Welcome to The Word Place, Donna, and Happy Release Day for your new novel, Roses are Red, Diamonds are Blue.
Where’s the Anastasia?” It’s been almost a year since Laura Barkley’s husband, a museum curator, was murdered and the fabled Anastasia Diamond stolen. A long year filled with accusations, too many accidents directed toward Laura and her twins, plus plenty of soul searching. How well did she know Peter? Had he planned to steal the diamond himself? Was his murder a double cross or a robbery gone bad? If he was innocent, what did Peter mean by his cryptic clue? Where is the priceless blue diamond now? Someone is determined to find the diamond no matter the cost . . . unless Laura can decipher Peter’s last baffling clue and find it first. As the one-year anniversary of the Anastasia’s disappearance draws closer, Laura finds herself caught in a series of snowballing events she can’t control, including the Blizzard of 1978. As the snow deepens who will survive?
Where did you get your start as an author?
That’s a hard one to answer because I’ve always felt I was born to write. Even before I understood that books were written by real people, I had this feeling that making up stories was something I was meant to do. As a little girl my happiest moments were “writing” episodes to my favorite TV shows in my mind as I lay in my bed at night. So putting words down on paper seemed to come naturally.
Once I understood that people like me could actually write for publication, I spent years writing stuff (not very good) and submitting to every publication I’d ever read or seen. (Usually breaking all the rules and showing off as a complete newbie.) My first actual published pieces were Letters to the Editor of the Cincinnati Post and also some funny quips in the Cincinnati Enquirer at age eighteen. Believe it or not, I even had a ‘fan base’ from some of the letters. My first paid for piece was a funny episode published in Catholic Digest.
What are some of your previous publications?
A complete list would be toooooooooooo long as I’ve written just about everything – recipes, quips, short fillers, magazine articles, book reviews, lesson plans, etc. But the biggest name published pieces would be writing articles for History Magazine, two books for children – The Search for the Madonna by Behold Publications, The Gift of Summer Snow by Philothea Press and my ongoing monthly page for children “Cookies and Milk” which is syndicated in four Ohio counties. (I co-author this page with Patty Kyrlach and Maribeth Uralrich.)
Are you a notebook keeper for writing ideas?
Sometimes I scribble things down – or I write long hand and try things out. I jot random notes down here and there and can never remember what they were for! I love blank notebooks and always plan to keep a writer’s proper notebook, alas . . . it always ends up random addresses and scribblings.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
This is going to sound strange but I think I’m a mix of both and neither. Once I have an idea for a book in my mind (or even a story) I’ll play with it in my mind for however long it takes to come to a conclusion to the story. Once I know that I have a beginning and that somehow the road it takes reaches an end, I can jot down a loose outline. Most of the time though it helps to just sit down and write – for me other things are a waste of time.
Describe your ideal writing place.
Quiet! Alone! Ice tea clinking in a glass – sun shining in a window kind of day. Do I get this? Not often enough!
Do you think it’s important to have a support/critique group? Why or why not?
It’s important to have support and know you aren’t alone. It’s sometimes important to have critique partners that you can trust! But to believe that everyone needs or should have a critique group at all times, is one of those writer’s fallacies that too many of us fall into. I’ve had the best and the worst of critique groups. While I do have times I need someone to read and do a critique (and I have the BEST people to do that for me!), I’ve also come to a place where I can trust myself to just put a ms. out there that only my eyes have seen.
Are eBooks the wave of the future? Will you be cleaning off your bookcases anytime soon?
No! I love my real books! I love my real OLD books! A book from the early 1900’s is not going to seem the same on a Kindle – although I LOVE my Kindle too. I enjoy both at different times.
Where do you see your writing career in ten years?
It would be really nice to be earning a lot from my writing – maybe have a whole series of my garden mysteries published and several others. Also to be writing regularly for many magazines. One of my greatest joys is writing for magazines because it’s something new every week. I love the freedom and the scope of magazine writing.
What’s next for you as an author?Right now I’m working on another book that’s a Christmas Western with a paranormal ending. Weird, huh? I should also have a sequel to my first book coming out this year or early next – so look for The Mystery in the Maze. You can read more about my upcoming projects at my blog or website