Today I welcome award winning, Harelquin author Donna Alward. Donna has an impressive back list in emotional feel good romance and I’m thrilled to have her visit.
Donna, thank-you for stopping by to answer some questions I have about your writing career and your most recent release, Into the Fire.
So, let’s start from the beginning.
1) When did you first realize you were interested in a career as a writer?
I always enjoyed writing. Language Arts and English classes were my favourite. I used to write poetry during other classes when I should have been listening to lectures. I did my degree in English Lit thinking I would go on to be a teacher. I didn’t, though. I entered the workforce by taking a position with the government. I had always thought I’d like to write a book someday, but never really got around to it. Then after my second child was born I was a stay-at-home mom and after some urging from my sister, decided to give it a go just for fun. I loved writing that first book even though it was garbage. When I finished it I knew this was what I wanted to do as a career.
2) What attracted you to publishing giant, Harlequin?
That first book came out as a romance and was around 50,000 words. At the time the only real market for short romantic fiction was Harlequin – and hey, why not? They’re the world’s largest publisher of romantic fiction. The trouble was deciding where I fit within the various lines that Harlequin publishes. I got a lot of help from the other writers in Harlequin’s web community – both published and unpublished. It was and is such a great resource.
3) What’s the best part of working for a large, traditional publishing house?
There are definitely some pros. I have a great editor and editorial team backing me up. There are a lot of things I don’t have to worry about because they are taken care of in-house. And one of the biggest is distribution. Harlequin’s truly global – I’ve had my books translated into several languages around the world. Having that access to readers is really a big deal for me.
4) With the indie publishing industry booming, is self-publishing something you would consider?
A few years ago I would have said no, but now I absolutely would. Things have changed dramatically in the past several months. I don’t have any immediate plans to self-pub, because I have contract obligations that are keeping me plenty busy. But you never know and it is definitely an option I would consider down the road. One of the best things for authors right now is the wealth of options out there. It would have to be the right project for the right reasons.
5) Your current release, Into the Fire (loved it), is the third in your First Responder series. Will you add to this series or are you working on a new one altogether?
I’ve had a blast writing this series for Samhain! I recently turned in the last book in the series, BENEATH THE BADGE, and it will hopefully be out in ebook sometime in the first half of 2013. Right now I’m working on another Cadence Creek story for Harlequin – the fifth in my Cadence Creek Cowboys series. It’s a holiday story and I love that I’m writing it during the lead up to Christmas.
6) Do you prefer to write stand-alone novels or series?
I love writing series, but I think each book should be able to stand alone. I tend to think in trilogies… LOL.
7) Your novels are filled with strong emotion. Do you find it difficult to detach from your characters once you’ve typed, The End?
Actually, no. I think because when I get to the end I’ve given them their happy ending and I’m ready to set them free. That being said, one of the great things about a series is being able to bring in some of those happy couples and catch up with them again.
8) Would you like to share anything else with our readers today?
INTO THE FIRE just released yesterday, so here’s the blurb and a couple of links where you can check out an excerpt etc. I had so much fun writing this story – it’s probably my favourite in the whole series. It might have something to do with the animal shelter that the heroine is involved with and a special dog named Moose… And I mean really, who can resist a hunky fireman?
Thanks for having me over to visit!
You’re welcome! Thanks for sharing your experiences.
Here’s the book cover and an excerpt from Into the Fire. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to more in the series.
First Responders, Book 3
“Better to lose a purse than have something happen to you.”
“I mean it,” he answered. “I’ve responded to a lot of calls since I joined the department, and for people I knew too. But nothing froze me up like seeing you standing in that kennel with a towel over your face. I couldn’t let anything happen to you. I just couldn’t.”
“And you didn’t. When I saw you there I knew I could count on you.”
There was a significant pause, and then Chris met her gaze evenly. “Then why didn’t you count on me years ago? Why’d you have to give me back my ring, Ally?”
She never expected him to ask that, especially in such a forthright way. She floundered, unsure of what to say. “I thought we were past all that. Ancient history.”
“I thought so too. Until the other night.”
“The other night was just us reacting to everything that had happened.” Her heart thrummed heavily. It was bad enough thinking about it. Talking about it just made it worse. And better at the same time. Which meant things were about to get complicated.
“That’s not all it was to me.” He came around the car door. Her only escape was to get in, but she couldn’t seem to quite do it.
“Getting married would have b-b-been a mistake,” she stammered, terribly flustered and wonderfully aroused by the proximity of his body to hers. She had to keep her head. “I was flighty and irresponsible, remember? I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do and I knew you’d regret jumping into marriage so soon. We’d only been dating a year…
“I never said you were flighty and irresponsible. Quirky, maybe.” He grinned. Mercy, his lips were awfully close to hers, weren’t they?
“Yes, you did,” she replied, looking up into his eyes. “You told me I never settled on anything. You were right. And you were leaving to do your training. You were determined, even though you knew I was so afraid of you becoming a firefighter.”
“You didn’t seem to mind what I did for a living when I pulled you out of that burning building,” he pointed out.
He was so big. With barely an inch separating them and her back up against her car, she was well aware of the length of his legs and the breadth of his chest and shoulders. He was in prime physical shape.
“I’m aware of the irony,” she replied.
“And yet here we are. You rushed right over here this morning, didn’t you?”
“For Moose,” she said. And she meant it. If she’d been in the mood to seduce she wouldn’t be in faded jeans and a plain sweater. She would have taken greater pains with her hair and put on a little more makeup. If she’d been interested in picking up where they left off, she’d have put on other underwear than her plain white cotton panties and bra. But she could hardly point that out. He’d likely bring up the fact that the last time she hadn’t been wearing any underwear…
“For Moose,” he parroted softly, and he leaned the rest of the way in.
His body touched her at hips, breast and mouth—all places that came alive at the mere brush of cotton and denim. Frozen to the spot, her lashes fluttered closed as he toyed with her lips, teasing, tantalizing. He’d always been the most marvelous kisser—time hadn’t diluted that talent in the least. He braced his hands on the car behind her as he pressed lightly against her, inviting rather than forcing. Luring her in rather than demanding.
“Chris,” she began, taking the opportunity to protest—weakly—when they came up for air.
“Mmm, I’ve wanted to do that ever since I dropped you off the other night.”
“I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Way more than I should.”
Any reply she might have made evaporated as he pressed against her, more firmly this time, and slid his tongue over her lips.
It certainly felt like starting something up. And the very idea frightened her to death. She was right back where she started, wasn’t she? Nothing had changed. She was still unsure of what the future held, undecided about what she wanted to do, still afraid for him. And Chris could be terribly persuasive. Especially when he licked just under her ear like that…
She gathered up every ounce of willpower and pushed against his chest with her palms. Chris knew all her favourite pleasure points, and he wasn’t above using them, was he? And all he was doing now was muddying the waters. The shelter had been the only thing she’d ever truly been good at. Now it was time for her to apply that decisiveness to the rest of her life.
Warning: Adorable dogs, a hot firefighter and five-alarm passion. Fire extinguisher (or cold shower) highly recommended.
Find out more about Donna Alward from her website Emotional Feel Good Romance.