Linda L. Osmundson is a teacher, art docent, speaker, award winning author and former dementia caregiver. Hundreds of her articles have appeared in magazines, anthologies such as Chicken Soup for the Soul, blogs and newspapers. Osmundson has three sons and seven grandchildren. She lives in Fort Collins.
SunLit: Tell us this book’s backstory. What inspired you to write it? Where did the story/theme originate?
Linda Osmundson: “Bonnie In-Between” is based on the year my father sent me a ticket to visit his home in Chicago, then wouldn’t let me return home to Texas, my mother and my little brother. Although the characters are fictionalized as are some of the events, many are based on real happenings.
Each week, The Colorado Sun and Colorado Humanities & Center For The Book feature an excerpt from a Colorado book and an interview with the author. Explore the SunLit archives at coloradosun.com/sunlit.
I wrote it because many children today face the divorce of their parents. I want them to know they aren’t alone in their feelings. Also, that they do have some say in their choice of living arrangements.
SunLit: Place this excerpt in context. How does it fit into the book as a whole? Why did you select it?
Osmundson: I selected the first chapter to set the scene for the rest of the book. Every child facing parents’ divorce wishes the family would be whole again.
SunLit: Tell us about creating this book. What influences and/or experiences informed the project before you actually sat down to write?
Osmundson: The book is about my life. It was easy to expand on actual events.
SunLit: Once you began writing, did the story take you in any unexpected directions?
Osmundson: The only unexpected directions were in expanding real life events.
SunLit: What were the biggest challenges you faced, or surprises you encountered in completing this book?
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Osmundson: Since a good part of the book was true, I worried about offending members of my family. I waited until my step-mother died before thinking about publishing the book. My feelings were actually worse than portrayed in the book but I worried I still might offend her. My step- and half-siblings were fine with the idea.
SunLit: Has the book raised questions or provoked strong opinions among your readers? How did you address them?
Osmundson: Amazon initially used the wrong file for publishing. Once I got that straightened out, I had about 75 books with minor errors. I donated those books along with a teacher’s guide to student teachers from the University of Northern Colorado.
I’m not sure how the story was received as I haven’t heard from any of those teachers. I also donated some books to other classes.
SunLit: Walk us through your writing process: Where and how do you write?
Osmundson: My process changes with every project. I outline before writing for some projects while others just seem to flow through my fingers onto the paper. I write notes about possible events in the book, process a lot in my head before anything gets on paper and discuss possibilities with my critique group. Once writing begins, I constantly rewrite.
SunLit: Tell us about your next project.
Osmundson: I have written the first book of a proposed series but am stymied about the second book and how it might work into the idea of students passing through the picture frame and into various well-known paintings.
The first book was easy – Pierre Seurat’s pointillism painting “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” I have several paintings chosen for future books but am not sure how the stories could flow as well as the first book.