Bonnie Trachtenberg graduated from New York University with a major in Film and Television Production. She promptly found a job on a B movie you never heard of. Four days later she retired from her film career after working the craft service truck and throwing her back out while attempting to lift a man-sized coffee urn.
Realizing she was meant to be a writer, Bonnie worked 4,749 crappy jobs (give or take) on two coasts before being published in a national magazine. Her writing career then took her from the health and fitness field to the entertainment industry to journalism and public relations before she landed her dream job as Senior Staff Writer/Copy Chief at Book-of-the-Month Club. There, she wrote hundreds of book reviews and hobnobbed with the literati. At this time, she also began work on her first novel.
Five years later, Bonnie was laid off along with 500 of her colleagues after a corporate takeover. She did not despair, but instead took it as a sign from the heavens that it was time to finally finish her freaking book already. She did. Her debut book, Wedlocked: A Novel, was released June 16, 2011. A second is in the works.
Bonnie lives on Long Island with her husband Mitchell Silbowitz. The two were high school friends who met up again in 2003, renewed their friendship and then fell in love. She has three stepchildren, four cats and a dog that wishes he was a cat.
Hello and welcome to b00k r3vi3ws Bonnie! Please, could you introduce yourself to my readers?
Thanks, Debdatta and hello everyone! It’s a pleasure to be here. I’m the author of two bestselling romantic comedy novels, Wedlocked and Neurotically Yours. I live in New York and I’m presently working on novel number three.
Now tell us about your debut novel ‘Wedlocked’.
Wedlocked is a novel based on my first brief marriage in 1999. Although quite traumatic at the time, I managed to turn the story into a comedy with a very happy ending. It’s the tale of Rebecca Ross, a thirty-six-year-old aspiring actress, who lets years of disappointment and heartache catapult her into a disastrous marriage and onto a “honeymoon from hell”. Wedlocked recently won the Gold Readers Favorite Award, the Beach Book Festival Award, and the Indie Excellence Award!
What was the overall experience of writing this book like?
Wedlocked was a long time in the making, since I started writing it while working full time as copy chief and senior writer at Book-of-the-Month Club. I didn’t have a lot of energy left over by the time I got home, so the writing kind of inched along for a few years. Then, when I was laid off in a company takeover, I decided to spend my time finishing the book. It took almost a year, but it was the most cathartic thing I’ve ever accomplished. I have to admit, it was hard to write a book that was so close to reality and so close to my heart. You sometimes have to let go of the compulsion to write things exactly as they happened, and instead focus on the best possible story. It was a tall order for a first novel, but I eventually pulled it off!
What are your pet peeves while writing?
I need peace and quiet to write at my best. Noise pulls me out of my thoughts and it isn’t always easy for me to find them again. I also don’t like to put pressure and deadlines on myself as some writers do. I find it provokes unnecessary anxiety. Since it’s often difficult for me to get myself to sit down, I sometimes ease myself into writing by having the television on while I check emails and then I casually switch over to my latest work. As soon as I start reading, I have to shut the television so I can concentrate, and the next thing I know, I’m entrenched in my latest novel.
How did the idea for ‘Neurotically Yours’ evolve?
Neurotically Yours was inspired by my two, long decades out on the dating scene. All the crazy experiences I (and some of my friends’) weathered were the perfect fodder for this book. It’s about a thirty-seven-year-old advice columnist who starts a very unusual dating service for perennially single, romantically challenged adults looking for love. I often wondered what it would be like if there was a dating service that forced its clients to “let it all hang out” in an attempt to make dating more “real” and productive. It sounds good in theory, but of course in my book, chaos ensues!
Name some of your favourite books & authors. Do you think that your favourite authors have influenced your writing? If yes, then how?
I was very sad to learn of the death of Nora Ephron, as she was my writing idol. The way she turned the lemons of her life into literary lemonade—and made you laugh along the way—was truly inspiring to me. Throughout my life I also enjoyed books by Judy Blume, Jane Austen, Jennifer Weiner, Wally Lamb, David Sedaris, Janet Evanovich, George Carlin, Christopher Buckley and many others.
There’s a lot of people out there looking to tell their stories but have no idea how to go about it. What’s your advice to them?
Well, if they have an affinity for writing, I’d tell them to take some classes, buy some pertinent writing books, and join a writing group. If they don’t possess this affinity, I recommend hiring a ghost writer. Writing a book is a very arduous undertaking and not everyone with a story has the ability, the diligence, or the patience to see it through.
Now for some fun – If your book was to be made into a movie and you had free reign to choose the cast – who would you cast?
Funny you should mention it. Wedlocked is presently being shopped around Hollywood by my publisher! Keeping my fingers and toes crossed! If I had my druthers, I’d have Reese Witherspoon play Rebecca, Seth Rogen as Craig, and David Conrad as Michael. For Neurotically Yours, I see Rachel McAdams or Jennifer Aniston as Dara, Daniel Sunjata as Reggie, and Josh Brolin as Nick.
Now that we have lived through the ‘end of the world!’ what is the silliest superstition that you just cannot ignore? I know we all have one…
Well, I always knock wood so as not to jinx good things people say.
Bruce Willis or Mel Gibson – Definitely Bruce Willis! [I hear you! :) ]
Julia Roberts or Meg Ryan – Meg Ryan
Pasta or Pizza – Pizza
Cocktail or Mocktail – Cocktail…or fine wine!
Beach or Hills – Used to think beach before Hurricane Sandy. Now I’m happy to live in the hills!
Any unpublished manuscripts written before Wedlocked lying around in a drawer that we should know about?
I have three screenplays written a while back, and a humor book called The Fine Art of Delusional Thinking that I hope to publish this year.
So, what’s next?
I’m currently working on a novel about a very successful and driven NYC party planner whose life is upended after a near death experience. It’s a romance with a metaphysical touch and some comedy relief.
Anything else that you would like to say to the people who have or are planning to read your books?
I would just like to say that if you enjoy romance and comedy, tempered with poignancy and dotted with colorful characters, you will love my books. If you read them, I’d love to hear from you!
Thank you Bonnie for being here!
On what should be the happiest day of her life, Rebecca Ross is panic-stricken. Rebecca has just wed Craig Jacobs, but she realizes she put more thought into choosing her florist than she did in choosing the man she's just pledged to love for the rest of her life.
Before Craig, Rebecca, a talented Long Island girl, dreamed of following in her grandmother's footsteps with an acting career. Unfortunately, she was cut down to size by years of disappointment, and by her first love-a Hollywood director. She returned to Long Island a lost and broken woman, and ended up in the last place she ever wanted to be: her old bedroom at her parents' house.
But Rebecca's mother, an overzealous convert to Judaism, has a long-held dream, too: marry off her three daughters to Jewish men. No one is more thrilled when Rebecca meets and marries bon vivant Craig Jacobs, the man who has won over the whole family. Too bad they're all about to discover that underneath his charismatic shell, this Prince Charming is anything but!
Parlaying her success into a new business, Dara launches a revolutionary dating service geared for the perennially single and romantically challenged. Its no-holds-barred theme soon makes the company a roaring success, even catapulting Dara onto the national talk show scene--until, of course, it all backfires.
With her company under threat and a publicity stunt gone haywire, Dara is forced to join the ranks of her lonely heart clientele, and suddenly realizes that saving the business she cherishes, means facing her lifelong fears--and maybe even falling in love again.
You can learn more about Bonnie Trachtenberg and read her Blog
Read her Relationship Column
Find her on Facebook
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Buy Wedlocked at Barnes & Noble
Buy Neurotically Yours at Barnes & Noble