What defines you…
Are you defined by your family, your career, your accomplishments? What happens when something you think defines you changes?
Emily McGinn, a recurring character from Where Secrets Lie, believes she knows exactly who she is and where she belongs in the world, until she receives an inheritance from an unknown benefactor. Uncovering the source of the inheritance leads Emily to discover buried truths undermining what she thought was a straightforward life. As the truths alter Emily’s perception of the people closest to her, her perception of herself shifts as well.
Set in the unique foothills community of Boulder, Colorado and its environs, Whoever You Are questions not only how we define ourselves, but also how we define family and whether we bear any responsibility for the actions of those who came before us.
Although Donna lives on the east coast now, she was born in a suburb of Denver, moved near Boulder as a teenager, and lived in the Boulder area for much of her adult life, which is why she chose Colorado as the setting for her first two novels, Where Secrets Lie and Whoever You Are.
Books captivated Donna at a very young age. All those years and all those books inspired her to become a writer. The journeys the books took her on enthralled her. Their ability to make something imaginary seem real is what spoke to her, got into her blood, and would not let her rest. She had to write!
Donna loves to hear from readers and listen to their perspectives on her novels. It fascinates her how people can look at the same thing and see it in so many different ways, so if a reader ever wants to tell her what they think or just wants learn more about her, find her on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.
Chapter 1 – A Few Regrets
“Forgive me for saying this, Grace, but I’m concerned about Sterling’s reaction.” James removed his reading glasses and laid them atop the papers on his desk.
Grace shifted her gaze away from him.
“Yes, I understand, Jimmy. I just can’t deny this child any longer.”
Grace was the only person who called him that anymore. Coming from anyone else, it would make him cringe. However, the reality embodied in Grace’s appearance dimmed his smile.
Despite the weariness Grace’s illness etched upon her face, her sitting posture remained erect. Her silver hair was styled in a classic bob, her makeup sparse and tasteful. The tailored suit she wore held its lines even on her thinning frame.
Word was, Grace had a heart condition that could not be cured in spite of having the financial means to pursue any treatment. Given her labored breathing and her skin’s bluish hue, the doctors must be running out of options. Given these changes to her will, Grace must be running out of time.
“Would you like to include a personal letter to explain?” James asked.
“No, I’ll tell Sterling about the changes myself.”
“Actually, I was thinking about the girl. This will likely be quite a shock for her.”
To say the least. James had been their lawyer and friend back then too, back when Hunter insisted they renounce the child for the sake of decorum. It was clear to James then, doing so broke Grace’s heart. It was clear to him now, her heart never mended.
“I considered it,” Grace said, “but how can I possibly condense a lifetime into a letter?” And the choices. How in the world would she ever justify the choices?
James fiddled with his fountain pen, which Grace had given him last year for his birthday. Every year it was the same gift just a different model, a different color or design, and each year he looked forward to seeing what she chose. Odds were, the pen in his hand would be the last.
“No,” Grace said, “it’s better not to try. A letter like that would just muddy the waters. I don’t want to burden her with empty explanations or pleas for forgiveness. What’s done is done.”
It was too late to give this child anything but a token and an opportunity to discover who she was. It’d be up to the child to seize the opportunity or not.
“If she asks you any questions, Jimmy, just point her in the right direction and let her find her own way. If she’s anything like her mother, she’ll do just fine.”
“All right, Grace, whatever you say.”
A longer sample is available at Amazon!
Q. What inspires your writing?
A. Day to day life inspires my writing. I’ll see something or hear something that strikes me as interesting. Hours or even days later, it will emerge into an idea for an element of a story, a character, a plot point. Then I start wondering about what else might happen, who else might be there, and my imagination takes over. Before you know it, I’m outlining a story.
Q. What is your favorite thing about being an author?
A. The best part is hearing from readers that the story resonated with them, that the characters made them laugh or cry, or that the premise made them ponder something in their own lives. It’s thrilling to learn my imagination created a story that came to life for them.
Q. What is the toughest part of being an author?
A. The actual writing itself can be excruciatingly difficult. I read a quote recently from Ernest Hemingway where he said: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Leave it to Hemingway to depict it so succinctly.
Q. If you could not be an author, what would you do/be?
A. Although I’m an author now, my background is as a Chartered Financial Consultant. When I was a kid, math and English were my favorite subjects, so in college I gravitated toward creative writing and finance.
Q. What would the story of your life be entitled?
A. Wow, that’s a really hard question. When I’m in the midst of developing a story the title just comes to me, so I suppose I’d have to write the story of my life in order to discover the answer.
Q. What is your favorite book of all time?
A. About a hundred titles rush to mind! Even when I try to just list a few, I feel like I’m leaving other significant titles out. I can’t narrow it down!
Q. Which character from ANY book are you most like?
A. Every time I read a book, I imagine myself experiencing what the characters go through but from their perspective. For me, part of the fun of reading is to try on different personas and see what life is like for them, so I’m more inclined to enjoy my differences with a character than my similarities. That’s the long way of me saying I don’t have an answer!
Q. What character from all of your books are you most like?
A. I don’t feel as though any of them are actually like me although there are elements of me in every character I write. Sometimes it’s closely related to me such as a similar experience or a similar emotional reaction. Sometimes it’s more distant such as a conversation I overheard or an event I happened to witness. Bottom line, every character springs from a seed in my imagination, but every seed materializes from my life experience.
Q. What is your favorite season?
A. Spring because it means we’re a long way from winter, and while I also love summer and fall, I hate being cold!
Q. What inspired your book cover(s)?
A. I chose covers that illustrated locales that were pertinent to each story. Both novels take place in and near Boulder, Colorado. The cover for Where Secrets Lie is derived from a photo of Boulder Creek, and the cover for Whoever You Are is derived from a photo of The Flatirons.
Q. Are you working on something new?
A. I am, but unfortunately, I’m not far enough along to share any details. I do hope to have it completed before next summer though.
Q. Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A. I love to hear from readers and listen to their perspectives on my novel. It fascinates me how people can look at the same thing and see it in so many different ways, so if anyone ever wants to tell me what they think or just wants learn more about me, find me on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.
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