Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Welcome Donna Ann Brown to our author interviews

Hello Donna Ann

tell us about you and your books

Do you plot or let the story unfold as you write? 

The concept of an outline never occurred to me until I attended my first writing group. Chapters were always out of order and sporadic. I had concepts and ideas jumbled, with absolutely no focus. Wrote chapter five before the first chapter was finished. Went to my first writing convention and learned how to incorporate structure into my method.  Now I start the story at the beginning, no matter what the character is telling me, and let it unwind. I fly by the seat of my pants. This means I have to make notes, go back and put pertinent information into finished chapters, and even put a story on the back burner until I can figure out what the next chapter will hold. There is never a dull moment in my mind.

Are your characters based on real people? 

Never and always. There are similar personality and character traits, values, morals, and beliefs. These types and traits are a composite of people I have run into on the road of life. I try to make the characters believable while recognizing we never know what someone else thinks, how they believe, and what created their core values.

How did you do in English as a kid? 

English is not my favorite subject. I grew up in a border city – El Paso, Texas / Juarez, Mexico. I found out I never learned my basics when attending college. Overheard the Director and one of my teachers talking. They planned to re-send for my transcript, believing I had found a way to falsify the original. I couldn’t punctuate correctly or write a complete sentence. All my tenses were jumbled. They still are. Thankfully, I found a critic partner.

Do you have trouble saying goodbye to characters? 

Yes. Characters talk to me in my head and I never want to see them go. The last few chapters are always the hardest to write because I dislike saying good-bye.

How long does it take to research and build a fantasy world? 

I like to use facts while writing fiction. Elizabeth Barrett & Cupid’s Brooch incorporates the Elgin Marbles which were controversial during that time. We also meet John Leslie in the counting house. I used creative license to have Liz explain the tables, asking Mr. Leslie to publish them. She knows all about The Philosophy of Arithmetic he will publish in 1820. Historical incidents create a sense of authenticity. The research takes the length of the book because you never know when you will need a fact from the past to spark inspiration. 

Do you have set times during the day that you write? 

Working in my own business doesn’t give me leisure time. Having a critic partner forces me to write at least once each week. When I’m on a roll, I can stay up until midnight writing.

What tips would you give a new writer? 

Decide if you are writing for you or writing to be published. Once you know you want to be published, join a critic group. Lastly, no matter what someone says, you cannot be offended. I have been to many critic groups. Seen good writers stop because someone was downright mean. I’ve also seen writers who are too thin skinned and don’t improve because their feelings get hurt. You have to decide to listen to everything. Take in the ideas that help you write cleaner and clearer. Notice who gives feedback. One group I was in had a writer who came up with brilliant titles. Some writers focus on grammar. A few have jealous streaks. I paid attention to one person’s negative feedback. Realized I had to keep the passage he said to delete. Notice who says what when you are in a critic group. When you don’t know something, ask. When you feel hurt, cry and move on. When you think you can’t, know you are almost there. Try different topics, themes, and styles. You can become a writer if you set aside your ego and work on your craft.

What are your current projects? 

I’m working on a contemporary love story about re-inventing oneself, a Madeline Murphy Mystery, and a regency romance that doesn’t want to end.

Describe your writing style in ten words or less.

I write at a rapid fire pace in between seeing clients.

And for some fun questions

What's the most blatant lie you've ever told? 

I called in sick when I was young and told them I had mono so I could hang out with a guy. I married that guy and six months later I got mono.

What is your favorite drink? 

Cold brewed coffee with Amish cream in the winter, and Sam Pelligrino Water in the summer.

Do you ever wish that you had an entirely uncreative job, like data entry or working in a factory? 

I worked in a factory before College and realized a routine job would literally drive me insane. I do like inputting Quickbook entries when I’m over-stimulated. This seems to have a calming effect on me so I use data entry as a go-to when I have too much going on inside my brain.

You can erase one embarrassing experience from your past. What will it be? 

My first husband. But I can’t do that because then I would have had two virgin births and only one is believable.

Has the dog ever eaten your manuscript? 

No, but my grandson pooped on mine when his diaper exploded after I feed him children’s probiotics.

Do you enjoy giving interviews? 

I’d rather give an interview than have one. I’m interested in others but I can’t understand why anyone would want to know about my mundane life.

Do you laugh at your own jokes? 

Yes, which can be embarrassing.

Are you fun to go on vacation with? 

Yes. I like to explore new places and try different experiences. I’ve found that I have to start the trip without expectations. You can’t be disappointed when you have no expectations. I even like the stories I get to tell when something goes wrong. Our boat ran out of gas on a Louisiana swamp tour with a three fingered, incompetent guide. I go back to that experience when I need to describe fear. Most of the time I’m delighted with the results because I’ve seen and done something I never knew could be possible. 

Have you ever found true love? 

Yes. I believe in love. I also believe people can grow apart when they don’t work through daily issues. The after story doesn’t get told very often.

Are you jealous of other writers? 

When I see someone who is successful, that makes me want to continue my craft. I’m also curious and love to ask them questions.

What makes you cry? 

Korean sagas on Netflix. I’m addicted to them.

If you were a tool what would you be? 

A hammer so I could be a force to be reckoned with.

What is your favorite comfort food? 

Homemade soup when I’m a little down. Cutting vegetables takes my mind off problems, seasoning reminds me how creative I can be, and a belly full of hot, delicious soup gives me satisfaction. Chocolate when I’m bored. Sparkling water when I want a quick pick me up.

What is your favorite time of year and why? 

Easter. I love the decorations, the rebirth theme, the plastic eggs, filling baskets with non-traditional items, and even finding rotten eggs later in the month.

What is the one question you wish an interviewer would ask you? 

If you were a man, would you wear boxers or briefs?

Who's more fun, bad boys or perfect gentlemen? Or Bad Girl or a lady? 

Bad boys who know how to behave like perfect gentlemen.

Where can we find out more?


Download Elizabeth Barrett and Cupid’s Brooch on Amazon
and other online retailers

1 comment:

GiniRifkin said...

HI Donna: nice to learn more about you. Yes it would be fun to be a hammer, esp. Thor's!