Sunday, March 17, 2013

Interview with Author Donna Wright

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Give us a quick introduction on yourself and your book.

My name is Donna Wright and I live in East Tennessee.  I write sweet romance for Montlake/Avalon Books. 

My books are called the Tennessee: Love Series and in order are:
Inadmissible: Love
Found: Love
Diagnosis: Love
Verdict: Love

What inspired you to write your first book?
I kept trying to write inspirational romance and friends pointed out that I needed to use my crazy sense of humor to write romantic comedy.  On the way to a writer’s conference a bunch of us came up with the idea of a pig being a pivotal character.  I took it from there.

Do you have a specific writing style?
Yes, I am what is referred to as a panster.  I usually have an idea that is pretty much solid, but the characters then write themselves.

How did you come up with the title?
The original title of the first book was THIS LITTLE PIGGY WENT TO COURT.  Avalon changed it to Inadmissible: Love.  After that, I came up with the other titles based on the characters’ jobs. 

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
These books are mostly for fun, but if they were to have a message, it would be that romance doesn’t mean sex.  It’s about emotions a journey that can end happily.

How much of the book is realistic?
Ft. White is really Knoxville, TN and I use many of the points of interest in all of them.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No.  I do have a husband of almost 33 years, so I had a romance with a happy ending.  That’s it. 

What books have most influenced your life most?
I just always loved romance stories and movies.  I got into reading and decided I wanted to write.  I can’t really say one book or even one author influenced me to write. 

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I think more than any other the late Jane Bierce was a huge influence on me.  Other than she, I would have to say that for the most part the writers of the Smoky Mountain Romance Writers mentored each other.  Few of us really knew what we were doing but somehow we all got published and wrote great books.

What book are you reading now?
Right now, I’m in writing mode, so I have been mostly reading my own work.  I enjoy many types of writing from all genres of romance to the classics. 

What are your current projects?
I have a couple of things I’m working on.  One is a short story in the TN: Love universe.  The other is a regency set vampire story.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I think we’re back to the Smoky Mountain Romance Writers.  They have been the one true source of inspiration and have given me a boost every time I think about quitting. 

Do you see writing as a career?
Yes.  Emphatically, yes.  I believe that’s where writers, and for that matter, other artists are sucked into poor business decisions.  Writing is a craft or art, but publication is pure business.  Don’t let anyone tell you differently.  If they do, they’re lying. 

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I would be writing faster!  LOL  I have no regrets in my TN: Love books.  I had a great editor.  Erin Cartwright-Niumata was absolutely the very best person and teacher and friend.  I gave her a piggy for each book because I just adored her.  I have no regrets about these books at all.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?+

One name: Donny Osmond.  I wrote stories about him as a kid and grew up to publish romance.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?
As I said, I’ve got 2.  One is my favorite book I’ve ever worked on.  I call it the Shield of Orion and it’s about regency set vampires.  That’s all I really want to say right now.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
YES.  I find I have a huge problem with action scenes.  I have struggled with this one for 2 months.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I am a huge fan of the one and only Jane Austen.  Her stories touch my heart and I honestly can’t explain why.  I loved Persuasion and when looking only at the books, not the wonderful movies that have been made of her works, I love this story the best.  I like books about people who once knew each other but were torn apart for whatever reason.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Funny you should ask.  I am going to start a book tour soon.  I want to go into towns and help promote their libraries.

Who designed the covers?
The cover artist for all four books was Tess Anson.  She did a fabulous job.  They were originally to go into libraries.  If I had one regret though, it would be that we couldn’t change them for mass-market.  I think the cover does a lot for a book.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I think it’s just working full time, raising my son, being a wife and then having the time to write.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Yes, write fast!  Look if you want to write and be published by one of the big boys, here’s the best advice anyone can give you.  This is business. As nice and friendly as your editor/agent is, you are your next book.  It’s not a bad thing, it’s just a fact.  If you want to write, write and write fast.  Keep the inventory going, even if your story isn’t picked up.  It will make a great book to introduce to that editor/agent when you sell that 2nd or 3rd book.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you.  I mean that from the bottom of my heart.  Thanks so much for reading and I hope you are enjoying the work.