Donna McDine is an award-winning children’s author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions and Preditors & Editors Readers Poll 2010 – Top Ten – Children’s Books category – The Golden Pathway.
Her stories, articles, and book reviews have been published in over 100 print and online publications. Her interest in American History resulted in writing and publishing The Golden Pathway. Donna has two more books under contract with Guardian Angel Publishing, The Hockey Agony and Powder Monkey. She writes, moms and is the Editor-in-Chief for Guardian Angel Kids and Publicist for the NWFCC from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI and Musing Our Children.
Thank you for this interview, Donna. Do you remember writing stories as a child or did the writing bug come later? Do you remember your first published piece?
A: When I was a child, I enjoyed watching the television program, Lou Grant with my dad, and became mesmerized on how a reporter put a story together and I dreamed of becoming a reporter one day. For some reason or another, I did not follow this early dream and worked in administration for several Fortune 500 companies for many years. Not until I came across the Institute of Children’s Literature aptitude test in 2006 did my dream of becoming a writer reawaken.
What do you consider as the most frustrating side of becoming a published author and what has been the most rewarding?
A: The waiting. I am very much hurry up, let’s get it done mentality. Over the last several years I’ve learned that patience is truly a virtue. My most rewarding experience was the day my children acknowledged me as a children’s writer to an adult I was having a conversation with.
Are you married or single and how do you combine the writing life with home life? Do you have support?
A: Balance, balance, and some more balance. To find it at times with (as many fellow writers) the responsibilities of wife, mother, daughter, friend and my work as a virtual assistant can be quite daunting at times. Even though summer vacation is in full swing I find it essential to rise at least two hours before my children, so I can get my exercise, shower, and writing in. By the time the girls rise, I’m all set to have breakfast with them and then I’m ready to switch gears to my virtual assistant position with International Business Leaders Forum. This way I can remain much more focused on my VA work when I get my writing session in first. Oh and yes, this isn’t the army, so there are times my schedule gets thrown out of whack depending on what the day throws me (i.e., basketball camp and F.I.T. camp car pools).
Can you tell us about your latest book and why you wrote it?
A: Be transported through time to the Underground Railroad, where high-pitched screams echo each night. David’s cruel Pa always chooses the same victim. Despite the circumstances during slavery, David uncovers the courage to defy his Pa. Raised in a hostile environment where abuse occurs daily, David attempts to break the mold and befriends the slave, Jenkins, owned by his Pa. Fighting against extraordinary times and beliefs, David leads Jenkins to freedom with no regard for his own safety and possible consequences dealt out by his Pa. I have always been fascinated by American History and it was a natural pull for me.
Can you share an excerpt?
A: He crept into the barn. A sweaty odor clung heavily in the air. His first attempts to help Jenkins hadn’t gone well. Jenkins use to cringe when he saw David. Fearful he was there to inflict another beating. But over time, David gained Jenkins’ trust with promises he was not there to harm him, but to help. Tonight, the wounds from the whip were worse than ever. The welts looked like caterpillars lodged under his skin. David dared not touch the wounds with his bare hands, afraid his calluses from farming would make the welts worse.
Where’s your favorite place to write at home?
A: The dining room table away from my computer. This way I am not distracted by email and because the natural light fills the room.
What is one thing about your book that makes it different from other books on the market?
A: Even though there are illustrations, The Golden Pathway is not a picture book, but rather a story book geared towards 8-12 years old.
Tables are turned…what is one thing you’d like to say to your audience who might buy your book one day?
A: The protagonist David shows that we can overcome negative influences with love and perseverance.
Thank you for this interview, Donna. Good luck on your virtual book tour!
Thank you to Cheryl C. Malandrinos of Pump Up Your Book Promotion for this original interview.
VBT – Writers on the Move continue to swirl through cyberspace, visit with Dallas Woodburn on June 9th at http://dallaswoodburn.blogspot.com as she features Jennifer Gladen .