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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Thanks for including me in this week’s Round Up

October 22nd, 2018 → 6:03 pm @

Robin Leemann Donovan

Robin DonovanHide things – who me? Hell yes, I’ve hidden a ton. So, you’re asking me to give it all up now? Let’s see where I can begin. Book one, Is It Still Murder Even If She Was A Bitch?, was written after a small group, lead by one of my business partners, who had a fairly public breakdown, tried to stage a coup and throw the other two of us out of our company. There are numerous veiled references to the details of the coup, e.g. wanting financial gain without having to invest, etc. One of the less savory characters in the book has the combined name of two of the conspirators. I could go on, but that would be too much of a spoiler alert. Let’s just say the murder victim will not be sorely missed. And suffice it to say the coup was unsuccessful.

In book two, I Didn’t Kill Her But That May Have Been Short Sighted, a great deal of the back story consists of true events from my early days in advertising. Although they’re not exactly hidden, the reader would never know fact from fiction. The inspiration for the murder victim actually did all of those obnoxious things. The events leading directly up to the murder, however, are all carefully crafted fiction. The hidden part consists of numerous little character traits and foibles that paint a startlingly accurate picture of my victim, right down to the physical description. Once you know the facts, you would never question the accuracy of the fiction. The portrayal of B.J. comes from years of watching and listening to her inspirations’ unprincipled behavior.

In book three, I Don’t Know Why They Killed Him He Wasn’t Really That Annoying, the major hidden message lies in the treatment of one of my former partners. He had joined the company shortly after “the coup” and was fine for a few years. Then had his own version of a breakdown. He’s featured in the first two books as my valued partner and legendary smart ass, Donny Miller. He makes an excellent foil to my protagonist, Donna Leigh. By the time I started writing this third book, the inspiration for Donny’s character had exited the company in a most contentious fashion. Throughout the book, there are references to his departure that are in reality private jokes.

Reading through my response I arrive at two conclusions: I have actually hidden quite a bit (and this is only the tip of the iceberg) and it’s unhealthy to be my business partner if you’re a man.

https://www.thewritingking.com/secrets-books/?fbclid=IwAR3F_vhNDIaNQUDm28fotuhdM1hKDJeGWIj-znKbA9ZI6Vr30QO-9ZdJUl0

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Check Out My Writer Spectacle Interview

October 8th, 2018 → 8:05 pm @

Writer Spectacle #4 Featured Writers

Writer Spectacle
Featured Writers

 

Robin Leeman Donovan

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What kind of content do you mostly write?
humorous cozy mysteries

How long have you been writing?
novels – 8 years

How many hours do you dedicate to writing per week on average?
8 hours on Saturday and Sunday – when I’m writing a novel

Do you have any formal education, mentoring, or experience related to writing?
I was an English major and took creative writing classes

In one sentence, what motivates you to write?
I have a huge amount of fun when I’m writing comedy.

Do you have any funny or unusual writing habits?
When I was working with a publisher and I would get the manuscript back all marked up, I would have a have a one-sided dialogue as I read through manuscript. If I disagreed with the comment i would become indignant and sometimes yell my objections, and when I felt the comment was an improvement on my work I would complimemt the manuscript graciously. I often wondered how entertaining a video of me reading my manuscript comments would be.

Pick an excerpt from any of your writing that you’re really proud of
“You mean Donny was killed because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time? A victim of circumstance?”

“That’s about it.”

In all the years I knew Donny, through all his bark and bluster, I knew the one thing he would hate about this was the fact that he was insignificant in his own death.

What advice, if any, would you give to a fellow writer who has just been rejected by several large publishers and told he or she has zero chance to make it as a writer?
If you are certain that the work has merit there are other avenues than the large publishers. You owe it to yourself to investigate another way to get your work out there.

What is the most important tip that you can offer other writers?
Manage your expectations. If your work is great and the feedback you get is consistantly positive, that still doesn’t mean you’ll ever be Janet Evanovich. You have to understand and be okay with that. Even if you don’t make millions from your work, there are moments that will make it one of the top 5 (or even 3) experiences of your life.

What would you say are some common traps that aspiring writers should avoid?
That the work is so good they don’t need an editor or a proofreader.

That acclaim will come to you and you won’t have to work your butt off for everything you get.

That you HAVE to take every piece of advice from your editor.

Have you had any adversity or challenges surrounding your writing career? If yes, what?
I wrote the first half of my third book while I was getting ready to edit my second book. When I went back to it after two years, it was just awful. I honestly didn’t think it could be salvaged. I spent some time thinking and came up with an ending that wouldn’t have been possible two years earlier. Once I had that ending, I was able to go back and edit the first half. Then I absolutely loved it and finished the second half of the book with relative ease. I never expected to like that book – and I love it. It would have been extremely defeating to have had to abandon all that work.

A direct link to your most proud of written work
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_13?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=donna+leigh+mysteries&sprefix=Donna+leigh+m%2Caps%2C159&crid=2AVA1BUQ9T752

Amazon link to: Donna Leigh Mysteries

Your website or blog
www.rldonovan.com

If a new writer asked you what you thought was needed to become an internationally famous and successful writer, what you would say or recommend them to do?
Have someone you know well get murdered, and then write a book about it. I have found that there is one absolute besides death (no pun intended) and taxes, if you are personally involved in a murder and you write a book about it – you WILL get a book and movie offers – no matter how badly you write. The more gory the murder the more celebrated the fame.

