I'm heading off to Asia in the morning, so I'm posting this great interview before I go. Let's welcome Donna Marie Rogers, who's on a Goddess Fish blog tour. She's agreed to answer some questions about her writing process and she's also shared her blurb and excerpt. Hope you'll all rush out and buy the book. Isn't the cover fabulous???
Here's my interview with Donna:
When did you first dream of being a writer and what steps did you take to follow your dream?
I read my first romance novel when I was 20 years old. I'd picked up a couple of used Kathleen E. Woodiwiss novels for my mom, and decided to give one a try on the long ride home. By the time we arrived, I was hooked! I read every romance novel I could get my hands on (even hooked both my sisters-in-law, who are still voracious readers), and slowly the writing jones took a hold of me. Only I quickly discovered that writing an entire novel wasn't as easy as I'd thought. Several years and many half-written manuscripts later, I became discouraged and gave up. But in 2004, I sat down at my computer, a little older and with thicker skin (LOL), and eight months later I'd finished my first draft of There's Only Been You. Unsure of where to go from there, I emailed a fan letter to Jayne Ann Krentz who told me if I was a serious about writing, I should join RWA. Which I did, along with my local chapter. :-)
What do you find most challenging about being a writer? What do you love most?
For me, the most challenging is simply finding the time to write. But once my kids are both in school (this fall!!!), I hope to nail down a regular writing schedule. I love so many things...editing, fan letters, good reviews (just received my first review for MEANT TO BE & it was excellent!). And I love how proud my family is of me. :-)
In addition to writing, what are your other passions?
My family, of course. My friends. Reading, for sure. I love watching TV and I'm a longtime soap opera fan.
What stumbling blocks have you encountered and how have you overcome them?
The usual, I suppose. Agents who say they love your book, but don't know if they could sell it. Editors who call, and just as you're about to have a heart attack they say, "I'm not calling for the reason you think I am." LOL Perseverence is how I overcame those stumbling blocks, until I found an editor who not only loved my work, but believed in it.
What comes first in your writing process? A scene, characters, title? Are you a plotter?
I like to simply start with the opening paragraph, which sets the scene for me. Everything else just develops, I guess, as I write. I used to be a pantser, but I quickly realized plotting works a lot better for me...less headaches...LOL
Where do you get your ideas? And what do you do if your muse decides to take a vacation?
I get my ideas in all sorts of places: the news, articles, books, real life, reality shows. Reality shows are a goldmine for quirky characters. LOL
What’s one secret few people know about you?
I've wracked my brain for something juicy, but I got nothing. Well, I cry at the drop of a hat...but heck, that's just pathetic. *grin* A few months ago, I was trying to tell my friend (co-author Stacey Joy Netzel) about the movie Somewhere In Time with Christopher Reeves & Jane Seymour, which she's never seen, and I couldn't get the words out I was so choked up. She just shook her head and said, "Really? Are you kidding?" LOL I also couldn't read the speech for this year's Chapter Service Award recipients (at the WisRWA conference) because when I tried to practice it on my friends I couldn't do it without crying. Man, I'm a blubbering fool...LOL
Anything special you wish I'd asked or that you'd like to share with readers.
I'd love to post an excerpt for the secondary love story in Meant To Be between Luke Jamison (Garrett's uncle who moved in to take care of them after the deaths of their parents) & Muriel, a neighbor who works at the police station with Garrett & Mike.
Luke Jamison nearly choked on his beer when he saw Muriel strolling his way with a killer smile and a plateful of food. She was so beautiful he couldn't believe some lucky guy hadn't snapped her up already. She had a figure women half her age would envy, and today she wore a pair of those lowrise jeans with a white, spaghetti-strap tank top that had the Led Zeppelin blimp on it. Please, God, let something witty come out of my mouth. He cleared his throat and gestured toward her chest. "You know, I saw them once, but it was years ago."
"Oh, I don't think so." She grinned. "I would've remembered something like that."
Heat crawled up Luke's neck. "I, uh, what I meant was...ah, hell, I'm an idiot."
"Actually, I think you're cute. And I know what you meant, I was only teasing." She stopped in front of him and held out the plate. "Garrett asked me to bring this in to you."
"Thanks." He accepted it without making eye contact. Chicken shit.
"Don't mention it." She took a seat on the beige and gold flower-patterned sofa and patted the cushion beside her. "I'd be happy to keep you company while you eat."
