An Interview with Donna Ball
by Pamela James
MM2: Donna how many books have you written?
DB: I have written close to 100 books (or perhaps slightly more than that by now!) The first 50 or so were contemporary romance for Harlequin/Silhouette, which I’ve been told by more than one agent don’t count. But I love those books, and I learned more about writing from them than I’ve done from all the rest of my books put together.
MM2: What comes first, the characters, setting or plot?
DB: The characters always come first. They’re the ones who tell the story! I’ve always said that unless you have a set of characters about whom the reader cares and in whom the reader is passionately invested, your story doesn’t matter, because no one is going to read it!
MM2: What would you like to say to your readers?
DB:The first thing I always want to say is that I have the classiest readers in the world. They are amazing, and they are the only reason I do what I do. The second thing I’d like to say is that your opinion matters! If you like a book, write a review, e-mail me, let me know. You’d be surprised at how often something that simple can make the difference between a series that goes on to be a success, and a series that is canceled after three books.
MM2: What has been the best writing advice you received?
DB: I know I am a product of all the advice I’ve ever received from everyone who’s ever given it, but the best advice probably came from the friend who shoved a paperback novel into my hand thirty years ago and said, “You can do better than this.” Turns out I could.
MM2: Do you ever reread any of your favorite author's books?
DB: One day, I hope to have time to sit down and do just that.
MM2: After a hard day at the computer. How do you de-stress?
DB: My daily ritual is to watch the sunset from my porch or deck with a glass of wine. This is sacred quiet time for me, and I am so obsessive about it that I’ve been known to wrap up in multiple layers with gloves and a knit hat to go out to watch the sun set when it’s 10 degrees outside.
MM2: Tell us about where you live? Your favorite vacation, your favorite meal and movie?
DB: I am so fortunate to be able to live in two of the most beautiful places in the world: the Blue Ridge mountains of northeastern Georgia, and the Atlantic beaches of Florida. As for my favorite vacation, well I’ve been a lot of places and had some amazing times, but my favorite? Disney World! My favorite meal is Sunday brunch, the kind with mimosas and eggs benedict. My favorite movie? I can’t pick just one! Love Actually is my favorite Christmas-time movie. I have a July Fourth tradition that includes Independence Day, Apollo Thirteen and The American President. Love those stirring speeches! My favorite musical is probably Mama Mia, mostly because of the amazing shots of Greece. And I can’t wait to see Jurassic World because Jurassic Park is one of my all-time favorites, a true classic.
MM2: What would your characters tell us about you?
DB:My characters would probably say I’m pretty easy to work with. I let them tell their stories and hardly ever censor their thoughts. I can get a little stern with those who ramble on and on, and I’m sure a few of them would have something to say about how free I am with the “delete” button, but for the most part, I think they’d give me a pretty good report.
MM2: Leave us with some writing words of wisdom.
DB: Okay. Here’s something you don’t hear very often: If there are 105 things you need in order to become a writer, talent is number 103. I can’t tell you how many talented writers I’ve met who have nothing but that, and who will never, ever succeed. Do the work. Do the work. Do the work. Those are my words of wisdom.
MM2: Be sure to lead us to your website and any blogs you might like us to know about.
DB: Learn more about me at http:\\www.donnaball.net.
Check out the Raine Stockton Dog Mystery series at www.rainestocktondogmysteries.blogspot.com
and don’t forget my latest release, FLASH at http:\\www.doglegislanddogmysteries.blogspot.com.
If you are a fan of women’s fiction, check out the Ladybug Farm series and THE HUMMINGBIRD HOUSE at www.ladybugfarmcharms.blogspot.com.
Here’s an amazon.com link to Flash, the first book in my newest mystery series: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00V3KTHT6