Please welcome my guest Donna Simonetta. After years working in the business world, her love of reading led her to get her MLS, and she currently work part-time in a school library, a job that allows her lots of time to explore her other love - writing romance! She lives in Maryland, with her husband, who is her real-life romance hero. They enjoy traveling to visit far-flung family and friends, and spending time on the beach with an umbrella drink and a good book.
Tell us something about yourself both writing and not writing related.
I always wanted to be an author, but my career took another path after college, and I entered the business world. I wasn’t happy in my work, and went to school at night to become a librarian, which played into my love of books. I work part-time in a school library now, but a health scare several years ago made me take a long look at my life and choices, and I started writing! It is a decision I have never once regretted–I love the whole process.
I have to say I'm a bit jealous of your job. I'd love to work in a library. Introducing others to the love of reading sounds very rewarding. Do you have a writing routine? Where do you usually do your writing?
During the school year I write in the afternoon when I get home from work, but I prefer to write early in the day. During the summer, when school is on break, I love to get up and get writing! Now that I’m a published author, which is more exciting than I could ever tell you, a certain amount of time has to be spent on promotion of my books too, and it’s more of a balancing act with my free time–trying to still get time to work on my current work-in-progress, but also actively promoting my books.
I write in my living room, in an area my husband jokingly calls my “Command Center”. Laptop, notebooks, pens…are all within reach.
I write in my living room too. Why do you write in the genre/sub-genre that you do? Any plans in the future to write in a different one?
I like to write (and read!) romance because I like a happy ending. Real life has so many ups and downs that I enjoy knowing that the story I’m reading or writing will end well. I’ve written both fantasy, and contemporary romance with no fantasy elements. I’ve had ideas for historical romance novels, possibly mixed with fantasy elements. I also love reading mysteries, and may venture into writing a cozy mystery one day.
How do you stay motivated when writer’s block hits or your muse won’t cooperate?
I find that when I’m first waking up, I’ll think about my writing, and knotty problems frequently become unraveled for me then. But if I get well and truly stuck, it helps me to just write. I don’t allow myself to fret about whether or not it’s any good, just let it flow, and it can always be edited later.
That sounds like good advice. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?
Since I’m also a librarian, research is something I really enjoy. I know good resources to use, and love to research! I am such a hopeless geek! But I don’t think I’ve ever done anything too strange in the name of research.
What’s the best writing advice you were ever given?
Hmm…I’m not sure. When I began writing, my husband was the only person who knew I was doing it. I wasn’t sure if I’d be any good, and wanted to minimize humiliation if it turned out I stunk as an author! So, I was very much self-taught; I didn’t reach out to anyone for advice. I did read some stuff from my favorite authors online about writing. Jim Butcher, who writes the Dresden files series, had a post about drawing an actual arc when he starts writing. I thought it was a good idea to help with pacing a story. Butcher plots out EVERY point on the arc. I do not. <laughs>
What do you like to do in your leisure time?
I like to read. Preferably on a beach somewhere warm with a tropical cocktail! That seems especially appealing in the middle of winter, but won’t be happening for me for a while. I’m kind of a homebody, so I love hanging out at home with my husband. I wish I had a more exciting answer–like, ‘I enjoy parachuting to an remote locale where I can zipline to a party’, but the truth is I’m happiest when I’m chilling at home.
I'm happiest hanging out at home too. I've never been one for socializing unless I have to. :o) Tell us about your current release in a couple of sentences.
A Sweeter Spot is a small-town, contemporary romance. It’s set in the fictional town of Rivers Bend, Virginia, and is the first book in a projected trilogy about the Braden family. It has a heart, humor, and sizzle!
Can you tell us a little about your next project?
I’m working on a couple of projects right now. The third book in the Rivers Bend trilogy, which is Jason Braden’s story–his wild ways are about to be tamed! And also a ghost story/contemporary romance that I’m really excited to finish and share with y’all!
Anything else you’d like to share?
Thank you so much for letting me visit today!You're welcome. I'm glad you came to visit.
Check out blurb and excerpt of A Sweeter Spot below.
Magda knows a 28-year-old shouldn’t run away from home, but Rivers Bend is the ideal escape. Helping out her best friend will get her away from her uber-wealthy, controlling grandmother and duplicitous ex. She doesn’t expect the quirky little town to feel so much like home. Add in hotter-than-the-sun Jeff and his daughter, and leaving seems as unthinkable as it is inevitable.
Raising Sam alone, Jeff knew he wanted her to grow up in his supportive hometown. The arrival of a feisty new tenant sends Jeff's world spinning. Magda fills a void in his life that he’d like to make permanent.
Will love triumph over the most powerful woman in the country, and can they figure out how to make this happy-for-now in Rivers Bend into their happy-ever-after?
“Being cheated on is no fun. It happened to me once. Up here,” he tapped his forehead. “You know it’s not your fault. But here,” he tapped his chest over his heart. “You feel like it has to be your fault – like you could’ve done something to prevent it. But you couldn’t have. It’s all on him, Maggie. Not you.”
She picked a dandelion, whose flower had turned into a puffball, and blew on it, scattering the fluff to the wind. “Maybe. Maybe not. But thanks for the support.”
She pushed to her feet and took a couple of steps toward the river. Jeff rose and followed.
How could he be so angry at a man he didn’t even know? How could this Pierce jerk have slept around on a woman like Maggie? And the prick had even made her doubt herself in the process. It was written all over her anguished face.
He stood behind her and gently kneaded her shoulders. He turned her to face him and cupped her face in his big hands.
“This Pierce guy is the biggest fool on earth to go to someone else when he had you at home, Maggie.
She blinked away tears, and he felt his heart constrict. Before he could think it through and decide it was a really bad idea, Jeff dipped his head and captured Magda’s lips in a gentle kiss.
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