MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR DONNA WRIGHT/STEPHANIE KEITH!
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
Stefanie-We are Donna Wright and Stefanie Keith, two authors who normally write separately in different genres, (Stefanie has three different pen names) but have come together to write this book with a single pen name, Elizabeth Jordan. We consider this story to be a paranormal historical romance. It is set in the Georgian/Regency era, and there is a sweet romance between our hero and heroine.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
Donna-I have had this book in mind for years. I wrote 30K and then put it under the bed, as they say. I decided that I loved the story and wanted to do something with it. One evening, I was on Facebook and wrote Stefanie and said, Hey, do you want to write a book with me? I think you can guess the answer.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
Stefanie-I’ve always loved the paranormal, particularly vampires and werewolves, and wished the paranormal books I read and the movies I saw had a little more romance in them. When I was very young, I discovered I could simply add the romance in my head, so in a way, I’ve been “writing” paranormal romance for years. The foggy, ill-lit London streets circa 1820 seem to me the perfect setting for vampires and vampire hunters.
Donna-everything she said and the fact that I love secret societies and vampires are my favorite villians in the paranormal world.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
Stefanie-we did research on the time period, the inventions, like the street lamps and the types of clothing. We also had to research titles of the nobility, which can be really confusing. I’ve been to London several times and spent some time in the areas mentioned in the books, so I could picture our hero there in my mind, which was really helpful.
Can you tell me about your Series?
Donna-Orion’s Shield has at least 2 more books in the series. More than Thomas and Caroline have been affected by the events in Book 1. We think and hope the readers will want to know what happened to other characters.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
This is the first in the series.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
Donna-that’s a really good question. I was told that a specific editor was looking for a regency urban fantasy. I wrote those 30K I talked about before and as we worked on it, the time period moved up a little. That editor quit acquiring for the paranormal line, so that’s when I put it under the bed.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
Stefanie—I’ve been reading historical romance since I was a little girl and love this Georgian time period, 1714-1830. I’m a former English literature teacher and love the novels of Jane Austen and the first wave of the Gothic novels that lasted until 1820. Our book fits neatly in this era, we hope, and has elements of both types of Romance.
Was it always meant to become a series?
Donna-in my mind, yes, from day one.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
Stefanie-I am a full-time writer so I begin my day early—usually by 8:00 a.m. I write in my office, where I spend a great deal of time fighting cats off the keyboard, pulling my hair out and wasting time on Facebook. I do have a goal of 2-3000 words a day, which I mostly (sometimes) accomplish.
Donna-I have a full time job and family obligations. I write whenever I can find a chance. I try to write every night, but that’s not always the case.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
Stefanie-I have two books that I’m writing currently, under a different pen name.
Donna-I have a short story I’m working on under Donna Wright and I have started the 2nd Shield book.
Where do your ideas come from?
Stefanie-a vivid and overactive imagination.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
Stefanie-romantic mysteries. I’d love to try one, but my stories have a tendency to grow a tail, growl at me and turn into a paranormal.
Donna-fantasy. I wrote a short story for an anthology called “Masquerade” for Paper Steel Press. I loved making it all up without research, just writing whatever I wanted.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Stefanie-all of it. But if I had to choose just one, it’s that time about twenty thousand words in, where you hit a wall and wonder why in the world you thought this would be a good story to start with, what on earth you’re going to do next, and whether or not you should give up and go watch a movie on Netflix. Thankfully, this time passes, but see the hair-pulling remark above.
Donna-everything Stefanie just said, plus for me it’s finding the time and the energy.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
Stefanie-I love book trailers, but don’t have any. They are extremely time consuming to make when I should be writing. But yes, I’d love it if some of my family or friends would make me one. (the chances of that, however, are slim to none)
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Stefanie-my children and grandchildren.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
Stefanie-the amazing amount of time I can find to waste on Facebook. The fact that I’m my own boss and can set my own hours. Traveling to the cons to meet my readers.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Donna-hopefully, 10 years older!
Have you always liked to write?
Stefanie-Always. Even long before the days of e-publishing when everyone told me I had little chance of ever being published, I still wrote. I’ve written a textbook while I was still teaching, a children’s book when my kids were small, just to read to them, and a biography of my grandmother (for my mom) that I later turned into my first published novel.
Donna-oh, yes. I used to write love stories about my teen crushes like Donny Osmond and David Cassidy.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Stefanie-Just do it. Don’t listen to the people who tell you not to try. Don’t listen to those who tell you writing romance is “frivolous.” (a word used on me once) Listen instead to the characters inside you who are fighting to come out. And remember that anything worth doing is usually hard, but the rewards can be great.
Donna-to add to everything Stefanie just said, remember to be careful. We writers tend to be a needy lot and sometimes get into contracts that aren’t the best for us. Know the industry. Study your craft. But, again, be careful.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
Stefanie-I’d like to find a job that would pay me to travel all over the world. I could be a stewardess, I suppose, but I’m too old for all that and not terribly patient. I couldn’t work in a bookstore, because I’d spend all day reading and get fired.
Donna-I don’t know. I’ve done a lot of things in my life. I love event planning, let’s go with that!
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
Stefanie-I do read reviews, but try never to go on Goodreads. Not a place for authors. I never respond to them, unless someone sends me a review by a personal message and then it’s usually a good one and I thank them profusely and offer them food. I deal very badly with bad reviews. Not sure what it is about authors that they remember every word of the hurtful reviews and forget a lot about the 5 stars, but unfortunately we do.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
Stefanie-editing. And rereading over and over and over again, just to have a beta tell you later that they still found typos.
Donna-all I can say is AMEN. Stefanie hit it on the nail!
What are you working on now?
Stefanie-a sci-fi story set in an alternate universe.
Where did your love of books come from?
Stefanie-I’m not sure, because my mother and father didn’t have it. My dad read the newspapers, but that’s all I ever remember seeing him read. My mother lived in the Virginia mountains and never went past the third grade in school. But as long as I can remember I loved reading books and can still hear my mother’s voice calling to me to “put down that book and get outside and get some sunshine.” I never did, and I have the pasty white complexion to prove it.
Donna-I’m like Stefanie. My parents were not huge readers. My father (although a wonderful Daddy and provider) only had a 4th grade education. But, I will say he loved education and got several certificates in his field. However, reading was my thing. Not anyone else’s in the family.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
Donna-I love the strength of Caroline and Thomas in this book. Since my Donna Wright books are romantic comedies, they don’t reach the same level of conflict in these works.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Donna-both! Just depends on the moment.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Stefanie-names! I get them mixed up sometimes and then just don’t see it when I’m editing.
Donna-editing. When I write the end, I mean it and to go back and hash it over and over again, makes me say grrrrrr.
Where can your fans find you and follow??
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️
Thanks, so much!!!!!