Monday, November 5, 2012

Learn more about Donna Dalton

Donna Dalton

 1.      What is your writing routine?

Sometimes I start with a plot idea and other times, I have specific characters in mind. It’s been different with each story. But generally, I create a basic list of “what needs to happen” for the story and for the romance. Then I spec out a basic plot that includes external and internal GMC’s (Goal, Motivation, and Conflict) for the main characters.
On my “crappy first draft”, I’m mostly discovering my characters and getting down the bare bones of the story. On subsequent edits, I begin layering, adding details and emotion and going deeper into the character’s point of view. I have a wonderful critique partner, Mary Ann Clark, who helps keep me on track.
2.      Which author/s inspire you to write?

 I’m most inspired by Joanne Bourne and Lisa Gardner. Two totally different genres, yet both write simple and powerful prose.

A passage from Joanna Bourne’s THE FORBIDDEN ROSE:  
Then, from beneath the rustle of rain, voices slid like snakes. Men’s voices. She grabbed up her skirts and ran.

How powerful is that. The voices sliding like snakes. Conjures up an immediate picture doesn’t it? Who doesn’t run from snakes?

Now from Lisa Gardner’s CATCH ME:
In four days, I believe someone’s going to try to kill me. But the son of a bitch has gotta catch me first.

Now doesn’t that just grab you around the throat and squeeze? Woowee.

3.      Which is your favorite romance subgenre to read? To write

I have always loved reading historical romances. Getting immersed in worlds and characters from the past.  Very fascinating.  And that’s the genre I prefer to write in. I enjoy researching the past and finding real situations and people for my characters to encounter.

4.      Tell us about your latest release

My latest release with The Wild Rose Press is titled THE REBEL WIFE. The idea for the story evolved from our current-day reporters chronicling the Iraq War.  I wondered about the “embeds” of the past and decided to research the newspapermen of the American Civil War.  From this emerged the character of Jackson Porter, a physically and emotionally scarred Yankee journalist on his way to the federal prison in Maryland to gather information for a news article.  I immediately hit upon the perfect foil for such a hero – a dyslexic, Southern Rebel willing to use any means to free her brother from prison.  Jack is all about words, a seeker of truth, while Louisa sees everything in a distorted light.  The story of these two people coming together can’t help but be filled with emotion and conflict.

5.      Tease us with a blurb or short excerpt

Hardness replaced the sadness on her face. “With the soldiers looking for me, I need another way to get to Point Lookout.”

“You have something in mind?”

“Sure do.”

“And, pray tell, what is that?”

Her almond-shaped eyes gleamed like a cat with a fresh kill. “Apparently we’re married, so I’ll travel with you, Mr. Porter.”

6.      Which is your favorite character in the bookWhy?

Louisa is my favorite character in THE REBEL WIFE.  She’s very family oriented and will do anything for the people she loves, even if that means sacrificing her own well-being. I’m much like that, so I can relate to her.

7.      What are you working on right now?

Right now, I’m working on a sequel to THE REBEL WIFE.  It’s Louisa’s brother’s story. Lance has returned to the estate where they grew up and where he accidentally killed the owner’s son. He’s there to pay his respects to his father’s grave and then leave for a job offer in Chicago. Yet, his plans are disrupted when he discovers the owner’s daughter trying to restore the plantation on her own. Guilt for robbing Beth of a brother weighs heavily on him. Despite her hatred for him, he offers to stay and help her with the estate. It’s a very emotional story where each has to decide whether the past will defeat them, or make them stronger.

8.      Your biggest piece of advice to aspiring novelists?

Read, read, read. When you come across a story that grabs you, dissect it. What has the author done that keeps you reading? The converse is true as well. If you find yourself putting down a book after the first few chapters, delve into it and find out why.


You can meet Donna Dalton on December 15th at her table at the Celebrate With A Book Author Book Fair. See you there!

For more information on Donna Dalton and her amazing books, please check out her, on facebook at DonnaDaltonBooks, and on twitter at DonnaDaltonbks.


  1. Thanks for sharing this post Donna! I love the idea of layering characters to create characters with depth!

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  3. It is good to see that you have a critique partner! Authors can benefit greatly from working with another author before hiring an editor.


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