Donna Grant, a native Texan, has written more than twenty novels, spanning many genres of romance. She is also one of the nicest people I have had the pleasure to meet.
I am so excited to get to sit down with her and pick her brain about writing, romance, and raising a family.
So--pick a comfy spot, grab a beverage, and settle in for a while. I have lots of questions! And don't forget to check out below for a chance to win one of Donna's ebooks---YOUR CHOICE!!!!!!!!!!
First, welcome to my blog, Donna. It’s great to have you here and I am so excited about promoting your eBook, Primal Heat.
It’s great to be here! Thank so much for having me.
Because I know how popular your Dark Sword series is, I thought I’d start off with asking you questions about them. The books take place in Scotland, and there are five so far in this series. How many do you plan to write? And I know that a lot of us, myself included, love your covers. You have an awesome gal that does the work—Trish, aka PickyMe—How did you get her to do the work? Does an author have a lot of input when it comes to her covers?
Thank you. Yes, the sixth Dark Sword book, DARKEST HIGHLANDER, releases January 31, 2012. Then – and here’s the tricky part – there’s a spin off series, Dark Warriors. Except its not *really* a spin. Same characters, same story line, just something huge happens at the end of DARKEST HIGHLANDER. J
There are two sets of back to back Dark Warriors series.
MIDNIGHT’S MASTER – May 22, 2012
MIDNIGHT’S LOVER - June 26, 2012
MIDNIGHT’S SEDUCTION – Nov 2012
MIDNIGHT’S WARRIOR – Dec 2012
With more to come. I can’t say exactly how many books there will be because that would ruin a couple of the surprises I have coming up. Lol
SWEET! I am stoked and looking forward to this ***rubs hands together in excitement.
I won’t tell anyone…just whisper it in my ear, lol. Seriously, thanks for the titles, and release dates. Some of us, ***cough, cough*** are anal about their books, and write them down in a journal, to keep up with what she has to buy each month ***smiles innocently and bats eyes.
If I tell you the secret, it’ll ruin the book. Suffice it to say that I expect most readers will be heard gasping in surprise at least twice in Broc’s book DARKEST HIGHLANDER this January.
As for the covers, Tricia did the last three in the Dark Sword books (Untamed Highlander, Shadow Highlander, Darkest Highlander) and I think she did a fabulous job. I had no say in my publisher, St. Martin’s Press, bringing Tricia on board or asking her to do my covers. I didn’t have any input in them either. When it comes to most traditional publishers, the author has very little, if any, input. But I’m never worried. My editor has a great eye for picking wonderful covers that convey what the book is about. I’m lucky in that aspect.
Here’s hoping your editor keeps up the fabulous work!
I was shocked to learn that until recently, you had never even been to Scotland. Yet, you write such a vivid picture of the Highlands. I know that you must have done a ton of research to get it right. Tell me what that process is like—writing about a place you have never been.
That’s true. I only went to Scotland for the first time this past July. It does take a lot of research. Tons of pictures, research books devoted just to specific places in Scotland, and on and on. I wanted to be as accurate as I could. But nothing compares to actually visiting Scotland. To have seen and experienced such a wondrous country. I can’t wait to go back.
Also, what were your first impressions when you did finally get to travel to Scotland? What was your favorite part of the trip? I heard that you took your family with you. Although I think I know the answer to this, what was the worst part about your vacation?
My first impression was how very clean the country was. No litter anywhere. And green. Everything was such a vibrant green. Every little town and village we went through had an array of gorgeous flowers hanging and potted everywhere. I wasn’t prepared for how cool it was. Even in the middle of summer, my short sleeve shirt under a long sleeve shirt under a jacket just wasn’t enough at times. Especially with the wind or when the rain came.
Yes, we brought the kiddos and my parents. Every day was my favorite day there from the forests, the castles, the mountains, the lochs…everything. I couldn’t get enough. The worst part of the vacation was when we had to leave. :S
Ack—you make me want to jump on a plane right now and take off for Scotland. I can practically smell the fresh air and flowers.
I am a newbie writer, struggling to find the time with a hubby, and two young kids, to write. How do you do it? What is the typical writing day for you? Are you a pantser or do you have to plot?
Lol. I get asked this a lot. I think its different for every person, but I’ll tell you what I did/do. I began writing when I was still working as an accountant and pregnant with my oldest child. Hubby and I had agreed I would stay home with the kids, so after my daughter was born, I was a stay at home mom. I got back to writing as soon as I could. I’d write whenever she slept.
When I got pregnant with my son, I did the same thing. Both kids grew up playing at my feet by my desk or even sitting in my lap as I typed on the computer. I’d get them old keyboards (because I went through so many) and let them pound away with me. They weren’t always so good. There were days I’d get nothing done, but for the most part it worked.
As they got older, they understood when not to bother me. And I make sure that I write only Monday – Friday. I leave the weekends for the family, but I can do that because I don’t work another job.
