Thursday, August 4, 2011

Author Bonnie Trachtenberg: Turning A Crisis Into A Bestseller

Please join me in welcoming author Bonnie Trachtenberg as the specialBonnie guest blogger as she tours blogdom on her first virtual blog tour with her literary fiction novel, WEDLOCKED.

Here’s a brief synopsis of WEDLOCKED: 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: 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. So no one is more thrilled than her 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!
This unputdownable romantic comedy will amuse and enthrall you from angst-ridden start to glorious finish.

Bonnie has joined us to tell ‘How to turn a life crisis into a bestselling novel.’

Okay, so it’s not a bestseller yet, but it’s only been about three and a half weeks since the release of my debut book, WEDLOCKED: A NOVEL, and from the amazing response, reviews, diligent marketing, and of course, sales, I’m certain it’s on its way there. Just give me another month (wink). 

Turning my biggest life crisis—impulsively marrying into a disastrous and very short-lived marriage—into a funny, engaging novel seems to be resonating with the public. It’s comforting to know I’m not the only dunce out there. And that’s the key to the whole idea. Chances are good that many, many others have experienced similar catastrophes to yours or know someone who has. Either way, they will want to commiserate with you and happily, that means buying your book.

WedlockedIt’s probably not imperative that you transform your crisis into comedy like I did, but if possible, I highly recommend it. Being able to laugh once you get some distance from the dark event is incredibly cathartic for the writer and a great way to entertain readers. Also, note that feelings of exhilaration and immense satisfaction come when you get to rewrite history, punish villains, reward good-dead-doers, and create heroes to save the day. Never underestimate the therapeutic power of the pen!

So, to turn your crisis into a bestselling (or at least well loved) novel, here’s what you have to do. First, start journaling! If possible, start while the crisis is exploding or shortly after. Journaling gets all your raw emotions down on paper. Don’t try to make sense of them. Just write. The journal will be a great source during the actual writing of the book. 

Next, give yourself some time to recuperate from the catastrophe. Each person is different so only you will know when you’re ready. I knew when I stopped crying and began fantasizing innovative ways to torture my ex. That’s right. You don’t have to be completely over it, just over it enough to be functionally creative.
Then, start writing and hold nothing back. You’ll want to share every sordid detail, humiliating incident, and colorful thought that went through your head at the time (here’s where the journal comes in very handy). That’s not to say you will use all of this, but it is great raw material to pick through. 

Get the whole story down, but not necessarily as it happened. You are a writer creating an alternative universe where things that actually happened can be tweaked, amplified, diminished or cut entirely to make the story better. Now you have the luxury of saying the things you didn’t think to say then. This is your big do-over, so have fun with it! And if you’re having fun, chances are good your readers will be to—and they’ll spread the word. Combine that with a lot of hard marketing, a great publicist and a bit of luck and poof…your calamity is on its way to bestsellerdom!

Bonnie, thanks for guest blogging. I love the fact that you took a bad situation and turned it into a book and had a chance to laugh about the experience. Wishing you much success and bestseller stats with WEDLOCKED: A NOVEL.

Now a bit about Bonnie. She was senior writer and copy chief at Book-of-the-Month Club and has written seven children’s book adaptations. She has also written for three newspapers and penned countless magazine articles. 

For more on Bonnie and her writing, check out her websites at and

What do you think of turning a bad situation into a bestseller? As a reader, is this something that would add to the book’s appeal? If you’re a writer, have you included some of your bad experiences in your work? Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.



  1. Bonnie, thanks so much for guest blogging and sharing your story with us. WEDLOCKED sounds like an interesting and fun book. Best of luck.

  2. Hi Mason and Bonnie - I think I fall into that category of 'dunce' .. of long ago now .. sounds as though you've turned the experience into a fascinating read .. Good luck with everything .. many successes .. cheers Hilary

  3. Mason - Thanks for hosting Bonnie.

    Bonnie - I think most writers are affected as they write by what's happened in their own lives. How interesting that you've actually tapped that resource as much as you have for Wedlocked. I'm sure that it resonates even more with readers because of that authenticity. I wish you much success with it!

  4. I think drawing on our own experiences...even the bad ones!...really adds a lot to our books. Thanks for the post, Bonnie!

  5. Mason, thanks for hosting.

    Bonnie, I love when someone turns crisis into a moneymaker. :) Your book sounds very good. Good luck.

  6. Why is it that the crises in MY life are not funny?

    What a brilliant way of turning things round :)

    Good luck to Bonnie!


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