Donna is the author of A CHANGE OF PLANS, a contemporary adventure romance. What a journey this novel took me on. See my previous post to read the book blurb and more of my thoughts on the novel.
So, welcome, Donna!
1) First of all, tell us about your swoon-worthy cover. It's beautiful, captivating and drew me in. Were you able to have any input on the cover design?
Donna: I know, right? I love it. Yes, I did have input on the cover design. I'm fortunate that my publisher involves the author all along the process.
That is awesome. Praise to you and everyone at Rhemalda who worked on the cover design.
2) What books inspire your writing?
Donna: Stories that compel me or characters that draw me in.
3) A CHANGE OF PLANS takes place on a cruise ship and on various islands in the Pacific Ocean. Can you tell us a little about the trips you've been on in this area of the world?
Donna: By the time I was 13, I'd crossed the Pacific three times by ship (only once by plane). We lived in the Philippines for two years, and I experienced a typhoon first hand--there's a kickin' storm scene that got cut from the book, with projectile coconuts and everything. Someday I would love to visit American Samoa.
A typhoon! That is sort of awesome and sort of crazy, Donna. Your experience with the Pacific definitely shined through in your novel.
4) So much goes into writing a novel. Tell us about the research you did while putting this story together. What was the hardest part?
Donna: I did all kinds of research. The cruise itself was a real one offered at the time I wrote the book. The cruise line is the same one my husband and I went on for our 25th wedding anniversary. When we visited Great Falls to see a daughter, it was an hour and a half to Lewistown. I told my husband we couldn't be that close and not visit. It was an awesome experience and changed many things. I wanted it to be real.
The hardest part was Part 2, while they are shipwrecked. What should it really be about? Survival? The romance? One of these days I'm going to put together a section with deleted scenes. Most of those will come from Part 2.
Congratulations on your 25th anniversary! I know how hard it is to cut scenes. As Donald Maass says, we authors are "wedded to our words." But it ends up being worth it. I would still love to read your deleted scenes sometime!
5) Many of the characters in A CHANGE OF PLANS intrigued me, including Braedon, Jack Randolph and, of course, Lyn. The scene where Lyn meets Jack is classic. Are any of your characters modeled after someone you know?
Donna: Jori is the only one, and it's more his dirty little secret than his personality. I knew someone who experienced what Jori did, though his circumstances and subsequent behavior were different.
6) What is your favorite chapter or scene and why?
Only one? I love the tender scenes. One of my favs is on the catamaran when Braedon needs to hold Lyn to deal with his own grief. What a complicated position for the poor guy to be in.
But I also love the scene at the breakfast table when everyone's trying to get Lyn to help with Jimmy's act for the talent contest. I love the not-so-subtle coercion because, of course, we all know she should do it.
7) What's the best writing advice you ever received?
Never give up.
Great advice, Donna. "Becoming a published author is one part talent and one part relentless, dogged determination." That quote from Barbara Larmon Failing has stuck with me.
8) What project are you working on now?
I finished a companion novel to A Change of Plans that stars Jori as the main character. It's with my publisher now. For November's NaNo, I've got a book planned with Lyn's brother, Marc, as the main character.
Fun! I'm excited to read more about those characters. Thank you, Donna. I thoroughly enjoyed your novel and this interview!