Sunday, May 8, 2011

20 Questions with Tina Donahue & a CONTEST!!!

I'm celebrating Friday's release of my erotic romance Take Me Away.

First, I'm answering Sarah's 20 questions, and then we'll get into the contest.  :)

Please give us your website addy, a list of your books and a short bio.


Unending Desire (erotic paranormal coming in October 2011)

Take Me Away (erotic contemporary released May 6, 2011)

The Yearning (Bestselling erotic paranormal – my first in that genre!)

Sensual Stranger (Book of the Year 2010 erotic category – 4 Stars Romantic Times)

In His Arms (SIX 5 Star Reviews – 4 Stars Romantic Times)

Lush Velvet Nights (Golden Nib Award – 2011 EPIC Finalist)

Deep, Dark Delicious (2011 EPIC FINALIST – 4 Stars Romantic Times)

Adored (RWA award-winning – 4 Stars Romantic Times – 2011 EPIC FINALIST)

Bad Boys with Red Roses (anthology)

Close to Perfect (5 Books Long and Short Reviews – 4 Stars Romantic Times - Praised by Booklist)

Take My Breath Away (4 ½ Stars Romantic Times – a Top Pick – Praised by Booklist)

Wicked Women on Top (anthology)

Irish Eyes (anthology – Praised by Booklist)

O’Toole’s Promise (historical)

Just One Kiss (historical)

Force of Nature (romantic comedy)

My Man (romantic comedy)

Once in a Blue Moon (romantic comedy)

Take A Chance (romantic comedy)

Lady Love (romantic comedy)


Tina Donahue is a multi–published novelist in erotic, paranormal, contemporary and historical romance. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work; she has reached finals and/or placed in numerous RWA–sponsored contests. Three of her erotic novels were named finalists in the 2011 EPIC competition. Sensual Stranger was chosen Book of the Year 2010 (erotic category) at the French review site, Blue Moon reviews. She was the editor of an award–winning Midwestern newspaper and worked in Story Direction for a Hollywood production company.

How do you usually come up with a story idea? Dreams? Writer’s journal? Eavesdropping on conversations? Newpaper?

I tend to get my ideas from news events. For example, In His Arms came to be because of a young woman’s abduction. The problems Lindsay Lohan has had recently was the genesis of Take Me Away.

Who or what inspires you when your creative mojo is lagging?

My creative mojo doesn’t lag. I won’t allow it. While I’m wrapping up a current WIP, I’m already thinking of the plot/characters for the next. I treat my writing very seriously and have trained myself to be creative at all times.

Who is your Yoda—your seasoned mentor?

I don’t have one. I became a writer because I just had to write.

What importance do you place on writing workshops? What workshops would you recommend to us?

I’m certain they’re great for some writers, but I’ve never attended one. I read everything I can (not only in the genre or sub-genre in which I write) so I can continue to learn my craft.

What person would you like to thank for inspiring you in your writing aspirations? How did this person help you?

I had a creative writing teacher in my freshman year of college who asked me to stay after class. We had just turned in a paper and I was really nervous. Previously, in high school, I had an English teacher who absolutely hated everything I did. I loved to write and really tried to excel on my assignments. On one in particular, she called me up after class and said I couldn’t have written the paper myself because it was too good. She told me that I’d never be able to write anything except my own name. Naturally, with this new teacher calling me up after class, I was fairly nauseous. He put me at ease right away when he said I should think of writing for a living, that I had an amazing amount of talent. I never looked back after that. :)

Have you ever used songs for inspiration?

I can’t say they inspired me to write a particular story. However, when I’m in my car and listening to LeAnn Rimes singing “How Do I Live Without You?” or Kelly Clarkson singing “A Moment Like This”, it usually makes me think of a scene in my stories and I start envisioning how I can enrich the scene.

Do you play music when you write? If so, what kind? Or, do you have to have silence or background noise to set your writing muse free?

I need quiet to write. Anything that distracts me makes writing difficult and a chore, not a joy.

Do you read in a different genre than you write? If yes, why? If you read in the same genre that you write, do you feel that it influences your writing in any way?
I tend not to read romance while I’m actually writing a WIP. I don’t want another writer’s style to influence my work.

Besides, you can learn so much from other genres. For example, I love thrillers and they’ve helped me build suspense in my own stories. I like action/adventure. Those types of books have helped me keep my plots moving at a fast clip.

What is your process from idea to first draft?

Once I get an idea, I then research aspects of it, including locale, jobs for the main characters, and anything I might need in the plot. Then I outline. My outlines are usually over 150 pages in length. They’re actually a rough draft of the story. Only after I complete a detailed outline do I begin to write the actual first draft.

Have you ever given assistance to a struggling new writer? Has another writer ever come to your aide? How?

I’ve had many struggling new writers asking for advice. I help them as much as I can. Writing’s a lonely profession and it’s brutal. If I can ease the emotional pain even a bit then I feel I’ve done my job.

