Friday, April 21, 2017

Nancy Lee Badger Interviews Author Donna Gephart

*Donna will be a Guest Speaker at this year's WRITE NOW writer's conference in Raleigh, NC on April 29th. (more info below)

Donna Gephart writes humorous, heartfelt novels from her home in South Florida with the help of her canine assistant, Benji.  Some of her award-winning titles include LILY AND DUNKIN, DEATH BY TOILET PAPER, HOW TO SURVIVE MIDDLE SCHOOL and OLIVIA BEAN TRIVIA QUEEN.  She’s a popular speaker at schools, book festivals and conferences, which is why she will be guest speaker at the 10th Annual WRITE NOW Conference on April 29th. She will present Creating Quirky Characters From the Outside In as well as sharing closing remarks. Donna, please tell my readers a little bit about your latest book.  
Donna- LILY AND DUNKIN is a dual narrative about a transgender girl who tries to save a beloved tree and Dunkin, who moves to a new state and tries desperately to fit in with the very boys who are tormenting Lily while he deals with bipolar disorder and a terrible secret.  While the themes are serious, the story is gripping and contains many genuine moments of humor. 
Nancy- Describe the genre, and is it the only genre you write in? 
Donna- Most of my books are upper middle grade fiction – ages 10-14
Nancy- When did you start writing toward publication? 

Donna- I’ve been writing since I was ten.  My first sales were of funny greeting cards, then I moved onto humorous essays for magazines, then onto stories, poems and puzzles for children’s magazines like “Highlights for Children,” then, when I was 40, I sold my first book for children, AS IF BEING 12-3/4 ISN’T BAD ENOUGH, MY MOTHER IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT, which won the Sid Fleischman Award for the funniest children’s book of the year. 
Nancy- Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself? 
Donna- I’ve written, revised and submitted at least five full-length novels before I published my first book.  I have a name for those books now:  I call them “Practice.” 
Nancy- What is your writing routine like? 
Donna- I like to write for a few hours first thing in the morning before tackling other tasks like planning school visits or conference talks, answering email, working with educators and librarians to promote reading, running a critique group, etc. 
Nancy- What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help? 
Donna- I attend and speak at many conferences, book festivals, schools, etc.  I also write blog posts, articles, etc.  I give out bookmarks and do giveaways for teachers and librarians throughout the school year.  
Nancy- Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing? 
Donna- I love being able to live a creative life, work with inspiring people, help and inspire young people on their journeys and being part of a wonderful community of other creative people. 
Nancy- Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped? 
Donna- SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) has been part of my journey from the beginning.  I recommend anyone who wants to write for children join the organization and get involved at least at the local level with critique groups and conferences. 
Nancy- Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?  
Donna- Write what you love, what matters to you.  Enjoy the process/the journey.  Focus on the things you can control and do them with great confidence and joy . . . and let the rest go.

You can find more information 
about Donna Gephart at: 


Meet Donna and meet her and other wonderful speakers at:

Find out more and register HERE     

1 comment:

  1. Great interview, Nancy. As a former middle school English teacher, I've always believed that YA writers are a special group of people. Anyone who can hold the interest of a tween or teen and then also make them laugh, cry, or just keep reading, is a hero in my book. I'm looking forward to meeting Donna at the conference!