Bonnie Dillabough had a dream. At 16 years old I started having a recurring dream that pestered me most of my life. Time and time again I would discuss the dream with people I thought were wiser than me and time and time again the repeated answer came, “No idea. I’ve never heard of such a thing.”
At age 63 after having the dream once again I decided that maybe if I wrote it down it might leave me alone. I did so and filed it on my desktop but didn’t think of it again until I started hanging out with published authors.
Mercedes S. Lackey told me at one point, when I confessed to her that I had often considered writing a book, “Put your butt in the chair and write!” It was some of the best advice I had ever gotten.
In search of material to write about I stumbled upon that dusty text file about my dream and the rest is history.
From it came the science fiction – fantasy series “The Dimensional Alliance” beginning with “The House on Infinity Loop“. Now, at the launch of “The Infinite Publishing Alliance, I find myself grateful for the events leading up to setting myself upon this path.
To my readers: Never give up on your dream. The first book in this series was published two weeks before my 64th birthday. It is never too late. There are many more to come.
Interview Transcript Bonnie Dillabough
Richard Lowe 00:03
Good day. This is Richard Lowe on with the writing king. And I’m here with Bonnie Dillabough. She is an author. She’s just about the publisher seventh book. And we met a long time ago. So, before we get into that, I want to talk a little bit about what I do. I am a ghostwriter. And you can contact me on The Writing King, and I’m also a book coach. So, if you need help with either one of those things, see me. Now let’s get on to Bonnie. Bonnie, how’re you doing today?
Bonnie Dillabough 00:31
Oh, you know what? It’s great. I’m really excited to be back online with you with your RE renewal of this author talk because it’s always been so inspiring for me.
Richard Lowe 00:47
Yes, yes. I remember we started this together about four years ago. And we did 25 episodes. And I’m restarting it. You’re the first one. I’ve got some 30 authors scheduled down. That’s awesome. Yes. So, tell me how you got into the writing field?
Bonnie Dillabough 01:05
Well, really, it’s funny that this is full circle for me because I’ve, I started wanting to write a book when I was like 16 years old. And I didn’t publish the first book until two weeks before my 64th birthday. That being said, there were a few other things going on in my life. But I got to a point to where my life was changing drastically because I was going to be in a wheelchair.
And in the meantime, I ran into this guy called a riding king of all things. We started hanging out together, I had been marketing online and making my living that way for many, many years. And I was at the time teaching some marketing classes.
And this happened the other hand, and through that, I got hooked up with Richard Lowe, which was a good turning point in my life, because one of the things that I started doing for him, was helping him edit his author top videos, which, you know, I had 15 years broadcast television, so I have a little bit of experience in that sort of thing.
So, you know, we were exchanging some different helps with one another. At any rate, the thing is, is at that point, I was kind of like feeling a little lost, about what could I do, because I was having some health issues and one thing and another, my kids are all grown and gone away and, and I was more or less in retirement, and what was I going to do?
And I started editing these videos of him talking to all these different authors. And the more I listened to mark kept going, you know, I think I could maybe write a book, maybe that’s what I need to do. I’ve always wanted to do that. And then you gave me the opportunity. Because I mentioned that I’d like to do it to interview an amazing author, Mercedes, s. Lackey.
And I go on, oh, Richard, I’d love to interview her, but she’s not going to talk to us. Me. I’m a nobody. And, and you said, well, you know, what can I hurt to ask? The worst thing you could do is say no. And I’m like, oh, yeah, that’s true.
So, I asked, and guess what? She said? Yes. And I did an interview with her is about 30 minutes. And she was delightful. And it was a total fangirl moment for me because I’ve read most of her books. She’s written over 140 in her author career. And so, I’m like, oh, wow, this is so cool. We turn the recording off. And she talked to me for another 45 minutes.
What a generous giving up her time to somebody who’s like I said, at that time, just pretty much nobody. And finally, I very shyly said, you know, I’ve been thinking about writing a book, and she leaned up into the camera, just like this. And she said, So, put your butt in the chair and write.
And I’m like, Oh, okay. So that was the beginning. And then you steered me to this beautiful thing called NaNoWriMo. National Novel writer’s month, where it’s a 50,000-word challenge, write 50,000 words in a month. I took that challenge. By the time I was done with that I had 78,000 words. This is the end of November. And I’m like, you know, I got about half a book here.
Maybe I should keep going. And so I did. And long story short, yeah, I know too late. But the point is This is I, I finished the book on January 1, so I started the new year with a finished manuscript. The fun began, because I had to figure out editing and whatnot.
And, but I did end up publishing that book in April, two weeks before my 64th birthday, which is I mean, I’m good. I just turned 69. So that gives you an idea of that time span. And was introduced into the publishing world that point and it’s all your fault, Richard.
Richard Lowe 05:40
I know I take full responsibility, shameless. I remember all of that. That was the fun times we it was it was coloring books, and then worked our way toward books, and then you became an author. I was becoming an author. And I’ve published over 120 books now with ghost written and non-ghostwritten. So, we’ve had quite an amazing journey.
Bonnie Dillabough 06:02
Yeah, it’s been fun. And the thing, here’s the thing that I know about all of this is it’s interesting how the different connections in our life makes such a difference. And I think one of the things that your listeners will get, and viewers will get out of this show is two things.
I think, number one, that writing and authoring is a very accessible thing, in so many ways, and there’s so many different approaches as to how to become an author and to be published. But also, that there are things you need to know, there are so much that I did not know, when I got started. And over time, the experiences I’ve had have taught me a lot.
And as a matter of fact, one of the things that I like to do strictly volunteer, is to mentor aspiring authors, I don’t write copy for them, I don’t edit for them or anything like that, I just helped them get over the bumps in the publishing process. Because it would have saved me so much time, blood, sweat, tears and money, if I didn’t know more about it from the beginning.
So, I learned to connect myself to other authors. One of my favorite sayings, when I talk to authors is no author is an island, nor should they be, you can’t write in a vacuum, there are so many different ways that you can get the help you need. One is a writing coach, someone who can take you through your path. As far as writing and publishing your book is concerned. Let’s say that you’ve got a really great story.
Or, for instance, I know that you do for a lot of businesses that don’t have the time to write a book, but a book that has information about that particular business, or trade or whatever can be so helpful in their promotions, in their outreach to clients and all these different kinds of things. It’s a valuable tool to have as a business as on a personal level for fiction and whatnot.
I know that you’ve also helped a number of people make some really impressive fiction books. And I think it’s really important, right, starting out from the beginning to realize that although your stories in your head, and yes, you’re sitting at the keyboard tippity tapping away, or a lot of people do it longhand, still these days. Either way, having someone that you can bounce off of, or, or learn from, can make a huge difference.
Richard Lowe 09:10
Yeah, I know. As you mentioned, before I do writing coaching, I do I do exactly that it takes a person from an author from A to Z. And from wherever they’re at. So, if they’re having trouble with marketing, I help them with that. If they’re having trouble with books that help them with that. They’re having trouble writing that whatever it is, and we put together a customized plan.
Bonnie Dillabough 09:34
And then we go through it from beginning to end and see that’s just it. We can do so much more together than we can individually. And so, whether you know regardless of where you are in your authoring journey, I have to say I love writing. But I used to hate editing. I’ve since learned that I think if I call it editing, I still hate it.
But if I call it crafting my story, I’ve learned to recognize that that’s a really important part of that writing process. So, in your writing journey, you need help with various things. And it’s going to be different from person to person, maybe even somebody who is a professional copy editor, I know professional copy editors who have other people edit their books for them.
Okay? So even if you are professional, and you think you know, your stuff, there’s so much more to it. You need a cover artist, you need a copy editor, you need to know, the publishing industry. And if you don’t, having somebody who can walk you through those steps can be very important, save you a lot of time and money and frustration. So I’m saying, writing is fun. I mean, I write science fiction, fantasy, okay?
I call it pretending on paper, I get to I don’t have to grow up, I can just go out there and pretend all I want, right, all these crazy stories, and whatnot. And but here’s what’s really fun about it, is now that I’ve got six books under my belt, I have fans. And it’s not about being popular or famous or anything like that. It’s about people who come up to you in the grocery store and say, when’s your next book coming out? T
hat’s that is so exciting to me that people actually enjoy my stories as much as I enjoyed writing them. And I think it’s, it was worth every bit that I had to go through to get to the point to where those stories are out there. Now, there’s, it’s going to be a nine-book series.
What happens after that I have absolutely no clue. Everybody keeps asking me, I’m not sure yet. But I have six books out, I’m over halfway through book seven. And it’s going to be published in November. And I’ve been publishing these books about every six months.
Bonnie Dillabough 12:17
So that’s kind of where I’m at right now as far as, as writing and publishing is concerned. And I think that people who watch the show can learn a lot about how to do what they need to do to get started as a writer, or if they’ve already got something started, how to get it finished, because finishing sometimes is the well, the two hardest parts are starting it and actually starting it and finishing it.
And if you can get those two things done, the rest of the stuff kind of works out eventually.
Richard Lowe 12:51
I know what you mean finishing is well, starting hard. And finishing is hard. Like I said, I’m a ghostwriter. And I just had a call from a client. And it’s a first draft. So, he was like, he wants a lot of changes. And that’s totally normal. And that’s the interesting thing, the difference between what you’re doing what I’m doing is I’m writing for somebody else.
And I always have to prep them that that first draft is rough draft. Because it can be a shock. And it’s not, it’s not what I want. But that’s fine. It’s not supposed to be what you want. It’s, it’s the Pat, it’s on the path. And this is all about the journey of writing.
It is you start, you start, you write, then you finish, and then you go back, and you edit, and you edit, and then probably possibly throw it away and start over if you need to whatever. And then you write some more, and then you write some more, then you get some beta readers to come in and read it. And then eventually you get a final edit.
And that’s usually hard because you want to edit some more, but you have to just put it, put a cap on it, say, okay, we’re done. And then then you start the fun stuff, the promotion, usually I recommend promoting it when you start, right, while you’re writing the book. Absolutely, I agree.
Because otherwise you’re coming up from zero. And then you got to you got to get a book cover and post self-talk, self-publishing and self-published, I’ve had three authors, authors, my, my clients, who have actually been traditionally published and sold 1000s and 1000s, and 1000s of copies. So not an amateur at this. And it can be fun. It’s fun, broadcasting sense of fun, right?
And I think, too, I mean, you say traditionally published there are so many options for publishing now that we never had before. And so traditionally published can be a long-drawn-out process, but it can be very rewarding depending on who the publisher is, and, and that sort of thing.
But there’s also the self-publishing route, the thing with self-publishing that you need to recognize it is that there’s kind of a stigma out there about self-published books. But what I’m finding is that more and more libraries and bookstores are accepting independently published books as long as you do it the right way.
And so I’m currently I do, I’ve already got for my next book coming out, that’s coming out in November, I already have a book signing booked with our local Barnes and Noble bookstore because they’re selling so many of my books. So interesting. So self-publishing can work out?
Well, if you do it right. And that’s probably one of the important things for people to know is there’s things that you need to learn if you’re going to be independently published. But I’ll give you a little secret. Even if you’re being traditionally published, you need to know and understand a little bit about the publishing industry, because even traditional publishers aren’t going to give you a free ride on marketing and promotion and all that you’ve got to learn to do that yourself and, and authors have a tendency to be a little
Richard Lowe 16:20
introverted? No, well, it’s one of the reasons that writing is so good for them is it’s a way for them to communicate without having to talk.
Richard Lowe 16:31
I know that for a fact.
Bonnie Dillabough 16:33
And so that being said, there’s some skills that you need to learn, there’s also some alternatives that you need to learn about ways to promote yourself without having to be an outgoing, extroverted person. I personally am fairly extroverted.
But the thing that most people don’t realize is they see me on the surface as being this really outgoing, extroverted person, what they don’t know is how much effort I have to put into actually doing that, because I spend so much time in my head, it’s not that I’m afraid to talk to people, it’s just I don’t always have time to talk to you, because I’ve got so much going on.
So I think that probably one of the benefits to this particular podcast, is to be able to see, first of all that there are a lot of that authors come in all shapes, sizes, ages, etc. And their journeys are all similar, but different. And by learning what other authors are going through, and how they deal with things, and, and their outlooks on writing and all the things that go along with that.
It’s encouraging to know that you don’t have to be set in a certain cookie cutter mold, to be a successful published author. And one of the for instance. You know, we separate ourselves into genres, there’s genres, and then there’s types of books too, you know, young adult, mid middle grade, or, you know, everything from erotica down to, you know, self-help books, whatever.
There are all these different types, and all these different genres, of books, and you need to kind of know where you are in that spectrum. So that you can find out who are your readers and all of this. And a good book coach can guide you in that direction. Also, there’s some great writers’ groups out there that are very helpful. One of the things that I would suggest that people avoid are what they call critique groups.
Oftentimes, they meet at libraries, that sort of thing. For writers. There’s a difference between a critique group and a critic group. And unfortunately, a lot of critique groups fall into that category of critics. And they spend more time tearing your stuff apart than telling you what’s good, and what’s working in your story. So be careful of that.
There are some good ones out there, but you need to be discerning and don’t feel like just because you came once. If you didn’t like it, if it didn’t feel right to you don’t you don’t have to keep going to that group. And you don’t have to take also BETA readers. Love them, love them love them.
They have their opinions about how things should be, you don’t have to accept everything that they tell you that needs to be done to your book. Because it they’re not always right. So and that those are just little things that I’ve learned in the process.
But once again, it’s not shutting yourself away in your nice cozy little attic and waiting for the muse to light on your shoulder to whisper in your ear about what you should write. And then you put that book out there, and everybody goes, Oh, it’s wonderful. And now all of a sudden, you’re JK Rowling and signing billion-dollar contracts and stuff like that. It just doesn’t really work that way.
No, I wish it did. But it doesn’t. Well, even for JK Rowling, it didn’t know she had a hard path. Well, but she she was she’s, she’s a brilliant, intuitive marketer. It doesn’t always agree with everything she says. But her books are awesome. And she knows from her own personal experiences, how to get people’s attention, not only about her books, but then she’s expanded it out to be so much more than that.
And but you’ve got to start someplace. And you can look at somebody like that, or Stephen King or Brandon Sanderson and go, Oh, man, I could never be that. Forget about that. Right? Do get your story out there. Tell, tell your story. And then the other stuff will either fall into place, or it won’t. But you know what writing really good therapy is. That’s the other thing that I’ve found. So it’s cheaper than for the therapist. So
Richard Lowe 21:41
Yeah, there’s actually a few ghostwriting process projects where I’ve had to tell the client, I’m not your therapist. I’m your writer. So, let’s back off a little bit.
Bonnie Dillabough 21:51
Right. Yep. So I’m, Richard. One of the questions, I talked to people about you all the time, and one of the questions that I often get is, if I’m a fiction writer, how do I get somebody else to write my story? I don’t, I don’t understand how that happens.
Richard Lowe 22:17
Well, it’s just ghost writing. And by that, I mean, I, you I work with somebody from the beginning. And I’ve spent a lot of time going through what the story is from them the outline and things like that. We work together on it most of the time. So, we’ll spend a lot of time on Zoom.
Usually on Zoom, I’ve got one client now was actually local, he lives two miles away, which is very weird. But it’s now we’re meeting locally. And you know, we just got a COVID. And it’s kind of strange. And basically, I worked with the client enough where I sort of kind of play them and be them for a while.
