Featuring Christina Struyk-Bonn and her debut book, Whisper

It’s time to feature another debut author, and today I would like to welcome Chris Struyk-Bonn, whose debut book, Whisper, is being released by Orca in April.  Here is the Goodreads blurb:
Sixteen-year-old Whisper, who has a cleft palate, lives in an encampment with three other young rejects and their caregiver, Nathanael. They are outcasts from a society (in the not-too-distant future) that kills or abandons anyone with a physical or mental disability. Whisper’s mother visits once a year. When she dies, she leaves Whisper a violin, which Nathanael teaches her to play. Whisper’s father comes to claim her, and she becomes his house slave, her disfigurement hidden by a black veil. But when she proves rebellious, she is taken to the city to live with other rejects at a house called Purgatory Palace, where she has to make difficult decisions for herself and for her vulnerable friends.
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Who is your protagonist?

Whisper is the name of my protagonist, and she’s someone I would like to be. She doesn’t say the first thing that pops into her head, but thinks about her response and is considerate in her answers. She is observant, introspective, caring, and yet strong. Do all writers create protagonists they would like to emulate? I’m not sure, but I certainly have.

What do you love writing about?

I love writing about and for teens. Okay, that’s far too simplistic, but the truth is, I’ve been trying to put my finger on what I love to write and I can’t figure it out. One of the members in my writing group asked me recently what my theme is – what unites my books and manuscripts. I stared at her like maybe she had meningitis. And then I spent half the night thinking about her question. What unites my books? What is the common thread that ties them together?

At the superficial level, there is no theme uniting my manuscripts. My debut novel is dystopian, the book I’m working on is fantasy, the one I was working on last year is a Midwest contemporary novel and many years ago I wrote a children’s book about a squid named Squirty. They are as different as love and hate. But after really thinking about that, I realized that isn’t exactly true. All of my books are about finding a place in this world; a place where we can belong and feel accepted. The genre of the book doesn’t seem to matter – I write all types, but the common theme is certainly there. All of us have a place where we belong, even if it takes years to find it.

When do I write best and when do I not write?

I have not figured out the answer to this question. I have no writing patterns, I have terrible writing habits, and the only time I had any sort of structure, set schedule and success was when I did NaNoWriMo this past year, and the manuscript I churned out during that intensive month was so bad, I haven’t looked at it since. I’m afraid that I do not write when I have to work, when I feel rotten, when the cat pukes on the floor, when the wind is blowing too hard, and when I can play games with my kids. I am very good at finding reasons not to write, and yet I feel compelled to scribble something down when I can. I think there’s something wrong with me.

Where do I get my ideas?

Whoa, I am not revealing that. Okay, I don’t have any tricks or sneaky idea-generating powers. My ideas come from conversations, observations, really amazing students who blow my mind, and simply the machinations of life. I do not dream in stories, I do not commune with any higher idea-generating powers, and I do not have a muse. It would actually be very helpful if I did.

Why am I a writer?

I love stories. I love getting so sucked into a good book that I stay up way too late to finish it. I love watching a really good movie, laughing at the one-liners, crying at the emotional scenes, and becoming furious with the antagonist. I love creating those stories myself. Discovering that amazing character and that powerful voice makes we want to live in another world, even if it’s a world I’m creating, full of flaws and idiosyncrasies. I’m afraid it’s quite an addiction, and I don’t see myself recovering from it anytime soon.

You can find Chris on her website http://www.chrisstruykbonn.com  or on twitter @ChrisStruykBonn.



Hey READERS, I would love to hear from you.

Is your MIND FULL of old thoughts or new?


Featuring Christina Struyk-Bonn and her debut book, Whisper — 2 Comments

  1. Interesting interview, Chris. I think all writer love stories.. if we didn’t we wouldn’t be in this business, right? And yes, I resonate with creating a character who I want to emulate! Thanks for the insider’s view, Linda.

  2. Thanks for dropping by, Carol, as always. I’m looking forward to reading about Chris’s protagonist, especially since she doesn’t say the first thing that pops into her head! (I could use some of that myself).

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