Welcome to the fifty-eighth of my blog interviews with novelists, short story authors, poets, short story author, bloggers, scriptwriters, autobiographers and more. Today’s crime writer Donna White Glaser. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate the author further. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here.
Morgen: Hello, Donna. Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.
Donna: Like Letty, the main character in The Enemy We Know, I’m a psychotherapist living in northern Wisconsin. My journey as a writer began as most–by reading. I love words–just ask my husband. And I love the power of language. I fell in love with writing in the same way, and for the same reasons, that I love reading. I love discovering new people, new worlds, learning bits of information, being entertained. I had always dreamed of being a writer, but until about twelve years ago, I lacked the necessary discipline to sit my butt down and do it.
Morgen: It is hard. Life gets in the way all too easily.
Donna: Then, I had an idea for a mystery that wouldn’t let go of my imagination. “What if. . . ?” Of course, that’s the phrase that starts so many stories: what if? I started working with this fledgling idea. More importantly, I started writing. After 100 pages, I realized I was actually doing it! I was writing a book. If I just kept going I would actually finish said book. So I did. Although that book came very close to publication, it didn’t quite make it but it came close enough that I was encouraged to try again. In fact, I decided I wasn’t done writing about Letty Whittaker and I wrote a prequel: The Enemy We Know. Currently, I’m writing the second in the series which I plan to have ready for publication by this fall.
Morgen: What have you had published to-date? If applicable, can you remember where you saw your first books on the shelves?
Donna: After the earlier near misses at traditional publishing, and with the surge in availability that e-books created, I decided to indie-publish. Barring my marriage, it was the best decision I’ve ever made. It suits my personality, which is part adventurer, part control-freak. I would make an awesome obsessive-compulsive pirate. Or maybe an accountant with Hell’s Angels biker club. Except I don’t do math. But being an OCD-risk taker comes in handy for indie-publishing. After a lot of research into formatting and distribution options, I published Enemy to Kobo, Sony, Apple, etc. via Smashwords and directly to Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook. If I was a better writer I could truly describe the feeling when the book went live and became available to readers. Picture a middle-aged woman alone in her book-lined office at 3:00 am shrieking “It’s aliiiiiiiive!” like a mad Dr. Frankenstein and you’ll come close. Scared the dog half to death too.
Morgen: Mine’s used to me clapping and jumping up and down etc. 🙂 Do you manage to write every day? What’s the most you’ve written in a day?
Donna: I try to write every day. Emphasis on “try.” In addition to being a wife and mother, I’m a psychotherapist and I run our family construction business. I try to get up by 5:30 am to snatch some writing time, but for the most part I’ve trained myself to engage in what I call “commando” writing. This means that I write all the time, even if I don’t have access to a computer. In my purse I carry notepads, approximately 72 lbs of pens and pencils, and a file folder with the detailed outline for my current work-in-progress.
Morgen: Wow. That’s some purse… or as we say over here “handbag” (which always reminds me of Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ and Dame Edna Evans’ way she said “a handbag?”, although I’m far too young to remember it first time round… we did it in school, it was hoot). 🙂
Donna: Even if I can’t write, I ponder over my characters, their personalities and quirks, their backgrounds. I people-watch all the time, listening to dialogue and dialect, and occasionally, if I’m dealing with an annoying “real” person, think up extravagant (but plausible!) murder plots. It’s a nice stress release and absolutely impossible to prove in a court of law. A big contributor to my writing output–and one to which I owe a deep debt of gratitude–is my writing group. Four to five of us get together every two weeks to critique our submitted work. If we don’t have anything to turn in, dire consequences have been threatened. However, it’s been so long since any of us reneged that we’ve forgotten what the consequences might be. We’re mystery writers though. We could figure something out. (Insert evil grin and maniacal, bwa haa haa! laugh here.)
Morgen: 🙂 Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Donna: While in rough draft, the less I believe the manuscript will need editing, the greater the guarantee that it will. Denying the need for editing is helpful, however, in getting through that first draft. For most writers, agonizing word-by-word to get the first draft perfect means a never ending project. Write it. Then fix it. That’s my motto.
Morgen: Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how invaluable do you find them?
Donna: I’m on many different forums and sites and I receive varying benefits from them. I’m in the process of winnowing out what is effective as far as marketing goes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll quit any particular one. It’s not all about marketing. I belong to several on-line writers communities: Sisters In Crime, Guppies (a sub-chapter of SinC), Murder Must Advertise yahoo group and so on. I’m sure I missed one or two. I’m also involved in a variety of reader communities, eg. GoodReads, DorothyL, Kindle Korner, Mystery Lovers Book Club. Then there are the usual networking sites: Twitter (www.twitter.com/readdonnaglaser) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/donna.whiteglaser). I like them both, but I’ve found Twitter to be more helpful in promotion as long as I don’t focus on promoting while I’m tweeting. Nobody likes a salesman.
Morgen: Absolutely. I saw a ratio quoted on LinkedIn as 90% information / 10% sell and I’d totally agree.
Donna: Facebook is fun, but it’s rather a closed system and doesn’t “spread” a message as effortlessly as Twitter. I’ve included my social e-contact info below if anyone wants to follow / friend / connect / hold hands / whatever!
Morgen: Where can we find out about you and your work?
Donna: My website is http://www.donnawhiteglaser.com and links to everything I do.
Morgen: I love your cover. 🙂 Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Donna: Thank you, Morgen, for this introduction to your readers. They were fun questions and they helped me get a better understanding of my own writing process and journey! Many thanks!
Morgen: You’re very welcome. I’ve enjoyed it.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on this blog but everything else (see Opportunities on this blog) is free.
If you go for the interview, it’s very simple; I send you a questionnaire (I have them for novelists, short story authors, children’s authors, non-fiction authors, and poets). You complete the questions, and I let you know when it’s going to go live. Before it does so, I add in comments as if we’re chatting, and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know.
Alternatively, if you’d like a free Q&A-only interview, I now have http://morgensauthorinterviews.wordpress.com on which I’ve rerun the original interviews posted here then posted new interviews which I then reblog here. These interviews are Q&A only, so I don’t add in my comments but they do get exposure on both sites.
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