The title for my next book has gone through quite the transformation. It began as Being Bonnie, the sequel to Becoming Bonnie (Book 1). And while Book 2 is still a sequel, it's very much a book that can stand on its own (without first having read Becoming Bonnie).
My publishing team and I have gone through a few different titles, but I'm excited/happy to announce we have a final title: Side By Side. This title was inspired by Bonnie's real-life poem, The Trail's End, and in particular, these few lines:
"Some day they'll go down together
they'll bury them side by side.
To few it'll be grief,
to the law a relief
but it's death for Bonnie and Clyde."
I hope you're getting excited! I sure am, especially for seeing the final cover (coming soon)!
A Little About Me
This'll be my third year mentoring, and I'm so excited to get this party started. I'm a mama of two and a book mama of one, with three on the way. I'm published with Macmillan, under their Tor/Forge imprint. My novel, Becoming Bonnie, is the coming-of-age origin story of how wholesome Bonnelyn Parker becomes half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo during the 1920s. Next year, the companion novel Bonnie will be hitting shelves, telling the duo's crime spree story. I'll also be beginning a narrative nonfiction series, called Brave Like Me, with Scholastic for middle graders. As a mentor, I believe I can bring some experience to the table as far as working with editors and publishers, along with agents. I am repped by Stacey Glick of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret.
Also, if you want to get an idea of how I became agented and received my offer of publication, I wrote about it over on Writer's Digest (as you'll see, I'm a real believer in Pitch Wars). I'd also love for you to get an idea of my writing style. If you hop on over to Amazon and click "Look Inside" on the cover, you can preview the first chapter or so.
What I'm Looking For
This year for PItch Wars, I'm narrowing my wish list considerably. I'm looking for... adult historical fiction. That's it. If you've got it, I want to see it.
For me, any era will do. I'm down with various subgenres: women's fiction, mystery, thriller, fantasy, literary. Male or female protagonists. Past or present. First or third POV. What will push your submission to the top of my consideration are these two factors:
1. An intriguing concept
Books that I get grabby hands over have a high-level concept (i.e. premises that are easily explained) that I simply have no choice but to see how the author brought it to life. Here's a few examples of books that recently had me itching to read.
2. Great technical writing
I don't need your manuscript to be perfect, but I'd like to know you put in the time to prepare for Pitch Wars. That shows me you're ready to work. Your solid writing skills will also give me confidence that you'll be able to expertly implement feedback. My friend Google has tons of checklists/tips for ways to tighten and improve technical writing, so I'd recommend giving those a gander before the submission window opens.
Basically, dangle your killer concept and your awesome writing skills in my face, and, if chosen as my mentee, together we can work through any plot-related and character-related improvements.
What questions do ya have for me? Don't be shy, just give me a shout @jennilwalsh or leave me a comment!
Disclaimer: I know this is vague, but my interests in historical fiction are vast. I literally choose books by covers (which you obviously don't have yet) and a great premise. What keeps me turning the page is great writing (hence my two points above).
Also, please consider donating while applying. I won't see a penny of it (nor should I; I'm contributing my time/energy to an awesome cause: your career). Likewise, Brenda and her admins won't profit from your donation. Your hard-earned money will go toward offsetting the high financial and time-related costs of running this amazing contest.
To check out the other Adult/NA mentors--because you get to submit to four of us (plus two additional mentors if you donate)--keep hopping:
Thank you to Shelf Awareness for the kind words and review of Becoming Bonnie!
Jenni L. Walsh imagines the story of the quintessential good girl turned gangster's moll in her debut novel, Becoming Bonnie. Bonnelyn Parker has always been a straight-A student and a straight-arrow girl. Since her daddy died, she's toiled extra hard to help her mama around the house while working nights and weekends at a local diner. But times are tight in Prohibition-era Dallas, and when Bonnelyn loses her diner job, she's not sure how her family will make ends meet. Her rebellious best friend Blanche drags her along to Doc's, a local speakeasy that might have jobs for them both, and Bonnelyn starts down a different path--one that will change both her life and name.
See the review on Shelf Awareness here.
On this day in history, May 23rd, Bonnie and Clyde's twenty-two month life on the lam came to an end in a flurry of bullets.
Today, I'll be taking part in a #BonnieAndClydeVersary event where I'll be talking Bonnie and Clyde and also about my novel, Becoming Bonnie, which tells the coming-of-age story of how Bonnie Parker becomes half of the infamous crime duo during the 1920s. See below for various essays, giveaways, interviews, and excerpts.
