Today I'm delighted to have D. B. Reynolds here with me. I first met D.B. at the Kelley Armstrong board; yes, she's another published writer who started out in the OWG there. I first encountered her in the debate area. Let me tell you, the woman can debate. Though we tend to agree on subjects, even when I disagree with her, she can make me see her perspective. There's no question that she can effectively use words to make her point. It's no wonder she took up writing.
D.B. has 5 books published so far, a stand alone called "Heart of the Wolf", and 4 books in her "Vampires in America" series.
D.B. has a website with a blog, and can be found on facebook, and she just recently joined twitter. Look her up and say hi, then curl up with one of her books. But leave a light on.
BEA: Donna, thank you for taking the time to come by and talk with me. And congratulations on your novel “Jabril” winning the RT Reviewer’s Choice Award. That is wonderful news! You must have been so excited. Did you have any idea prior to nomination that it might happen?
D.B.: I didn’t. In fact, I didn’t even know I was nominated until a fellow writer posted about it on one of my writing loops. I was so excited. And then I couldn’t believe it when I actually won. I just sort of floated down the hall to let my husband know that he was now married to an award-winning author!
BEA: “Jabril” was the second book in your “Vampires in America” series, you just released “Sophia” the fourth book and are working on the fifth book, “Duncan”. How many more will there be? Is there a definite end?
D.B.: My current contract is for eight books, which is what I originally designed the series to be. Eight books for the eight Vampire Lords of North America. But if my readers, and my publisher, want it go on, I could easily see the series expanding.
BEA: Do you have any say in the cover models or designs of your books? They have been pretty wonderful.
D.B.: I’ve been so fortunate in my covers on two fronts. First, my publisher gives me quite a bit of input into my covers, which is something very few publishers give their authors. I abuse it terribly and sometimes drive both my publisher and the artist crazy. But secondly, I’ve been lucky to work with a wonderful and talented artist, Patricia Lazarus. She patiently puts up with my PITB e-mails and always comes up with something beautiful.
BEA: Can you please tell me a bit about yourself?
D.B.: Me? Well ... I’m a writer. I started out in academia, but soon fled the backstabbing and politics of the university for the sound stages of Hollywood where at least you get paid very well for putting up with the backstabbing and politics! I was a sound editor for several years, and received two Emmy nominations, before my wonderful husband made it possible for me to quit the daytime job altogether and try to write full time. Or close enough anyway. He wanted some of my newly free time for himself, too.
BEA: What’s a typical day of writing for you? Are you a planner or do you wing it?
D.B.: I’m a planner all the way. I do detailed outlines with character sketches, all the major plot points and first drafts of many major scenes before I actually start writing the book. I also maintain an overall calendar for the series, as well as a day by day calendar for each book as I write it, so I can be sure my characters are moving in sync. And a series bible, too. Like I said, planner all the way!
BEA: What prompted you to start writing? Would you continue to write if you were no longer published?
D.B.: I’ve always loved books. When I was a child, my mom or dad would take me to the library every week and I’d check out as many books as the library would let me, which was like nine or ten books. By the time I was in high school, I knew I wanted to write, because I wanted to create worlds and characters like those I’d been reading forever. And I was pretty sure I could do it, too. I’d probably write even if I wasn’t published, but my goal would always be to GET published. Because I want to share my stories.
BEA: What is your favorite part of writing? What is your least favorite part?
D.B.: My favorite part of writing is the writing itself. I’m not one of those tortured writers who has to force herself to sit down and squeeze out a book. Nor do I mind that it’s a solitary endeavour. I’m a very solitary person and I love writing, so it’s the best of all worlds for me. My least favorite part is having to delete scenes I’ve worked so hard on. Sometimes my editor just doesn’t like the scene, or thinks it slows the narrative. Or sometimes the book comes in too long. It breaks my heart to chop up what I’ve written!
BEA: Do you think that the paranormal is waning in publishing, changing, or holding strong?
