Thursday, April 24, 2014


Bonnie Rokke Tinnes


“Everyone wants to be a writer, but no one wants to do the work.”  A good friend once told me this. He should know because he teaches college writing.  I can tell you from experience that those words are true.  None of it was easy, but it was worthwhile.  It took jumping in head first and a lot of guts, but I am happy where I am today as a writer. I just told my husband that I am beginning to feel like an author.  


Several times during my life, especially after I graduated from Bemidji State University in Minnesota as an English and Russian teacher, I wanted to be a writer. I taught school for a while.  Then my husband and I were married and I worked on our farm and raised our children.    After my husband became ill, I returned to school, attaining a nursing degree from the University of North Dakota just in time to take over as breadwinner and caregiver.


When I was given a job as a registered nurse in a Minnesota state hospital for mentally ill adults, the demanding job stressed my nerves and energy to their max. Once home after work, I’d sit down at the computer and change my thoughts by writing something beautiful.  Writing had become a survival technique taking me away from what seemed a cruel and heartless world.


It was after retirement that I began working on Growing Up Margaret.  It is about three girls, each with a loss, who become good friends in a small Scandinavian town in northern Minnesota in the 1950s.  Margaret is being raised by her father and grandmother   after her mother died in a car accident.  Mary Elizabeth, African American, is adopted by the owners of the town café and brought up north from the south.  Bridget is from a family that is poor and the townspeople look down on them.  They become best friends in sixth grade.  I followed with Margaret Inc, their seventh grade year in school.  The book appeals to anyone up to those who grew up in the 1950s.  I have the third Margaret book planned for a trilogy.


 During my lifetime, I had also written numerous poems and organized some of my nature poems into a book called Snow Presents and Poems.  In 2013, I wrote Grandma’s Three Winks, about the relationship between a granddaughter and grandmother. It is a beautiful story that emphasizes the importance of family.


Not getting  younger and having all my poems and stories in my computer or on copy paper, I wanted them published. I needed to jump in myself and try something because I was finding it almost impossible to get my foot in the door of a publisher.


I studied published books and learned how to set up the title page, dedication page, and all the other introductory pages.  I even went to the internet for an ISBN number and also uploaded my manuscript to the Copyright Office. When I felt everything was ready, I uploaded my books to for Kindle, and it worked. Each time I published I learned something new, and each book looked better.  Later I had books printed for those who wanted a “real” book.


   Featured in Her Voice in 2012, this May, 2014, I have an article in Her Voice.   For the past two years, I have had my poetry chosen for “Poetry on the Wall,” by the Crossing Arts Alliance.  I also have appeared twice on Dr. Doug Rokke’s “Warrior Connection” on Progressive Radio Network.   It is Doug’s plan to have me on monthly as a co host on internet radio. 


My website is    All my books can be found on

--Bonnie Rokke Tinnes


  1. Thank you for telling your story, Bonnie. It's great to see that after all your hard work, you have the finish products to share with the world. Good luck on continuing to find your readers!

  2. Great to read about your writing journey!

  3. Your story and your journey are inspiring.