But I started out setting a realistic goal for myself. 10 pages a day. (WOOT-You go, girl!) I didn’t stop writing until I met those ten pages. I did that for 2 books. This was before I sold, but somehow I knew it was important to know what my limits were. After those 2 books I bumped the page count up to 11 a day. With every book I kept moving the count up. By the time I sold, I was doing 15 pages a day. I’m at 20 a day now and it’s comfortable for me. There are times I can do 30, but I’m a vegetable afterwards. Lol
I am so jealous…I do word count instead of pages. If I manage 1500 words a day, I’m okay. But I think I tend to over analyze every word, LOL. Then the self doubt kicks in and it roller coasters into a huge pity party for me. But I have great beta readers and awesome friends that are good at being my sounding board.
Do you have someone who helps you out when you think you’re not getting it right?
No, I tried critique groups, but I always wrote at such a fast pace I could never find anyone who could keep up with it. So, I’ve always gone it alone. I like it like that now. I know when to trust myself, when to ask hubby for suggestions because I’m stuck, and when to call my editor because I know something is wrong and I can’t figure it out.
Because I learned to do this, and met the goals I set, my editors now know when I tell them I can turn in a 400+ book in 6 weeks that I’ll do it. 20 pages a day at five days a week = 100 pages a week.
Sounds like a lot doesn’t it? It is. Start slow. Start at 5 pages a day or whatever, but set a goal and work towards it. When you reach it, keep pushing yourself. You’ll be amazed at what you can do.
I’m a pantster all the way. I have no idea what my characters are going to do or where they’ll take me from one moment to the next. It keeps me surprised. J
My typical writing day is to get up and get the kids out the door, check emails, do FB, Twitter, my blog, my forum and whatever else I have. Write for an hour or two, then workout in time to write for about another hour before I have lunch. If I’m not done with my pages, I get my but in gear and get them cranked out before I have to leave at 2:30 to get the kiddos. If I’m lucky and hubby gets the kids, then I’ve got a little more time.
Whew—you are one busy chicky…I’m breaking out in a nervous sweat just reading what you do in a day. But, that’s what I like about authors. For the most part, I’ve met some really great ones! The encouragement and motivation is truly amazing. Thanks for sharing this with us.
Let’s talk about Primal Heat a bit, your eBook novella. This is a great read, especially with Halloween just around the corner. The story itself takes place over a six hour span—and I was biting my nails near the end, with five minutes left. Can you tell us what made you come up with the concept of Weres and Trackers from another planet? And does the castle in this novella truly exist? And also, will Stephan get his own story?
I’m so glad you enjoyed PRIMAL HEAT. I was with my British publisher when they asked me to do a Halloween novella, but there were two conditions. It had to be either about vampires or werewolves, and it had to be contemporary.
I had written a time travel, but never a full contemporary, so I was anxious about doing it. And though I love to read vampires, I’ve never wanted to write one, so I chose werewolves, but I wanted them to be the bad guys.
I watch a lot of Doctor Who and Torchwood, so it was no surprise to anyone that I set the book in Cardiff, Wales where Torchwood was located for awhile. I actually have no idea where the concept came from. I just wanted to do something so different than I had ever done before, so I let my imagination go to see where it would take me. Since the Weres weren’t from this world, why not have a hero that isn’t either? I had such a good time writing the story. It was complete fun with no restrictions on anything. I’d like to do that again. J
Well you truly excelled in doing something different. I loved it, and YES—you must do that again! J
Aww. Thank you, sweetie!
And yes, the castle really does exist. Hmm…not sure about Stefan. Maybe. ;)
What are planning on writing next?
Next up will be Arran’s story from the Dark Warrior/Dark Sword series. But I’ve just turned in a proposal to my agent for another Scottish medieval series, and there’s another historical/paranormal I’ve been dying to write for some time. Oh, and the YA that I put together that my daughter is begging me to write. There’s just not enough hours in the day. J
OH, man—you’ve got to tell us a bit about the young adult….pretty, pretty, please***on hands and knees—wait, wrong position…on knees***Any hints are greatly appreciated. And what kind of historical/paranormal?
Well, I can tell you the YA is set in Scotland. :D That’s about all I’ll say. As for the historical/paranormal, again set in Scotland with hunky Highlanders. It has nothing to do with Druids or witches or vampires or shape shifters. Something entirely different. Something truly fun!
What writing/reader events are you planning to attend in the upcoming year?
I’ll be in St. Louis in February for a multi-author signing. I’m definitely be at RT in April in Chicago (WOOT!! Fist bumps Donna ) as well RWA in July in Anaheim. There are a couple of other dates/places being looked at, but nothing confirmed right now.
What was your favorite book that you have written?
That’s an easy answer – UNTAMED HIGHLANDER, but that’s tied with MIDNIGHT’S LOVER.
What was the hardest book you have written?
There were two very hard ones SHADOW HIGHLANDER and DARKEST HIGHLANDER. Both of those were like pulling teeth. I’m not sure why, but some books are so much easier to write than others.
