I’m excited to have my fellow author and dear friend, Donna Simonetta, here with me today. Book One of her Rivers Bend Trilogy, A Sweeter Spot, is currently on sale for 99 cents! And beginning on June 8, the second in the series, Love Is Lovelier, will also be on sale, so snap these up while you can!
Welcome, Donna. Let’s get this interview started!
At what age did you write your first story?
I don’t actually remember how old I was. I’ve always loved books and stories, and do remember going to the library as a child, and looking in the stacks to see where my books would go. Ironically, I became BOTH a librarian and an author.
I never became a full-fledged librarian, but I worked in a library for a while, too! Which genre was the first to hook you?
Mystery. As a kid, I loved Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Donna Parker…and then grew into Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. As a teen, I began to read romance too. Working in a boys middle school library for 17 years, I developed a love for fantasy fiction as an adult. I really am a genre fiction lover!
Ooh…Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie. Love them! What was your first published book?
Angels Fly, from the Wild Rose Press. It was not the first book I wrote, but it IS the first I had published. Combining contemporary romance with fantasy elements, I have a major soft spot for it!
What’s your favorite part of the writing process? Brainstorming? Research? Outlining? Writing? Editing?
The actual writing. When it’s flowing…there is nothing like it! Although, the librarian in me does enjoy the research too.
What are you working on now?
I’m in the editing stage of Book 3 of the Rivers Bend Trilogy, Jason and Lily’s story of opposites attracting. I need to polish it up, and then submit it to my publisher. Fingers crossed! And I just finished reviewing the audiobook of Angels Fly…my first book going to audio! It sounds great, and I’m so excited to share it with all of you!
Wonderful! Congratulations! Of all the settings you’ve used (or created!) for your books, which is your favorite? Why?
Angels Fly is set in San Diego, and a self-avowed winter hater, (Sorry, Judy! I know this is an area upon which we disagree! Teehee!) I love the Forever Summer climate there.
I know you love the heat! Growing up in Florida, I had my “Forever Summer”; now I relish four seasons. Speaking of “forever,” if you could have a conversation with anyone—dead or alive—who would it be?
Hmm…this is an interesting questions. Personally, I would love the chance to talk to my late father one more time. He passed away too soon, and never saw my happy marriage, or me become a published author. I would also love to ask Agatha Christie where she was when she disappeared for that short time in her youth. I do love a mystery!
Yes, I’d love to learn where she was during that period, too! If you could step inside any book or series and live there for a week, which would you choose? I’m torn between Nancy Drew or the Amelia Peabody books by Elizabeth Peters. I would love the chance to solve a mystery with Nancy, Bess, and George! But, the setting of an archeological expedition in Egypt during the height of all those exciting discoveries, makes me want to spend a week on a dig with Amelia and Emerson.
I love your choices! They would be mine as well, and you’re right: it’s hard to choose between Nancy and her friends and Peabody and Emerson! If a fairy godmother appeared and offered you one thing—anything at all—what would you request? A home on the beach, where Leo and I could live, and I could write.
Sounds perfect for the two of you! Now, it’s time to learn some of your favorites!
Sound: Beach sounds. Waves gently rolling in to shore.
Eye color: Brown, like my Leo.
Song: I like lots of different music. Don’t really have one favorite song. Maybe Joni Mitchell’s Carey. I really enjoy belting out that one in the car when I listen to it.
Book: Hmm…I don’t think I can choose just one!
Movie: Bringing Up Baby. An oldie, but a goodie.
TV show: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Cookie: Chocolate chip
US location: The Don CeSar Hotel on St. Pete Beach, FL. A big, pink Moorish palace on a white sand Gulf beach. Just lovely! My happy place.
Foreign location: My best friend lives in Ireland, and I love the chance to get to spend time with her and her family, so I’d have to say West Cork, for personal reasons! But, for geography, probably a beach in the Caribbean somewhere…like Antigua, where Leo & I spent our honeymoon.
And finally, list your preference from the following choices:
Tea or coffee? Coffee
Cake or pie? Cake
Halloween or Christmas? Christmas
Nancy Drew or Sherlock Holmes? Nancy Drew (although I love both!)
Jane Austen or the Brontë sisters? Jane Austen
A mortal, vampire, ghost, or fae for a lover? Mortal—the others have too much baggage.
English gent, Scottish highlander, European count, or all-American guy? All-American guy
Thanks so much for joining me today, Donna. Now, here’s a little about A Sweeter Spot:
Magda knows a 28-year-old shouldn’t run away from home, but Rivers Bend is the ideal escape. Helping out her best friend will get her away from her uber-wealthy, controlling grandmother and duplicitous ex. She doesn’t expect the quirky little town to feel so much like home. Add in hotter-than-the-sun Jeff and his daughter, and leaving seems as unthinkable as it is inevitable.
Raising Sam alone, Jeff knew he wanted her to grow up in his supportive hometown. The arrival of a feisty new tenant sends Jeff’s world spinning. Magda fills a void in his life that he’d like to make permanent.
Will love triumph over the most powerful woman in the country, and can they figure out how to make this happy-for-now in Rivers Bend into their happy-ever-after?
And here’s a peek inside the pages:
“Being cheated on is no fun. It happened to me once. Up here,” he tapped his forehead. “You know it’s not your fault. But here,” he tapped his chest over his heart. “You feel like it has to be your fault – like you could’ve done something to prevent it. But you couldn’t have. It’s all on him, Maggie. Not you.”
She picked a dandelion, whose flower had turned into a puffball, and blew on it, scattering the fluff to the wind. “Maybe. Maybe not. But thanks for the support.”
She pushed to her feet and took a couple of steps toward the river. Jeff rose and followed.
How could he be so angry at a man he didn’t even know? How could this Pierce jerk have slept around on a woman like Maggie? And the prick had even made her doubt herself in the process. It was written all over her anguished face.
He stood behind her and gently kneaded her shoulders. He turned her to face him and cupped her face in his big hands.
“This Pierce guy is the biggest fool on earth to go to someone else when he had you at home, Maggie.”
She blinked away tears, and he felt his heart constrict. Before he could think it through and decide it was a really bad idea, Jeff dipped his head and captured Magda’s lips in a gentle kiss.
A bit more about Donna, in her own words:
My career has been a winding road. I worked in the business world for years, got my MLS and worked in a school library, and am now living my dream as an author. I love to read and write contemporary and fantasy romance. I live in Maryland, with my husband, who is my real-life romance hero. We both enjoy traveling to visit our far-flung family and friends, and spending time on the beach with an umbrella drink and a good book.
Where to find her: