I’m a chicken. That’s the truth. Why then do all my novels feature exciting, heart-pounding adventures in the Colorado out-of-doors? One has a blizzard that shuts down the city, another a forest fire. Even the most benign features a water leak that floods the apartment. My newest, Never Retreat (Imajin Books, March 2018), pits the heroine and hero against a massive flash flood in the mountains. In it, a feisty single mom clashes with an ex-military, macho corporate star at a business retreat in the wild Colorado mountains, where only one can win a huge prize. When the flood imperils their love and survival, they learn the meaning of true partnership.
Potentially thrilling, right? Even if you discount the thrill of new love. I certainly thought so as I was writing the novel. Living in Colorado, I get news every few years about flash floods, forest fires, blizzards. And all of these have the potential to be featured in my fiction.
Two main reasons influence my adventure-laden plots. The first? Simply good storytelling. Just like murders, wars, kidnappings, and terrorism, outdoor adventures allow a writer’s characters to meet challenges, demonstrate their courage and skill, fail or succeed, hate or love. While the reader’s life may be humdrum, she can experience excitement second-hand.
A disaster allows me, the writer, to compress action into a short time to keep the story moving. It encourages characters to act their best, or worst, to reveal their personalities. The manner in which they occur--random and uncontrolled--crises provide challenges readers can relate to as well as experiences characters learn from. And like humans, fictional characters learn waaaay more from struggles and failures than they do easy successes.
The other reason adventures figure large in my books? A fear faced becomes a fear conquered, or at least I take a step forward in doing so. Example: in the middle of the night yesterday, I woke when the furnace turned on. A strange new noise accompanied the forced air. I immediately thought the equipment was going to explode. A rash on my kid’s arm is probably Lyme disease. A recently discovered error on my taxes means the IRS will charge me with fraud. Rather than hiding under the covers or in a closet, I address my anxiety through rational thought or clutching my husband’s shoulder.
So I have a whole load of fears. What do I do about them? I write about people who take steps to meet their challenges and control their anxiety. I’ve learned that doing something, almost anything, positive enables me to restrain real as well as imaginary fears. Witness the recent “March for Our Lives.” These teens are taking a positive action in the face of terrible possibilities and thereby freeing themselves from paralyzing fears.
As a writer, I’ll leave authors like Kim McMahill to live adventures as well as write about them. I’m grateful all kinds of books exist, with all kinds of adventures that I can embrace second-hand.
THE BOOK: Years ago, Ramona (‘Raye”) Soto faced harsh reality when a roving con man knocked her up. Now at thirty-something she’s concentrating on her career in a major telecommunications firm and funding college for her teenaged son. Enter Desmond Emmett—a fast talker and smooth operator. New to the office, the ex-serviceman possesses every negative quality for a guy Raye should avoid. Thrown together at a corporate retreat in the wilderness, the reluctant duo struggles to complete management’s extreme mental and physical tests for a huge reward. But only one can win the prize, and Des needs the money to underwrite medical treatments for his adored younger sister. See-sawing between attraction and antagonism, the mismatched couple face their biggest challenge: learning the meaning of true partnership. When a massive flash flood sweeps down the rocky canyon and threatens their love and survival, they must put aside their difference to rescue their colleagues—and their future as a couple. Get your copy at
THE AUTHOR: Bonnie McCune has been writing since age ten, when she submitted a poem about rain rushing down the gutter to the Saturday Evening Post (it was immediately rejected). This interest facilitated her career in nonprofits doing public and community relations and marketing. She’s worked for libraries, directed a small arts organization, and managed Denver's beautification program. Simultaneously, she’s been a free-lance writer with publications in local, regional, and specialty publications for news and features. Her true passion is fiction, and her pieces have won several awards. Never Retreat is her third novel and her fifth book of fiction. Visit her at www.BonnieMcCune.com, Bonnie@BonnieMcCune.com, twitter.com/bonniemccune, facebook.com/authorBonnieMcCune, www.linkedin.com/in/BonnieMcCune