Author Spotlight: Donna Cummings

Hello, and welcome to another Author Spotlight. Today, I’m welcoming author, Donna Cummings, to my blog. I first discovered Donna’s writing when she did a guest post on another blog discussing LORD MIDNIGHT, a wonderful romantic escapade with a dashing highwayman and a feisty, yet beguilingly innocent heroine. When I finished reading Donna’s post about the book, I immediately jumped over to Amazon and purchased it. Donna has a wonderfully engaging style of writing but I’ll let her tell you about that.

Welcome, Donna. I’m delighted to have you here.

Donna: Thanks for inviting me, Mae. And thank you for the wonderful description of my book. I think I need to hire you to write all my blurbs from now on!

I so loved LORD MIDNIGHT, I had to share my thoughts: 🙂 Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what prompted you to start writing?

Donna:  I’ve been writing since the dawn of time, although I took a ten-year “leave of absence” from it when I couldn’t seem to get my books where I wanted them to be! I spent a lot of time reading books on how to write, but never quite feeling like I could do it–because I had this wrongheaded notion that a book had to be perfect once the words appeared. Plus a lot of the writing advice said outlining and plotting ahead of time were required. Once I learned I could just sit down and write by the seat of my pants, figuring things out as I went, revising them later–I wrote and wrote and wrote. And I’m still writing.

As a panster myself, I can definitely relate to that style of creating. I understand that you just signed a contract for a new manuscript. Actually, you signed two . . . one with Samhain and one with Crimson Romance. Talk about being on a roll!  Would you like to share some details about what readers can expect when it’s release time?

Donna: I’m still a little dizzy about all of this happening at once! Both are contemporary romances, filled with kooky situations and lots of humor. BACK ON TRACK is a novella with Samhain, and it came about because of several authors talking on Twitter about a picture of a hot guy on a train. Somehow it morphed into, “let’s each write different stories with different couples falling in love on different trains”. There are five separate stories that are linked as Strangers on a Train. Mine is set on the Napa Wine Train, and involves a hero and heroine getting to know each other by telling lies as an icebreaker. One of the lies the heroine tells is that she used to date a famous baseball player, who just happens to be the hero, and she knows who he is, but he doesn’t know she knows it. The book with Crimson Romance is a romantic comedy/mystery titled I DO. . .OR DIE which starts out with gunfire at a wedding. The heroine is a commitment-phobe, thanks to her gigolo father, and she manages to fall in love with the detective who is her bodyguard while they try to find out who keeps shooting at her.

Okay, so I have to ask:  LORD MIDNIGHT is about a highwayman, and your new releases (plus SUMMER LOVIN’) are contemporary romances. Do you have a preferred time period when it comes to setting and heroes? Is one easier to write than the other?

Donna:  I really love both genres, and I’ve been given the advice, many times, to pick one and stick with it. But my contrary nature won’t allow that! I started with Regencies, and then they kind of died out, so I switched to contemporary, and then when they waned went back to Regencies. Each time period has its own built-in humorous situations, and I love exploring those. I can’t imagine being forced to only write one genre.

I love that you inject humor into your writing. You make it seem so effortless. What would you say is the hardest element to write (i.e, description, action, dialogue, etc.).

Donna: The characters really do all the heavy lifting when it comes to the humor! Sometimes I feel like I’m sitting at my laptop, recording their conversation as it happens, like a court reporter. I really love writing dialogue, and when I start writing a story, that’s about all there is on the page. I have to go back in and flesh it out with description, adding information about the setting, and what they’re doing while they’re being witty and hilarious.

I know a lot of authors (myself included) who have to meter out time to write. Because I work a full-time job, I try to grab a few hours in the evenings and/or, most especially, on weekends. What about you? Set hours for writing, or whenever you can fit it in?

Donna:  I work full-time too, and even though I’m not a morning person, I try to write in the mornings, since my muse Endora is more cooperative then! I also like to do the #1k1hr word sprints with other writers on Twitter, since it gets me started, which can often be the hardest part of writing. When I’m revising, I tend to spend 12 to 14 hours at a time, to keep the continuity going with the story. That’s when a day off doesn’t seem nearly long enough! But my brain is always working on a story, or coming up with new ideas — when I’m commuting, when I’m doing mindless tasks, etc. So I think writers are always writing, even if we can’t put words onto a page at that particular moment.

Great observation and so true! What do you find the easiest to write—the beginning, middle or end of a novel?

