**AUTHOR PEEK** Interview with JOANNE McDONNELL
Before we get started talking about your writing, tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from, what you do for a living (if you’re not a full-time writer) what hobbies you have, etc. Whatever you’d like to share to introduce yourself.
I was born in north-east England in 1963, and immigrated to Australia in 1986 where I began my career in the retail industry. I lived and worked in Sydney for ten years, completing six years of tertiary education as I worked my way up the retail ladder. After 10 years in Sydney I was given an opportunity to move to Queensland and open a new store, I took that opportunity and 20 years later, am still in Brisbane, though no longer working.
I live on two acres in a lovely little valley, with my husband of ten years, and our two gorgeous German shepherds. My time is spent looking after the property, caring for my girls and writing. I read whenever I get the chance, which sadly isn’t very often now, and I love watching movies. My favourite genres, books and movies, are supernatural, fantasy, sci-fi and comedy.
1. How did you get started writing?
I guess it was really just an overload of creativity. That creativity initially raised its head when I was given my first camera at the age of nine. I loved telling stories through my photos, much to my parent’s horror; they were the ones who drove me around to my many locations and then had to foot the bill for developing the many rolls of film. I guess it wasn’t until I had to bear the burden of the development costs myself, that I discovered writing was another great way to tell my stories. Now, over 40 years later, writing and photography are still my number one passions.
2. What genre(s) do you write in and why?
My first published work is aimed at the young adult market; it is an urban fantasy novel following the lives of a small group of teenagers who discover that there are darker, more dangerous things roaming Melbourne’s nightlife than your average murderer. It was a practical decision to run with this particular idea, which had been rolling around in my head for some time, because the teen market is huge, and vampires, lycans and teenager heroes are very hot, topical subjects.
3. What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?
Mostly my girls, I have two beautiful German shepherds who are my pseudo-children. Willow Bear is nine, Alba Wolf is six and they are my constant companions. Between them they keep me in line, make sure I haven’t been sitting writing for too long and are a good sounding board for my ideas–they always like what I’ve written.
4. What is your favorite part of writing?
I just love it when my characters take control of the plot and write their own story. Then at the end of a section I re-read what I have typed and think–how on earth did that happen? Mind you, that can cause problems too; one of my main characters was killed off, even though they were to play a big part in the sequel. It seemed that Jessica, one of my other characters, really didn’t want to share the glory in book two.
5. What is your least favorite part of writing?
There will be no surprise here–writers block. We all have it, there’s no sure way around it, but we all beat it in the end.
6. Pick two celebrities to be your parents. Who would they be and why?
David Attenborough and Jane Goodall. You would be sure to have a life filled with amazing wildlife, phenomenal photography, stunning scenery and an abundance of writing opportunities, who could ask for more?
7. Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
I’m not disciplined enough to sit down, focus and come up with an idea. They just “come to me” if I’m lucky. Alba was the catalyst for one of my characters. I was watching her one moonlit night stalking something across the paddock and I imagined myself in her body, tapping into her senses. I could feel the grass under my paws, smell the hare in the distance and feel wind rushing through my coat. Oh–how wonderful it would be. Back in the real world, I began to develop one of my characters and when you read the description of the Lycans eyes in my book, you’ll find yourself looking into Alba’s. Oh, and I sometimes find inspiration in the bottom of a bottle of red.
8. Tell me about your ideal reader.
I think my ideal reader would be someone who is willing to believe the unbelievable and to be able to immerse themselves fully in the story. I’d like my readers to relate to at least one of the characters and to be able to love/hate others. On the flip side, I want to give my readers a good story that keeps them turning the page, and when it’s finished, makes them yearn for more. But I guess most of that depends on how well I have told my story. Let’s hope I’ve done a good enough job.
9. What is your “go to” routine that helps you get in the mood to write? Special beverage? Music? Etc.
I’m not a routine sort of person and a lot depends on the stage of the story and how fluid my writing is. If I’m struggling, I like to have the TV going in the background; it gives me something other than my blank screen to stare at. If I am on a roll, then the radio will go on, I guess I like the background noise even though most of the time I don’t even hear it. I write in different places around my home, at the moment I’m sitting at the breakfast bar, looking out of the windows across the valley (very pretty). Depending on the time of year, I follow the sun or shade around the outside of the house and you can find me in one of three of my favourite writing spots.
10. Tell us about your next book & when is it being published?
“A Taste of the Past” is the second book in the ‘Reality Bites’ trilogy. This book has a more complicated plot and a stronger romance thread, the first book having set the scene and introduced the characters. In “A Taste of the Past” Rosie has come to terms with her loss and her heritage, she can no longer deny her feelings for her eternal soul-mate and their passion is ignited. But while Rosie embraces her love, Jessica finds herself being pursued by a vampire, (one we all know from book 1) who is determined to make her his own, no matter what the cost, creating a living nightmare for her.
The second book also offers challenges for the vampires. They have found themselves looking for a new home, they are hungry and dissatisfied and this has resulted in a small breakaway group named the Dispossessed. The Dispossessed are a problem for both the vampires and the humans, they have thrown caution to the wind and are killing and feeding freely with no regard to the vampires code of secrecy. The Dispossessed are the reason that the teenagers find themselves working side by side with vampires in an attempt to bring down the Dispossessed. It’s an uncomfortable but necessary alliance.
As well as the physical encounters, I’ve given the teenagers a few more emotional challenges in this book, and they will have to dig deep mentally and physically if they are to survive, prevent the mass murders of humans and preserve the secrecy of the vampires. At this stage there is no telling who will survive to continue on into “A Taste of the Future” (But I’m going to try to keep Jess away from the keyboard).
The plan is to release “A Taste of the Past” by the end of the year, fingers crossed.
Links to Joanne’s website, blog, books, etc.
BE SURE TO COME BACK to read more about Joanne, her new release, and an excerpt from A TASTE OF REALITY (Book One of the Reality Bites Trilogy), on Wednesday’s Karen’s Killer Book Bench. Happy Reading!
**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**: Joanne is giving away ebook copies of A TASTE OF REALITY to up to five (5) lucky winners who comment on her Interview or Killer Book Bench blogs. Don’t miss this chance to read Joanne’s new story. Thanks, Joanne, for sharing your newest release with us!