What Nightmares is about [the blurb on the back cover]:
Eighteen-year old Emily Preston has it all. She’s beautiful, strong and confident. But just weeks before graduating from high school, the nightmares she’d experienced as a child, begin to plague her once more. When a mysterious voice warns that she must remember her past and accept her gift of seeing into the future in order to save her boyfriend’s life, she believes she’s losing her mind. The nightmares escalate into visions of long ago and memories begin to return. Will Emily allow herself to accept the gift or will she lose everything, including her life?
Lorraine Reguly’s Interview with Donna Jean McDunn
LR: Since you are a writer, I’m betting that English was your favourite subject in school. Was it? 🙂
DJM: Yes, it was. That and Reading. Do they still have a Reading class? Next in line was History, especially Ancient History. I think it had something to do with all the reading involved.
LR: How long have you been writing, and what made you decide to become a writer?
DJM: I started making up stories in grade school, but it wasn’t until the 6th grade that I began dreaming of becoming an author. Then life got in my way and I discovered boys.
I married fairly young at nineteen, just like a lot of people did especially back then. We had kids right away and after the third daughter, we decided that was enough. The years simply flew by and there never seemed to be enough hours in the day – or if there were, enough energy left to do any writing. It was always in the back of my mind even though I never mentioned it to anyone.
I would sometimes take out my writing and do a little, but I never let anyone read. Then something wonderful happened: my daughters grew up, got married and began giving us grandchildren. The oldest grandkids were voracious readers. My house was full of books I’d read over the years, so they knew I loved books and they would give me theirs to read. One day in 2008, I was reading one of those books when I thought, I should write the kids a book and publish it just for them. So I started out writing a story about the feral cat who came to live under our woodpile.
I knew my idea was good, but I also could see the story lacked good writing, so I decided to take a writing course offered at The Institute of Children’s Literature. That first course was enough to help me write their book and I gave it to them at Christmas that year. That course however is what spurred me on to want to publish my short stories and eventually a novel.
So I went on to take the novel course and later I took two more courses with Long Ridge Writers Group. I did a total of four courses and I’ve never regretted any of them. I highly recommend anyone who wants to write, to take their courses or at least find some similar ones to take. The writing life is one where we can never stop learning and growing as a writer.
LR: What does your family think of you being a writer/published author? Did they support you throughout your journey?
DJM: My family is very supportive of my writing. I do think they were shocked when I found a publisher for my first novel. My husband is not a reader and has never read anything I’ve written. He also thinks I’m crazy for staying up half the night writing, but he supports me in his own way. Sometimes he’ll walk by my office and if the door is open, he’ll look in and shake his head. He has a tough time understanding why anyone would write anything but automotive manuals for working on vehicles. I know he’s proud of what I’ve accomplished though because I hear him telling people about it all the time. 🙂
LR: Do you ever feel lonely? Writers spend tons of time alone, writing. How do you cope with loneliness – if you feel it?
DJM: It is true that writing is something writers do alone, but honestly, I’ve never felt lonely – not yet anyway! I still cherish the times when I have a day when it’s just me and my computer at home. It doesn’t happen very often – that’s why I stay up after my husband is asleep and write.
Take, for example, last weekend. I had three of my grandsons spending the night – two are twelve and one is seven. They love to come to the farm and play. Actually, all the grandkids love it here. Just like their mothers before them, they go on the hill (where there are trees) and build forts. This weekend was just the three boys, but sometimes all eight grandkids spend the weekend and then the three oldest girls build a fort, too. They are ages 17, 15, 9. The youngest is only eighteen months and her mom won’t let her help yet. When all the grandkids are here there are four boys, ages 13, 12, 12 & 7.
There may be a time when all the grandkids are grown and/or married and things settle down around here, but by then, I’m hoping for great grandkids coming to visit us and they’ll be building forts too. This past weekend after it was too dark for the three boys to be outside and they were watching TV, I sneaked into my office and was writing when Dylan – he’s twelve – walked by and asked me if I was writing one of my books. I said yes and he said, as much writing as I do, I must have a million books written by now. I just laughed and said, oh I wish that were true, but it takes a lot of time to write even one book, but I’m well on my way to having five finished soon and that’s if I count the one I wrote for just you grandkids. He seemed pretty impressed with that number, even though it wasn’t a million.
LR: Are you still planning a sequel to Nightmares? Can you tell me about it? Do you have a release date for it yet?
DJM: The sequel to “Nightmares” is with my line editor and I’m expecting her to send it back to me soon so I can accept or reject her edits. The title is “Visions” and yes, I’ll tell you more about it in a minute. I don’t have a release date yet. I haven’t received a new contract either, but should within the next week or so and then they’ll give me a probable release date. It still has to go through the content editor, too.
Sometime early next year, the second book of the series “Visions” will be released. It continues Emily, Tony and their friends’ adventures into a paranormal world and adulthood.
It begins when an old friend from Tony’s past, Stephanie, comes to Charles City to stay with friends while her parents are out of the country. Emily becomes suspicious that she’s not what she appears to be when she sees a shadow hovering over her. When the shadow begins to not only influence Devon, Tony’s brother, but appears to have taken possession of Tony, she becomes concerned that the shadow’s plan is to force him into Stephanie’s more than willing arms.
The dog, Max, that was murdered by a psychopath almost fourteen years ago, returns. Emily believes he came to protect her from the evil that’s inside Tony’s friend.
Emily and her best friend, Kaylee have decided to move into an apartment together and share expenses. It’s here that Max brings, Dana, a twelve year old girl ghost. The girl has no memory of who she is or what happened to her, but she wants Emily to find her family so she can return home.
Aiden Shaw, Tony’s deceased father sends her, Ashish Mehta or Ash for short, who is homeless and wants to sleep on the girl’s couch. He has a gift similar to Emily’s but much more advanced since he’s been practicing it since he was a child. The problem Emily has with him is the strong connection she feels, and learning that he is her psychic soul mate does not make things any easier when Tony, her ‘real’ soul mate meets him.
LR: What will you do after “Visions” is released? Are you working on anything else?
DJM: Yes, I’ve also been planning book 3. The title “Premonitions” is the only thing I’ve really decided for that one, but I’ve started a few character sketches and scenes I think I will be include in it.
LR: Will you be using the same publisher? Why or why not?
DJM: I am going through the same publisher, MuseItUp Publishing. One reason is the contract I signed states that they get first chance at publishing a sequel, but I probably would have sent it to them anyway. They have been great.
LR: What advice would you give to someone who wants to publish a book?
DJM: There are so many options open to anyone who wants to publish a book, yet it can be very daunting and discouraging. If their dream is to be published by the Big Six in New York, find a small publisher as I did, or self publish, my advice would be, never give up and continue to write, because just when you think you have failed, something wonderful might happen. You’ll never know until you try and as long as you don’t give up, you’ll always have that chance of fulfilling your dream.
LR: Thanks, Donna. That’s great advice! Thanks also for allowing me to interview you and for being here for others to meet and get to know you!
DJM: My pleasure; thanks for having me!
LR: You’re welcome!
Donna Jean McDunn is one of my blog followers, a talented author, and a grandmother to a whole slew of children! She lives with her husband and several cats and dogs on a farm in Iowa. Some of you many have noticed her already in the comment section on previous posts. 😉
For other interviews, please refer to the one that can be found about halfway down on this page, and the article about the release day for Nightmares, which includes an excerpt from Donna’s novel.
More About Donna and her books:
Donna Jean McDunn
Donna lives and writes in Iowa on a small farm of eighteen acres. Her debut novel “Nightmares” was published by MuseItUp Publications on May 10, 2013 as an e-book for now, but if purchased on MuseItUp’s website, you will be able to download all four formats, Kindle, Nook, PDF and HTML. “Nightmares” can also be found on Amazon.com: Donna Jean McDunn Nightmares: Kindle Store, Donna Jean McDunn | Barnes & Noble and many other stores where e-books are available.
Donna has also completed “The Rose Stalker”, the story of 55 year old Gail Rose Carter. It’s a Romance/Mystery. This is what “The Rose Stalker” is about:
Gail grew up with a very controlling father and then for almost 35 years, she was married to Alan, a man very similar to her father. When he suddenly dies, she is devastated, but with her doctor’s advice and her two daughter’s encouragement, she begins a new life. She meets and falls in love with Mason Palmer and for a short time, believes she can be happy. Then someone begins leaving roses on her car, in her garage and finally in her home. Her daughters believe it’s Mason and that he wants their father’s money. Who should she trust?
Donna’s short story “Trapped” was included in an anthology, Mystery Times Nine 2012 and published by Buddhapuss Ink Publishing on December 6, 2012 and can be found on Amazon. She has had short stories published online at knowonder! your bedtime story and story time resource – a story a day awaits, Stories That Lift, New Bumples Interactive Magazine, Online Magazine for Children., The Pink Chameleon and Page & Spine: fiction showcase – The Front Page.
Her blog can be found at: http://donnajeanmcdunn.wordpress.com/ and like her Facebook Author Page at: http://www.facebook.com/donnajeanmcdunn Friend her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/mcdunndonnajean.
The Rules and Requirements:
Donna has generously decided to give away TWO copies of “Nightmares”
•one to someone who subscribes to follow her blog by email (different from following via the WordPress reader) AND leaves her a comment on her post ANNOUNCING A GIVEAWAY and
•one to someone who follows Lorraine Reguly’s blog via email AND leaves a comment on this post.
This giveaway will run for the first three weeks of November, ending on November 22. The winners will be announced on Friday, November 29th, 2013. The plan is to use a random generator to choose the winner.
BONUSES FOR YOU:
•To increase your chances of winning, follow both of our blogs! (NOTE: If you are already one of my email followers, all you have to do is comment. I know who’s who – I keep my notifications from WordPress of my followers!)
•For additional chances to enter your name into the contest, share this post on Twitter using the hashtag #NightmaresBookGiveaway.
•For even more chances, share Donna’s post using the same hashtag! There is no limit on how many “shares” you can earn – so share, share, share! 🙂 Then share some more! Get creative with your tweets! Just remember to use the hashtag.