Growing up, Bonnie Cruickshank loved to write. She wrote short stories and novels frequently.
She was on track to attend college when her mother died and she was left to raise her younger siblings. Once her siblings were grown, Cruickshank started her own family with her husband, Jim, who was a military man after being drafted in the Vietnam War.
With a military husband, Bonnie Cruickshank's time was occupied with taking care of their two children and traveling. Education and writing, though, were in her sights.
"Bon spent her life following me," Jim Cruickshank said.
That's why when Bonnie Cruickshank had the opportunity to finally attend college, her husband pushed her to earn a degree. At 50, Cruickshank graduated from William Woods University and went on to teach English.
As a teacher, she still tried to pursue her writing.
"I wrote when I had time, which was not often," she said. "When I retired from teaching I decided I was going to do something about it."
She eventually retired, and Jim Cruickshank said that was when it was time for his wife to "spread her wings and try something new."
Writing became a major part of Bonnie Cruickshank's life once again. But it was more than a hobby or passion for the author.
"It's like a force," she said. "You have to do it."
While learning and studying more about the pioneer lifestyle, Bonnie Cruickshank developed the idea for her self-published children's book, "A Soddy Christmas," which was recently released. The book has seven chapters and was designed for first-time chapter book readers.
The book takes place at a soddy home during a harsh Nebraska winter in 1869. Papa, the father of the family the book focuses on, left their prairie home for town to purchase Christmas presents. Before he could safely return, a blizzard hits. Mama and the children, Sally and Fred, fight the cold while wondering when Papa will get home. They also fret over attending church service on Christmas Eve.