. I’ve been playing for seven years now, maining a mix of Dark Knight, Astrologian, Monk, and Black Mage.
I also dabble in PHANTASY STAR ONLINE 2 and Satisfactory.
The world shifts, and you find yourself with an extra day on your hands during which you’re not allowed to write. How do you choose to spend the day?
Gaming, while my dog tries to eat my controller.
Clarice (my rescued Pitbull mix) demands all attention on her, all the time.
Can you tell us a little something about your current work(s) in progress?
Oh jeez, where to start with this one.
I have several works in progress, but the closest two to release are Deck of Souls book two and the first book in my upcoming cyberpunk series, Song of the Depths.
Deck of Souls is a mashup of the romantic fantasy, high fantasy, dark fantasy, portal fantasy, and LitRPG/GameLit genres—the latter of which is currently a male-dominated market, but I’ve found that many readers appreciate fresh approaches to the genre.
Cerys, the MC, is a human woman who is transported to a new world and given a “choice” between saving the demons or joining the humans. She’s a flawed individual, with plenty of room for growth throughout the series—which is something she’ll need to do if she’s to settle into her new life.
In this setting, the game system is designed to not require status screens and the like, leaving more room for character interaction, relationship development (platonic and otherwise,) as well as kingdom building and combat aspects. I’m thrilled with how the system came out, and the ways I can utilize it!
Song of the Depths is a mashup of romantic fantasy, cyberpunk, and science fantasy. It started off as a cyberpunk x magical girl concept, then shot off through the roof and evolved into its own, alien-centric thing.
This series follows a woman who survived an attack known as the “Resonance Incident,” where an alien harmonic weapon was fired at a human city—turning the buildings to rubble and the people into goo. After five years of study and isolation, the human government approaches the MC with options—neither of which she likes.
Instead, she carves out a third option for herself, and attempts to adhere to her morals in the twisted human empire. Along the way, she discovers that the aliens responsible for the Resonance Incident aren’t the monsters she was led to believe, and she has to determine where her place in these conflicting societies is.
Song of the Depths will later contain an alternative relationship dynamic.
What’s the most (and/or least) helpful piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
“You are your audience.”
I find that many authors get too fixated on whether the public will like their work. First and foremost, I believe authors should write for themselves—write the stories they want to read. Chances are, if there is a story you want to read, other people want to read it too.
“Delete all your adverbs.”
[Editor note – I HATE THIS ONE TOO!]
It’s too…generalized. Usually, people mean to delete all your words ending in -ly when they say this. But, even then, there is a time and place for every variation of a word in the language we choose to write in.
Instead of raising our pitchforks against the “pesky” adverbs, we should be empowering authors to be more knowledgeable about their word choices—and to hire good editors who can give us a friendly smack when we overuse something.
Every writer encounters stumbling blocks, be it a difficult chapter, challenging subject matter or just starting a new project. How do you motivate yourself on days when you don’t want to write?
I don’t find motivation to be a particularly helpful tool. My brain simply isn’t wired to write based on motivation or inspiration—I write to explore the interesting worlds and people my brain decides to spew out on a regular basis.
Not writing makes me ornery as all hell, so I tend to write every night before bed at a minimum. If I’m doing particularly well, and my wrist isn’t bothering me, I can spend upwards of twelve hours in a day working on nothing but writing.
If, for some reason, I don’t want to write—I don’t. Breaks and self-care are important, and I don’t want to jeopardize the quality of my work by forcing myself when I’m not feeling into it.
If you could visit any country at any point in history, where/when would you go, and why?
Ancient Japan, China, and Egypt. Ancient history has always fascinated me. I was adamant for years that I would become an archaeologist when I grew up. It’s still one of my biggest fields of interest, so I would love to visit those places during those times and see how they really were. Especially Ancient Egypt and China, as there are so many hints of interesting ancient technology in both civilizations.
Who are your favourite female characters in literature or pop culture? And do you have a favourite type of female character you enjoy writing?
Frankly, I dislike most female characters in pop culture. I rarely relate to them, and usually find myself relating more to the male “villains” instead. The same is often true for literature, as well-written women with alpha personality types are rare.
As for writing? My favorite type of female character to write is alpha-type women who are emotionally mature enough to be confident in their choices—relationships or otherwise. I find that many people seem to think that having an alpha personality type means that the person can’t be submissive, and I like challenging those assumptions with the relationships in my work.
Plus, I like challenging the misconception that “alpha” type personalities are abusive or that only men can be alphas.
Tell us about a book that’s excellent, but underappreciated or obscure.
KT Hanna’s Somnia Online and Last Chance series. She doesn’t flinch away from writing her characters as people, even if they go against perceived societal norms—such as containing main characters who are LGBTQ+. Writing what she does in the current LitRPG/GameLit landscape is difficult, and I applaud her for sticking to her values—and to the stories she wants to write.
Finally, would you be so kind as to dazzle us with an elevator pitch? Why should readers check out your work?
From study in isolation to a neon metropolis, join Elara as she navigates interspecies politics, working for a genocidal government, and finding her place in the universe.