Local author Gordon Bonnet releases 5th book
By Kelly Waters, Ithaca Times
May 21, 2017
“What would you do if your worldview changed?” asked local author Gordon Bonnet.
Bonnet hails from Trumansburg and has recently published his fifth book, “Signal to Noise.” He will be doing a reading and book signing at the Interlaken Public Library on Thursday, May 18 from 6 to 7 p.m.
“Signal to Noise” is a speculative fiction book that follows the trend of his other books: how would people react if the world they thought they knew was wrong.
The book follows wildlife biologist Tyler Vaughan, who works in the Oregon Cascades. One of his remote cameras captures an image of a “strange, thin, eyeless humanoid — right around the same time that children start disappearing from the nearby town of Crooked Creek,” according to the book synopsis.
Vaughan, along with characters Rainey Carrington (his potential girlfriend) and Dale Blodgett (chief of police), begin an investigation into the possibility that Slender Man, “an evil entity long associated with kidnapping children,” has come to the town. The investigation soon turns the trio into targets.
“Will they be able to stop whoever is abducting the children of Crooked Creek, or will they be the next ones to disappear?" according to the synopsis.
“I write all fiction,” Bonnet said. “Speculative fiction is in a gray area of fiction. It’s not your typical horror story.”
He added speculative fiction takes a character (or characters) and presents them with an element that makes them change their view of the world. It is a newer genre.
“I find it very fascinating,” Bonnet said. “It lets you see how a character is going to respond when their entire perspective on the world is turned upside down.”
Bonnet is also a science teacher at Trumansburg High School, has a blog called Skeptophilia (which recently reached over two million hits), runs and is sometimes found playing the flute in an Irish band. He lives with his wife and two dogs and they also have two children.
With all of that going on he has still found plenty of time to publish multiple books.
In fact, this year he has three, including the recently released “Signal to Noise.” In August “Sights, Signs and Shadows” will be released and in October, the first of the Parsifal Snowe Mystery series, “Poison in the Well,” will be released.
“Tree of Knowledge,” which is part of a novella collection,” is expected to be released next year.
Bonnet is under contract with Oghma Creative Media in Arkansas, which has been in business for three and a half years.
“They’ve been stupendous to work with,” Bonnet said. “All of my editors have been great. It’s been great to work with them and see what they come up with to help the story.”
“Kill Switch” is the first book he published with Oghma.
To get a well-polished book released, Bonnet said it’s as much to do with the publishing house as it is with the writer’s “willingness to work hard.”
“You have to put in a lot of hard work to get it polished up,” he said. “I was told that one of the things they [Oghma] like about me is my willingness to take the edits and put the work in to make it better. It’s very important.”
Other books Bonnet has published include Gears (2016), Sephirot (2016), Lock & Key (2015) and Kill Switch (2015).
Gordon Bonnet: A Skeptic’s Skeptic
Peggy Haine, Correspondent 1:18 a.m. EDT March 28, 2016
Gordon Bonnet teaches high school biology, writes an online blog, plays two instruments and works at Salmon Pottery
Gordon Bonnet sits in his sunny Greater Trumansburg home, surrounded by books, plants, art, and dogs. You could call Bonnet a renaissance man. His curiosity knows no bounds, and he is able to bring his passion for asking good questions and seeking answers to the students in his Trumansburg High School biology classes.
In addition, having been given the option to propose additional electives, he now also teaches a course in introductory neuroscience and another in critical thinking, the latter with more than 50 students registered for next year. But teaching science and critical thinking is only part of what he does.
Bonnet rises at 5:30 six mornings a week to write. For the past five years he has published Skeptophilia, a blog devoted to seeing the world through a lens of skepticism and rationalism. “I deal with Bigfoot, ghosts, crystal balls,” he explains, “but also how you look at ethics or politics from a rational standpoint.” The blog has had over one and a half million hits, and gets its share of comments.
Hearing there was a fellow teaching ghost-hunting classes in England, he blogged a sardonic comment about them, and suddenly was swamped by defensive comments by the ghost hunter’s friends. Being an amiable, not-up-in-your-face sort, he contacted the ghost hunter, who became a Facebook friend. “It ended on a happy note,” said Bonnet.