Donna: Definitely the beginning–because I’m excited about the new story and eager to see where it’s headed. Sometimes when I get to the middle, I stop, hands on hips, looking around, muttering, “Why isn’t there a map for me to follow?”

LOL!  Aside from writing and reading, what do you like to do when you have free time on your hands?

Donna: I am a total social media addict! So I spend way too much time on Twitter and Pinterest and Facebook. I hope they don’t invent any more new ones, or I’ll never get anything accomplished!

What is the current title you’re reading on your Kindle/Nook or in print right now?

Donna:  Right now I’ve got two books waiting for me, both from fellow Six Sentence Sunday participants:  BRIDGING THE GAPS by Kate Warren, and GAME PLAN by Karla Doyle. I’m looking forward to adding your book to the Nook soon too.

Aw, thanks! I’ll give a plug and remind everyone the release is scheduled for October 8 😀  How/where can readers find you?

Donna: I can be found at my blog (www.AllAboutTheWriting.com), on Twitter (@BookEmDonna), Facebook (www.facebook.com/Donna.Cummings.Author), Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5349107.Donna_Cummings) and Pinterest (BookEmDonna). I told you I’m a social media addict! I also blog at http://www.HeroesandHeartbreakers.com, so feel free to stop by there too.

Donna, thank you again for being my guest author today. It was a delight to have you and I hope you’ll be back, especially as your new releases roll around. I can’t wait to read them! Before we go, do you have any advice you’d like to share regarding your philosophy on writing in general, or breaking into publishing.

Donna: I’ve had a ball, Mae, so thanks for having me. I’d love to come back! As for my philosophy on writing, here it is: tell the story that only you can tell. Each of us has different specialties, and we need to embrace that, even if it’s not a popular trend. Also, tell the story the way YOU want to tell it. That’s where your author voice is — and it will set your writing apart from everyone else’s. I think too many stories get the life choked out of them when writers try to follow all of the current “rules”. You might need to experiment, but you’ll know when you’ve finally found your storytelling sweet spot.

And there you have it, lovely readers! Be sure to check out Donna’s buy links, and pop by her blog for all the latest news and tidbits she’s sharing on her books and more. From highwaymen to contemporary heroes and heroines, you won’t be disappointed!

Donna Cummings Bio: I have worked as an attorney, winery tasting room manager, and retail business owner, but nothing beats the thrill of writing humorously-ever-after romances. Currently I reside in New England, although I fantasize about spending the rest of my days in a tropical locale, consuming mojitos for breakfast and wearing flip flops year-round.

A contemporary novella, Back on Track, will be published by Samhain in April, 2013. A romantic comedy, I Do. . .or Die, has just been contracted with Crimson Romance.

Where to find me: Website ~ Pinterest ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads ~ Facebook

Buy links:

Lord Midnight, a highwayman driven by revenge, and the woman who steals his heart, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords

Every girl should have at least one wild fling on her resumé. Summer Lovin’, a novella, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords

42 thoughts on “Author Spotlight: Donna Cummings

  1. I really enjoyed this interview Mae! I’m definitely going to pick up Lord Midnight… the cover is so yummy!
    Glad to see I’m not the only one who likes to fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to writing 🙂 The hardest part seems to be getting started, like Donna said, you’ve got so many ideas in your head and your so ready to get the story out… just start on page one can be the hardest part sometimes.
    Thanks for the interview Donna… looking forward to reading your other up in coming titles as well. Good luck to you!

  2. Mae, thanks for having me. I stayed up so late reading last night, I managed to sleep in later than usual. LOL You do such great interviews too. I’m in awe of your skill. 🙂

    Loni, I’m glad you liked the interview, and hope you enjoy my books. I love flying by the seat of my pants — when I’m writing. LOL In real life, I like to map things out a little bit more, because there isn’t a Delete key I can use like when I’m writing! And “getting started” should be an Olympic event. Boy does it take drive and determination and effort!

    • So happy to have you here, Donna! The interview as a blast, you were wonderful, and I hope my small little spotlights brings you and your delightful stories many new fans!

  3. Christina, I think pantsing is a fun way to write. It can be maddening, but my contrary nature balks whenever I try to figure things out too far in advance. And as for naming my muse. . .she doubles as my Inner Critic, and whenever she’d say something in that disdainful voice, even a compliment, I kept thinking, “She sounds SO familiar. WHO is she?” LOL Then it hit me. Endora. That’s who my writing partner is!

