Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Have you met Donna Galanti?

I believe it was Woody Allen who said "I would never join any club that would have me as a member." Heck, maybe it was Rodney Dangerfield...but in any case, recently I tossed my hat back in with the HWA (Horror Writers Association). The next 15 months will be my chance to discover if this is something I really want or need. My experiences have been mixed, but some people that I have very high opinions of are involved, and it is their guidance that I trust enough to see if this is indeed a tool to further my career, or, as some have suggested (let me make note that I am not sold on this line of thinking) that this is an "old boys club" where you are always on the outside looking in. I have met a few people who have been very helpful during my time in the HWA. And for me, it isn't really about the awards, it is about the community and how they can provide guidance for writers of all ranges of ability.

And now, for the reason that you came to the lovely and talented Donna Galanti.

Your bio says that if you could not write, you would bike, hike and kayak every day. So it is desk jockey or super outdoorsy…not much middle of the road. Are you able to find a balance?
Being a writer is a stationary job. It’s not a spectator sport or one that gets your blood pumping (only metaphorically speaking). Exercising keeps me feeling good so I try to do it early in the morning before I sit down at my desk, or it never happens. If I could find a cabin in the woods alongside a creek with a mountain view–that would be my favourite mix of writing and outdoors to tackle.

Share your favorite moment while in the Navy (I was a submarine sonar man in the 80s)?
I was also in during the 80s! I can’t pinpoint one moment really. Being stationed as a photographer with Fleet Intelligence in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was all around great with island hopping (especially with Magnum P.I. being filmed there at the time). However, I loved best going to Navy Photo School in Pensacola. Our barracks were right across from the white sand beaches and it was fun to be in school. A great time before we got our duty locations and the “real job” set in. Ben Fieldstone in A Human Element was also a Navy Photographer stationed in Hawaii and a dark scene there comes into play. Can he be saved? Read it here.

What can you share about your writing process with new or up and coming writers?
The more you improve your craft of writing the harder it gets. Honestly, ignorance is bliss and that’s what I had when I wrote my first novel. Now I’m pressured to use all the tools I’ve learned in the writing process to produce a better novel. It’s hard work, yes, but a novel keeps on giving. That first rough draft is just that–rough. Keep peeling back the layers of your story to see what it reveals to make it even better. Do the necessary work in revision–then revise again and again. I think writing a novel’s first draft is easier than making it shine.

If you were to change genres, what would be your next choice?
I love challenging myself to write outside my comfort zone and wrote about it here. I’m outlining a young adult novel right now and also have a middle grade adventure out on submission, so I guess you’d say I’ve already crossed genres. My current paranormal suspense novel, A Human Element, is a cross-genre novel as well. It’s been called a “sci-fi/thriller/romance/roller-coaster.” It means I need to read a lot of different genres as well to know multiple genres.

What could traditional publishing learn from the Indies? And how about the other way around?
I see a big divide today, sadly: self-published vs. traditional against one another. I don’t think there needs to be as there are so many wonderful authors on both sides. The traditional publishing route could definitely update many of its processes in sync with today’s speedy online world: divvy up royalty checks monthly not every 6 months, provide more author support, and speed up the process of getting a book to market. If self-published folks want to be taken seriously they need to have their work professionally edited, have a big-6 looking cover created, and set up an author platform online with web/blog/social media. It’s work being an author either way. We’re really small business owners in charge of our own fate as novelists.

The writing community can be its own worst enemy at times. What are some of the issues you see cropping up? Solutions?
Again, this points to the above question. I don’t think any writer has the right to bash another writer for the route they decide to go with publishing. I see this quite a bit. Each writer needs to make that decision on their own. I have good friends who went traditional and others small press or self-published. Good for all of them! This isn’t a competition and one way isn’t the “right way”.

The social media is…
…a time (sucking) machine! Yes, fun, addicting, and work–it takes away that time from writing. Plus I think there’s a “Writer ADHD” now. We can’t simply sit down and saturate ourselves in just writing for long periods of time–and that is where the creativity comes in. I believe social media stunts our productivity and creativity as writers.

Share some information about your work with us: 
My current paranormal suspense novel, A Human Element, is murder and mystery with a dash of steam, sci-fi, and horror. In it, Laura Armstrong’s loved ones are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next. Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite–her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a mad man, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him. Read an interview and excerpt with the villain X-10 here.

What is one question you are sick of being asked—not in interviews, but by individuals who know you write?
Can I have more than one question? J  #1. Will you teach me how to market my book? #2. So how much was first your royalty check? #3. Won’t you read and review my book? I read yours and reviewed it, you know.

Do you read and review other people’s work? And if so, do you find it difficult as a writer if you don’t like the work?
I review other people’s work I am so inspired to review. I do not like to take review requests from authors as I feel pressured to write a good review. It’s funny how an author can read and review your book, without your asking, and then use that as reason to request reciprocation. Please, do not do this!  If “hounded” to write one (see above) I write a balanced one if I have issues with the book–pointing out the good and not-so-good. Here’s a post I wrote on finding good-fit reviewers. As an author I so appreciate mixed reviews as people took the time to read my book and write a review. We are all different and bring our experiences to the table when we read a book. For example, it’s funny how some say A Human Element is a great love story and some say that it doesn’t have that much romance in it. Thank you to all readers who take the time to review!

How much reading do you get in, and can a writer excel at his or her craft if they do not read?
I try to read two books a week. Sometimes I cheat and read novellas. Really getting into them! You can crank one out at the park. Authors need to read to write. We need to see what works and what doesn’t, as well as know our genre. When I first began writing books I lost my love of reading. This was hard for me as I’d always been a reader. It’s like I traded one sense for another. Read about it here.

When does self-promotion cross the line and become a nuisance?
When it’s all the time. I see twitter streams full of self-promotion by many of the same authors and after a while I tune them out. We need to find a balance of self-promotion, promoting others, and just chatting. A great way to get people talking is open up discussions on topics that are in your book and slip it in down the line.

What projects are you currently working on?
The sequel to A Human Element is in revisions now, A Hidden Element, and I also have a short story collection coming out soon that features characters from book 1 and book 2. All dark fiction with a dash of hope. 

What is one thing about you that would surprise the readers who do not know you personally?
I’m adopted and met my natural mother when I was 18. I since had to cut those ties, but so glad I was given up to a wonderful home. My characters in A Human Element carry some of my background regarding this. Read about it here. Watch for my special donation program running December 1st through the 22nd. I will be donating $1 for each book sold to the Pearl S. Buck Welcome House adoption program. Author Pearl S. Buck’s home is close to me and many don’t know besides being a Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winner, she also was an adoptive mother.

Is there anyone you’d like to give a mention?
My wonderful developmental editor and dear friend, Kathryn Craft. She goes above and beyond in her service! She also participates in a fantastic writer resource blog with a team of other editors called The Blood Red Pencil and check out her editing website.

What is in your “to be read” pile right now?
These are all being read right now on a rotating basis J. I’m finishing up horror reads to consider recommending for the 2012 Bram Stoker Awards right now including Joe McKinney & Michael McCarty’s Lost Girl of The Lake and Patrick Freivald’s Twice Shy. I’m also reading two great books by self-published authors. Shadow on the Wall by Pavarti Tyler, a controversial and daring Muslim thriller, and Wolf Dawn by Susan Cartwright, a sci-fi thriller.

Donna Galanti Bio:
Donna Galanti is an ITW Debut Author of the paranormal suspense novel A Human Element (Echelon Press). She’s lived from England as a child to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. If she couldn’t write she would bike, hike, and kayak every day. Donna lives with her family in an old farmhouse in PA with lots of nooks, fireplaces, and stinkbugs but sadly no ghosts.

1 comment:

  1. Todd, I so appreciate you having me on today! Thanks for making me work at hard at it too - LOL! It wasn't too painful. Not as bad as dealing with the nuns in H.S. or boot camp, anyways.