Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Chat with Featured Author: Donna Alward

Welcome RITA nominee, romance author, 
Donna Alward to the Book Boost today!

We recently had a chat with Donna and here's what she had to say...

TBB:  Welcome to the Book Boost, