Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Author Interview ~ Donna Dawson

Mystery Writers Unite is PLEASED to be interviewing Donna Dawson, author of REDEEMED, THE ADAM & EVE PROJECT, VENGEANCE, FIRES OF FURY AND RESCUED (see select titles below and others at Donna's website:

Writing started for Donna about the time she learned the alphabet as did the singing; the teaching came a bit later but started about the time that her children began to develop weird and not-so-wonderful illnesses which interfered with their schooling.  That began the homeschooling chapter of her life and Donna’s particular little darlings adapted so well to home schooling that she stuck at it until they were too old to stay home--enter--university life.  That developed the whole teaching skill side of her brain and it never quite left. 

When Donna dove into the writing it was with the idea of learning from a teacher's perspective.  She didn't realize at the time that by taking the university writing courses through Long Ridge Writers Group she would arm herself with the credentials needed to teach Creative Writing at Fanshawe College.  Luckily, the powers that be figured if she could teach her own angels, teaching adults who actually wanted to be there would be a piece of cake. 

Today, Donna is still “chugging” along at writing and she must be doing something right as The Word Guild gave her three awards for two of her books! Donna reveals the following about her books,  “the convoluted and sometimes twisted plots for her novels has everything to do with being raised the youngest in a predominantly male household, the patriarch of the clan being a Sergeant in the army.”

--- Interview

First, thanks for agreeing to let Mystery Writers Unite interview you, it is a pleasure…now for the fun stuff J

Donna Dawson: It is my great pleasure to be a participant in this interview.

MWU: Aside from family, who would you say has been the biggest supporter of your writing?

Donna Dawson: Hands down, my church family.  They buy my books which is a sure sign that they feel sorry for me/are devoted to what I am doing :-)

MWU: If you could be one of your characters, what type of character would you be and why ?

Donna Dawson: I’d like to be Julie Holding from Vengeance.  She seems to always have the right answer, to keep her cool in a tough situation and yet doesn’t come across as a snob.  I tend to stick my foot in my mouth on far too many occasions to be like her but I can still dream :-)

MWU: If one of your characters could step out of the pages of one of your books (any character you want) what do you think he would say to you? What would they he thankful for? Upset about?

Donna Dawson: Boy!  You don’t make this easy :-)  I’m going to play with this a bit.  Doctor Jason Steadman.  If he could talk I think he’d complain that I forced him out of his lab and into the lime light.  But, I think he would thank me that he got a chance to bring his medical procedure, to transfer embryos into women who can’t conceive, into the public eye.

MWU: To date, which character has been the easiest and hardest to create and write and why?

Donna Dawson: Oh that one’s easy.  I would say the villain in Vengeance.  I wanted the readers to actually like the guy—to feel empathy for him—and yet I wanted him to be a clear villain.  It wasn’t easy creating such an obvious contrast and yet it was successful.  I’ve had reader’s comment that they really felt sorry for the guy but that it was clear that he was wrong to do what he did.

MWU: If you had less than a minute to tell a perspective reader what they could expect from one of your books (you are at a trade show and someone has stopped by your booth) what would you tell them? Go….

Donna Dawson: I would say that Rescued is about a teen who gets pregnant.  She will die if she goes ahead with the pregnancy.  In a new procedure, she has the embryo transferred from her to another woman.  I then would say, “Think of the ramifications for tubal pregnancies, for abortion, for adoption.”  I’ve had that conversation and it intrigues the writer enough to buy the book.  It’s a win/win scenario for all involved.

MWU: How do you develop and differentiate your characters and how do you “stay in character” when your writing? Has this processed changed over time?

Donna Dawson: I create each character through roughly 60 questions I answer about them.  That sheet of paper is posted nearby and I refer to it often when I am writing.  It keeps me from losing facts and personality traits about the character.  For example:  One of the questions is: What is one of this character’s pet peeves?

MWU: Who do you see as your “ideal” reader?

Donna Dawson: I target the adult who likes suspense and action.  Funny thing though—I have had readers as young as eight buy my books and love them.  I can’t help but say that they are advanced readers because this is clearly not light and fluffy reading.

MWU: What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

Donna Dawson: There are two pieces of advice I have valued.  One was; expect enough rejection slips to wallpaper your office.  The other was; get educated.  Learn the craft of writing and learn the correct process for contacting publications.

MWU: What are you working on now and when can fans expect your next book or CD?

