Monday, July 07, 2014


Please help me welcome Karen Boncela to the blog today. Karen has led an interesting life that she's sharing with us today. In addition to writing under her own name, she's worked as a ghostwriter. 

Karen Boncela and her books

Caroline: Please tell us something about yourself and your family.

Karen: I grew up in the city of Chicago in a very busy household with 2 brothers and 3 sisters, Dad and Mom. I am child #4. My parents were very strict. My oldest sister paved the way for us younger ones so that by the time I was dating boys, Mom was just a little bit more lenient than she’d been with her first daughter. We fought with each other growing up, as all siblings do. My two older sisters would take my clothes out of my closet and wear them without permission and then put them back and deny ever having done it. They reeked of cigarette smoke... before I started smoking. My younger sister and I shared a room. She was the neat one, I was not. There were a lot of arguments between us. She claims even now that her hair is very thin because I pulled much of it out when we would fight. And my oldest brother?  He was my moms’ favorite. The rest of us would just shake our heads back and forth when she would cater to his every little need and want...and more!

We all had nicknames too. You can look at our picture together and try to guess who’s who, but I’m sworn to secrecy. If I told you, I’d have to kill you, lol. The nicknames were Queenie, Bucky Beaver, Queer, Booger Boy, Tub-o-Lard, and Poomp-de-Bottom. I love having a big family!

Which is Queenie and which Booger Boy?

We are all middle agers now and I feel so blessed to be able to say that my siblings are my best friends. We suffered a huge loss when our mother passed away, way before her time, at the tender age of 51 from cancer. We all grew closer with that experience and have remained that way through the years. We are all scattered now, across 4 of the states and we aren’t in the same place at the same time often, but when we are, it’s like we were never apart. We genuinely like each other. Always there for each other whether it is in person, or a shoulder to cry on, over the phone.

I was married for 32 years to my first husband who I met when I was just a child. I thought that I knew what love was back then. I didn’t have a clue, but I’m from the generation that when you got married, that’s it, you were married for life. That is, until my life with him and the abuse that I endured became unbearable. I finally mustered up the courage to do what I should have, many years before and divorced him. The only good result from that marriage is my children. They are such incredible people. My son is a firefighter/paramedic, my older daughter is a nurse and my younger daughter is a teacher.

I’m such a lucky girl because I am married now to my Knight in Shining Armor, Eddie, who I was blessed to have found while we played Internet Scrabble. Eddie lived in New York all his life and gave up everything there to be here with me in Illinois.

Caroline: Your family sounds wonderful, Karen. Describe yourself in 3 or 4 words.

Karen: Creative, Honest, Romantic, Loving

Karen with her family

Caroline: When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?

Karen: I love to cook for my hubby and my kids. I love my flower and vegetable gardens in the summer. I could go on and on about all the wonderful attributes of fresh basil, from the way it looks and smells in my garden, to the 101 ways that I can use it in food! LOL!

I love spending as much time as I can with my 2 grandchildren. My grandson is 11 and my granddaughter just turned 2. We do a lot of reading together, watching movies, playing outside in the yard. We are expecting a third grandchild in September and hope to have more after that as well!
And I love going on romantic dates with my Eddie. I love my alone time with my hubby.

Caroline: You sound creative and loving. How long have you been writing?

Karen: I’ve been writing for about 5 years now. Before that, I had no idea that I had the ability. During my 32 year marriage, my mind was so muddled with the everyday problems that I had to deal with, that writing was not even a thought in my head.

I was so inspired when I met Eddie in 2008. Our relationship was so romantic; it was like out of a movie. I never knew that love like ours existed. I didn’t want to forget a single detail, so I started writing things down; a journal of sorts. One day I sat down at my computer and started to put the notes all together into story form. I surprised myself when I read back what I was writing and laughed about the possibility of publishing. The more I thought about it, the more compelled I felt to share our Story of love and gratitude.
That story became my first book, WORDS TO LOVE BY.

Caroline: How encouraging for others in a bad situation. Do you plot out your stories and create an outline or do you just write?

Karen: When I wrote WORDS TO LOVE BY, I just wrote. It was my story. It was all in my head. After I’d published that book, I was in the right place at the right time and was asked to write someone else’s story for them. That person is an oral surgeon that my husband had gone to.

ONE FATHERS’ LOVE was my first Ghostwriting job. With this book, I created a storyline of sorts, where I listed everything that had happened in this man’s life, in dealing with his wife, who was Bipolar. I listed everything chronologically and then interviewed him several times to fill in all the blanks. You can read more about my Ghostwriting experience on my Blog.

Caroline: Ghostwriting sounds intriguing and I believe you’re the first ghostwriter to be on the blog. When I worked for a newspaper, I had interviewed a man who made his living ghostwriting. Tell us about your writing schedule. Do you set goals? Do you write daily?

Karen: My writing projects are ALWAYS on my mind, whether I like it or not.  I wake up in the middle of the night frequently with ideas for my next story, and there’s no going back to sleep until I take a couple of minutes to write my ideas down in the memo on my phone. I can’t take a chance on forgetting a great thought.

I’m on my computer every single day. Much of my time is spent social networking, through Facebook and Twitter and my Blog. As a self-published Author, Marketing to get the word out about my books is a daily challenge. I’m always brainstorming my next post or my next giveaway.

I absolutely set goals, yes. I had to with my Ghostwriting job, ONE FATHER’S LOVE. I was obligated through a contract to have this work done for him in a timely manner. His book took me just under one year to complete.

As I write my own books, I will write for several days in a row and then take a break, sometimes just to spend some time with my grandkids and my hubby.

Caroline: Do you write full time or do you have a day job? If you have a day job, what is it?

Karen: It depends on what project I’m working on. I have no full time day job. I’m lucky to be doing several things that I enjoy part time. I am a hairdresser and work out of my home. I am a part time personal chef and cook in my own kitchen doing that.

Writing and creating stories is what I enjoy most.

Caroline: You are creative in several areas. Do you have a favorite quote?

Karen: I do. I love this one. “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but the moments that take our breath away.”

Caroline: Yes, I love that one, too. What’s your most current publication?

Karen: My third book, DARK SECRETS NO MORE just debuted on Amazon in April. It’s the Prequel to my first book. There was such a great emotional response from my readers after they had read WORDS TO LOVE BY, that I felt compelled to tell the whole story to make readers understand why I have such a feeling of gratitude in my life now.

DARK SECRETS NO MORE is my real life story, before Eddie.

Excerpt from DARK SECRETS NO MORE: As I walked through the front door of the hospital and into the lobby, the volunteer at the front desk greeted me with a smile and a question, “Can I help you find your way?”

“No thanks” I said. “I know where I’m going,” which was a funny thing for me to say really, because I felt so lost and alone.

I was so used to pretending that I was okay. I was accustomed to putting on a brave face when in fact, I would have liked to just crawl up into a ball and hide from the reality of my life.

Caroline; Can you give us a blurb from DARK SECRETS NO MORE?

Karen: DARK SECRETS NO MORE is the PREQUEL to my first book, WORDS TO LOVE BY.
For thirty two years my life revolved around my spouse. He demanded no less. I never had the privilege of putting my needs first. According to him, my feelings were insignificant and stupid. 
I felt like a hostage for many years with no way out.

DARK SECRETS NO MORE is the story of my journey out of that dark tunnel, which had become my life. It’s the story of the painstaking changes that I made, which led me to my freedom from the shackles of abuse.

So many of my readers have found WORDS TO LOVE BY so helpful and inspirational. Because of that, I felt like I had no choice but to share the whole story.

Once you’ve read DARK SECRETS NO MORE, you will understand why I wake every morning and go to bed every single day with a feeling of gratitude and joy.

Caroline: I can see that your writing would inspire readers who deal with similar problems, but what do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Karen: I’m passionate about spreading the word through my stories that nobody controls the happiness in your life except YOU! No matter what your situation, you can be happy through the choices that you make. Another important message is to take chances in life. Listen to your inner voices. Break out of your comfort zone. You have to try something different, if you want your life to change.

Caroline: That’s a powerful message! Do you have any advice for unpublished authors?

Karen: I do. Anyone can author a book now if you so desire, but it has to be good and it has to appear professional or nobody will respond to your work. Do your research to determine which way is the best way for you to publish.   Spend some money to hire someone to help you develop a polished finished product. And most importantly, edit, edit, and edit some more and when you think that you are done, edit one more time. And then have someone else check it for you again.

Caroline: What’s been the best thing about your writing experience so far?

Karen: When I had my first book signing after WORDS TO LOVE BY debuted, there were a couple of young women who arrived about half an hour early. They were giddy to see me after having read my book. Giddy to see me! Can you imagine??  They wanted pictures with me. They both expressed just how much my book impacted their lives and how happy they were to speak to me. Treated me like some kind of movie star, lol! That’s when it hit me! The reaction that they had to my message was EXACTLY what I’d hoped for when I first DARED to publish! What a feeling! I was ecstatic and that thrill never goes away. It moves me to tears when I read some of the reviews and emails that I get from my readers. It makes all the work worthwhile.

Caroline: So, true, Karen. Where can we find your books?

Karen: You can find all my books at this LINK. Reviews are there as well.

Please LIKE my FB Author Page here.

Visit my BLOG here.

Thanks for stopping by!


Anonymous said...

What a fun interview - good job!

Sara Bain said...

A frank and honest Q and A session. Thanks both for sharing. Like your life, Karen, I'll bet all your books have a happy ending ; )

Unknown said...

I am soo excited for you Karen! You have accomplished and overcome what most can only dream of. Keep up the good work and I will be waiting to read your next chapter no pun love ya Lisa

Susan Farmer said...

So enjoyed reading Karen's books and love how this interview went. Especially like how you described your best friends, your siblings. Very special :-))

Unknown said...

I really enjoyed this interview! You are very honest and gives us a great insight! I love how close you a nd your siblings are 💙💜 I am like that with mine too! I am glad you found your knight n shining armor 😊