In addition, he has written several novels, mysteries, and compilations of his Skeptophilia blogs, self-publishing them for Kindle. His books are now published by Oghma Creative Media, a small publishing company in Bentonville, Arkansas, which has published “Kill Switch,” a thriller, and “Lock and Key,” a time travel story, and, on April 15, will release “Sephirot,” a novel based in Jewish mysticism. He explained that ten interlocked worlds define the Sephirot, and it is thought that progress through those worlds leads to enlightenment. In his book, the protagonist falls into the first world and must find his way back home.
“The unifying theme in all of my stories is speculative fiction,” Bonnet explains, “looking at the world and then changing a rule or two.” He says he would enjoy having more time to write, and his favorite quote about the ambitions of writers is Hilaire Belloc’s: “When I am dead, I hope it may be said: His sins were scarlet, but his books were read.”
In addition, Bonnet is an accomplished musician, playing flute and Spanish bagpipes or gaita, a traditional instrument of Galicia. He plays flute with a group called Crooked Sixpence, focused on Celtic, French Canadian, and French music from Brittany, and enjoys playing for contradances and English country dances.
He is also glaze chemist and kiln manager for Salmon Pottery in Trumansburg, where he does standard firings as well as producing unpredictable and beautiful raku ware.
Gordon Bonnet rises at 5:30 six mornings a week to write for his online blog, Skeptophilia, which is devoted to seeing the world through a lens of skepticism and rationalism.
As an author, Bonnet has achieved many a writer’s dream, a contract with that publishing company that will support his writing through 2019, and, in pursuit of better exposure for his literary works, is about to hit the road to do book signings and to promote his new book, locally at Buffalo Street Books and Barnes & Noble, as well as farther afield.
And what about getting up at 5:30 to write? He agrees, “It takes some discipline. A friend once told me if you’re having trouble with a part of your life, it never hurts to throw some discipline at it. I thought, ‘There’s time if I make time to do it. If it’s a priority, I have to make time to do it.’” And it works for him, though he admits to taking time off on the vacations he takes with his wife, artist Carol Bloomgarden, where they go to places like Ecuador, Belize, and the British Isles to pursue birdwatching, scuba diving, and music.
Born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana, Bonnet says his mother is one hundred percent Cajun and his father of French and Scottish descent. But, he says, “I love upstate New York — the culture, the beauty, the hiking, and being able to walk across a field without worrying about being bitten by a snake.”
Reviews for Sephirot::
"...a fable, a myth, a mystery, a thriller, a literary high." - CB
"... another delightful trip through the imaginative and creative mind of Mr. Bonnet." - GV
"This book is for readers who prefer deeper stories and ponder meanings that lie beneath the surface of an exciting read." - KD
"...a combination of Stranger in a Strange Land and Alice in Wonderland with a little bit of Wizard of OZ thrown in for good measure. I'll read it again and again." - JB
Photo by Alex Solla Photography
Reviews for Lock & Key:
"...a riveting piece of speculative fiction... absorbing and thought-provoking" - EP
"...funny and intriguing" - RD
"...keeps you guessing til the end" - AG
"Gordon Bonnet's new novel was just as much of a thrill ride as the last!" - SD
Reviews for Kill Switch:
"Part government intrigue, part science fiction, and a touch of mysticism. It’s a brand new genre and I hope there will be more to come." - JB
"Chris Franzia is running but he doesn’t know from whom and why... a host of profound questions arise... about trust and for reality itself. This is no superficial ride." - CB
"it is not simply a thriller/page-turner. There is a complex and seamlessly interwoven commentary on the value for human life, the danger of reason without compassion, and the nature of truth particularly as it relates to happiness." - Amazon customer
By Louis DiPietro | Posted: Saturday, June 27, 2015 12:15 am
Trumansburg’s Gordon Bonnet can still remember the precise moment when he knew writing was in his future. He was all of 6 years old, assigned to read the story he had penned about a bird that had fallen out of a tree and bent its beak.
