Interview of Author Donna McDine

Join me in welcoming Donna McDine, author of The Golden Pathway. Donna is an award-winning children’s author. Her stories and features have been published in many print and online publications, and her interest in American History resulted in writing and publishing The Golden Pathway. Her second book, The Hockey Agony, is under contract, and will be published by Guardian Angel Publishing. She writes, moms, and is the Publicist Intern for The National Writing for Children Center and Children’s Writers’ Coaching Club.
 
Silverberry: Where did you get the idea for The Golden Pathway?
 
McDine: The Golden Pathway initially started as an outline for the Institute of Children’s Literature Book Course, but I shelved it for quite some time. Over time David and Jenkins kept calling to me to tell their story, I didn’t at first and their voices became quite insistent through my dreams and I finally relented and wrote their story. I’m certainly thrilled I finally listened. The old saying, “mother knows best” is now “characters know best” in my book.
 
Silverberry: What is your writing process?
McDine: I start with a basic idea and then create an interview process for the antagonist first, and then proceed with the protagonist and secondary characters. To me the creation of the villain sets the tone for the rest of the story. Even though I’m up to speed technology wise I always conduct this process in long hand as well as my first draft. This way I’m away from my computer and not distracted by email and the Internet.
 
Silverberry: What role did research play in creating the story?
 
McDine: I first read children’s books on the Underground Railroad to get a sense of direction and then I researched the historical archives at my local library. In my opinion, research whether fiction or historical fiction is essential to the story’s accuracy. For example, you can’t write a fiction story about a particular sport if you don’t research the ins and outs.
 
Silverberry: Did the theme emerge after you had written the first draft, or did you know ahead of time where you were going?
 
McDine: For The Golden Pathway I knew what the theme would be from the onset. David and Jenkins would have had it no other way.
Silverberry: One senses David’s life before and after the events recounted in the story. Are you tempted to expand it into a novel?

McDine: Ahh, interesting question I’ve been asked before. I’m sensing a trend here that I truly need to explore and I’m beginning to feel as if David and Jenkins have a lot more to say. I’ll keep you posted if I plan on expanding their story to novel length.

Silverberry: What have been the most important factors in your development as a writer?

McDine: Critique groups, teleclasses, and writer’s conferences have been instrumental in honing my writing skills. The learning and writing is constant.

Silverberry: You’ve become quite a master of social-media networking. What are the most important things a fiction writer can do to further his or herself in this area? What works best for fiction writers on Twitter?

McDine: Thank you very much for your kind words of support.

Essential appears to be the common factor in many aspects of writing and marketing. It is imperative to learn about social-media networking and to participate in it. Facebook and Twitter are imperative. Setting up your Facebook profile page is quite easy and you can tie your Tweets and Blog Posts to automatically appear on your Facebook profile. Twitter is also very easy to set up and it definitely hones your writing to keep it tight, considering there is a 140 character limit. It’s great exercise in shaving the words you truly don’t need to get your point across.

Suggestions in becoming a good active member:

  •  
    • Cross promoting fellow authors is a great way to create creditability with their book announcements, etc.
    • Offer marketing tips
    • Write book reviews and promote them
    • Suggest a worthwhile blog or website that you feel your followers will find of interest
    • Follow fellow authors, illustrators, editors, publishers, agents, librarians, teachers, etc.

Remember to be successful in your marketing on Facebook and Twitter should NOT be all about you.

Silverberry: What advice would you give writers about getting their work published?

McDine: Join a critique group of authors who write in your genre. It is important to get feedback before you submit, since you know your story so well you may not even realize you are leaving out important information to the reader.

Do your homework on the publisher you are submitting to. Research and follow their submission guidelines to the “T” and study their current line of books.

Be prepared to edit even when you are offered a book contract. Your new found publisher has their visions too to make the book that much more marketable.

Silverberry: Tell us about your next book, and when it will be coming out.

McDine: The Hockey Agony (Publication date to be determined.) – Peer Pressure and Honesty many times go hand-in-hand. What is Larry to do when his teammate asks him to cheat when he is given the responsibility to run the clock during the big hockey game? Outwardly, it may seem he will follow suit, but his conscious tells him otherwise at the moment of truth.

Powder Monkey (Publication date to be determined.) – Forced into a life at sea by the Royal Navy Press Gangs, 12-year-old Tommy Kitt finds himself in a floating sea of misery. Poor living conditions and beatings occur daily. Despite his runt like size, Tommy must summon the courage and physical ability to prevail in a situation he cannot escape.

Silverberry: Thanks for coming to this corner of the blogosphere. It’s been a pleasure having you here!

McDine: Peter, it’s an honor to be interviewed by you and featured on your blog. I appreciate your interest and time. Thank you!

Silverberry: And for those who missed it, here’s a link to my review of The Golden Pathway:

http://tinyurl.com/25nrdkn

 Visit Donna at:

 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

4 Comments

  • Posted October 19, 2010 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Thank you for taking the time out to interview and host me on your intriguing blog. Your never ending support and interest has been quite touching. Thank you.

    Best wishes,
    Donna

  • Posted October 19, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Excellent interview. Thanks for hosting Donna today.

    I like this reminder, “Remember to be successful in your marketing on Facebook and Twitter should NOT be all about you.” My challenge is that I’m concerned since I am in the book promo business, everyone thinks no matter what I post about books is promoting one of my clients.

    I started posting about other things, interesting news articles and such, but no one seemed to get into those.

    I’m all ears for additional suggestions.

    Cheryl

  • Posted October 19, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Cheryl,

    I’m relieved to have someone talk about this.
    This is a real challenge. I think nonfiction writers have, at least it appears to me, a real advantage when using Twitter. Their content grows right out of the info they are writing about.

    For fiction writers, we generally have content that may be useful for other writers, but then we won’t be marketing (tweeting) to as large an audience. While we get some exposure that way, I doubt it translates into much in the way of sales.

    About the only content that might appeal to a larger segment of the public is book reivews; suggesting that one’s blog ought include them. I’d love to hear a different point of view, AND suggestions if anyone has other ideas!

    Best,
    Peter

  • Posted October 19, 2010 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Offering book reviews and interviews of fellow writers is a definite way of marketing on ones blog and tweeting about it. It’s important to be there for others.

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