Donna Dawson: I’m actually just finishing the final touches on a writing book.  It’s called “Duke the Chihuahua Writes!”.  Ok so I didn’t say it was an intellectual writing book.  I’ve tried to combine humour through the eyes of a rather stuffy and aged pooch to get the details of writing and marketing out to the beginner writer.  I’m hoping to see it in print by this time next year but we’ll see.

MWU: Is there anything you would like to say to new writers, new readers or current fans of your work?

Donna Dawson: I wasn’t kidding about the importance of learning the craft of writing.  Too many talented writers shoot themselves in the foot because they are too afraid of editing and they aren’t educated about the process involved in writing.  It makes the difference—believe me!  And I want to thank you for inviting me to the interview once again.  Wishing you an awesome Christmas!

Synopsis for REDEEMED:

It was never her intention to become a believer in Christ.  She had fallen too far to think she could ever have found her way back to such freedom and forgiveness.  God had other plans, though.  Will miracles never cease? she reflected as she stared absently through the large plate glass window.

She could see the sun, blood-hued and angry looking, rising over the lake, its silver-grey surface duplicating the fiery disk in its rippling depths.  Lake Restoule.  It was a beautiful place with its abrupt rocky outcroppings and hills covered with dense collections of brambles, ferns, and scrub trees struggling to maintain their grasp on their barren perches--a place of peace.

She smiled at the glorious sight spread out before her.  There was a fine lacy edging  of ice skirting the pristine lake water, and the birch, maple and elm trees on the island across from her were absorbing the growing light that was transforming colourless leaves into a blaze of oranges, yellows and bronzes.  Early morning fauna were rustling nervously through dry and shrivelled grasses that begged for the approaching rain, and the trees had already begun the slight shuffling dance that precedes a coming storm, their awkward and brittle arms lifting papery foliage in supplication to an overcast sky.

Her focus shifted to the ghostly reflection of her own face mirrored, shadowed and indistinct, in the glass that separated her from nature's canvas, and her smile faded a bit.  Her outward appearance was a contrast.  Native blood, passed down from her mother, flowed strong in her veins, manifesting itself through the hue of her skin.  Long, thick hair bore evidence of her father's Scottish ancestry, it's deep auburn tint muted in the early light.  She was a tiny woman, like her mother, slim and willowy with a lithe grace in her movements.  Her diminutive size belied an incredible strength of limb.  Hers was a body of speed and economy.

Her eyes dropped to the dim reflection of the long ragged scar that traced a wicked path from the corner of her almond-shaped, chocolate-coloured eyes to just below her mouth.  It was a sad mouth, full and sensuous in shape but with a slight turning down of its corners.  It contradicted the peace and joy that shone just below the surface of the rest of her young and lovely face.

But it was her eyes that really told the story.  Eyes that had once been full of pain and despair, devoid of hope, now showed slow and steady healing.  An unearthly patience, forged in the fires of trial and tribulation, dwelled in their dusky depths, speaking of a life of bitter and harsh experience overcome by great victory.  They were ancient eyes.

Synopsis for VENGEANCE:

FBI agent goes on a cruise for his vacation but discovers murder on board.  Can he find out if there is a deadly virus loose before the ship docks?  Can he keep Doctor Julie Holding from become embroiled in the intrigue?  Find out.

Synopsis for FIRES OF FURY:

Katherine didn’t expect to find love after the mysterious death of her husband but Ontario Provincial Police Officer Jason Wolfe has other ideas. As she struggles to overcome her husband’s death and his betrayal with Beverly Jarvis, Katherine must decide if she is willing to surrender her feelings to yet another man caught in Beverly’s sights.

With a family who is constantly interfering, and Jason’s persistent attention, she must choose between living the life that she is accustomed to or find a new one elsewhere. And as Katherine is forced to make choices she has no wish to make, she must continue to outsmart the man who is trying to kill her too.

Can her growing love survive so much or will she run?

Synopsis for RESCUED:

There could be a peaceful solution to abortion.  A solution that has been in use for 20 years.  For the girl who doesn't want an abortion but feels she has no other choice.  For the woman who has been told she has a tubal pregnancy but wished to keep her child.  For the woman who can't conceive but wants the experience of carrying a baby and delivering.  It's a simple solution.  A solution overlooked by those who are firm in their stand and have not had the opportunity to look beyond it.

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