But it’s tough, especially fiction. Fiction is where the pedal meets the metal, I mean, technology and stuff. Most of my books tend to be technology related or franchise related or something. Those are relatively easy, cuz I just have to figure out what they want to say. And then say it and say it in a certain way, at what client says he wants me to curse more in the book. It’s quite funny.
Because he says, I curse sometimes I don’t curse a lot. But sometimes, you know, I want you to stay down. And a few other things. And then I’ve had other clients say don’t. But so that’s nonfiction. But in the fiction, it can get interesting.
I had one book, where we spent five months basically, on the phone three hours a week, going on Zoom three hours a week going through the plot, point by point until we had a plot. And then we started writing. And even then we were working out plot stuff. But he got a book he wanted; it turned out pretty good. Science fiction.
And I have a goal, changing the subject slightly I have a goal of doing one book and each of 12 different genres before I die, so I want to do with romance. I want to do Westerns; I want to do this. They’re all going to be interconnected. So paranormal and stuff, so they’ll be some commonality of characters and things. I haven’t quite figured out how to do that yet. Still working it out in my head. I liked concept. That sounds like fun.
Richard Lowe 24:27
Don’t let anybody steal it now was actually fine.
Bonnie Dillabough 24:33
Actually, I know a couple of people who are multi genre authors and are actually quite good at it. Personally. When I had to choose between science fiction and fantasy, I decided to interweave them both and so I do sci fi fantasy. There are robots and dragons in my books.
I use science fiction to explain some of the fans See stuff and, and whatnot? Well, I mean, it’s based on just something that I’ve noticed is, have you ever noticed that in every culture on the planet, every culture has some kind of a mythology or legends about dragons?
Sure, they’re often described somewhat differently, but it’s the same creature. And that was kind of one of the things that fascinated me and also elves, dwarves, fairies, all of those kinds of things aren’t are those type of creatures are intermixed throughout cultures all over the world.
So why is that? And so, part of the science fiction of my books, actually explores the origins of some of the fantasies that we have on Earth, which is kind of been fun for me. But, you know, that’s one concept.
Richard Lowe 25:58
wrote, the end of the mat, I think it’s called the end of magic does the same thing and Fred Saberhagen wrote, the Empire of the East, right is the same thing. It has magic mix with science, and it’s that one’s very interesting.
Bonnie Dillabough 26:13
One of one of my characters is often says that magic is only science we don’t understand yet.
Richard Lowe 26:23
Arthur C. Clarke. Yes, he’s
Bonnie Dillabough 26:25
he’s the one who originated that, in his three principles. Was that as
Richard Lowe 26:36
the three laws of robotics,
Bonnie Dillabough 26:37
That’s the three laws of robotics, Clarke had rules of science? It’s fascinating. But any rate, yes. Asimov did have the three laws of robotics. And the point being that we point of view is really, really important. Right, and, and you can have the exact same topic. We did this, we did this in a workshop, it was really fun.
They put a bunch, they called out a bunch of things, categories on the board, things, types of people, places, and tools, and a couple, there were like five things on the board that they put in, and they made columns, and we got to call out different things that went into each of those columns.
And then they said, okay, you have five minutes, pick one thing out of each of these columns in any mixture you want, and write a story, you have five minutes go. You would not, you would not believe the differences. And the stories that came out of that little exercise.
There was science fiction, there was fantasy, there were crime, there was all these romances and all this different stuff. And I’m just going wow. You know, so when somebody just Oh, somebody’s gonna steal my story, you know? No, probably not. It’s a lot of work.
Richard Lowe 28:10
I’ve been waking working my way through this. Oh, it’s called right brain and has 400 exercises in it. That Thank you, me be pretty hairy, you know, have teaches you different ways to write you know, read characters read characters that do this. And they’re short exercises. Sometimes they can be pretty tough, even though you’re only supposed to write 200 words or something.
Bonnie Dillabough 28:30
So right brain exercises, is that what it’s called? The right brain workbook. Right, right. And workbook, I’m gonna have to check that out. That’s really, really cool. So, at any rate, I am so excited that you’re starting the series up again. And I think that each one of your authors is going to have a little bit of something to say and whatnot. I would like to to give a challenge with a reward to you’re to your viewers and listeners. Shall we do that?
