Local Author Profile: Bonnie Park

An unexpected find tucked away in her parents' closet was the first step of Bonnie Park's journey to becoming a memoirist and author. Her parents passed away shortly after celebrating 70 years of marriage. In April of 2012, while cleaning out their apartment, a box surfaced, filled with correspondence and the details of their courtship over distance and time.

“I knew practically nothing about my mother’s family,” explains Park. “I was inspired by the authentic voice that came through in every letter. The circumstances surrounding a distanced relationship with her parents, who lived in Chile, was sad. In addition, what daughter knows anything about their mother’s dating behavior? Or the details of her parents’ courtship? I viewed this discovery as an opportunity to share the time period in history leading up to U.S. engagement in WWII.”

Later that same year, she took Stacy Dymalski’s workshop ‘How to Self-Publish Your Book’. “Each attendee was put on the spot when asked why we were there. I mentioned that box of old letters.” The notion was there, but working full time forced her to put aside the letters for two years.

In 2014 she began the transcription of the letters and a 5-year diary intending to preserve and share the family history electronically with siblings, nieces and nephews. At the same time, she volunteered for a new non-profit — Life Story Library Foundation to produce a seminar about writing meaningful memoirs. “That’s where the determination to write a book was cemented.”

Bonnie continued to attend workshops and retreats during the process of working through the story structure to edit and slice in historical fact. “The manuscript got too long so I chose three natural breaking points and a trilogy was born of necessity. It's taken me 15 months to polish and publish book one.”

Six and a half years from finding a box to finishing a book, Bonnie Park's Brides of 1941 is available locally at Dolly's Bookstore and online from Amazon or by request from any other independent book seller.

LiteraryBarbara Bretz