You’ve been to Mexico, Jamaica, and recently, Scotland? (Did I miss any?) What place is a MUST SEE for you that you haven’t been to? Do you speak a foreign language?
No, I wish I spoke another language, but just my own. I speak very little French, (me too, mon ami J just don’t pick out my errors in grammar, lol.) and badly. Lol.
There are so many places I want to see. Bora Bora is tops on the list, as is Italy, and just about anywhere tropical.
What book have you been dying to read, but just haven’t gotten to yet?
I have a huge TBR pile. All of them must read books. Lol (Another fist bump to
Donna—I swear, my pile and yours together could probably start an avalanche.)
What author is an auto-buy for you?
Oh, I have several. Lisa Kleypas, Lara Adrian, Lisa Renee Jones just to name a few. J
Do you listen to music while you write, or have to have total quiet?
I can do either, but I love listening to music. I mostly do soundtracks (King Arthur, Lord of the Rings, Thor, etc) while I’m writing. Certain music can really help with scenes.
Okay, before I wrap it up, one last thing. A while back, I saw a picture of your desk—it was beautiful—and I must admit I’m green with envy. I Want. It. Where did you get it? Can you share a picture of your writing cave?
Yes, please share away. J I love my desk. I’ve looked for it for almost 10 years. I found it at Ashley Furniture, and just adore it. It’s everything I wanted and more.
I have such a bad case of desk envy....
Alas, my writing cave looks pretty damn bleak....
It was a pleasure having you on here during your blog tour. I wish you the best of luck! (cyber hugs and kisses to Donna Grant everybody!!!!!!!)
Thank you, sweetie! Same to you. :D
Here is an excerpt from Donna's eBook, Primal Heat.
ISBN 13: 978-1906811211
Release Date: Oct 2011
Release Date: Oct 2011
Being an American in Britain isn’t easy. For Krista, its downright hard especially when she’s plagued by erotic dreams that increase as Halloween approaches. So when she’s given a dare by her co-workers to pluck a rose from the most haunted house in Cardiff, she agrees never thinking it would be more than a scare tactic.As a Tracker, all Orrin wants to do is capture the Were’s before they feed off the people of Cardiff, but when he lands on Earth and discovers the woman he’s been sharing dreams with is there, he can’t help but find her. All he plans to do is talk, but the lust that flares between them leaves no room for talking.But the Were’s have come for more than food. They’ve come for Krista, to claim her as the mate to their leader. To resist their seduction is futile. Unless a Tracker is involved.
Excerpt:Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
Six hours before midnight, Halloween
“How could I be so stupid?” Krista Evans asked herself for the hundredth time since leaving work.She shook her head and walked through the crowded streets of Cardiff.
She had moved to Britain just three months earlier, away from friends and family. She hadn’t been able to make her family understand the…need…she had to be in Cardiff. It had been all she thought about until it consumed her. She had tried to ignore the longing, but it hadn’t worked. So, against her family’s wishes, she packed her bags and left the States, never looking back.
Krista had saved up money in case it took her awhile to find a job in Cardiff, but when she was offered a job at Principles, a popular high-street chain store for women as a buyer, it had seemed almost…predestined.
Making new friends proved more difficult than she anticipated which was what prompted her to take the dare thrown at her during lunch.
“Only teenagers take dares, you idiot,” she mumbled to herself as she hailed a taxi.
The black taxi pulled up along side her and she climbed inside. “140 Cathedral Road, please,” she told the driver.
All she wanted to do was get something to eat and rest. There was no way she was going through with the dare, not after what she had heard of Llanrumney Hall. The mansion was supposedly one of the most haunted in the area and said to contain the headless body of the last prince of Wales, Prince Llewellyn.
Krista suppressed a shudder and paid the driver. She blew out a breath as she stared at the tall gray building with bright white trim what was her home. Once inside, she leaned against her door and yawned. She couldn’t remember the last time she had slept the entire night through. Most people wouldn’t mind being woken by erotic dreams of a man making love to them, but the lack of sleep was taking its toll on her.
She kicked off her shoes and hung up her coat by the door before she walked into the kitchen to grab a bottle of wine. After pouring a glass, she moved into her living room and slumped on the couch.
Something odd had happened when she landed in Cardiff. It was almost as if she had come…home. But what kind of person had she become? She had followed a deep seated need and travelled to England, and as soon as she had arrived the dreams had begun. She never saw the man’s face no matter how hard she tried. He pleasured her in ways she hadn’t known where possible, touching not only her body, but her soul.
“I’m in need of a date, that’s what’s wrong with me.”
She drained her wine and flicked on the telly. It wasn’t long before her eyes began to drift shut. Krista was powerless to fight the lure of passion that called to her each time she closed her eyes. She drifted to the darkness, praying she found her lover again.
If you would love a chance to win one of Donna's Books, just leave me a comment here on my blog--and answer what is your fave--Were, or Vamp? Don't forget to include your email address so I can have a way to contact you. Also, include what book of the following you wish to have: Remember these are only in e format.