Richard Lowe 29:07
Sure. Let’s do it. Okay, so
Bonnie Dillabough 29:09
here’s the thing. I would really like to see this podcast succeed. And I think you can already see that, in future there’ll be some really cool things. I know you’ve got a great lineup of authors already waiting in line to do this podcast. But I want to challenge all the viewers. I’ve written this sci fi fantasy series, I will give away the first two ebooks in this nine book series.
To anyone who puts a comment. Be nice now, a comment in the comment area about this program. Maybe it will be something you’d like to see in future, particular author that you’d like to recommend. And for this podcast or something you learned from this podcast today or a question you have for either Richard or me or anything like that, you put a comment down there, you’re automatically going to qualify for to my first, my first two eBooks in this series, absolutely no charge, and no strings attached.
Richard Lowe 30:27
So, get your emails from the comments, and then she can send them to you.
Bonnie Dillabough 30:32
Because this, this is going to be a such a wonderful ride for all of us. I will be watching and commenting on a regular basis myself. And so, I’m going to suggest to you that maybe in future, if you’re an aspiring author, or you are an author, and you’re just looking for new tips and tricks, and how to do this, that or the other thing.
Or you just like books, maybe next time, sit down with your notepad and take some notes, because there’s gonna be some really interesting and fun things. And in the meantime, let me also say this, I’ve known Richard, as we said, for quite a while.
And one of the things I know about him is he’s extremely diligent in doing what he does for people, he really cares, we talk frequently about various projects privately, and, and he doesn’t give me any names, okay. But when he’s working on various projects, I can tell how sincere he is about giving you the client. Everything that you want and doing the best possible job for you.
He’s got some great books already out there. Obviously, he’s a ghost writer, his name doesn’t go on most of those books. But I just want you to know that Richard really has his act together, where writing and coaching are concerned. And he’s 100%, about making sure that the client has what they need. So, he didn’t know that I was gonna give them that little plug here towards the end.
But I honestly am very, very impressed with where he has taken his career. I’ve been watching him for a long time and the sincerity of you know, what he’s putting into this is just so impressive. And I’m so excited to see that he’s doing this podcast again, because I think people are gonna get a lot out of it. Thank you, Richard, so much for giving me the opportunity to help you start this out.
It’s nice to have you on the show. We’ve done we’ve done a lot of podcasts and things together in the past, this was a good one to restart with. So, I’m the writing King, you can go to my site, the writing king.com. And I’ve got several 100 blog articles about how to write fiction and ghost writing and any number of other subjects, LinkedIn and so forth. I do LinkedIn profiles.
If you have, if you want to beep stand out on LinkedIn, I also do books for people. And they can be anything from a children’s book all the way through a book on technology. In fact, one of the books I wrote was a children’s book about technology. I could also Yeah, and I also do writing coaching.
So, if you need help with the book, at any phase, we’ll have a free conversation for about a half an hour to an hour, where I’ll get your problem, whatever problem you’re having or problems. And I’ll put together a one-on-one plan that will go through over the next weeks or months to resolve that problem or help you with that problem. I mean, anyway, Barney, thanks for appearing on the show.
Bonnie Dillabough 34:02
Thank you. Oh, by the way, I didn’t even bother dimension, but my book series is called the dimensional Alliance. And the first book of the series is the house on infinity loop. And it’s Barney K period T period. drillable. Thank you very much once again, Richard for letting me be on the show.
Richard Lowe 34:23
My pleasure. Thank you and thank you all be Yeah, be ready for the next episode.
Please note, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases made through the book links provided in this article.
- 5 Powerful Ways “Do Your Job” Leads to Quiet Quitting 🦸♂️ - February 10, 2024
- How to Write Mental Illness in Fiction: 6 Essential Guidelines - February 9, 2024
- Discover the Powerful Art of Tattoos in Writing: 7 Emotional Journeys 🖤🖊️ - February 7, 2024