You are tasked with cleaning up and organizing a dirty, junky 10,000 sq. ft. mansion within 24 hours. The owner of the mansion hasn’t made an attempt to straighten the place out in 3 years. You are given $3000. What would you do to get it as clean and organized as possible for its happy owner?
I would find an OCD therapy group and invite them to a party at the mansion. I would use the money to for food and party favors, you know, Swiffers and windex. All of the party games would revolve around getting an area the cleanest and most organized. Bonus points would earn them extra areas to clean.

Anything else you’d like to say?
I’m kind of a ham and I like to make people laugh. That said, my mysteries hold together. I don’t believe that I can phone in the clues and leave red herrings all over just because my focus is humor. I also don’t believe that smart sleuths will deliberately paint themselves into a dangerous corner – like almost every brilliant, young and gorgeous sleuth tends to do (sure, I’ll meet the heavily breathing, disguised voice creep that calls and invites me to a dark alley at midnight). My sleuth is smart but imperfect, menopausal but cool and she’s a whole lot more relatable than a lot of today’s amateur sleuths because she doesn’t take herself too seriously.

 

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Check out my Guest Blog Post on Writers Who Kill

May 26th, 2016 → 12:13 am @

Check out my latest guest blog post for Writers Who Kill at:

http://writerswhokill.blogspot.com/2016/05/how-have-i-killed-thee-let-me-count.htm

 

 

 

 

 

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Another Council Bluffs Author’s Fair

November 23rd, 2015 → 9:59 pm @

It was the first Author’s Fair for Book 2: I Didn’t Kill Her But That May Have Been Shortsighted – and it was fun to share the limelight with Cedric and his first novel – here we are at the Council Bluffs Author’s Fair:

BluffsAFphoto (5)

Council Bluffs Public Library

Council Bluffs Public Library

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Thanks For An Awesome Book Launch Party!

November 23rd, 2015 → 9:49 pm @

Thanks to Cedric, Desarae and the crew of Le Voltaire for a wonderful book launch party for the 2nd in the Donna Leigh Series: I Didn’t Kill Her But That May Have Been Shortsighted.

Here are a few highlights from the party:Launch1Launch2Launch3Launch4Launch5Launch6Launch7Launch8

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Thank you, Angela, for the great review!

August 24th, 2015 → 7:56 pm @

Angela Shockley (Reviewer) has just completed feedback for Is It Still Murder Even If She Was a Bitch?.

Add positive reviews to your NetGalley title record by following this link: https://www.netgalley.com/publisher/viewReview/review_id/1915713

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Full Text: Did the title catch your attention? That’s the whole reason I requested this title in NetGalley! I quickly read through Is It Still Murder Even If She Was A Bitch. Like most mysteries, the investigators suck at their job and the heroine/hero has to figure it out before they’re killed, too! What you get here is a dash of The Devil Wears Prada and Murder She Wrote. It’s a fun story and I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good little mystery.

Additional Questions:

Are you reviewing this title for a publication? No

Would you purchase this book for yourself or a friend? Yes

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Bellevue Authorfest 2015

May 17th, 2015 → 2:56 pm @

The Belleue Authorfest was a great experience. There were tons of great people, authors and avid readers. So many interesting folks to talk to. The reading was fun and so was the panel I sat on. Gordon did a terrific job of packing the event and making it both interesting and interactive. Even the hot dogs were great. And I have to say, this is the first time I’ve ever been treated to a “goody bag.” Thanks for making me feel like a diva!imageimage

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Check Out My Latest 4 out of 5 Star Review

December 14th, 2014 → 8:11 pm @

A quick light fun read. Well written, with a host of unlikely sleuth characters (mainly women) who get themselves into very awkward situations but who somehow manage to get to the bottom of it all. To be enjoyed sitting back with a nice glass of wine.

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Christine Baltimore Thanks for an Awesome Review!

November 25th, 2014 → 6:47 pm @

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Full Text: I received a copy of Is it Still Murder Even if She Was a Bitch? by Robin Donovan for free through NetGalley. The title of this book caught my attention. I was looking for a fun witty read and was not disappointed. Donna Leigh owns Marcel, agency and her former colleague, Claire Dockens, ends up murdered after leaving a charity dinner. The first thing Donna wonders is if she will be a suspect. She, like many others, had been subject to Claire’s abusive personality and was not saddened when she left the company. I loved the characters in this book. In fear of having the finger pointed at them, Donna and her colleagues decide to do some detective work on their own. They are impulsive and fumble their way through their investigative adventure. Donovan does a great job with dialogue and the main character, Donna Leigh. This was truly and humorous and entertaining read. This review, or links to this review, may also be found on my profile pages as follows: Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/28942609-christina Amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/A3RJL9VH4Z2PYU Pintrest http://www.pinterest.com/baltimore333/ Twitter https://twitter.com/chb548s Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/107592987780010474834/posts

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