It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult. - Seneca

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Interview with author, Donna Grant

Today we have with us, author of The Shields Series, The Druid Glen Series, and The Royal Chronicle Series, Donna Grant.

Welcome Donna, we appreciate you being here with us today!

Let me just say, you have truly been graced by the cover God's!

Having said that, lets get started!

C of C- How long have you been writing?
DG- I’ve been writing since 1999 hiding in my office while I worked as an accountant. 

C of C- Are you a plotter or a pantser?
DG- Definitely a panster. I can’t plot the book too much or I feel as though its written and I can’t write it.

C of C- How would you describe your voice?
DG- Dark and sexy. I couldn’t write humor if my life depended upon it. I’m a happy person who is constantly joking around with my husband/family/friends, but my stories are very dark.

C of C- What is your favorite part of the writing process?
DG- Listening to the characters and letting them take me on journeys and adventures I’d never myself experience because I’m a scardy cat. 
C of C- Ah, so you live vicariously through your characters! Interesting!!

C of C-. Where do you find your inspiration?
DG- Everywhere. It could be a lyric in a song, a title of a show or the look from an actor in a movie. I never know where it’s going to strike or when.

C of C- How do you come up with your ideas/plots?
DG- It’s my characters. I’ll be minding my own business when a character(s) will intrude and demand that their story be told. They’ll give me scenes and just a taste of what their story could be if I would just write it. 

C of C-. Do you write in short stretches or for long periods of time?
DG- I write Monday through Friday from morning until I pick up the kids. I always try to have my pages written for the day before I get the kids from school, but occasionally, I have edits and other stuff that I have to do. Kids have grown up with me writing, so they understand.

C of C- Do you write in silence or listen to music?
DG- Both, though I prefer to have some music on.
C of C- listening to music seems to be the consensus and I have found the perfect song to listen too when writing that black moment. Its, "Angels" by Within Temptation. Its on my blog, give it a listen, Fabulous!

C of C- Do you eat or drink while writing?
DG- I have a habit of not drinking water, so I always try to have a bottle of water on my desk to drink. If not, I’ll go all day without drinking any.
C of C-What, no chocolate?? :O)

C of C- Do you research your story as you go? Or before you write it?
DG- Sometimes if I know the story is going someplace I haven’t written before, I’ll do some research before the book. Like when I wrote the novella that’s centered in the Amazon (coming May 2009 from Kensington Aphrodisia) I had never written anything in the Amazon, so that took some research. Most of my stories are set in Medieval times, whether its historical or dark fantasy, so I don’t need to do that much research for them anymore. Though I am always doing research on Medieval weapons and taking any instructions on them that I can. I even had my husband take me to the gun range to learn to fire a handgun when I wrote my first contemporary/paranormal. He is an ex-Marine and a superb marksman, so it was fun to be able to do that with him.
C of C- that does sound fun! So how did you do? With the shooting? :O)

C of C- What have you learned through research that you'll remember for the rest of your life?
DG- That you cannot take what you see in movies for granted. Any historical movie makes the sword training look so easy. Its not. I try to bring a realistic approach to my fight scenes that I hope comes through from my research.

C of C- How do you decorate your writing space?
DG- My office is full of what I love – which is anything Medieval. I have swords, pictures, maps, knight figurines and shields.
C of C- girl after my own heart!

C of C- Are you a neat/organized writer or is your office and/or space a complete mess with sticky notes everywhere?
DG- Oh, I can’t stand to have my desk cluttered. I’d have to say it was “neat”.

C of C- Does all your writing take place on a computer or do you ever write on pen and paper?
DG- Strictly on the computer unless a scene comes to me where I can’t get to my computer, and then I jot it down.

C of C- What is your favorite time period? And why?
DG- It’s Medieval, and I’m not sure why. I’ve always loved that time period. Things were simpler then. If a man gave you his word, you know he would honor it.
C of C- I agree with you Donna, and its truly amazing how we are pulled toward a certain period in time.

C of C- Do you feel a draw to the people and time period you write about?
DG- Most definitely. Same with Scotland. I must have lived another life in the Medieval period. C of C- I totally agree, I think I lived there in another life as well! We may have known each other! lol,:O)

C of C- Readers are always curious to know about authors lives. What is the worst job (non-writing related) you’ve ever held?
DG- Waitress.  Unless you’ve worked as a waiter/waitress, most people don’t understand when they get slammed with tables at once. They can only do so much, and some people just don’t understand that.

C of C- Do you find love scenes easy or hard to write?
DG- It depends. If I’m forcing a love scene between my h/h, then it is very difficult to write. If I let the story flow, and let the characters decide how much sex or love scenes there will be, it’s much easier to write.

C of C- How long do you wait once a story is finished to revise it?
DG- Sometimes I don’t have a choice, and I have to read over it right then. Its much better if I can give myself a week of focusing on something else and then go back to it to revise it. I’ll catch much more that way.
C of C- that seems to be the consensus, that its better to step back awhile and view it with fresh eyes.

C of C- Do you ever second guess yourself and your writing?
DG- I have to believe in myself or no one else will. Yes, I’ve written stories that I think are awful. That’s what revisions are for. I clean up where things went wrong and, hopefully, fix everything.

