Saturday, February 27, 2016

Celebrate Romance Every Day: Aloha to Parris Afton Bonds, Trailblazing Romance Author


I discovered Buzzr TV during Winter Storm Jonas; the cable TV channel broadcasts vintage game shows.  One month later, I am still watching reruns of Match Game.  The episodes feature the original prizes, including tape recorders, microwave ovens, and romance books from Popular Library. The cover above popped up on the screen.  I scrambled to find a pen to write down the name of this author.

I was curious about Parris Afton Bonds.  From her website,,

Parris Afton Bonds is the mother of five sons and the author of forty published novels. She is the co-founder and first vice president of Romance Writers of America as well as the cofounder of Southwest Writers Workshop, all of which nudged her closer to being committed to Bedlam, which she has managed to avoid so far by a pretense at sanity.

Declared by ABC's Nightline as one of the three-best-selling authors of romantic fiction, the award winning Parris Afton Bonds has been interviewed by such luminaries as Charlie Rose and featured in major newspapers and magazines as well as published in more than a dozen languages. A New York Times best seller, she donates her time to teaching creative writing to both grade school children and female inmates ~ both of which are captive audiences.


I asked Parris to join us for a cozy chat ...

Kim:  I am thankful that you co-founded RWA! How did this come about? What were the prevailing perceptions of romance fiction at that time?

Parris:  At the time I co-founded RWA, romance fiction was just taking off, an infant. I had several novels under my belt with Popular Library and was a speaker for the University of Houston's Southwest Writers Conference ~ and the only representative of romance fiction. Several of us writers were hanging out in my hotel room ~ among them, Sondra Stanford, Peggy Cleaves (Ann Major),and Sandra Brown, who had yet to be published. Rita Clay Estrada, also unpublished, suggested a romance writers' organization. Everyone there that evening loved the idea, but it was Rita, who actually ran with the idea and galvanized me, Peggy, Sondra, and Rita Gallagher into action. We used our own money to setup business, promote, travel to ABA, etc. that first year. Now, we are the largest writers' organization in the world, with (I believe at last count) 12,000 members strong.

Kim:  If a romance fan wanted to dive into your backlist, where would you suggest she start?

Parris:  You know, Kim, I look at my backlist and groan, knowing that I had yet to develop my craft and hone my skills. I could have done so much better, knowing what I know now (Isn't that true about our lives, as well?) But I think Flash of the Firefly, my fourth published novel, was a point where I was starting to emerge from the cocoon, to believe in myself; to believe, yes, I really am an author, this isn't just a fluke.

Kim:  You've expanded your writing beyond romance - can you tell us about your mystery series?

Parris:  Dancing With Wild Woman and Dancing With Crazy Woman (the first two novels in my Janet Lomayestewa Tracker series) are about a female Hope Indian tracker for ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). The idea for Janet took flight when, serendipitously, two bits of information fell into my lap almost simultaneously. I had just finished reading Book of the Hopi by Frank Waters (Hopi Prophecies), set in Arizona. Then, within the hour saw a TV news item about ICE using Indian trackers in Arizona ~ 16 males and one female. The Indian trackers (from assorted tribes) are often better than modern technology, when Arizona's heat can cause a lot to go awry.

Kim:  What's next for Parris Afton Bonds?

Parris:  I am finishing up the fifth book in the historical The Texicans series, which begins in 1835 with the battles for Texas Independence at the Alamo and San Jacinto and comes forward into the Space Age with Houston's NASA, thus far.

Kim, thank you so very much for this opportunity to connect with your readers.


Mahalo, Parris, for being a trailblazing romance author!  I am looking forward to checking out your books!  In honor of your contributions to RWA, I am giving a book choice from my RWA convention stash to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,

1.  Do you have a favorite game show - vintage or contemporary?  I'm also a fan of Family Feud with Richard Dawson (1976-1985), Richard Karn (2002-2006), John O'Hurley (2006-2010), and Steve Harvey (2010-present).

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, March 5, 10 pm in Baltimore.  

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, March 6.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


  1. I'm a fan of Jeopardy and I remember loving MTV's Remote Control as a kid.

  2. I have never been one much for watching game shows. NUMBERS AND LETTERS is quite fun though.

  3. No never really watch those

  4. As a kid, I loved Supermarket Sweep (although maybe that's only a Canadian show??) and The Price is Right. Now, I love Celebrity Name Game with Craig Ferguson

  5. Love Jeopardy! I think I might have read one of her books years ago!

  6. I like Jeopardy, sometimes and Wheel of Fortune, sometimes.

  7. I am not a fan of gameshows, so I don't have a favorite.

  8. I don't watch them much any longer, but Wheel of Fortune was my favorite.

  9. Deal or no Deal u grew up watching that and recently I've started watching Family Feud and The Beast

  10. I used to watch The Price is Right, and liked that. I don't watch game shows now.

  11. What a fun interview! I loved watching the Price is Right as a kid.

  12. I use to watch them but I don't as much as I use to - The Price is Right is probably the only one that I watch now once in a while.

  13. We watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. Jeopardy is my favorite. Some nights I do pretty well answering, others not so well. I think the pressure to think and answer quickly would be a challenge.

  14. Currently I enjoy Jeopardy - it would be fun if they brought back some of the oldies like Password or What's My Line.

  15. we watch wheel of fortune and jeopardy. as a kid, I watched those in the teen years, as a much younger child, there were lots of game shows in daytime TV. Loved Joker's Wild and Family Feud.

  16. I enjoyed The Dating Game, Newlywed Game, Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, and Family Feud (with Steve Harvey).

  17. I enjoy Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.

  18. I've always loved watching Jeopardy and testing my knowledge skills and The Price is Right.