Check Out My Top Wire Interview

May 22nd, 2019 → 6:37 pm @


Don’t say it, do it. If you don’t like it when you’re done, put it away and take it out again when you’re ready to rewrite it until you do like it
-Robin Donovan

Today’s Author in the Spotlight is Robin Donovan. Author of the Donna Leigh Mystery Series, stories about an owner of an ad agency. Check out her interview below!

TW: What is your writing process?
RD: I break each novel into four parts. I do not allow myself to write anything directly connected to the ending until I begin writing the fourth segment. I keep a notebook of people and occurrences in each chapter to ensure that I don’t leave any gaping holes or red herrings in the plot. I allow myself some flexibility, e.g. I got halfway through my third book and put it aside to edit my second book. When I went back to it I realized it wasn’t good. As I was contemplating what to do, the perfect ending occurred to me, so I went ahead and wrote it. Once finished, I went back and edited the first half to make it fit and it all came together beautifully. I believe having the ending, in that case, made all the difference.

TW: How difficult was it to write your story?
RD: My first novel virtually wrote itself. It was as though someone said “go” and I did. Writing a series makes writing the rest of the books a bit more difficult. There have to be enough similarities in characters and occurrences to create a common thread without making the books seem formulaic, and in the case of comedy, without using the same comedic mechanisms over and over. Although Evanovich manages to make a car either blow up or catch fire in every Stephanie Plum novel – and she makes it work.

TW: What are your hopes for this project?
RD: My hope is that I will start seeing more regular sales so that I can focus less on promotion and write another in this series and possibly even start a different series. I spend an enormous amount of time promoting my three existing books and the fourth one is sitting in my head waiting to hit the pages. Just last week I received a wonderful compliment from a TV writer and author in LA. Up until that note, I was just enjoying the writing and the speaking engagements, not to mention the written interviews, blog posts, occasional TV and radio interviews… I was surprised at how much the validation from a bona fide celebrity writer would mean to me. I guess I was hoping for that without even realizing it.

TW: Do have plans of writing more books?
RD: My fourth book is starting to hatch without much prompting from me. I’m not really sure that I have a choice in this whole thing. I want to be careful to end this series before it does start to feel formulaic. If I feel that this series has reached its natural end I have no idea what my next series would be. Maybe when that time comes I will know.

TW: What is your favorite genre of books and do you plan on venturing in those areas?
RD: Any kind of mystery is fascinating to me. Scott Turow is one of my favorites. He creates a true mystery that holds together until the end and writes it beautifully. I’m less inclined to enjoy a mystery that involves gore and/or torment. For now, I’ll stick to cozy mysteries laced with humor. The comedic element seems to come naturally from me, although I take my cozies very seriously. I make sure they are edited extensively and that the focus is as much on the mystery as the humor. I try to avoid the clichés of “light” mysteries, i.e. someone constantly yelling at the amateur sleuth for sticking her nose into police business, having a protagonist who is willing to meet any stranger alone in an alley at midnight, etc.

TW: What do you want readers to know about you?
RD: I spent years wanting to write a book and making excuses for not getting started. I worked as an English teacher and then in advertising and never had time. A series of occurrences made me realize it was ‘now or never’ so I got started. I had no idea how much absolute fun I would have doing the actual writing. And the speaking engagements..are like catnip.

TW: Do you have a favorite author or book?
RD: Aside from Scott Turow, I have always loved Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier and I can’t get enough of Jane Austin’s humor. Charles Dickens is another favorite. But I tend to pattern my writing style after a combination of James Thurber and Cornelia Otis Skinner.

TW: What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
RD: The fact that I have to put my whole heart and soul into it – and my work is not for everyone – so that comes with some rejection. In the beginning, a bad review was devastating. One reviewer actually commented that mine was the worst book he/she had ever read. That’s when it starts to become comical – but there is still that initial little arrow stab at every harsh comment. I do wonder why folks who clearly don’t like my genre still choose to read and review my book – but I guess that’s the age-old question for authors

TW: What does literary success look like to you?
RD: Apparently, getting a complimentary and encouraging note from a professional TV writer and author. While I’d like to see a lot more sales, I am grateful that my sales are considerably above average based on studies I’ve read – the average is surprisingly low. I am getting invited to speak at author and library fairs and book clubs, I wouldn’t mind more invitations of that nature. I think success is writing a book, and success is publishing a book, and success is getting opportunities to promote a book. I think success is tiered and there’s always the next level.

TW: How has this book changed your life?
RD: There are extremely high highs and some seriously low lows. One moment you feel as though you ARE a celebrity and at the next event no one shows up and you’re just sitting there among all the books you lugged in along with your posters, bookmarks, etc. all by yourself. I read a book by the author of a well-known book turned movie. She commented that at one of her book events so few people showed up that the bookstore owner made all of his employees stand on line and pretend to buy a book. She didn’t find that out for several years – and it was a blow when she did – but it made me feel as though I’m in good company.

TW: What advice do you have for an aspiring writer?
RD: Don’t say it, do it. If you don’t like it when you’re done, put it away and take it out again when you’re ready to rewrite it until you do like it. Some authors take months to write a masterpiece and some take decades – just get started and see where it takes you. And don’t expect overnight stardom – or most likely ANY stardom. Do it because you love it.

TW: Do you have any future events or updates we should know about?
RD: My focus recently has been on promotion in the form of interview and guest blog posts. I have some local author fairs and as many interviews and I can fit into my schedule – but nothing particularly noteworthy at the moment – except, of course, for this interview.

TW: How can we contact you and purchase your book?
RD: Web site:
http://www.rldonovan.com/

Books (Can all be found under Donna Leigh Mysteries on Amazon):
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=donna+leigh+murders
Is It Still Murder Even If She Was A Bitch?
I Didn’t Kill Her But That May Have Been Short Sighted.
I Don’t Know Why They Killed Him He Wasn’t Really That Annoying.

Book Trailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmgkpYPi5q8

Best to message me on Facebook:

Author’s pages on Facebook:
Author’s Page:
https://www.facebook.com/rldonovanauthorpage/

Donna Leigh Mystery Series page:
https://www.facebook.com/Donna-Leigh-Mysteries-279477928760374/

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This week’s author Round up question: What are my writing plans for 2019

January 7th, 2019 → 3:56 pm @

I would like to write my fourth book in the Donna Leigh Mystery series. Instead I will focus on writing every guest blog post, guest column, author interview and any other means of getting exposure for the first three books in the series. If offers aren’t forthcoming, I will reach out in writing and offer my services.

Luckily, I enjoy interviews and blogging as well as the writing of the actual novels, but let’s face it, the novels are more fun. Right now I am honoring my pragmatic side and trying to build some steady sales for the series before putting my concentration into creation.

In order to ensure that I doggedly pursue this goal, I keep reminding myself that it doesn’t really matter when that fourth book is released if the readers will be few and far between. In the meantime, I’m capturing notes on the details of book four as they occur to me. Starting that writing process will be my reward if I see enough progress in sales. if I’m being honest – there will never be enough sales, but a noticeable uptick would be enough to get me writing again!

www.bozell.com

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This Week’s Round Up Shares My Writing Quirks

December 10th, 2018 → 10:33 pm @

I usually write all day Saturday and Sunday when I’m working on a novel. I have a portable writing desk and I make myself comfortable on our sectional sofa surrounded by my ipad for thesaurus needs, coffee or diet soda and my three bulldogs and their various antics.

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My favorite part of the day is when I can wind down a writing session with a glass of white wine. In the summer I take it out onto the deck and breath in all the beauties of the outdoors. In the winter, I get the fire going and watch nature through large windows and skylights. It’s almost as though my diligence during the day has earned me the right to relax and enjoy nature – and wine.

Sharing ideas

Sharing ideas

Much of my first novel was written on a ski trip to Utah. After a day of skiing, I would sit in front of a fourteen-foot high window in our rental house, drinking white wine, gazing at the mountains and waiting for deer to pass by. It was amazing how much work I was able to get done in an hour or two each afternoon.

Conversely, when editing, I sit rigidly at the desk in my home office and plow through chapter after chapter. Even those areas that require a fair amount of writing do not get me to budge from my dedicated station. And I don’t look out the windows located behind me,

While writing or editing, I constantly save my work. I save two copies to a flash drive and two copies to my desktop. Whenever I get up to go to the bathroom, take a phone call, grab a bite or get out of the way of a determined bulldog – I save my file four times, sometimes eight when I want to double check. Hmmm, I guess I’m quirkier than I thought.

