Author Spotlight

 

I was given the chance to chat with a very talented author this month, who took time out of her busy schedule to spend some time with us here at Joyfully Reviewed.  So, without further delayÖletís hear from

Donna Grant

When did you begin to pursue your writing as a career?  How did you start?
I had always had stories floating around in my head, but one day I started jotting down those ideas.  Then, one day in 1999 while pregnant with my first child, I decided to try my hand at a book.  After that, I knew thatís what I wanted to do.

Dancing seems to be an important part of your life. Do you still dance?  I read that you danced in the Macyís Thanksgiving Day ParadeÖhow cool is that?
I just recently stopped teaching dance, but it will always be a huge part of my life.  My daughter who is eight has been taking lessons since she was three, so I wonít ever be far from dance.

The Macyís Parade was such a great privilege for me.  We always had the parade on TV on Thanksgiving, so it was neat having my family watch me while I danced.

Tell us what makes DonnaÖDonna.
Lol.  Iím pretty boring actually.  Iím a very simple person who holds family above all else.  I love to laugh, watch movies/TV and read. I love to travel, and I love being able to write and share my stories with others. 

I read you have a huge interest in Scotland.  What fascinates you about it?
Everything about Scotland fascinates me.  The land, the people, the history, the culture, the legends, the lore, the myths.  All of it.  The Scots are amazing people, and I never tire of researching Scotland.

Several of your books are part of a series, do you enjoy writing books that are connected?  Do you find it difficult to keep all the facts straight?
I love writing books in series.  Even when I try to write something not part of a series, it ends up that way.  It can be difficult to keep all the facts straight in a series, but I keep a notebook near me where I jot down everything I think Iíll need in future books while Iím writing.  It really comes in handy when doing a series.

Tell us some of your favoritesÖfoods, hobbies, movies, books, authors, holidays, music, and any others.
Foods:  Italian food.  LOVE Italian food!

Hobby: Besides reading, Iím often outside in my flower garden or doing a Sudoku puzzle.

Movies: Pretty much anything historical Ė King Arthur, Troy, The Mummy,

Books: Ransom by Julie Garwood, The Smoke Thief by Shana Abe, The Dark Highlander by Karen Marie Moning, Man of My Dreams by Johanna Lindsey.

Authors:  Absolutely anything by Shana Abe.  Stephanie Laurens, Karen Marie Moning, Susanne Enoch and Kresley Cole.  And many, many more.

Holidays:  Christmas is my favorite, but I also love Halloween

Music: A mixture of a lot.  I love current pop music, 80s, some rock-n-roll, classical and movie soundtracks.

TV: Supernatural!  Also, Numbers, Moonlight, Bones, CSI (the original) and Burn Notice.

How do your story ideas come to you?
At very odd moments.   Sometimes when Iím in the shower, sometimes when Iím weeding my flower garden, sometimes when Iím mowing, and then sometimes just hearing a song can do it.  Iíve learned to always keep a pen and paper handy to jot down ideas when they come to me. 

How do you promote your work?
Ah, promotion.  Itís never ending for authors.  You can find my book covers or banners up at various review sites and blogs as well as romance and fantasy magazines.  I also do some guest blogging, interviews and articles.  I hold several contests.  Every month you can find a contest on my website, but I also have a weekly contest on my blog where every Wednesday I hold a Question of the Week post.  And then thereís my MySpace page.

Do you have a writing schedule you follow?  How many hours a day do you write?
I do have a schedule, which I find helps me to keep on track, especially when Iím on deadline.  I write anywhere from 15-20 pages a day Monday thru Friday.  I try to leave my weekends for my family unless it canít be avoided.  Having the schedule lets me know how long it takes for me to write a book so I know how long to tell my editors.

Do you enjoy hearing from your readers, and what is the best way to contact you?
Hearing from readers is one of the greatest joys of being a writer.  I absolutely love getting reader emails.  The writing business is full of rejection, so to hear from a reader who enjoyed a book can do wonders for a writer.  Readers can contact me through me website or donna@donnagrant.com.

What was the best piece of advice that you received and do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Donít ever give up.  If you truly want it, keep writing, keep submitting.  Donít get stuck on one manuscript that you keep revising over and over again.  Get it written, get it revised and get it sent out.  Then start on your next book.  And have a bucket full of patience, because in this business youíre going to need it.

With such an avid interest in ScotlandÖhave you ever had the opportunity to travel there?  If so, what did you enjoy the most?
Not as of yet.  But I will get there one day.  My husband jokes that once Iím in Scotland I might never come home.  I think heís right.

Is your family supportive of your writing?  Do they read your work?
My family is extremely supportive of my writing.  My husband helps me when I find a problem in my plot, he helps me come up with titles and reads every book once Iím done to help me look for errors.  As of yet, my children are too young to be reading my books, but already my daughter is writing stories in school, so she just might be a future author.

How does the writing process work for you?  Do your stories come all at once or slowly?
Every writerís process is different.  I canít plot my books before I write them.  So, I used to just have an idea and then come up with a book around that idea.  Now that I have an editor who likes me to turn in high concepts, I will get my idea and then write a high concept and send it to him.  Then, Iíll write a short one to two page synopsis (which works better for me to do before I write the book) then start the book.  My book normally doesnít follow the synopsis completely, and once I write it I rarely look at the synopsis, but I have to turn one in with my books, so I get it written and done with my original idea.

I always explain to my editors that the synopsis is done before I wrote the book, so theyíll know that it wonít be exactly like the synopsis, but close.

As for the story itself, I sit down everyday at the computer and Iíll read a paragraph or two from the day before and let the characters take over.  Being a panster (meaning I donít plot the books beforehand) means that anything and everything can happen while Iím writing.  Iíve had wonderful plot twists that I would never have thought of otherwise.  Iíve even had a series spinoff from a series because of something a character did.  Giving my character free reign while Iím writing has worked best for me.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Thank you for having me, Gracie.  Readers can interact with me at MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/donnagrant) as well as my blog (http://www.donnagrant.com/blog).  For regular updates on upcoming books, stay tuned to my website (http://www.donnagrant.com).  And for those who love newsletters, I put one out once a month with special reader incentives (http://www.crocodesigns.com/cgi-bin/dada/mail.cgi/list/donnagrant/).

 

     

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