I once again have two Diva’s here that have cruised by to hang out for the day. Let’s give my reviewer Rachel a big warm welcome. This is her first author interview. Donya Lynne is her to answer her questions, talk about her books and give a prezzie to one lucky follower! Now I’m gonna kick back and let them take over and rule like the Diva’s they are.
Rachel: Tell us about yourself?
Donya: I’ve been writing since before I was in grade school. When I was a kid, I always had a book or pen & paper around, so I guess you could say writing is something I’ve always just done. Regarding my subject matter, I’ve always been fascinated with vampires and paranormal subjects, and finally sat down and committed to writing and finishing a paranormal novel about some hot alpha male vampires that has now turned into a series of at least nine books. Additionally, I write all types of romance, from the soft and dreamy to BDSM (yes, I believe a beautiful romance exists even at the heart of such a relationship, maybe even more-so than in a more vanilla relationship, since the trust has to be so solid between a dom and sub). And I don’t stop at strictly heterosexual. I like my stories to reflect real world, and in the real world love, can exist between two men or two women as much as it can between a man and woman. So, while most of my stories are M/F, there are some M/M, and a bit of F/F occasionally.
Rachel: When did you know that you wanted to become an author and what made you choose to write this type of book?
Donya: The when is hard to pinpoint. I’ve been writing since I was in grade school. I always just thought of it as a hobby, though, until I saw Lord of the Rings and was inspired by the elves to start working on a piece that is, as yet, unfinished. It is a very complicated story and I’m just not ready to finish it, yet, but that was when I realized I wanted to be an author “when I grow up.” Even so, I still found excuses to put it off. Not enough time, etc. When I lost my job in July of 2010, and struggled for over a year to find work, I decided it was now or never. No more excuses. As far as why I chose to write this type of book, I’ve always been fascinated with vampires and the paranormal, and I enjoy writing my characters to be darker and more troubled than traditional publishers seem to be comfortable with. You could say that I not only write paranormal romance, but dark fantasy, as well, because I really get into the deep and uncomfortable places of the characters and make them work through their inner conflicts. They are damaged souls that need some TLC, if you will.
Rachel: What are you currently working on and do you have an expected publication date?
Donya: Gosh. What a loaded question. I am currently working on two short stories for anthologies that will come out in the fall and winter. One of those short stories has inspired me to work on a trilogy, so I’m in early planning of that. And I was inspired by a song to write another trilogy, so that’s in early planning. And, of course, I am working on books two and three of the AKM series. Heart of the Warrior is book two and I am hoping (fingers crossed) it will be ready to publish on May 25. Rebel Obsession is book three, and I’m shooting for an August release on that one. Books four (Return of the Assassin) and five (Bound Guardian Angel) are in planning, and I’m also working on a novella supplement to the AKM series to come out a couple of weeks after Rebel Obsession. So, yeah, I’m really busy. *laughs*
Rachel: What inspires you to write or where is your favorite place to write?
Donya: I find inspiration in songs, books, pictures, and by just getting in my car and driving, if you can believe that. It’s amazing how open the characters in my head become when I step away from the computer and just go somewhere.
Rachel: What do you like most about writing and what do you like the least?
Donya: What I like most is when the characters take me down a path I never anticipated. I usually just let the characters write the books and I just transcribe, and as long as I’m letting the characters take the wheel, the story just flows. What I like least is when the characters go quiet, because when that happens, I know it means I have intruded too much of ME in their story and taken it where the characters didn’t want it to go. When I start fighting and the story stops flowing easily, I know I became too present in what the characters wanted, which means I have to stop and find a way to get them to open up and tell me where I went wrong. And then I have to go back and fix it. This happened at the end of my draft for Rebel Obsession, and it took some major convos with the characters to get back on track.
Rachel: What is the first book or author that you remember reading and enjoying?
Donya: The first book I remember reading is Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck before I was even in first grade. The first book I remember enjoying was Charlotte’s Web. I read it over and over.
Rachel: Do you have any advice for aspiring/new authors?
Donya: First, develop a thick skin. Editors, reviewers, and critique partners will tell you how it is, and if you’re not ready for that, don’t even think about writing for public consumption. I’ve seen a bunch of writers walk away because they couldn’t take the criticism. Beyond that, read, read, read, and read some more. Read and study what your favorite authors are doing. Ask yourself why you like it? Read every book on writing you can get your hands on, but especially read “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers” by Renni Browne and Dave King. This is the single best book I’ve read on the subject and it changed my style of writing from “This is really good” to “Damn, I can’t put it down” (that was the feedback from a beta reader after I read that book). Know your grammar. Take an in-depth writing course that’s specific to novel writing (which is different from short story or technical writing). And always write with the reader in mind. You have to remember that readers want an experience, not just a book. Anything that interferes with that experience hinders a book’s effectiveness. Authors who want to sell books can’t write just for themselves. They have to write with the readers’ wants in mind, so knowing what readers are reading and/or wanting is key.
Rachel: What is one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?
Donya: That I used to body build and was studying to become a personal trainer. But I found out too late I have a genetic back condition, and during a leg workout day, I blew out my lower back and that was the end of that. I couldn’t walk right for about three months afterward, and I have to undergo daily physical therapy now or the pain becomes so bad I can’t do even simple tasks like dishes without the threat of re-injuring myself. But, it was just a sign that personal training wasn’t my future, and I was geared back toward my writing.
Rachel: What else do you enjoy in your spare time?
Donya: Writing. LOL. Well, and reading and listening to music. But really, it’s all about the writing with me.
Rachel: If you could visit any time period and location (past or future) when and where would you go?
Donya: 1950s USA. No question. The music was king then. The 50s were a revolution of sorts, and I would love to experience that first-hand. Garage bands, sock hops, malt shops, poodle skirts, cruising, the hot rods, the music, all of it. And society was more “innocent” then. I’d like to have been witness to that.
I would like to acknowledge a couple of people, as well. I want to thank my cover model for Rise of the Fallen, Andrei Andrei, for his permission to use his picture for the character, Micah. He is a fashion model and web designer and anyone who is interested in seeing more of his work can view his portfolio at his website: http://andreiandrei.com/. Reese Dante is the cover artist who did such a remarkable job bringing the cover together.