D.B.: I think there will always be a market for good paranormal stories. Paranormal, Sci Fi and Fantasy are the ultimate escapist literature and most people read for just that reason, because it takes them away from their lives and into a whole new world.
BEA: Currently your stories are paranormal romance, do you see yourself writing straight up paranormal stories? Do you think you might try a different genre sometime?
D.B.: My books straddle the line between paranormal romance and urban fantasy. I like having a strong relationship angle in my stories, even when the relationship is not the central part of the plot. I could see myself writing stories with less of a relationship angle, but I don’t think I’d want to leave it out entirely. It makes the story more personal. As for a different genre, I’d love to try romantic suspense/thriller, or even a straight up suspense/thriller with just a touch of romance.
BEA: Who are some of your influences? Some of your favorite writers?
D.B.: I don’t know that I have influences other than the wonderful writers I’ve read all my life. Every time I read a book I learn something about writing. My favorite writers would be a very long list, but just a few of them are Adrian Phoenix, Kelley Armstrong, Kresley Cole, Nalini Singh, Gwen Hunter, Rob Thurman, Ilona Andrews, John Sandford, Scott Turow, Dan Abnett ... I could go on and it’s an ever evolving and growing list.
BEA: Was there someone who was, or is, particularly helpful to you? Was there someone who inspired you in your writing? In what way(s)?
D.B.: Amy Stout, who had been an editor at all the major Sci Fi publishing houses for years before she and her family moved to California, gave my writing a major boost at a very critical point in my career. She was the first true professional who told me I actually could write and that my stories had merit. I also have to credit Kelley Armstrong, because she created the Online Writers Group, which is still my main writing group. I met both of my critique partners, Michelle Muto and Steve McHugh, in the OWG, and I don’t know what I’d do without them.
BEA: You have been active in the Online Writers Group on Kelley Armstrong’s discussion board. Do you think that helped your writing? Did it help you make contacts in the publishing world?
D.B.: The OWG definitely helped my writing. There are a lot of talented and skillful writers there, not to mention various experts whom I’ve tapped for help over the years. And as I mentioned above, I met both of my critique partners through the OWG.
BEA: You have an account on facebook and a very active blog. Do you think that social media is important for an author to be involved in? Do you see yourself getting more involved? Do you think you might start your own message board someday?
D.B.: Social media is critical for an author these days. It’s a way to get word out about new books, signings, reviews, and interviews like this one! It lets me connect with my readers in a way I never could have before. Right now, I have a blog and Facebook, but within the next month I’ll be going live on Twitter, too. (she is there now - @DBReynoldsWrite ) It’s one more way to connect with my existing readers and maybe make some new ones. I don’t have any plans for a message board, but I wouldn’t rule it out for the future.
BEA: Do you prefer to read paper books or ebooks? Why?
D.B.: I bought myself a Kindle for the holidays. I give the best gifts!! And I love it. I resisted e-books until my own books went Kindle, but now I’m completely hooked. I love the ease of reading it, I love the ease of buying new books—which is great for Amazon, but not so great for my book budget. Yikes! But if given a choice between a print or e-book, I’ll choose the e-book. And that’s something I never thought I’d say.
BEA: If you could be a character in a book, which one would it be, and what part would you play? (Romantic lead, sidekick, etc)
D.B.: Hmmmm. I want to be the lucky, beautiful woman who gets the gorgeous, hunky, immortal warrior/vampire/werewolf as her devoted lover. I love the idea of having someone that powerful as my protector. Why do you think I write the stories I do?
BEA: Anything that you want to add or say to your readers?
D.B.: I always thank my readers from the bottom of my heart. I get so many e-mails and blog and Facebook posts telling me how much they love my stories and my characters. And it means so much to me to hear that.
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D.B. has generously offered a signed copy of either Sophia or Rajmund, and it's open internationally.
Just leave a comment here on either the interview or my review of Sophia and a way to contact you. (see the giveaway policy here)
Giveaway runs through midnight EST of Monday May 23, 2011