Today I’m pleased to be hosting a good friend of mine, the highly successful, Donna Fasano on my blog. Donna has been writing romance novels for over 20 years. Harlequin Books published her first book in 1999, and she went on to write 32 novels for the company under the pen name Donna Clayton. In 2010, Donna acquired the publishing rights to eleven of her novels. She's been updating and expanding the books and is publishing them under her real name. Donna's books have won awards and have made best-seller lists. Her books have sold over 3.6 million copies worldwide. She now has a new addition to her collection: ‘Single Daddy Club Boxed Set’.
First let’s have a little chat with Donna…
1. Hello Donna and welcome! Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your family?
I have been married for 34 years and have two children. I see myself as a wife and mother first, and an author second. My family is very important to me. I also have a large extended family, brothers, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews. I feel very fortunate to have such a close and loving family.
2. When did you first know you wanted to write?
Most writers know from a very young age that telling stories is in their blood…something they must do. However, I came to writing as a reader. I was an avid reader as an adolescent. My mother died when I was 13 years old and reading was my escape from real-life tragedy.
3. How did you get your first break?
I finished my first manuscript and entered my book in an international contest sponsored by Romance Writers of America. An editor from Harlequin was the final judge. My book made the top 5 in the category, and although I didn't win the contest, the editor bought and published my book.
4. Which was the first novel you published?
Mountain Laurel was the first book I ever wrote. I have since learned that it is rare to have your first book published. I feel very fortunate.
5. How do you pick the themes of your books?
I know this might sound strange, but most of the time my books pick me. A good example of this was the time I was taking the elevator down to the first floor in my local JC Penney department store. A young woman and her mother stepped into the elevator with me; the young woman was carrying a wedding gown she had just purchased. She told her mother she didn't think she could go through with this and the mother was adamant that she would. That small snippet of conversation sparked an idea that became Return of the Runaway Bride. I never know when or how ideas will come to me.
6. Do you write at a specific time during the day?
Since becoming an independent author, I am responsible for everything: story (writing, editing, grammar, etc.), formatting, cover, and marketing. It can be overwhelming. I am still trying to find the right balance of writing time vs. everything else.
7. What do you do if you hit writer’s block?
I view writing as a job. I show up every day…and work. I have found that if I sit in my chair and turn on my PC, the words will come. If I hit a particularly difficult spot, I will call a writer friend for some emotional support. When my friends call me to say they're having a rough time, I offer an ear and a firm "Get back to work!" order. Playing the 'what if' game often helps. What if this happens in the story? Or what if that happens? I use any means necessary to kick-start my imagination.
8. Any specific advice you would like to give aspiring writers?
Find other writers. No one will understand you like other writers will. I have a close network of friends I can call on for support and advice. I would also tell aspiring writers to read, read, read. Find the authors you love to read and try to figure out why you love their books. Do their characters leap off the page? Do you find their story-lines intriguing? Is it the descriptive detail that grabs you? Learn how to tell a good story from the authors you love to read.
9. Which would you consider a better option, getting an agent or self-publishing?
I see benefits to both. I have been published by a large, well-known New York City publisher and I have also self-published my work. As a Harlequin author, my only responsibilities were writing a good and entertaining story. Harlequin took care of the packaging and marketing of the book and I earned 2-6% of cover price for my talents and abilities. As a self-published author, I am responsible for everything; however, I earn 35-70% of the cover price for my talents and abilities. So although I sell fewer books as a self-published author, I earn more money.
10. What is your favourite leisure activity or stress buster?
I love spending time with my family. I love laughing with friends. I love walking, and if I can do it out in nature—in the woods, or at the park, or on the beach—I am very happy. I love to cook and I own nearly 100 cookbooks. I love to watch romantic comedies. I love to read anything and everything. I have lots of ways to rest and relax. I would like to travel more.
Finally, is there anything specific that you would like to say to the readers?
