Author Spotlight: Susan Bonk Plumridge
By Susan Bonk Plumridge
After almost thirty years as a pastor’s wife, and fifteen years as a homeschooling mom, Susan Bonk Plumridge is striking out as a writer, now that she has a room of her own — with a door that closes. Susan has lived in London, Ontario for twenty years. Her poetry journal blog can be found at plumbonkers.blogspot.ca.
With a love for people and a love for God’s Word, Susan began an ESL (English as a Second Language) Bible study designed to encourage people to flourish in this new land. She is a homebody who loves long walks up a quiet country road just a few minutes from her home in London, Ontario.
Q: What made you choose to write at this point in your life?
A: I often wanted to write, but found it hard to stay serious about it all on my own. But after my younger sister died, I realized it was time to try if I was really serious. I’m not guaranteed another twenty years to build up the courage to try something new.
Q: What authors have influenced you in your writing?
A: Mystery writers such as Agatha Christie, GK Chesterton, Rex Stout, and Dorothy Gillman are some of my favourite authors. Their works are among the ones I return to most often. But biblical writers also play an important role for me. I love John’s cool, distant compressed writing style as he opens both the Gospel of John and 1 John. And I appreciate biblical narrative writers — the stories are short and to the point, leaving lots of room for pondering.
Q: What sets this book apart from other novels in the mystery genre?
A: The story was written as a mystery novel and it technically fits the rules of the genre. But one of the characters started being developed more than might be expected. Logically, in the mystery genre it would be more common to focus on developing the detective’s character, but I took a different approach. My insistence on placing the story in a real location with entirely fictional characters added to the complexity, making it more than simply a mystery.
Q: What did you learn about writing as you wrote this story?
A: I learned I can write. I learned I can finish a writing project. I learned I can see the project through to publication. But mainly I learned that with a plan and friends to encourage, it can be done even if it is done a little bit at a time.
Q: What was it like to enter Word Alive Press’s 2015 Free Publishing Contest?
A: There are two levels to that answer. When I first learned of the contest, I had only been writing the story for about three weeks, so the deadline for the contest proved very useful. I set a deadline for my work. Everything — plotting, writing, rewrites — had to fit that schedule.
Then, once I had submitted the manuscript, I had to find something else to write to fill that writing time each morning while I waited for the results. That’s when I pulled out Fly with Poetry: An ABC of Poetry by Avis Harley, and used it as a personal poetry workshop. From there, my poetry blog was born.
Q: Why did you choose to publish your novel even though you didn’t win the writing contest?
A: There were a number of reasons for this choice. First, I learn best by doing, so the best way to learn about the publishing process was by publishing a book. Second, my writing style probably wouldn’t fit easily into the current collections put out by mystery publishers. Third, Word Alive Press is a hybrid publisher that combines both self-publishing with distribution for a two-pronged approach to sales. And finally, Word Alive Press offered a very nice discount because I had entered their contest.
Q: You play peekaboo with the city of London in your story. Many of the places are real. For example, Sunfest is a real event. Yet the characters and the plot are all fiction. Why?
A: I love the city where I live, and after twenty years here it’s now the place I know the best.
Q: How would you encourage others to put pen to paper?
A: Find the time that fits your schedule and simply begin. Write letters. Write poems. Write answers to questions. Write a story. If writing can become a regular habit, you will be amazed what you can do!
Q: What are some interesting things people might not know about you?
A: I work with Karen refugees from Myanmar at one church while my husband works with the Chinese at another church to help them establish an English service. I am also a retired homeschool mom. I’ve spent a lot of years in school and now have some pretty wallpaper (see LinkedIn if you want details about what schools have given me pretty wallpaper).
Q: Do you have any writing advice for new authors?
A: Find the time that works for you and begin writing. Once one project is done, begin something else so that the time is still being used for writing. My writing time is early in the morning, and during this time I work on anything from a novel to letters, from a journal to Bible stories. I’ve been writing less than a year and a half — it will be interesting to see how wide the variety grows as more time passes.’
Set a goal and keep that in mind as you work. If a deadline can be included, that’s also sometimes helpful. Be protective of your work, though, and don’t let others hijack your schedule for their purposes — unless, of course, you work better under stress.
Q: What kind of other projects do you currently have on the go?
A: I’m working on my poetry blog, plumbonkers: zero to life in one conversation, and I’m in the process of publishing this with Word Alive Press. I am also writing a children’s book based on the theme “The Lord Is My Shepherd.”
Find Susan on social media:
- Facebook: Susan Bonk Plumridge
- LinkedIn: Susan Bonk Plumridge
- Pinterest: Susan Bonk Plumridge
- Instagram: Susan.bonk.plumridge
- Blog: plumbonkers.blogspot.ca
About this Contributor:
Susan Bonk Plumridge is the author of Death of a Sister, and the soon-to-be-released poetry book, Plumbonkers.