“I read it to the class,” the 52-year-old said, “and everybody was laughing along. I thought ‘This is what I want to do.’”
And, over the years, he’s stuck to his childhood aspirations, making time to hone his craft while pursing a career in teaching and tending to the manifold responsibilities of parenthood.
To date, the Trumansburg High School biology teacher has e-published 11 works – novellas, essays and short stories, continues to maintain his daily blog of ruminations called Skeptophilia. Bonnet recently entered into a contract with a Arkansas printing house to publish seven of his novels.
Bonnet is the first of six local authors set to participate in a weekly summer speakers series – “Escape the Ordinary” – held each Thursday at the Ulysses Philomathic Library. Bonnet’s talk begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 2, at the library and will include a reading from his latest novel, Kill Switch. Rebecca Barry, Richard Figiel, Cly Boehs, Jen Meyers and Michael Turback round out the series slate, which runs through August 6.
Released in April, Kill Switch is Bonnet’s first novel published through Oghma Creative Media, which will release six more of Bonnet’s novels over the next few years.
In Kill Switch, a 50-something teacher comes home from his final class of the school year to discover FBI agents at his doorstep. They tell him five people have been murdered in the past month, the common thread being that the victims were all once in the same college class together. The main character was also in that same class, and the FBI believes he’ll be the next victim.
“He has no idea why he’s being hunted,” Bonnet said of his main character. “I wanted to get in the head of a person in mortal danger. What would you do if people were trying to kill you and you didn’t know why?”
Bonnet’s creative path from a writer hobbyist to published novelist in “speculative fiction” required far fewer physical miles than his route that ultimately led to Trumansburg.
A native of Louisiana, Bonnet – by then a recent college graduate – had moved to Seattle to attend the University of Washington in the research science field. But he found he wasn’t invested in it. An aptitude test pointed him toward a career in teaching, so he got certified and taught in Seattle for five years.
“I’m a small-town boy and Seattle, as lovely as it is, teaching in a big city is a whole other animal,” he said. “I started casting for jobs elsewhere.”
Preferring to live near a college town with options for outdoor recreation, Bonnet narrowed his geographic search to about five locations nationwide. He made calls, mailed out applications and discovered that a small school district in Central New York needed a science teacher. Bonnet and his two young sons were Trumansburg bound. That was 23 years ago.
His writing life became a daily discipline during those years since 1993, as his kids began to get a little older and more independent. Suddenly, Dad had more time to dedicate to writing. Since then, Bonnet has risen each day before dawn, put on coffee and pounded out words for a couple of hours before the first morning bell at Charles O. Dickerson High School. His blog, Skeptophilia, comes first, his ideas drawn from online items of interest. Then, his focus turns to his novels.
During the school year, Bonnet will oftentimes return to his home desk for a couple of hours after the work day is through. This daily regimen has blossomed into a side career as a writer. Skeptophilia has drawn more than 1.4 million views in its five years, and after Oghma Creative selected Kill Switch, they also agreed to published three other novels Bonnet had previously written and self-published.
“I’ve had people say, ‘Oh my God, you’re a machine,’ but I don’t feel that,” he said. “If I don’t get to write, that bothers me. When I get up, that’s what I want to be doing. I don’t feel like I’m driven. It’s just this is the pace I like to work at.”
Intrigued by the paranormal, Bonnet classifies his work as “speculative fiction”, which he describes as taking “a piece of reality and tweaking it a little bit to see what happens.” He cites Haruki Murakami as one of the genre’s masters.
The ideas for his novels, Bonnet said, often derive from one or two powerful images, then the story begins to take shape as he begins working out on explanation of those mental images. Meanwhile, he attends to the vital voices of his characters, the main vehicles for delivering the story.
“It’s all about world-building,” he said. “You’re creating an alternate reality. It’s, for me, a way of exploring: What would it be like if it was true?”
Kill Switch is available at Ithaca’s Buffalo Street Books, Barnes and Noble, and via Amazon.