• Mae Heller

Interview with C. O. Bonham


Can you tell me about your history as an author? How did your career get to where it is today?

Honestly, I’m just getting started. But like most authors, my journey began with a love of books. I love reading and will spend hours of my day reading. That led me to wanting to try telling stories of my own.


The biggest boost to my writing career was attending Realm Makers. The first and only writers’ conference I’ve ever attended. It is so important to not only find other writers who can help you learn; you need to find writers who are excited about what you’re writing.


Another great help was joining a critique group. It is very motivating to have people waiting to read what you’ve written.


How does your faith (if applicable) influence your writing of fairy tale retellings?

Fairy tales are the same as any other story. It’s all in what you bring to it.


I feel it’s important to note that no part of Runaway Lyrics is an allegory. The only Christian thing about it is that there is a creator who directs our actions without controlling our actions.


Religion wise, I was just going to have an unnamed creator that people acknowledged. Naturally, this creator ended up playing a much bigger part than I had planned.


What inspired you to write retellings?

The biggest inspiration was The Arista Band of Fairytale Retellers. A Facebook group that votes on a fairytale to retell for that year. The 2020 fairytale was Snow White and Rose Red. A fairytale that I honestly thought could use some fixing.


Normally I have a hard time working out plots. This time, I had an outline. The fairytale itself. This was so helpful while drafting. If I got too discouraged and didn’t know what happened next, I could look at the original fairy tale for inspiration.


What can my readers expect out of this book?

They can expect everything I love about books. I love humor, so I hope they find plenty of that inside.


I enjoy shipping characters. I see two characters and just know that they end up together. So I hope they ship the same characters I did.


I love fun steampunk that plays with technology without the baggage of Victorian society. So they should expect a bit of that.

How is this book similar or different to things you’ve written in the past?

I am a genre hopper both in reading and in writing. I have short stories all over the map. Everything from Elves in space to old west gamblers.


Runaway Lyrics is unique. It’s my only steampunk, fairytale retelling, fantasy, adventure.


As far as themes go, I do tend to write a lot of coming of age stories. I feel like we never truly grow up just older. Adulthood is merely the act of pretending that you know what you are doing.


My current work in progress is a more traditional steampunk story. More steam, no magic, lots of societal problems. It still has the same themes of growing up and figuring out life, though.


I’m also working on a sequel to Runaway Lyrics as well.


What does your writing and editing process look like?

I draft pretty fast and then drag my feet on the revision process.


For Runaway Lyrics, I had about two other drafts before I had some friends that I trust look at it. After seeing their thoughts, I went back and changed almost the entire book again.


As far as editing goes, I was lucky. My beta readers were all fantastic at catching typos and at calling me out on my weak spots. The best way to catch problems is to read out loud. There are multiple apps that can do this for you.


I did not use a professional editor. I’m not saying you don’t need one. In fact, everything I listed here is what you should do to polish up your manuscript before sending it to the editor. But I am a chronic procrastinator. So I ran out of time to hire an editor.

Doesn’t self publishing mean I have all the time in the world? Sadly no. Without the deadline given to me by the Arista retelling group, I wouldn’t have summoned the motivation I needed to get the book finished.


Now having finished and released one book, I hope to repeat the process. Hopefully, getting a little faster each time.


Besides yourself, who is your favorite author?

Wait, you want me to choose just one? I have multiple favorites that I’ll buy without question every time they publish.

But if I can only pick one, there is an author that I follow closely on social media I even beta read for her pretty regularly. It’s H.L. Burke and her humor and fun twists make all of her books enjoyable.


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