BonSue Brandvik

BonSue Brandvik

I am the fifth of six children born to a father I never knew very well and a mother who used her vivid imagination to create a better life in her mind that the one she occupied in reality. My older brothers had already left home before my Dad and Mom divorced, so their memories of childhood are quite different than mine. I rarely saw my father after the divorce, my Mom stayed busy working and enjoying her long-desired freedom, and my siblings and I grew to be as varied in personality, politics and religious beliefs as there are possibilities. Still, we remain a close-knit family, keeping our strong, conflicting opinions to ourselves so that we can laugh when we are together… or hold tight to one another during times of crisis, and I’m lucky to have them.

As a wild teenager, I married my boyfriend just a few months prior to our high school graduation… before I was ‘showing’ too much. We both dropped out of school and he joined the Army, so that I would have medical care throughout my pregnancy. He celebrated his 18th birthday just before our daughter was born, and I celebrated mine a few months later, disappointed that no magic enlightenment was bestowed upon us when we reached that milestone in life.

One of my earliest inspirations to write came shortly after my daughter’s birth, while watching a movie wherein a young mother with a terminal illness wrote letters for her child to read as she grew up. ‘Just in case’, I began writing letters to my own daughter, documenting my hopes and dreams, as well as my thoughts on a multitude of topics… and I’ve been writing ever since.

While married to my first husband, I experimented with careers in babysitting, cake decorating, door-to-door sales, and the fast food industry; and I wrote about these experiences. After our divorce, I wrote about the pain of broken dreams and the mixed emotions associated with making life-altering decisions. I changed my career to cocktail waitress and entertainer, and went back to school. Working nights allowed me to maintain an active role in my daughter’s life, buy us a ‘fixer-upper’ house, and attend college. Writing about my feelings and experiences helped me cope with pressure while keeping a written record of my maturing outlook on life and various interactions with a multitude of interesting people.

I struggled to understand love and mangled a few relationships. I took a job as a secretary and pursued a Liberal Arts degree. When time allowed, I wrote down my thoughts on many subjects… love… the fear of failure… religion and the afterlife… Meanwhile, my daughter grew; I met my soul mate and developed a successful career in the field of Human Resources. The years flew by. I married the love of my life, my daughter left home to begin her own life story, and my husband and I built our dream home in Belleair. I still tried to write about my journey when time allowed, but as my career flourished, spare time became a luxury. My husband and I decided my long work hours had to go, so I left a lucrative career to become a part-time Consultant, a part time Photography Restoration Specialist and a part time local government and social services volunteer. And I began writing again.

Soon I became inspired to write a novel that would encompass some of my other passions in life; including romance, the afterlife, local history, and of course, the Belleview Biltmore Resort. When I began developing ideas for a novel about ghosts who haunt the hotel, I found I was able to draw upon my incredibly rich and unique assortment of experiences and interactions with people to create wonderfully complex characters and situations that span time and social strata. Almost immediately, I knew there was not one, but several, stories to be told and my novel became a series, under the collection title, “Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore.”

I hope my novels will spark the imagination of my readers, encouraging them to look beyond this world into the unknown, while at the same time, embracing some simple truths I have learned… that no matter what trials and tribulations this world brings to your doorstep, you are never alone unless you choose to be, there is much to be learned from our elders, and love really can be true and everlasting.