Monday, November 22, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Please welcome award-winning and multi-published author Donna Alward. Donna is my very first guest author, and I’m thrilled she’s here to tell us about her newest release, Breathe, from Samhain Publishing. (Love the cover!)
Thanks for having me!
First I want to post the info about your release, then on to the interview.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: November 2, 2010
Cover art by Kanaxa
The first time they broke each others’ hearts. Now they have a second chance…
Doing what was expected didn’t get Anna Morelli anything but a bad marriage. Now that her life has fallen apart there’s only one place she can think of to regroup and figure out what comes next. Two Willows, the winery owned by the only man she could ever rely on. Her oldest friend. And her worst mistake.
Growing up as the poor boy didn’t stop Jace Willow from falling for Anna one hot, sultry summer. Back then, his best efforts to prove himself worthy of the Morelli standard fell just short. While it killed him to see her marry someone else, he made beating the Morellis at their own game his life’s work. And he’s excelled at it.
When Anna shows up on his doorstep, their painful history pales in the face of her need for a roof over her children’s heads—and some peace. The heat of their renewed passion is healing, but it burns away layers of hard-won emotional distance, reopening old wounds. Threatening their one last chance to rebuild their love on the shattered pieces of their broken hearts…
Warning: Full-bodied, rich bouquet with sexy overtones. Decant, breathe, and enjoy.First, who is your favorite heroine and how will the reader be able to identify with her?
I hope that readers can identify on some level with all my heroines! I think every woman wants to be loved, and valued, and I also think everyone has events in their pasts that have left scars that need healing. I don’t think it’s necessarily what a heroine does for a living or what her personal issue is that makes readers empathize and identify. I think it’s the universality of emotions that makes a heroine appealing!
Who is your favorite hero and why should the reader fall in love with him?
I always say that in Romance, a reader needs to identify with the heroine and fall in love with the hero, and so I write about men who float my boat and hope they do the same for my readers! Strong, manly men with a core of integrity, strong work ethic and honour with a healthy dose of compassion and a whole lotta sexy. That being said, I do have a few favourites. Noah from Her Lone Cowboy is one, and Mike from Marriage at Circle M is another. I’m also working on a new story this month and this is a secondary character who has been waiting for me to write his story. I have adored him ever since he made an appearance in an earlier book, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he passed the “fave” test as well.
What makes your current heroine perfect for your current hero?
In BREATHE, Anna has known Jace since they were kids. They fell in love back then, so she understands what drives him. She knows how to challenge him, too.
What kind of research did you do for your novel set in the wine country?
It wouldn’t be PC for me to say I drank a lot, would it! LOL Though I am a fan of red wine in particular. Actually the setting of the book is an area I know well – the Shuswap area of British Columbia. We camped there quite often when we lived in Alberta and visited the local wineries. The area research was vacation. The winery research came from visiting and talking to a lovely man named Gary, who owns Granite Creek Estate Winery. And of course I sampled some of their offerings and bought a few special bottles!
I see from your web site that you’re also published by Harlequin/Mills and Boon. How does writing for a major publisher like Harlequin differ from writing for a smaller, although wonderful, publisher like Samhain?
They are two very different experiences. Writing series Romance is not only about a reader expectation of the type of story you write but also the particular line’s promise to the reader as well, whereas I have a little more latitude with Samhain. The style of editing is totally different too. It’s actually quite nice, because both approaches teach me different things about my writing that I think make my writing better across the board. I have wonderful editors at both houses. One thing in common? The realization that this is definitely a global business. I live in Canada. One of my editors is in the UK and the other in Israel. I think that’s really cool.
Tell us how you fashion a story? Do the characters come to you first or does the situation/plot premise call you? Are you an obsessive outliner or more of a go-with-the-flow kind of writer?
Pantser all the way...and it’s characters first that come to me. I find the characters come with the situation attached, so I know the hook from the get go and I do spend some time getting to know my characters – what their issue is, who they are, what events have shaped them over their lives. But I don’t outline or anything. Every time I do, I make a terrible mess. I write a “discovery” draft first – because my characters show me all sorts of gems along the way, and once I get to the end, I can go back and layer and tweak and focus. I let the magic happen in the first draft and work on the symbolism, foreshadowing, tightening pacing, etc. after I have a complete picture of the book as a whole.
How do you balance your writing career with the daily life of being a wife and mother?
Really great some days and not very well on others! I’m fortunate I don’t also have to balance a day job in the mix. It depends on what’s going on and how tight my deadline is. Sometimes the biggest favour I can do myself is to step back from the work for a while and clear my mind, hanging out with the family. The key is to keep perspective, because sometimes if I work too hard, I get tunnel vision and miss things. A lot of the biggest revelations about story come when I’m away from the computer.
Any additional advice for those who are still unpublished?
Write write, write and write some more! I read in David Foster’s memoir that the road to success is straight. I really believe that. Don’t lose sight of the goal, and just go for it. Forward motion all the time. It’s not about selling ONE story, it’s about being able to sell many stories over a number of years. It can take a long time but slow and steady is actually a good thing. Look at everything as an opportunity. Sometimes even rejection is an opportunity – to let this story go and move on to something new and exciting.
What’s coming up in the way of future releases? And if you want to share any details about your current WIP, please do.
Right now BREATHE is out from Samhain Publishing and is available for download wherever e-books are sold. In December, I have a reprint of A Bride for Rocking H Ranch out in the UK in the anthology Christmas Wishes & Mistletoe Kisses. Then in February is the North American release of my Harlequin Romance, Proud Rancher, Precious Bundle. February sees the print release of my EPIC nominated Sold To The Highest Bidder from Samhain, and then I have two more Harlequin Romances due out in May and July. The past year or so has been pretty busy. LOL.
Whew! That list leaves me sort of breathless. And congratulations on that EPIC nomination.
You can catch up with me at my site: http://www.donnaalward.com/, where you’ll find links to my blog, Facebook page and twitter addy. I love hearing from readers!
A busy wife and mother of three (2 daughters and the family dog), Donna Alward believes hers is the best job in the world: a combination of stay-at-home mom and romance novelist.
An avid reader since childhood, Donna always made up her own stories. She completed her Arts Degree in English Literature in 1994, but it wasn’t until 2001 that she penned her first full-length novel, and found herself hooked on writing romance. In 2006 she sold her first manuscript.
From her new home office in Nova Scotia, Donna loves being back on the East Coast of Canada after nearly 12 years in Alberta where her Harlequin career began, writing about cowboys and the west. Donna’s debut Romance, Hired by the Cowboy, was awarded the Booksellers Best Award in 2008 for Best Traditional Romance.
With the Atlantic Ocean only minutes from her doorstep, Donna has found a fresh take on life and promises even more great romances in the near future!
Thanks so much for the insightful answers. Breathe definitely sounds like a story I want to read. You can buy Breathe at Samhain or at many of the major online bookstores, like Amazon.com.