MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR DONNA HEPBURN♥️
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
Hi, my name is Donna Hepburn and my debut novel is a Chick-lit comedy.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
I know it’s a cliché but the idea for the book really was a “lightbulb” moment I’d been writing different stories but could never finish them and one morning I woke up, phoned my best friend and told her about the idea for Flip-Flops.
The book is about 2 best friends who move to the Andalusian hills and the adventures and situations they encounter during their first few months settling in. They make new friends, rescue a menagerie of animals and the wine flows freely resulting in some extremely funny moments.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I was never interested in writing comedy until the idea for this series materialized, in fact,if you ask anyone who knows me it came as a complete surprise.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I watched a lot of Place in the Sun, no seriously, I did some research on Andalusia, the climate, bugs, food things like that and because I included recipes they needed to be experimented with, I can now make a really good bacon jam.
Can you tell me about your Series?
The series evolves over the 3 books, lots of things change but Lou and Abby’s friendship is the glue holding everything together. There is romance, but I didn’t want that to be the focus of the story, each of the women go through different situations some quite heart-breaking but their strong bond and sense of humour gets them through even the toughest of times.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
Not really each will mean something for different reasons; Flip-Flops because it’s my first published book and I’m really proud of it, the one I’m writing now High Heels, Hopes and Hacienda; I’ve known what is going to happen in this one right from the start and there are some poignant moments which I think will make readers relate to the characters and the final one will hopefully just as eventful.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
I’d been trying to get my other half to move to Spain for ages, so in a way it was just me living out my fantasy,
Was it always meant to become a series?
I knew it was going to a series from very early on as I knew some characters would play a larger part as the story progressed, Paisley, for example, plays a much bigger role in the second book.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
Oh don’t, this makes me sound really bad but no I don’t set a goal. I still have a regular job although I do work from home, so it’s a case of writing whenever and wherever I can. I try to get each chapter in my head first which is usually achieved while walking the dogs, then I write it, read it and change it completely. Like Abby I’m easily distracted so I have to set myself a deadline for each 10,000 words.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
I am currently writing the second book in the Mediterranean Dream series which will be available this summer and is called High Heels, Hopes and Hacienda (see what I’m doing there?)
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
One or two have a special meaning, but most just fit in with the character I have in my head, I can’t imagine Abby being called anything else, the animals are really fun to name though, the chickens are all named after leading ladies so keeping with that theme I will be introducing Katniss Everdeen, Bridget Jones and Mrs. Danvers to the coop in the next installment.
Where do your ideas come from?
My other half would say a very weird imagination, but I would say it’s my “what if” attitude I have always read and many of my own stories start with the idea of “what if” that happened instead, what if she chose something different? After all Girl on a Train would be very different if she’d taken the bus.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
I would never rule anything out, if I come up with a story I feel would make an enjoyable book I would write it, so you never know I could continue in the comedy theme, explore domestic drama even pen a zombie apocalypse classic.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
I think the hardest part was the self-doubt especially with the first book, will anyone enjoy it? Am I writing in passive voice? Will I get a publisher? It’s easier now. I’ve had good feedback and people are looking forward to the next one, so I must have done something right.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer, or do you intend to create one for your own book?
The fabulous team at Junction Publishing created my trailer, which I love. I think any way of interacting with potential readers when you publish a novel is great and visuals often work very well.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
Books are like holidays they let you escape from your cares, worries and take you on an adventure, I have always loved reading and the thought that something I have written can give that feeling to someone else is precious.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Writing -In Spain!
Have you always liked to write?
Yes, English was my favourite subject in school and I loved writing stories from a very young age.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Believe in yourself and keep at it!
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
I quite like making things and upcycling so probably a little shop selling my unique creations or a quirky bookshop.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
Yes, I read reviews, everyone is entitled to their opinion and not everyone can like the same things after all not everyone loves Harry Potter. I just try to take it with a pinch of salt.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
Patience isn’t one of my strongest points so waiting for things to happen is the hardest part for me.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on the second book in the series; High Heels, Hopes and Hacienda, which has a few surprises in store for both Abby and Lou.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
“Oh my god, he’s here” Lou’s Gin forgotten Abby bent down as Eduardo placed the cage on the floor peering inside at the strangest looking dog she’d ever seen.
“They were interrupted by the screech of tyres as the Mercedes once again pulled up outside. Abby finished her gin and tonic in one as the passenger door slammed shut. The previously immaculate Lou stomped toward the door, hair all over the place, beautiful Zara blouse in tatters, a grazed knee and wearing only one Jimmy Choo…Oops it looked like she’d met the new addition to their ever-increasing animal clan; Loco Lucy.”
The doors swung open and a huge man burst through them his face resembled a beetroot, his vivid red hair which he’d obviously been running floury hands through was standing on end as if he’d suffered an electric shock and his apron lookedlike a prop from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Where did your love of books come from?
I used books to escape as a child, I could always be found with my head in a book dreaming about faraway places.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
I go through phases, so I will read thrillers for months, then contemporary fiction, horror, Chick-lit, so I have lots of favourite authors and books. I love Amanda Prowse, Mandasue Heller, Lesley Pearse, Anne Rice, and J R Ward but my go to comfort read isthe Earth’s Children series by Jean M Auel which I have read too many times to count.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
I love Abby because she might be clumsy and a bit of a dreamer, but she is a survivor and has a huge heart.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It usually energizes me.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I think it is a fine line, I want to be original but without readers are you really an author? I hope readers enjoy what I write, and I think if you develop a loyal fan base you should respect that, but I’m not afraid to veer off in different directions and push a few buttons!
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
The art of being disorganized.
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
The one above was pretty good, but probably who would I like to play Abby and Lou if the book were made into a film and the answer would be Ruth Jones and Miranda Richardson.
Where can your fans find you and follow??
Thanks Amy it’s been great fun