Dream Interview of Bonnie Latino: Winner for Best Romance Indie Book of 2013.

At Caleb and Linda Pirtle, we had the pleasure of producing Bonnie Bartel Latino’s Dream Interview about her novel: Your Gift To Me. The novel has been named winner of the Best Romance Indie Book of the year by the New Kindle Book Review.

Today’s dream interview is with Bonnie Bartel Latino, co-author of Your Gift to Me, a finalist in the Romance genre.

Sun sets on mission

My dream interview by Bonnie Bartel Latino, co-author of Your Gift to Me

With Manti Te’o

[Te’o is a San Diego Chargers’ linebacker and former Notre Dame football player and victim of a cruel Internet hoax. He fell in love online with a non-existent girl that many dubbed his imaginary girlfriend.]


Manti Te’o: “Hello, ma’am. My agent thinks it’ll improve my image if I interview an author. So, your book, it’s a finalist in this year’s Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Book Awards contest or something?”

BBL: “That’s right.”

MT: “I gotta’ tell you, straight up, I wasn’t happy about having to read inspirational romance!”

Bonnie Bartel Latino: “C’mon now. Everybody knows” (Grins) “you date online, so you must have a big heart.”

MT: “Correction. I used to date online.”

BBL:  “Sorry. I couldn’t resist. What changed your mind about doing this?”

MT: My agent flat out loves Your Gift to Me. I told him I was leery about this gig, and he’s like, ‘Dude! Just read the freakin’ prologue.’ So I downloaded your eBook to my iPad, and it wasn’t mushy at all. Not at first, anyway. By page five, I had bought into the story. Right out of the box, there’s a scene from the Gulf War with this gnarly helicopter pilot dude yelling, ‘Roll Tide’ when his Pave Hawk lifts off in the middle of nowhere Saudi Arabia. Then his helicopter crew echoes his battle cry. For real, now before every Chargers’ game, I read that scene and yell ‘Roll Tide!’”

BBL: (Laughs) “The thought of a former Notre Dame player yelling ‘Roll Tide’ might even make Alabama’s football coach, Nick Saban, smile. About the book though, you liked it?”

MT: “I’m not gonna lie. I haven’t finished it yet, but so far I really like it. I’m from Hawai’i, and you nailed the Spirit of Aloha and how Hawai’i is a healing place . . . for those who’re open to it.”

BBL: “It was exactly that for me. My husband and I lived there when he was stationed at Hickam Air Force Base.”

MT: “OK. So that’s why the setting was so realistic. I think I read on Twitter that you’re a former freelance columnist for Stars and Stripes in Europe, and your husband was an officer. I’d have never guessed a prim and proper colonel’s wife could write a character like N’awlins. That broad is certifiable, saying things backwards and all. The first time she pronounced Aloha as, ‘A-hola,’ I sprayed Red Bull all over my iPad. She got dyslexia or something?”

BBL: “No, she’s just crazy. To write her dialogue, I just listened to her scream in my head.”

MT: “Uh.” (Eyes widen.) You hear voices?”

BBL: (Laughs.) “Only when I’m lucky. As for being a military wife, I always said in my next life, I wanted to come back as a honky tonk woman instead of a colonel’s wife. N’awlins allowed me to do that—without losing my sweet husband, but I digress. I bet you like the subplot about the F-16s.”

MT: “Don’t tell me!” (Covers ears.) “I don’t want to know who or what’s killing the Viper pilots! I gotta tell you. The end of that Gulf War scene sent chicken skin crawling up my spine. The prologue is the bait, but man! Your subplot is the hook.”

BBL: (Nods.) “Some male reviewers on Amazon have said that. The military setting is what you like best—so far?”

MT: (Averts eyes, lowers voice.) “Well, I kinda’ like the love story between Emily and the fighter pilot, especially how he teaches her about imagery and all. Now, before every Chargers’ game, I visualize making big plays. But I’m kinda’ curious about this New Jersey guy you wrote the book with . . .”

BBL: “Bob Vale.”

 MT: “Yeah. It said in the front of the book that you wrote a love story with someone you’ve still never met , even though Your Gift to Me has won two national awards from military-affiliated organizations—and  you’re both married to other people!?”

Bob Vale
Bob Vale

BBL: “All true. Bob and I are happily married to other people. Years ago, my husband and I met Bob online in a professional military forum.”

MT: (Eyes widen) “Wow!” (High fives BBL) “You’ve got an imaginary friend, too.”

BBL: (Laughs.) “I guess that’s one way to look at it.”

MT: “So why doesn’t Vale do interviews and stuff? It’s like he’s a ghost or something.”

BBL: “Not really. He’s a very private person, and he owns a full-service creative agency on the East Coast. He doesn’t have time to promote our novel. I love this aspect of marketing, so it works out fine.

MT: “Didn’t being geographically separated make it hard to write the book?”

BBL: “Practically impossible, but I have the same passion for writing that you have for football, Manti. I’m compelled to write. Bob writes because he can—and he’s very talented.”

 MT: “So, does he fly F-16s or helicopters?”

BBL: “Neither. He’s never been in the military. In fact, I wrote most of the hard-charging Air Force scenes. Bob contributed a lot of the lyrical prose.”

MT: “No way! That’s crazy. (Looks at his watch.) Just one more question. I saw a picture of Vale on Amazon. Does he look like Nick Saban?”

BBL: (Grins.) “People everywhere mistake Bob for him. Bob just laughs and says Nick Saban looks like him.”

MT: (Rising, slaps his knee.) “Hey! I gotta’ figure out some way to punk Coach Saban after that beat-down his team gave Norte Dame in last year’s national championship game.”

BBL: (Shakes finger at MT) “Manti, don’t you even think about trying to make a catfish out of Coach Saban.”

MT: (Eyes widen in understanding. Shoulders slump as he stands.) “You’re right. I won’t and good luck in the Kindle Book Review contest. Aloha.”

BBL: “Thanks, and Manti . . . “

MT: “Yes, ma’am?”

BBL: (Grins) “It’s A-hola!”



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