C of C- Do you ever stray from your genre? Your comfort zone?
Yes. The more I push myself as a writer, the more my writing grows. Its imperative for me to keep learning, keep pushing the envelope. I did that with my first erotic romance, and Kensington bought it. It’s still hard to believe. You never know what will happen if you try something new.

C of C- Is it necessary to have a Critique/Writing partner?
DG- Not at all. For some writers, it’s a necessity, but for me, I’ve found I can do fine on my own. I do have three friends who, when in need of something, we send to each other, but its not what I would call a critique group. We’re the best of friends, and we help each other with whatever we need, whether its reading over a mss to see if we’ve missed anything, help promoting a book, or just to listen.

C of C- Authors make writing look so easy. Is it harder than most people imagine it to be?
DG- Writing is like any other job be it accounting, manager, professional athlete or store clerk. Some people make it look effortless, while others struggle at it every day. C of C- Boy, isn't that the truth! Continued- DG - Some days, the story flows so easy it’s almost like its writing itself. I don’t particularly like those days, because I know the next few afterwards are going to be Hell and I’ll have to pull every word. When writing, you have to keep the story flowing with no “sagging” parts that would make a reader skip over pages. You have to keep them interested, which means the characters have to have plausible and believable motivation and conflict. Without either of those, the story isn’t really there. C of C- Well said!

C of C- How long does it take you to finish a story?
DG- I can complete a full length novel (350-400 pages) in four weeks. With a novella, it takes me about seven to eight days. Then, I give myself another week to do revisions.
C of C- that's great! Believe me, not everyone can say that! :O)

C of C- Which author/(s) are on your must-read list?
DG- I have so many, but here are a few:
Shana Abe
Suzanne Enoch
Kresley Cole
Stephanie Laurens
Alyssa Day
Karen Marie Moning
Connie Brockway

C of C- Do you have more than one book out now?
DG- I have fourteen books out now with another four coming in 2008 and 2009. For a list of my available books – and series order – you can find it here:
C of C- Wow, I knew you had allot. I didn't realize just how many! Congratulations!

C of C- Has your writing Journey been a smooth or bumpy ride?
DG- Bumpy for sure, with lots of pot holes I wondered if I’d ever climb out of. But that’s what makes a person stronger. If you really want something, you have to want to work to get it. Giving up is easy. Sticking to it and refusing to give up is the hard part.
C of C- Again, Well said!!

C of C- What advice would you give to a new aspiring writer?
DG- Write. Just write. Write your book, revise it and send it out. Then, start another book. Too many writers get stuck on the revising part and never write anything else. The more you write, the better you’ll get.
C of C- That's great advice, Donna. And I can tell you from my own experience that that rut is a bad place to be- it does stop you from writing other things, or you just write and never finish. sigh*
Well, thanks so much for being with us today Donna, I really enjoyed talking with you and wish you much success with all your future endeavours!!!!!!!!

To learn more about Donna, please go to:


Eliza Knight said...

Great interview! It's amazing that you can write so quickly, 1 month for a book, wow! How do you do it? I think I write quickly, but I'm always looking for tips :)

I love the medieval time period, I'll have to check out your books!


Anonymous said...

Oh man, Donna. You are my heroine! I can't wait to be able to add more than one or two titles to my resume.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the interview, ladies. Donna, I liked where you said to just revise, send it out and start writing the next!

Holly Greenfield said...

Great interview! And Donna, you certianly were blessed by the cover gods. :0).
I can't wait to read one of your books! I'm in love with medieval.

Shannon Robinson said...

Wonderful interview ladies! I love the covers too, Donna - very nice. I really enjoyed it and will definitely be checking out your books soon.
Thanks for sharing!

Chicks of Characterization said...

Thank you, Eliza, Sheryl, Shannon, Gerri, and Holly for commenting! I know Donna appreciates it, and will be by soon to Thank You herself!

Donna Grant said...

Hi, Eliza!

Well, I set goals for one. I have a certain number of pages that I "need" to meet daily and weekly. I make sure I meet those deadlines. I've been doing that since I started writing, which really helps when my editor asks me "when can you turn X in?" :)

Donna Grant said...

:) Ah, thanks Sheryl! I've never been anyone's heroine before. Hmmm....should I kiss you now?


Donna Grant said...

Thanks, Gerri. I've run across so many writers that just keep revising the same first three chapters.

Its one piece of advice that I got early on and it really helped me.

Donna Grant said...

Hi, Holly!

Yeah, for the most part - except the disco dancer cover - I've really been blessed. Which makes me cringe every time I get a new cover. I keep wondering "Is this where my luck runs out?"


Silly, I know, but sometimes covers are what makes a sale.

Hope on over to my blog and post for your chance to win one of my books!

Donna Grant said...

Thanks for stopping by Shannon! Nice to meet you. :)

Donna Grant said...

Yes, sorry, Andrea. It was those pesky revisions I had to do for my editor or I would have been here sooner.

I've got one more novella to look over, and then its back to work on my book.

Dena said...

Donna is a new author to me this year and so far I love her writing. It was nice learning more about her in your excellent interview.

Chicks of Characterization said...

Hi Dena, thanks so much for stopping by and for you comments! I am sure Donna will appreciate you saying you enjoy her books!~

Donna Grant said...

Hi, Dena! Nice to see you here, doll! You made my day. :)

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