  4. Mae, thanks so much for all the kind words about Lord Midnight. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, and I’m thrilled you’re giving me a chance to spread the word. 🙂

    I can’t wait to hear the name of your muse. It’s always fun when you discover them — or when they find YOU. LOL

  5. Oh, you’re a pantser, too! How wonderful! If you find that map, let me know. I’m about half way through with Lord Midnight, loving Gabriel, wishing I could read during the day rather than just at night. Your Six Sentence Sunday’s are so much fun and engaging. I know your contemporaries will be fantastic.

    • Virginia, how did I miss your comment?! I apologize for being so unaware. Yikes. Guess we can’t put ME in charge of that map! And I’m glad to hear you’re loving Gabriel. That brings a huge smile to my face. 🙂 I loved AGAINST THE WIND, a wonderful romantic suspense — thanks again for stopping by!

  6. I just wanted to put in my two cents that Donna’s no slouch in the contemporary romance department. Her novella Summer Lovin’ was my intro to her work and it’s a super cute, fun, flirty read. Nice to see two of my sixer pals helping each other out!

    • Thanks, Kate — I really appreciate that! I’m a big fan of your contemporaries, so it’s a delight to hear you say those things about mine. 🙂 I’ve “met” so many great folks from Six Sentence Sunday. I can’t imagine my writing life without them now!

  7. I agree! Mae for blurbs! Yea for pansters – did the books really say that plotting was required? Glad I never read them then. A good book must always have humour, good for you Your muse has a name? Wow! And excellent advice!! Wonderful interview

    • Sue, not only plotting but outlining — AHEAD of time. LOL I read somewhere that every writer plots, but some do it beforehand and some do it after (that would be pantsers). LOL I’m glad you enjoyed the interview. 🙂

  8. Mae, thanks so much for having me here today. I truly appreciate all the wonderful compliments, from you, and from everyone who stopped by. I’ll be sneaking back to read them on those days when the muse is being finicky. LOL

  9. Awesome interview Mae & Donna! Lord Midnight looks delicious! I must pick it up. Love knowing that there is some humor in it as well. Like Mae says, it really makes the writing sound natural and fun. It’s always great to hear how other writers get their mojo going and keep it going. Like you, Donna, I often find myself at full steam in the beginning and then looking around for the rest of the book right around the middle!

    • L. J., thanks! I hope you find Lord Midnight to be a delicious read. 🙂 Isn’t it funny how the middle of the book slows us down and makes us wonder which direction to go? It’s the curse of the pantsers, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. LOL So many possibilities that way. 🙂

  10. Great interview, Donna and Mae! I’ve read Donna’s “Lord Midnight” and “Summer Lovin” and I always catch her Six Sentence Sunday posts. Very funny and very talented, a combination that can’t be beat.

  11. Wow, what a great interview! Mae, you asked some great questions and kept things interesting. And Donna, well all I can say is I like the way she thinks! Mae, you and Joanne Wadsworth have probably heard me say that I am against reading a ton of articles on writing. I feel it is less important to follow trends than it is to tell your story in your own unique way. Her comments in that regard spoke to me. I really enjoyed your author spotlight. You were both fabulous!

    • Cadence, thanks so much for dropping by to visit and comment. I agree with you about articles on the craft of writing. I actually read very few because I’ve found ‘my voice’, am confident in my style, and don’t want to dilute it with advice that may not work for me. That isn’t to say I haven’t stopped learning from my peers.

      But rather than blog about technique, I’d rather share personal experiences from my writing journey plus introduce readers to other authors. I’ve met so many fabulous writers since embarking on this journey this past March, and Donna is one of those.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed her interview and dropped by to comment. Donna will definiitely be back again because I’ll be anxious to blab about her upcoming releases! 🙂

  12. Cadence, I’m glad you enjoyed the interview. I think Mae rocks at interviewing, so she made things EASY for me. 🙂 I think articles about writing can be tricky, since there are so many different methods to writing, and just because something works for one writer doesn’t mean it’s right for another one. Heck, sometimes what works for one of my books doesn’t work for another. LOL The best method is usually on-the-job training, just writing and seeing what happens. 🙂

    Mae, thanks again for all the kind words. I’ll definitely be back, and I’m looking forward to having you on my blog. I’ve got to come up with some brilliant questions first. 🙂 You’ve given me some great examples!

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