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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Meet Celia Bonaduce, Author of Slim Pickins’ in Fat Chance, Texas

Slim Pickins' in Fat Chance, Texas (Texas #2) by Celia Bonaduce
Genre: Adult (Women’s Fiction/Romantic Comedy)
Date Published: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Lyrical Press

It’s been a year since an eccentric billionaire summoned seven strangers to the dilapidated, postage stamp-sized town of Fat Chance, Texas. To win a cash bequest, each was required to spend six months in the ghost town to see if they could transform it—and themselves—into something extraordinary. But by the time pastry chef Fernando Cruz arrives, several members of the original gang have already skedaddled…

Fernando’s hopes of starting a new life in Fat Chance are dashed when the town’s handful of ragtag residents—and a mysterious low-flying plane—show him just how weird the place actually is. His hopes of making over the town’s sole café into a BBQ restaurant for nearby ranchers threaten to turn to dust as a string of bizarre secrets are revealed. But just when the pickins’ couldn’t get any slimmer, the citizens of Fat Chance realize they might be able to build exactly the kind of hometown they all need—but never knew they wanted…

Dymphna didn’t want Suzanna – or Suzanna’s sister Erinn, or their mother Virginia – worrying about her, so she tended to embellish how well things were going in town when she spoke to them. No harm done, until Suzanna sent an email to Dymphna, letting her know that the fabulous Fernando had sold his share of the B&B to his partner and was looking for a new place. Suzanna thought Fat Chance sounded like a ground floor opportunity and Fernando was very excited about checking it out. Without admitting to a pack of white lies, Dymphna convinced herself that he might actually like the place.

Fernando, Dymphna and Pappy turned towards the door as Thud, the enormous bloodhound that shared Dymphna’s farm, bounded into the room. Thud sensed the new blood and raced to welcome Fernando to town. The dog reared back, then jumped. He put his front paws on Fernando’s shoulders, knocking the chair over. Fernando and Thud landed on the floor, the dog looming over the man. Drool ensued. Dymphna hoped Fernando found this charming, but suspected by Fernando’s involuntary yowling that he was not a dog person.

Dymphna pulled the dog off him and Pappy righted his chair. Fernando wiped the dog slobber from his face, this time stuffing his no longer white handkerchief into his jeans.

“Tell him how great this place is, Pappy,” Dymphna said as she lugged Thud back outside.

“I won’t lie to you,” Pappy said, looking Fernando right in the eye. “Fat Chance is an acquired taste.”

They all thought of the place as a ghost town, but it was actually a study in “arrested decay.” The structures had been maintained, but only to the extent that they would not be allowed to fall over or otherwise deteriorate in a major way. That explained why the town was a mishmash of buildings from the turn of the twentieth century with electricity, running water, a few 1950’s appliances – and a faint internet signal.

“I have to get up to the farm,” Dymphna said to Fernando, as they all stood in front of the café. “I’ve got to shear my goats. Do you want to come up?”

“Less than anything on earth,” Fernando said.

“You go on,” Pappy said to Dymphna. “He’ll be fine here.”

Dymphna hesitated, but realized there was nothing she could say or do to make Fernando decide to stay. She and Thud headed up to the farm, the two men watching them until they were two small specks on the horizon. The speck that was Thud bounced all the way up the hill.

“Who maintained the buildings all these years?’ Fernando asked.

“I have,” Pappy said proudly. “Been here for more years than I can remember.”

“Why?” Fernando asked. “Why have you been here so long?”

“Can’t say,” Pappy said. “Probably same sort of reason you’re here.”

“Oh, I doubt that,” Fernando said.

“You might not stay,” Pappy shrugged. “But you could have gone anywhere. Back to Napa or Los Angeles. You could have gone to Chicago or New York. But you decided to check out Fat Chance. Not business as usual, you got to admit that. You were looking for something different. And you found it.”

1. How long have you been writing?
My parents were both professional writers, so growing up, there was always an insistence on using words effectively.  Both my mother and father instilled a love of writing, so it was always something I knew I would one day pursue.  About six years ago, I thought I might take a stab at writing fiction. Even with a background of seeing professional writers at work, I was still vary naïve about how much blood, sweat and tears went into the process of getting a book out there! 

2. What inspired you to write Slim Pickins’ in Fat Chance, Texas ?
SLIM PICKINS’ IN FAT CHANCE, TEXAS is a continuation of WELCOME TO FAT CHANCE, TEXAS.  In the first book, I explored the concept of a group of eccentrics forced to live together in a ghost town in Texas in order to meet the objectives of a billionaire benefactor.  At the end of their six-months commitment, a bunch of them decide to stay in the town to see if they can make something of it – and themselves. I threw a favorite character from the VENICE BEACH ROMANCE series into the mix.  Fernando just seemed like he belonged with this crazy gang of oddballs. 

3. Which of your characters do you relate to most and why?
Wow. That’s a tough one.  I think I relate to “Pappy” the most.  He’s a guy who meets life head on and on his own terms, even if he’s shooting himself in the foot. 

4. What is a secret about you that nobody else knows?
I could tell you…but I’d have to kill you in my next novel. 

5. What book have you read too many times to count?
The TALES IN THE CITY novels by Armistead Maupin are THE standard for intricate plot twists as far as I’m concerned!  I reread the early books every time I need a kick in the pants.  They are just amazing.  Easy reading but so complexly structured! 

6. What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received?
Go sit down at the computer.  

7. If you could hop into the life of any fictional character, who would it be and why?
I’m really drawn to Elphaba in Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.  I love how the writer, Gregory Maguire took a  story – and a character – we all thought we knew, and tossed it on its ear!  Even though poor Elphaba ends up a tragic figure even in her own story, the fact that she becomes a rebel who pushes back at the repression in Oz really seems heroic.  If I could hop into her life, I’d hope I could temper her hot-headedness a little bit – if only for self-preservations sake! 

8. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
They say that writers fall into two categories – the plotters and the pantsers.  I had always been a plotter and tried to have the entire story locked down before getting into the actual writing. But as my novel takes shape, my characters take on a life of their own – and often seem to have their own ideas. I’ve learned to stop fighting them and see where they want to go.  They aren’t always right, but when they are… it’s like solving a mystery.  Here was a hidden clue to the story and the character seemed to have known it all along.  It’s mind-boggling. 

9. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I have an amazing full-time job – I’m a field producer on HGTV’s House Hunters.  I travel all over the country, so between that and writing, I have very little free time.  What down-time I do have is spent with my husband, my mom, nieces and  nephews (and their parents) and friends.  I also like to quilt, read, dance, do Pilates (well, I don’t LIKE to do Pilates, but it’s a life-saver) and discover new restaurants and museums in my travels. 

10. Are any of the things in your books based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Since I’ve never been lived in a ghost town in Texas, most of the Fat Chance, Texas trilogy is from my imagination.  There are many, many similarities to my life in the VENICE BEACH ROMANCE series, though (except the scene in COMEDY OF ERINN, where the lead character has sex in a log cabin in Valley Forge during a snow storm– that was my first cousin!!!)
Celia Bonaduce is an award-winning producer whose credits cover a lot of ground – everything from field-producing ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to writing for many of Nickelodeon’s animated series, including Hey, Arnold and Chalkzone. If Celia Bonaduce’s last name is any indication, she is proof that TV talent runs in the family.

An avid reader, entering the world of books has always been a lifelong ambition. She is the author of the Venice Beach Romances, including The Merchant of Venice Beach, A Comedy of Erinn, and Much Ado About Mother. Her dream continues with a brand new series called Fat Chance, Texas. Book one, Welcome to Fat Chance, Texas, is available now! The series continues with book two, Slim Pickins’ in Fat Chance, Texas, on January 5th, 2016.

To learn more about Celia Bonaduce and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

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