Giveaway of Becoming Bonnie on Amazon
Giveaway of Becoming Bonnie with Suzy Approved Book Reviews
Chapter 3 of Becoming Bonnie and a Giveaway with Criminal Element
Review of Becoming Bonnie and a Giveaway with EvieBookish
"Bonnie and Clyde: What's in a Name?" at Heroes & Heartbreakers
"The Bonnie and Clyde from Becoming Bonnie" at Women Writer's
"Bonnie Parker: Rebel with a Cause?" at We So Nerdy
"The Aesthetics of the 1920s within Becoming Bonnie" at Jorie Loves a Story
"15 Questions for Bonnie Parker Pre-Clyde" at the Debutante Ball
History from a Woman's Perspective sits down with Jenni L. Walsh
Jenni L. Walsh in conversation with Leah DeCesare
Audra McElyea interviews Jenni L. Walsh
Bonnie and Clyde photos, more giveaways, and other anniversary/Becoming Bonnie goodies:
Today's the day! Becoming Bonnie is now available from Tor/Forge (Macmillan)!
There are so many emotions involved in this moment and if I begin, I may become a blubbering mess, so I want to say a simple, but heartfelt thank you to everyone who helped in my journey to become a published author, including all the wonderful book-related blogs who are helping to shout about Bonn today!
On each of these blogs, you can find the first chapter of Becoming Bonnie:
History from a Woman's Perspective | A Glass of Wine | Jorie Loves a Story | Brenda Drake | Laura Heffernan | Sandi Ward Books | The Book Whisperer | First Impression Reviews | What Is That Book About | The Maiden's Court | Sapphyria's Book Reviews | Celticlady's Reviews | I Heart Reading | The Lit Bitch | A Literary Vacation | Reading Lark | Passages to the Past | Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers | Ageless Pages Reviews | What's Better Than Books | Impressions In Ink
This week on the Debutante Ball, we're taking on the point-of-view of our characters.
Many hear the name Bonnie Parker and think: American outlaw, bank robber, or of her counterpart, Clyde Barrow. But, who was Bonnie Parker before becoming part of the infamous ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ duo? With little known about Bonnie’s life pre-Clyde, I'd like to introduce you to Bonnelyn--the fictional name I give Bonnie at the onset of my novel Becoming Bonnie--through a quick Q&A.
Continue reading >>
It's all because of the wonderful (so wonderful) support and excitement over Becoming Bonnie that I can announce: there's going to be a sequel, Being Bonnie!
I adore this story and these characters and I cannot wait to share the second half with my soon-to-be readers, which will focus on the depression desperation of Bonnie and Clyde, and the crime spree that made them world-famous American outlaws.
Becoming Bonnie hits shelves on May 9, 2017 and Being Bonnie will follow in the summer of 2018. Being Bonnie is up on Goodreads here, if you'd be so kind to add!
If you haven't yet added Becoming Bonnie on Goodreads, you can do so here! Becoming Bonnie is also available for preorder, including options for signed hardcovers. Please also consider signing up for my newsletter. I'm sending out the first one soon, and there may be some exclusive content and a giveaway of (hint, hint) this mug...
Now, finally, the official announcement from Publisher's Weekly!
Thank you, again. I'm so excited to share my version of Bonnie and Clyde's infamous story with you all! Also, sending so much gratitude to my agent, editor, and publisher for making my dreams a reality <3
If Bonnie Parker (of Bonnie and Clyde) could snapchat, what do you think she'd share? Well, I had some fun with it, creating my own snapchats from the voice of my Bonnie from Becoming Bonnie. And, if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you may've seen a few of my #SnapchattingwithBonnieParker photos.
I post them every Tuesday, and I hope you'll check out my future #SnapchattingwithBonnieParker posts! I'll be doing them 'til May. Here's a few I've done so far. If you like 'em, feel free to show some love and share 'em.
Advance Review Copies (ARCs) of Becoming Bonnie have arrived at the Tor/Forge offices! That means Bonn is also en route to some amazing bloggers, reviewers, and book fanatics. I hope you'll be a fanatic for Bonn, like these amazing readers!
If you got your hands on Becoming Bonnie early, feel free to send me your photos or tag me on twitter or facebook, and I'll add it to the slideshow. I also hope you'll help me spread the word about Bonn, and here's a few simple ways how:
1. Review it. If you're on Goodreads, please rate Bonn on there. After the release, I'd be very appreciative if you copied your review to Amazon, B&N, and any other onliner retailers you frequent.
2. Preorder it. If you'd like a published copy of Becoming Bonnie for your collection, check out these preorder options. If you want a signed hardcover, place an order with Newtown Bookshop by calling 215-968-2400. They're my local indie and I'll be dropping in to add my John Hancock.
3. Share it. Do you have someone you'd think will enjoy Bonn? Go ahead and tell 'em about Becoming Bonnie. Even better, you can gift it and preorder a copy for your friends and family.
4. Pass it along. I'd love for your local indie to stock Becoming Bonnie on their shelves when she releases on May 9, 2017. Drop off your ARC to give your bookseller an idea of what my book is all about. Hopefully they'll love it, too, and stock it on their shelves after Bonn releases.
5. Request it. Even prior to a book's release, you can request for a library to purchase it. Plus, doing so is a free way you can help an author!
6. Have fun with it. I made this fun, little quiz. It tells you which character of Bonnie and Clyde's gang you most align with. So.... who'd you get?
So many thanks for reading Becoming Bonnie and for your support!
Take the quiz below, then be sure to share your results!