Welcome to Writers on Wednesday. This week I am putting my questions to Deb Donahue, author of romantic suspense novel, Chasing Nightmares ...
Tell me a bit about yourself …
I was born and raised in a mid-sized town in the Midwest U.S.A. but I always wanted to live in the country. I got my wish when I got married and moved to 80 acres that was a half hour drive from the nearest mall. For the first years of our marriage we practiced a minimalist, homesteading lifestyle like raising our own beef, chicken and pork and growing a huge garden which I canned and froze to hold us through the winter. It was a lot of work, but rewarding. I look back on it with fond memories, even though I don’t plan to give up my smart phone, microwave, and laptop.
Tell us about your most recently published book?
Chasing Nightmares is a suspense novel romance set amidst the gold- and silver-mine studded Colorado region. The isolation of the mountains and the reluctance of neighbours to stick their nose in the business of others creates a perfect environment for my story. The antagonist, Dr. Charles Levine, takes advantage of this atmosphere to exact revenge against his dead, despised half-brother by addicting the man’s son, Lee, to a unique brand of pharmaceuticals. Luckily, a prophetic dream by a school mate of Lee’s, Anne Hayward, brings her to their ranch and gives her the courage to break the hold his uncle has over Lee.
Tell us about the first time you were published?
I had entered a short story about a mother and her son titled The Nest in a contest run by the Iowa Woman magazine. When I received a phone call that it had won Honourable Mention and would be published along with the other winners, I just about screamed my delight into the phone. Thankfully for the health of their ear drums, I waited till I hung up before venting my full delight. This was years ago and the magazine is no longer available, but I did include the story in a self-published collection of mine, Weathering the Storms, found on Amazon.com.
As writer, what has been your proudest achievement so far?
I would say that first published short story mentioned above made me the most proud. For one thing, it was based on some real life struggles I was going through at the time and is a testament to how we can deal with loss and adversity and still do the right thing. In addition, it gave me the confidence and momentum to believe in myself as a writer. When I held that illustrated, in print, story showing my name and bio in my own hands, writing became more than just something I loved doing. It was and is something I’m good at and can succeed at if I simply persist and grow.
What books or writing projects are you currently working on, if anything?
I have an idea for a cozy mystery series where a working farm is turned into a writer’s and artist’s retreat. I call it my Coffman’s Art Colony mystery series. The first book is titled A Bull By The Horns and it’s filled with quirky neighbours, hilarious farm animals and eccentric guests, and a murder, of course. I am determined to release it this year.
Which do you prefer? eBooks or Paper Books? Why?
I don’t know that I have a preference. I love the convenience of e-books. I actually read using an app on my smart phone, so I always have a book on hand while waiting for an appointment or even during commercials while watching television. I love print books for their solidarity and longevity and prefer having hard copies of my favourite titles. Plus it’s paper books that people exchange with one another. Without them there would be no need for libraries, and I do love browsing the shelves at my local library.
Indie Publishing, or Traditional Publishing?
I enjoy the freedom of Indie Publishing and have self-published Chasing Nightmares and a couple of short story collections. That does not mean, however, that I would refuse an acceptable offer from the traditional publishing community. While self-publishing is gaining more and more respect, there is still a certain validity, in some people’s minds at least, that only traditional publishing seems to provide.
Aside from your own books, of course, what is one book that you feel everybody should read?
Dorothy Dunnett’s Game of Kings. It is the first book of an historical novel series, but stands alone. Some readers find the book hard to get into at first because she has layered it with so much depth and innuendo and foreshadowing that you might feel a bit lost if you try to grasp it all at once. But persist, I beg you. Let yourself follow the main character’s story through his crazy, complicated journey and you will love him in the end, I promise. The book is even more enjoyable on the second and third readings.
Finally … is there anything you would like to say to your readers in Adelaide, Australia?
I am so happy to be living in an age where technology transcends distance. To think that my books and stories, written from the middle of the U.S., can be read by someone on the other side of the world just with the click of a mouse button is amazing, isn’t it? Thank you to Australian readers who take the time to experience what life is like here and to Australian writers who give me a chance to experience what life is like there.