I would like to let readers know that I am so grateful to have an audience for my books. I love to write, and I feel so honored when people read my work. I would like to tell writers that, if you have a dream to write a book, you should go for it. Reach for the stars! I did. And I have captured a few. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this interview.
Now let’s talk a little about, the ‘Single Daddy Club Boxed Set’.
When asked about the inspiration behind The Single Daddy Club series, I immediately think of my dad. I know, I know… it sounds a little weird. Let me explain. My mother died when I was young, and my father stepped up to the plate and became the best parent ever. It didn't take him long to become adept at juggling his work life and his parenting responsibilities. To me, he was an inspiring single daddy.
I often think single father are over-looked in society today. There are many men who are doing all they can to raise bright, happy, well-adjusted children who feel adored. I think these dads deserve a standing ovation, and I'm proud to bring readers a series of books that focuses on the single male. One of my "dads" becomes the guardian of his young nephew (Derrick from book 1), one is a toddler-toting widower who is trying to balance parenting, work, and *gasp* in-laws (Jason, book 2), and the final Single Dad is divorced and has lost all belief in love (Reece, book 3). We see these men supporting one another as they search for love and struggle with their daddy duties. It was a fun series to write!
So, What Makes Single Dads So Darned Sexy?
Come on. You have to admit it. When you're out at the mall or the playground, and you see a dad alone with his child, your heartstrings get a good, hard tug. You pause, your eyes follow him, you watch him smile down at his kid…and you get tingly all over.
What is it that makes bachelor dads so sexy?You might be too young to remember the movie Three Men and a Baby, but click on the link above and take a look at the picture... Who wouldn't find these guys drool-worthy? When a man automatically picks up a crying baby, or races to rescue a toddler who's fallen, or stops what he's doing to comfort a child, a complicated chemical reaction takes place in a woman's brain that makes her think…mmmm, now that's sexy.
Let's break it down:
A single dad who puts his kids needs before his own will, more than likely, put his woman's needs before his own too. (Sexy!)A single dad who raises happy, well-adjusted kids has proven he's responsible, mature, and strong. (Sexy!)A single dad who dedicates himself to his children has shown that he's a good and caring provider, and the selfless love he exhibits shows he's willing to sacrifice for his family. (Sexy!) Raising kids takes patience, discipline, kindness, tenderness. (Sexy, sexy, sexy, and sexy!)
The simple answer would be human nature; procreation is a basic human instinct, and, as women, we are attracted to men who show signs of being good mates and excellent fathers. Now, that doesn't mean we're willing to "be fruitful and multiply" with the bachelor dads we meet…but is does help explain why seeing a father hug his baby makes us think, awwww, that's so sweet…and sexy!
Single Daddy Club Boxed Set Links:
Nook – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-single-daddy-club-boxed-set-donna-fasano/1114198504?ean=2940016037219
Kobo – http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/The-Single-Daddy-Club-Boxed/book--RnN6vERxUezvQcQgzRbkg/page1.html?s=hFCRjm2QD0-rUIs5-X98Ug&r=1
iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/single-daddy-club-boxed-set/id595755620?mt=11
Donna Fasano is a three time winner of the HOLT Medallion, a Cata Romance Reviewers Choice Award winner for Best Single Title, a Desert Rose Golden Quill Award finalist, and a Golden Heart finalist. Her books have sold over 3.6 million copies worldwide and have been published in nearly two dozen languages. Her books have made the Kindle Top 100 Paid List numerous times, climbing as high as #17.
What others are saying about Donna's books:
"...complex, funny, and realistic..." ~Wilmington News Journal
"Could not help myself from reading excerpts to my husband and friends. This book is well written, the characters are real, everyday folks. It is very easy to identify with them. Donna Fasano is a talented author." ~Elizabeth M. Caldwell on Amazon
"...a fast paced riotous look at family life today. Donna Fasano is right on target!" ~Donna Zapf, SingleTitles.com
If there's anything else you need, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks Donna and thanks everyone for dropping by!