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This Week’s Round Up Question: What is the Most Difficult Part of the Artistic/Writing Process?

December 5th, 2018 → 8:54 pm @

My Donna Leigh Mystery series revolves around a menopausal ad agency owner in Omaha, Nebraska. Although each book encompasses the murder of someone known to the protagonist, the books are actually comedies. With three books in the series, the challenges have been in finding credible enough yet over-the-top comedic events, without an over-abundance of similarity, and in keeping the plot fresh enough overall that the books don’t start to feel formulaic.

Evanovich’s protagonist, Stephanie Plum, pretty much always sets a car on fire, it’s her signature comedic move. Perhaps I should have set a precedent like that, because creating new and outrageous scenarios is increasingly a challenge.

Each book requires approximately six comedic events to keep things moving at a fast pace. I realized this would be a daunting task as early as my second book, and the third book was that much more intimidating.

Along those same lines, it is a genuine challenge to keep my plots from becoming formulaic. The same characters want to say and do the same things. It is imperative to find ways to pull them out of their comfort zone without pulling them out of character.

Folks have suggested that I move on from Donna Leigh and start a whole new series, but my gut is telling me to stick with her for at least another book or two. And if I’ve learned one thing in this whole experience, it’s to trust my gut.

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Week Number Four of Richard Lowe’s Round Up – Check out my Response

November 7th, 2018 → 4:44 pm @

My primary goal has always been to entertain my readers and make them laugh, while also making them think. To give them an escape from the troubles in their lives. Based on feedback (and not just from my mother), I am grateful that I seem to be on track with that goal. There is no better feeling than when a reader is genuinely effusive about my work.

When I read this Roundup question, it got me thinking about my goals beyond the readers’ reaction and I realized it’s a very basic goal. I want to enjoy the writing experience even more.

That’s not as simple as it sounds.

I enjoy writing cozy murder mysteries and I enjoy doing the speaking and signing engagements, hell, I even enjoy editing, but all these components can interconnect in a way that makes writing either a joy or an exercise in self-debasement or both – kind of like a seesaw.

To start with I enjoy the writing, but feeling pressure to hurry up can bring that enjoyment to a screeching halt. Once the book is released there’s a huge amount of work to gain any level of awareness. I actually enjoy guest blogging and interviewing, I genuinely enjoy public speaking. But if you’ve ever done an author event to an audience of two, even considering there are torrential rains outside, you know how demoralizing that can be.

Although many of us don’t get into writing for the money (a lot of you are laughing out loud right now) it is nice to actually see some return on your investment. There was a time when I referred to my writing as a “very costly hobby.” Although I still don’t rely on my writing as my livelihood, there’s no denying that monetary gain is a measure of success, and when you’ve poured your guts out to create your masterpiece, any measure of success is a plus.

One day euphoric success, the next day humbling disappointment, and repeat. My great grandmother had a saying that seems to fit “what never makes you laugh will never make you cry.”

My goal would be to see the scales a bit more heavily weighted toward the laughing.

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Check out my guest blog on Jerrica Reads

October 2nd, 2018 → 2:40 pm @

Why Do You Write About Murder?

That’s a question I get asked all the time and the answer grows as I add more books to my Donna Leigh Mystery series. At first, I thought it was because my mom got me hooked on Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes from a very young age, and that’s part of it. But another very real reason is that I get to kill people I’m not allowed to kill in real life.

I’ve always wanted to write and I’ve always preferred to deal with issues through humor, but I never put the two together until life got really hard. Owning a business and losing a business partner is, I’m told, a lot like a divorce – only it’s a lot more public. During the months, and even years, leading up to the split, there were some tense times. I might even have had some murderous thoughts about the partner in question. Although, I wouldn’t allow myself to realize them until after his departure.

In the meantime, I was able to escape the tension by looking back on those people who had garnered the bulk of my murderous thoughts in the past. Killing them was pure catharsis. Not to mention that I was able to create fictional characters who readers would want to join me in killing.

Read the rest here:

https://www.facebook.com/rldonovanauthorpage/

 

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Finally, Donna Leigh Mysteries is a Series of Three

March 5th, 2017 → 4:07 pm @

With the recent Amazon release of the paperback version of I Don’t Know Why They Killed Him He Wasn’t Really That Annoying, Donna Leigh Mysteries has become a series of three murder mysteries. The Kindle version is coming soon.

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