Bonnie was the son of F. Leroy and Helen Louise Bonnie of Maine. He earned a bachelor of arts from the University of Vermont in 1971 and attended several universities over the next few years, working in college libraries from 1966 to 1969 and editing the literary journal Isinglass Review from 1968 to 1974. He worked for the Chittenden Trust Company in Burlington, Vermont from 1970 to 1972 and for Garden Way Publishing in Burlington, Vermont in 1973 before coming to Birmingham in 1974 to work at Southern Living. He left the magazine in 1979 to write fiction while freelancing for the public relations department of Vulcan Materials and for the Dyatron Corporation.
Bonnie completed a master of fine arts in creative writing at UAB, and taught fiction writing for UAB Special Studies from 1978 to 1982 in association with Jesse Hill Ford. During the late 1980s he conducted regular readings at the NewsBreak bookstore/cafe. He also helped organize Birmingham-Southern College's annual "Writing Today" conference.
Bonnie married four times: to Susan Marchant on June 22, 1967; to Ellen Sullivan on December 30, 1974, to Wendy Watts on September 21, 1984 and later to Rhonda Carter. He had one daughter from an earlier marriage, and another child was born to Carter after his death.
Bonnie resided in Columbiana. His first novel, Thanh Ho Delivers, was published by Black Belt Press in 2000. He was driving alone from a book-signing in North Carolina to Spartanburg, South Carolina when he suffered an apparent heart attack. His car left the road and crashed through a fence. He died three days later without regaining consciousness. He was survived by a son and daughter.
- Bonnie, Fred & H. C. Thompson (1975) Growing Flowers. Birmingham: Oxmoor House
- Bonnie, Fred (1975) Growing Lawns and Ground Covers. Birmingham: Oxmoor House
- Bonnie, Fred (1975) House Plants. Birmingham: Oxmoor House
- Bonnie, Fred & Lena Sturges (1976) The Compleat Vegetable Book. Birmingham: Oxmoor House
- Bonnie, Fred (1976) Flowering Trees, Shrubs, and Vines: a Guide for Home Gardeners. Birmingham: Oxmoor House
- Bonnie, Fred (1976) Growing Plants in Containers, Indoors and Out. Birmingham: Oxmoor House
- Bonnie, Fred (1976) Vegetable Gardening. Birmingham: Oxmoor House
- Bonnie, Feed (1979) Squatter's Rights: Stories. Ottawa, Canada: Oberon Press
- Bonnie, Feed (1982) Displaced Persons: Stories. Ottawa, Canada: Oberon Press
- Bonnie, Feed (1987) Too Hot & Other Maine Stories. Brunswick, Maine: Dog Ear Press
- Bonnie, Feed (1987) Wide Load. Ottawa, Canada: Oberon Press
- Bonnie, Fred (1997) Food Fights: Tales from the Restaurant Trade: Stories. Black Belt Press
- Bonnie, Fred (1998) Detecting Metal. Livingston Press
- Bonnie, Fred (2000) Widening the Road
- Bonnie, Fred (2000) Thanh Ho Delivers. Black Belt Press