Recently, a very talented author took time out of her
busy schedule to chat with me. So, without any more delayÖletís
Have you always known that you wanted to be a writer? How did
you get started writing?
It all started when I picked up a copy
of Julie Garwoodís, Heartbreaker. Silly me, I thought it was just a
suspense novel and started reading. In no time at all I realized it
was a romance, and I was hopelessly hooked. I couldnít get enough
of her work. I quickly fell in love with her wonderful historical
tales, the Scottish ones, and particularly her medievals. I
branched out and read any historical romances on the shelves, and in
2001 I decided to try my hand at creating my own romances.
I read you have a background in art history and painting. How
did you get interested in these? And did you ever consider a career
in these fields?
I have a bachelorís degree in Art
History and Painting and aspired to be a curatorís assistant in a
museum in NY. I had painted all my life and I still adore art and
the human body, so it seemed the natural line of work to follow.
Alas, I never followed my aspirations once I graduated from
I read that you are a respiratory therapist. How do you find
time to write with a job and a family to take care of?
Working in a hospital, writing, and
running a household is extremely demanding. Itís a real juggling
act to find time for everything, but my writing doesnít take a back
seat ever. I am very motivated with stories that burst out of my
head, screaming to be written, and I allocate time to write every
day. Also, the stressful nature of my job makes writing romance a
wonderful imaginary outlet of escape. I simply love creating my own
stories and charactersóitís so enjoyable.
Tell us a little about what makes Donna tick. How would your
husband of twenty seven years describe you?
Twenty-eight years as of July 28th this
year. He would say Iím fiercely passionate about my endeavors and I
perform them with the utmost of my abilities. He would say I am a
stubborn woman, probably a trait of my Scottish background, yet I am
loyal to those I love and fair to everyone around me. He would say
I am a very artistic person and love my children more than life
It seems that you enjoy writing stories set in historical
settings. Do you see yourself writing in other genres? Is there a
specific genre you would enjoy trying?
I have already written a romantic
suspense, which was a fun departure from the strict constraints and
research involved in a historical romance. That work sits on the
desk of a publishing house now and I have high hopes that it will be
released soon. At the moment I am rewriting a regency, but have
plans to write a time travel after that and probably a short story
that materialized just this weekend.
If you could travel to any place or time in history, where
would it be and why?
I would probably say, medieval Europe.
I simply adore anything having to do with castles, knights, and
medieval weaponry. In my latest release, Heartless Warrior, I
believe I mastered the challenge of describing a vivid battle scene
and loved elaborating on the armor and medieval weapons. I admire
the chivalry of knights in that period and their motto to protect
those too weak to protect themselves. Medieval times were probably
not nearly as romantic as we make them out to be, but I would
absolutely love to go back and experience it firsthand.
Tell us some of your favorites: foods, movies, books, authors,
music, holidays, or anything else.
The food list is a big no-no, but I love
pizza and ice cream and if I drink I really like champagne. I love
a really good action movie, and of course anything with historical
qualities like Lord of the Rings, Timeline, and wow, 300! Check out
my myspace if you donít believe me. Authors that I love include,
Julie Garwood, Jude Deveraux, Johanna Lindsay, Sherrilyn Kenyon,
Suzanne Brockmann, Joanne Rock, Bertrice Small, Thea Devine, Susan
Johnson, Michael Crichton, and Dan Brown. But I read just about
anything because I love to read.
As far as music goes, I love to
listen to smooth jazz while Iím writing; it calms me and gets the
creative juices flowing. Having a teen at home has gotten me to
listen to rock and a variety of other music too.
In regards to a holiday, I am a
Halloween lover all the way. I go all out decorating my house for
this holiday and never fail to carve a ton of pumpkins for the
occasion. Adults come to my door just to see what I have created.
I guess I like the strange and macabre but Iím not into gory or
I canít forget my love of sports. I
am a huge football fan, always have been. I will watch football at
any hour, no matter the team. Iíve also become quite a huge fan of
Ultimate Fighting, or mixed martial arts. I love the athletic
prowess involved in these sports as well as the pleasure I get from
watching the male body at its best. What can I say, I love men.
Do you have one character that it was very difficult to leave
behind when you had finished their story?
That would be Wraith, from my medieval
Heartless Warrior. He is the personification of the perfect male to
me; powerful, muscular, invincible, yet vulnerable and sweet
underneath. I will probably write a sequel to this story someday
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Never, never, never give up!! If you
have the desire and the dream to write, pursue it with a vengeance.
Hone your skills and learn the craft, but keep writing.
Does your family read your books and what do they think of
your writing? Huge supporters, are they?
My husband has read a few and he
supports me hugely. My kids havenít read my work but they are so
proud of me and their support is endless.
Do you have someone that you consider a mentor and how have
they helped you with your career?
I donít know that I could name one
person as mentor in my career. I would have to say the ladies of
First Coast Romance Writers, my local romance group here in
Jacksonville, Florida, have been tremendously supportive throughout
my career. Three writers and critique partners that come to mind
for me are Gail Ranstrom, Marianne Lacroix, and Pam Wells. All
three have been instrumental in my career and continue to be even
Do you enjoy hearing from readers and what is the best way for
them to contact you?
I love hearing from readers and knowing
what they want to read next. I have an email box attached to my
website that is a direct link to me. Just log onto
www.DonnaMcAteer.com and go for it.
What would you consider your greatest strength and what would
you consider your weakest?
My greatest strength is probably my
loyalty to people around me. My greatest weakness is my thin-
skinned veneer when it comes to harsh criticism.
How long does it take you to write a book from start to
It used to take me a year to pump out a
book, now I have it down to a couple of months. Of course, when I
finally get to quit my day job I will be able to spend my entire day
writing. That is huge goal of mine, which I hope to attain very
soon. Learning the craft of writing and finding my own particular
voice has helped the process go more smoothly too.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Only that I will never stop writing, no
matter what. Even if the fans stop reading, I will never stop
writing. It is a creative outlet for me, a place for me put down my
ideas and it brings me endless joy and a real sense of
accomplishment. It is what I want to do until I canít do it