Today I am interviewing Donna Steele. Her latest book, Homecoming, is a contemporary women's fiction and was recently released by Rebel Ink Press. She and I met at our local Romance Writers of America chapter, and recently roomed together at a writer's conference. I was interested in what she writes. Sci-Fi and women's fiction? Both are very different from what I write, so I wanted to find out more. Welcome, Donna!
Start us off by telling my readers about your book.
This story is a little different than what I usually write. It came to me as I was cleaning out my parent's home after they were gone. Some of it is true and some is a drastic cautionary tale to get people to clean out their own homes before the kids get stuck with it and don't have a clue what's "important." It did make me appreciate my family - I didn't have to go through it alone.
I live with a pack rat. Describe the genre of this particular title. Is it the only genre you write in?
This is my first women's fiction and I hope to do some more like it, but my first love is science fiction/paranormal romance. I love seeing the possibilities that are just beyond our grasp; at least they're beyond our grasp for now.
I write in different genres as well, usually whatever strikes me. When did you start writing toward publication?
That's a hard one, I've been writing since I was a little girl. My husband and biggest supporter urged me to send a story to Tor - they didn't take it, but it broke the ice. I have some very dear friends I've written with in the past and one of them, Char Chaffin, recently became published and demanded I join RWA and give it a try. She was so right.
My hubby supports me, too, including reading my stuff before I send it to editors. I still have all my rejection letters. (talk about clutter!) Back to business: how did you get into romance writing?
There's something else to write? Actually I think that the relationship (and bumps within) between two people is the most fascinating story there is, and there seems to be endless variety. That is major cool!
Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself?
Yes, I had finished a couple of manuscripts and have several others in various states of completion. I saw an ad online from Rebel Ink Press and the name caught my attention - Rebels are something I can get behind, so I sent the first one "Rth Rising" to Rebel Ink and lo and behold, they liked it. I still remember the breathless shock when it really happened.
You're a Rebel, and I'm a Yankee, but we clicked! Why have you become a published author?
To tell the truth, in part to see if I could do it. I've read some incredible stories that have stuck with me for years. I would so love to have something I've written stay with someone and make them smile long after they've read it.
Who first introduced you to the love of reading?
Don't laugh - it's DC Comics. Really. I was six and at school they were teaching me "Dick, Jane and Sally." Lord, they were boring children! And I could read at a higher level than that very quickly. On Sunday's Daddy, my sister and I would walk along the railroad tracks to downtown (and I use the term loosely) to Jim's Drugstore. As far as I know Jim died long before I was born, but there was a section in the back with "funny books" (now known as graphic novels and charged for accordingly). Superman sucked me in and I never looked back.
I remember when comic books were 3 for 25 cents! Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?
The feedback. Reading a review or getting a note from someone that has read my books and enjoyed them. There is no better stroking. I got a note from my 8th grade English teacher the other day. She and her husband had read Learning Trust and loved it. She was so thrilled that she had a published author as a student. It doesn't get any better than that.
You are living the dream! What do you see ahead in your writing career?
Plowing ahead - I want to continue to write as long as the stories will come. It's too much fun to create worlds and characters that sometimes take over the story and twist it around in ways I never envisioned.
Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped?
I'm a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Heart of the Carolina Romance Writers (HCRW), Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, and I'm a Rebel Ink Elite Writer. They have all been of such immense help. The very energy in the room when I attend the HCRW meetings pulls stories out of me. The inspiration and feeling of belonging is hard to describe.
And, since we see each other at these meetings, the commaraderie is priceless. Writing can be a solitary career if you don't join a group. Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?
Everyone says it, but it's true - write. Even when nothing is coming and you're pulling it out instead of it flowing, keep writing. You can always erase or edit later. Have more than one manuscript ready (or close). Who knows if the next person you send it to wants even more. And make it a book you want to read.
What’s next for you?
Homecoming just came out, so I'm promoting it right now, but I have three under construction and can't wait to get back to them.
Upon the death of her grandmother, Ashley returns home to sell the family home. There she discovers Matt comfortably ensconced in the guest house, taking care of the family estate.
His love for the architecture and past grandeur of the old mansion tempers Ashley's memories of neglect and abuse at the hands of the matriarch, and the town. As she and Matt work together, they begin to get the place, and their lives, back in shape.A little bit about the author
I’d love to say I’m able to write full time. Unfortunately my real life demands attention worse than my kids when they were toddlers. Ever since I learned to read I’ve wanted to write. Maybe it was just to escape that "real life" but I managed it! I finally got up the courage to submit a few things and I’m delighted that I finally get to share my passion with you. I write science fiction and mild paranormal usually with an eco-twist, though I am indulging in some contemporary women's fiction. My premiere novel, Rth Rising, was released on March 3, 2012. Learning Trust came out June 7. I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, FF&P and the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers. I live in North Carolina as an empty nester now with my beloved best friend and husband, who actually encourages this mad passion of mine.
Read an Excerpt of Homecoming HERE
Thanks for stopping by, Donna. How can my readers buy your book?You can find more information about Donna Steele and Homecoming, by visiting:
All Romance EBooks
Barnes and Noble
All Romance EBooks
Barnes and Noble