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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Author Interview: Donna Galanti

Today I am pleased to present to you all the seventh in a series of Author Interviews. Recently I sat down with the brain-spewing Donna Galanti and our conversation went something like this:

Paul: So let me start by asking you what types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
Donna: Dean Koontz. Stephen King. John Grisham. Robert James Waller. Laura Ingalls Wilder. That last one may not fit, I know! But Wilder’s Little House series is a series I re-read every year. Why? Because the characters are endearing. They suffer and love and adapt and have love of family at the core of their strength. I want them to overcome their struggles. These are the basics to a good book, I believe.

Paul: If someone had the power to step into your creative mind what would they see?
Donna: Never ending dialogue. Scenes of evil doers and people in peril. Tormented villains getting revenge, and then their comeuppance. Steamy lovers in a survival showdown. Wait! Then a girl bursts in. She wants to show me her life in a campground one coming-of-age summer alongside a young boy who is kidnapped down a lightning road to another world. Yep. Adult, middle grade, and young adult lives side by side in twisted harmony.

Paul: How do you find the time to write?
Donna: Whenever and wherever I can. The alarm clock is set for 4:30am many days. The Scouts is a friend of the writer. They provide many weekends away for son and dad to go camping and leave mom-writer alone, alone, alone. I meet friends at Wegmans Café and we write together. Great way to be accountable and get the words down.

Paul: What is one thing you hope I do not tell the readers?
Donna: That I really enjoy writing the dark, twisted, sick scenes the most! My pulse quickens, my fingers fly. I love piling torment on my characters and dishing it out in great detail. Heh Heh. I can do things I would get arrested for in real life–and enjoy being a repeat offender.

Paul: Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Donna: I do plot my novels and write an 8-10 page preliminary synopsis, characters worksheets, and a bulleted chapter outline. However, I find myself writing more organically in my new novel. Each scene comes to me as I write. All leading to the same conclusion but not plotted. I’m just running with it as it’s so fun! I’ll get to the end and see what the pieces are that fit together and what don’t. I’m also finding that one secondary character is taking over the book, leading me to believe he is a bigger part of the story.

Paul: Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Donna: My writing definitely gets more formed as I write more books. I carry more knowledge to fast-draft now with new techniques and processes added to my writing belt. My first novel was a mess. I learned how to write a novel after I finished it so had to go back and correct a lot. However, there is no such thing as a great first draft. It’s all brain spew. The beauty comes in the revision. And I love revising! Tightening, cutting, moving around. It’s like fiddling with a piece of art to get it just right.

Paul: What is your most recent book? Tell us a little about it
Donna: I am writing the sequel to my debut paranormal suspense novel, A Human Element. It’s called A Hidden Element. When one family’s son is taken they learn it’s by the same unearthly evil that brutalized them fifteen years ago. In a race to find their son's kidnapper, they discover his horrifying mission that binds them all together. They must sacrifice all again to defeat a new terrifying enemy – an enemy that wants to rule the world, with their son as his heir.

Paul: What inspired you to write this book?
Donna: The novel that I was stumped on...and a dream. My readers asked for a sequel and I said, never! Then one day I woke up with a vision of that second book. I dropped the psychological suspense novel I had over plotted and was stuck on, and got to work right away on the sequel I am writing now, A Hidden Element. There’s a third and final one planned out.

Paul: Do you have any pieces of work that will never see the light of day?
Donna: Ummm… yes. My son still asks me when I’m getting it published. It was the first novel I wrote that came from a tale I made up one night for him sitting on the front stoop. It claims dust bunnies in a dark closet. Poor wordy thing. But, it taught me that I could write to The End. I did. And that I could do it again. And again.

Paul: How much marketing do you do for your published works or for your ‘brand’?
Donna: Not enough… and too much! That’s what it feels like. I am active via social media outlets and have met a lot of great readers and writers this way. It takes time to build a network. I do GoodReads giveaways and do guest posts / interviews on blogs. I advertise on genre-specific book review blogs, EBook Swag, and BookBuzzr. I try to keep my blog fresh with articles and guest authors. Giving away my book for book reviews has paid off as well.

Paul: What’s your favorite / least favorite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Donna: Favorite: falling in love with characters so much I create theme songs for them, creep away from real people to be with them, and drag out writing The End as I don’t want them to say goodbye. Writing a sequel afterwards feeds this addiction. Least Favorite: all the business stuff that takes away from writing time.

Paul: What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have any hobbies or party tricks?
Donna: Bicycling, hiking, and kayaking…and taking historical daytrips. Oh, and being alone. I love being alone (and have a very supportive husband!). I grew up an only child on a mountain top and roamed the woods for fun with my two dogs, so guess it was drummed into me at an early age.

Paul: Well thank you, Donna. It has been a privilege talking with you and I wish you all the best for a successful future.

About Donna Galanti: Donna Galanti is the author of the paranormal suspense novel A Human Element (Echelon Press). Donna has a B.A. in English and a background in marketing. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, SCBWI, Horror Writers Association, The Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group, and Pennwriters. She lives with her family in an old farmhouse in PA with lots of nooks, fireplaces, and stinkbugs but sadly, no ghosts.

Donna's Blog:
Donna on Twitter: @DonnaGalanti
Donna on Facebook: DonnaGalanti
Donna's latest book: A Human Element (Amazon)


  1. Thanks so much for having me on your blog today and supporting authors with your series of interviews!

  2. Donna and Paul I really loved this interview:-) x Thanks for sharing so much really fun stuff about yourself and your writing Donna. x Now I know that you like to write in the dark I'm actually really intrigued to read your stories:-) x Much love and hugs x

    1. Elizabeth, thanks for stopping by! My husband does shake his head at me. He finally just read my book (he's not a reader but a great supporter) and said "How do you come up with this stuff?" :)

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks C.C. - it was so fun to be on here! Paul is a great advocate for authors.