Many writers have come to my aid. Most recently with the expedited release of Take Me Away. I found out on Monday it was releasing on Friday (of the same week). I put out an SOS on the loops and numerous authors offered to turn their blogs over to me so I could promo the book. They’re good people.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?

Hmmm. I guess that would be having Sensual Stranger named Book of the Year 2010 erotic category. I didn’t even know I was in the running until I received an email about it. 

If you won the big lottery, what would you do with the money? Would you give any of it to charity? If so, which one?

I’d quit my EDJ, move to Spain (Andalucia or Granada), write and have a good time.

All of my $$$ is willed to Planned Parenthood.

What is the best advice you want to give to a new writer?

What they’ve heard from just about every other author – don’t give up. Added to that would be – learn your craft.


To one lucky commenter, I'm giving away a copy of one of my backlist that includes:

1. Adored (RWA award-winning; EPIC 2011 Finalist; 4 Stars Romantic Times)

2. Deep Dark Delicious (EPIC 2011 Finalist - 4 Stars Romantic Times)

3. Lush Velvet Nights (EPIC 2011 Finalist - 5 Stars JERR)

4. In His Arms (SIX - 5 Star Reviews; 4 Stars Romantic Times)

5. Sensual Stranger (Book of the Year 2010 - Erotic Category; 4 Stars Romantic Times)


Website/blog: http://www.tinadonahue.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/tinadonahue
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000458023097

Buy Link for Take Me Away: http://www.jasminejade.com/p-9333-take-me-away.aspx

YouTube Video for Take Me Away: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQm3OI8AZEE


Sarah J. McNeal said...

I loved yor answers, Tina. Sometimes authors, experienced or new, need words of encouragement and you've certainly done that for me.
150 pages of outline, shoot, I'd be calling that my first draft.
Congratulations on winning book of the year with Sensual Stranger. And, even more congratulations on your new release, Take Me Away. I have my Calgon bath salts ready to "take me away." Now all I need for relaxation is your new book.

Tina Donahue said...

Thanks, Sarah!! Don't know how much 'relaxing' you'll get when you reach the steamy parts of Take Me Away. :)

Delaney Diamond said...

A 150-page outline?! Whew! That's a book for me. I'm not nearly that disciplined.

I tried to turn over a new leaf on my current WIP and write an outline, but I gave up because I was stuck. I have the general idea for the story and characters, so I just started writing.

I like the sensuality in your writing, so those outlines clearly pay off. Congratulations on all your success!

Tina Donahue said...

Thanks, Delaney. For me, outlining makes the actual writing so much easier, as the outline is really a rough first draft. :)

Debra Glass said...

Great interview!

Tina Donahue said...

Thanks,Debra - thanks go to Sarah - the probing questions belong to her. :)

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I could relax in a neuclear blast. Okay, maybe not that but maybe a hail storm. Type B personality. Some call us lazy. LOL But I'll enjoy those steamy parts of Take Me Away just the same.

Mannouchka said...

Dear Tina,
Great interview I see you write with no music so you can concentrat more and do you speak spanish I wish a wonderful week
Hasta luego

Cathy M said...

Such a wonderful success story, congratulations, Tina. What's your release schedule like for the rest of the year?

caity_mack at yahoo dot com

Tina Donahue said...

Hey, Mannouchka - I took Spanish all through high school and college. Unfortunately, foreign languages weren't my best subject. So, I can just say a few phrases. :)

Tina Donahue said...

Hey, Cathy - I have a paranormal coming from Samhain in October. And I'm already working on my next WIPs for my other publishers. :)

Pommawolf Emeraldwolfeyes said...

Congrats again on the new release!
I just adore the cover and video.
You are one busy writer, and I hope your having a wonderful weekend...*S*
Here is wishing you all the best!


pommawolf @hotmail.com

Fiona McGier said...

Yes, Sarah writes great questions, that's for sure! And your answers are so down-to-earth, just like your commentary on the chat loop. I'm truly impressed that you are such a supporter of Planned Parenthood. Me too.

Good luck with the new book...hot cover!

Carol L. said...

Happy Mother's Day everyone.
Great questions and answers as well. Tina, you have some Delicious sounding Titles there Tina.
Your covers are also HOT... :)
Carol L

Brenda Hyde said...

Oooh, good answers. Sarah and I were chatting on the email list last week about outlines/summaries, so it was cool to see what you do. I'm finding that flying by the seat of my pants is not a productive way to write because I tend to get stuck at certain points.

I'm weird with music-- it inspires me when I hear it, but then distracts me when I'm actually writing. I'll be running errands, listening to music and the ideas start coming in. LOL

Tina Donahue said...

Hey, Darcy - thanks for dropping by!

Fiona - yes, PP is my fav charity. :)

Have to agree, Carol, those covers are hot, hot, HOT!

Brenda - I'm definitely a plotter, not a panster. :)

Rawiya said...

Awesome interview as always, Ma'am. Much success!

Tina Donahue said...

I've chosen my contest winner - at random - and it's (drum roll please)

Debra Glass!! Yay, Debra!!

Please contact me at tina@tinadonahue.com for your prize.

Thanks to everyone for participating!