"Maybe I should go eat this out on the patio. Sara'll skin me alive if I plop barbecue sauce on their new furniture."
"Relax, Luke. After four kids, trust me, I'm an expert at taking out stains."
With a hesitant nod, he walked over and sat down next to her, being careful not to sit too close. With his luck, he'd end up getting barbecue sauce on her as well as the sofa.
"So how have you been?" she asked. "I haven't seen you down at the station in quite a while."
"I've been working a lot. Eating up the overtime." He picked up his fork and took a bite of the macaroni salad.
"Tasty, huh? Your Sara sure can cook." Muriel crossed her legs, her sandaled foot brushing his calf. "You know, I'm not a half-bad cook myself."
He glanced up after another bite of macaroni salad. "Can you make pierogies?"
"My maiden name is Slotkowski; what do you think?"
He held her gaze for moment before dropping his back to his plate.
Muriel took heart. Luke Jamison was easily the shyest man she'd ever met. And one of the best looking. He stood just shy of six-feet, had a thick, full head of salt and pepper hair with a matching mustache and beard that he kept neatly trimmed. Muscular, like his nephews, he was in surprisingly good shape for a man of nearly fifty. He wore a wellworn pair of Levi's with a black pocket T-shirt tucked into the waistband, which showed off a lean waist from all the years he'd spent doing hard physical labor at the paper mill. He had big, brown bedroom eyes, and some of the sexiest hands she'd ever seen.
Muriel had been itching to feel those hands on her since the moment they'd met.
* * *
Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on now?
I'd be happy to. I'm working on a novella, Home Is Where the Heart Is, my first story for the sequel to Welcome To Redemption, a four-story anthology I wrote with my good friend & CP, Stacey Joy Netzel. Once we finish the sequel, I have to get back to Jack Sutton's story. You meet Jack in Meant To Be.
And here's a blurb and excerpt from Meant to Be:
She's running from her past, he's unsure about his future. Maybe together they can figure out what was MEANT TO BE. Officer Garrett Jamison is at the lowest point in his life. He’s lost faith in his ability as a police officer after unwittingly setting his sister up with a dirty cop. Garrett ended up getting shot, and his sister's son kidnapped right out of his own bed. He takes a leave from the force, in need of some time to make a decision about his future. Too bad he can't get a decent night's sleep thanks to his sexy new neighbor and her howling cat.
Jessica McGovern moves halfway across the country to start a new life in Green Bay, Wisconsin after her ex-husband is convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of their young son. Her new neighbor is as infuriating as he is handsome, but when her ex is released from prison early and shows up in town, Jessica discovers she's never needed anyone more...
"Come here, Miss Crabbypants."
Jessica resisted, but it was no use. The big oaf outweighed her by a ton. "Look, I just want to finish my tea and relax. Today's my last day off for almost two weeks."
He leaned back and frowned down at her. "Why are you working so many hours?"
She rolled her eyes. "Um, I have bills to pay...?"
His gaze became pensive as he massaged the back of her neck. Slowly, she relaxed until she was leaning into his broad chest, eyes closed, inhaling his spicy masculine scent. He always smelled so good...Damn, the man was a magician; she'd already forgotten why she was mad at him...Wait, oh yeah. "So what's with all that hammering?"
"We're building a doghouse."
His busy fingers moved to her shoulders wringing a groan of ecstasy from her. Oh, God, was she drooling on his shirt? Then his words registered. Jessica leaned back and swiped her mouth with the back of her wrist. "A doghouse? But you don't have a dog...do you?"
"No, but Ethan's been begging for a puppy for a couple years now. I guess he finally wore Sara down. And Mike's still in the ‘buy-Ethan-anything-he-wants' phase." Garrett glanced down at his T-shirt and chuckled. He reached out and recaptured the back of her neck. "Liked that, did you? You do seem a little tense—"
"Oh, no you don't." She ducked out of his reach and took a few steps back. He started to follow but she held up both hands. "You stay right where you are."
He propped his hands on his hips. "So do I have a date tonight or what?"
He grinned. "Wear something sexy," he said with a wink before strolling out the back door. The jackass even had the nerve to whistle.
Jessica walked over and slammed the door with a muttered, "Nutjob." Then she headed into the bedroom to search through her closet.
Thanks so much, Donna, for popping by today! And readers, check yesterday's post for another fun blurb!! And remember to comment. One lucky reader on Donna's blog tour will win a copy of her book.