Twenty-something Kate Davis can’t seem to get this grieving widow thing right. She’s supposed to put on a brave face and get on with her life, right? Instead she’s camped out on her living room floor, unwashed, unkempt, and unable to sleep—because her husband Kevin keeps talking to her.
Is she losing her mind?
Kate’s attempts to find the source of the voice she hears are both humorous and humiliating, as she turns first to an “eclectically spiritual” counselor, then a shrink with a bad toupee, an exorcist, and finally group therapy. There she meets Jack, the warmhearted, unconventional pastor of a ramshackle church, and at last the voice subsides. But when she stumbles upon a secret Kevin was keeping, Kate’s fragile hold on the present threatens to implode under the weight of the past…and Kevin begins to shout.
Will the voice ever stop? Kate must confront her grief to find the grace to go on, in this tender, quirky novel about embracing life.
Bonnie, tell us a little about your main character.
Kate Davis is having the ultimate bad day, and is living out some intensely strange circumstances. My goal was to create a character that reflects real women – messing up, but stronger than she knows. Kate is a fighter deep down in her soul—she just doesn’t know it yet.
She has her own, unique way of navigating through the world. It isn’t an easy way—but it is her way and she owns it. To me, that’s heroic. To bear tremendous loss and heartache, yet remain true to herself to the end.
Please tell us about yourself.
I’m a happy Canadian. I’m married to a guy I love, and we have two children who are so well behaved I have to ask for I.D. when they come home from school each day. I just can’t believe they are mine. Our house is usually a mess, and one summer we lost our dog (Poppy the Pomeranian) twice in one day. We found her both times, she’s fine and forgave us.
I think in stories, and have a hard time understanding the world without them. I have recently rediscovered how much I love poetry and am thumbing my nose at all those English teachers who told me I didn’t really understand what the poem meant.
I’ve often thought about getting out of the publishing gig and just going to work for Taco Bell, but I’m too far gone, so write I must.
Do you put yourself into your books/characters?
Wow, I’d love to say no. That I just make it all up based on something I saw on the bus one day.
I recently wrote a list of images and ideas that reoccur in each of my novels. It was a long list that included things like forests, narrow paths, isolation, and mental illness. Cheerful, eh?
At this point, I can’t pretend I’m not working out my issues via story. The plot in Talking to the Dead is fiction, and I’m not Kate Davis, but if there is such a thing as an emotional biography, I think that is what I write.
The other item found in each of my novels? Humour. The day we can’t have a laugh in the middle of it all is the day we’ve just given up.
How did you come up with the story for Talking to the Dead?
I’d love to say I was so savvy I plotted and wrote the novel in a few weeks—like those genius writers I hear so much about—but the truth is, I had a question nagging me, and I started writing out that question in story form.
I used to work with at risk families (families that experience a host of social and economic disadvantages) and it dawned on me that I couldn’t judge what a person was trying to accomplish simply by watching their behavior. That, often, what I thought they were doing and what it was they were actually trying to do were very different things. In other words, that behavior doesn’t always match up with intention. So the question was, if behavior isn’t an indication of intention, then what is the best way to truly understand a person?
Did I answer the question? Probably not, but this story is an attempt to explore that question. I’d love to hear from readers and have them tell me if I hit on any sort of answer.
What are you working on now?
I’ve recently completed a novel entitled The Season In Between that is now in my agent’s hands. It’s the story of an East Coast island, a dying fishing community that is confronted with the lies of their past.
I’ve started work on another novel, the working title is Trillium, about a woman who stumbles upon a magical town, and must fight to save it.
Where are people getting Talking to the Dead?
If you’re a fan, like I am, of books made out of paper, you can always order the paperback of Talking to the Dead at Amazon, Barnes & Noble.com , or your favorite brick and mortar bookshop.
Thank you so much for letting me hang out with you today!
Bonnie Grove started writing when, as a teenager, her parents bought a typewriter (yes, durning the age of dinosaurs). She clacked out a terrible romance novel filled with typos and bad grammar that her mom loved, and she's been turning out improving prose ever since.
Her non-fiction, Your Best You: Discovering and Developing the Strengths God Gave You, came out of her experience working with families in crisis. She believes people have the knowledge and ability to make changes in their life without being told what to do or how to do it. And, oddly enough, has managed to write a book that helps people do just that.
Her novel, Talking to the Dead, came out of that crazy place inside her head that has more questions then answers. Questions about grief, love, sex, God, therapy, and how laughter can make everything seem okay--even if just for a moment or two. It has won a few awards, and has been internationally published in languages she doesn't speak.
Bonnie has completed several novels since Talking to the Dead, and is currently working her butt off to ensure they see they make their way into your hands.
Bonnie is married to a cute guy named Steve, they have two children, and they make their home in Saskatchewan.