When did you first realize you wanted to become a Writer/author?
I think I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was born. LOL. Okay, but seriously, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing or obsessing over learning how to write. When I was four years old, my older brother brought home an extra vocabulary worksheet for me from his first grade class, and I would immediately sit down at the kitchen table and go through all the questions. I won my first writing contest in fourth grade, for a short I wrote for a class assignment, and in junior high, I wrote romance stories for my friends and me, mostly about our favorite group, Duran Duran. By my sophomore year, my friends ended up dubbing me most likely to become a romance novelist. But it wasn’t until I saw Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers that I discovered the power of a character’s voice inside my head. That’s when a story sprang to life in my mind and wouldn’t let me go until I wrote it down. That’s also when I decided to get serious about someday becoming a published author and started taking writing courses.
Where do you get your ideas for your books?
My ideas for my books come from everywhere. For example, just the other night, I was washing my face, getting ready for bed, and started thinking about my upcoming haircut. As I brushed my hair, I noticed a bit of grey at my roots. Out of nowhere, this idea for a 4-book series about a set of four best friends in their early forties—cougars—hit me. Less than three hours later, I had the series concept, the concept for each of the four books, brief character sketches, and an overall idea about the character arcs. The next morning, I had the series name and the title for each book. When a good idea hits me for a story, everything else in my life stops. Not because I want it to, but because the story refuses to let me do anything else until I’ve fleshed it out and jotted down a few notes.
But I’ve gotten story ideas from TV shows, songs, pictures, (songs and pictures are huge story inspirations for me), other books, movies, newspaper articles, magazines, childhood memories, and so much more.
What kind of things do you enjoy when not writing?
You mean there’s a life outside writing? LOL. Seriously, though, I do enjoy getting outside and grabbing some fresh air, as well as snuggling with my cats during a relaxing nap.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written 22 books so far, but only 18 are published. Two more come out later this month, another in April, and another later this summer. As for which is my favorite, it feels like each new book I write is my favorite, but from a personal level, I’d have to say that Rise of the Fallen is my fave. It was the first book I wrote, and I wrote it during a rock-bottom point in my life. Writing Micah’s story became cathartic for me, so that as Micah found himself, so did I. To this day, Micah is probably my favorite character. He and I just seem to have a really strong connection. I sometimes joke that he’s the part of me I don’t show the world. My darker half, but also a deeply caring one.
Do you have any suggestions to help others who have a passion for writing?
Passion is the most important ingredient to be a writer. Writing is hard work, and it takes a lot of dedication. So passion is paramount. But so is learning how to write for fiction. If you aspire to tell a story to a reading public, you need to learn how to effectively convey that story to keep the reader engaged. So, my advice is to study the writing craft, learn through both formal and informal means, and never stop.
What do you think makes a great story?
Conflict. Without conflict, there is no story.
Which Writer/Authors inspire you?
J.R. Ward rekindled my love of reading with her Black Dagger Brotherhood, and I loved her voice. I’m a tough audience when it comes to reading. My attention span is just about nil, so if a story doesn’t grip me fast or seems to drone on, I lose interest. Ward’s writing style is fast and full of action and conflict, which keeps me gripped. And her characters pop off the page and feel real. I’ve definitely been inspired by her style when it comes to my paranormal work. But I’ve also been inspired by Liliana Hart, Aleatha Romig, Cecilia Tan, and Gayle Forman, as well as countless others we don’t have room to list.
What are you working on at the moment?(optional)
I’m putting finishing touches on a long novella called Suspicion, which I’ve written for Aleatha Romig’s Infidelity World, which is a new Kindle World that launches on March 23. I’m also working on final edits of the last two books in my Size Matters Serialized Novel. I’m also preparing to get back to my next All the King’s Men book, BLACK.
What genre are your books?
I write paranormal, erotic, and contemporary romance.
What drew you to the genre you write?
Interestingly enough, romance has never been one of my favorite genres to read. I think this is because I never liked the formulaic way publishers approached romance. But with the rise of self publishing, I’m finally more drawn to romance as a reader. But, for me, I started writing romance so that I could tell the types of stories I wanted to be reading. I was also drawn to paranormal romance, because I’m fascinated with the paranormal and supernatural, especially vampires.
Which Actor/Actress would you like to see portraying the lead character from your most recent book?(any book you like)
My muse for Natasha “Nash” Miller, the female protagonist of Suspicion, is Alona Tal, so ideally, she would play the part.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Finding enough time to write all the stories I want to write. I currently have three 4-book series in development, as well as what could be the final Strong Karma book and the next five or six All the King’s Men books, which will be my priority starting in a week or two. I need four of me just to get all the writing done.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded Writer’s block?
I actually don’t believe in writer’s block. I once heard from a prolific, highly successful author that writer’s block is the result of the author boring herself with her own story. When I heard that, it was like a lightbulb went on over my head, because, in the past, any time I struggled to get words down, I’d discovered that I’d taken the story in a direction it didn’t want to go. The story got bogged down in all this nonessential crap that made no sense and came off more like rambling. Once I identified where the story fell of the tracks and deleted all the stuff that wasn’t working (TIP: always save your deletions in another file), the story became exciting again, and words once more flowed.
With that said, if an author finds herself staring at her computer screen without any keyboard action, here’s my advice: Get up, walk away, and do something else. ANYTHING else. Wash dishes, clean the house, clean out your files, transcribe your notes from your notebooks into a bookmarked computer file (this is how I got the idea for my Size Matters Series, after I came across a two-year-old note about a spoofy book idea), read, watch TV, see a movie every day, take a shower, get on the interstate and drive, eat at a new-to-you restaurant, buy a newspaper or magazine you’ve never read (and read it), read Just Write by James Scott Bell, read, read, read, listen to a genre of music you’ve never listened to before, take a walk, WRITE SOMETHING ELSE THAT IS SPEAKING TO YOU. The point is, you want to get your mind off the problem so your subconscious can work on it for you. I guarantee you, if you stop worrying about it and do something else, you will eventually be flooded with ideas. Just be ready to kill your darlings and rewrite, because, more often than not, you blocked up because your story wasn’t going in the right direction. You’ll need to tear it apart and rebuild it.
Do you read much, and if so who are your favorite Authors or genres?
I don’t read nearly as much as I would like. I don’t have a favorite author or genre, although I am a huge fan of J.R. Ward. I’m more the type of reader who has a favorite type of story. I like anything that hits my emotions and keeps me wondering how it will all end. Aleatha Romig’s Insidious was like this. Brilliant. Cecilia Tan’s Struck by Lightning Series, as well as Kyra Davis’s Just One Night, also kept me turning the pages. But I’ve also enjoyed books by John Sandford, John Twelve Hawks, Kresley Cole, Amanda Kyle Williams, and Dean Koontz, just to name a few. Right now I’m diving into Lara Adrian’s Midnight Breed books. I’ve been saving them up and have said for a couple of years that I would read them all back-to-back someday. Looks like the time is now.
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Just that I’d love to get to know you and your readers better.
How can Readers discover more about you and your work?(please provide proper links)
I’m most active on Facebook, so people could friend or follow me there:
They can also follow me on Amazon and Bookbub:
Amazon: Donya Lynne Amazon Author Page
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview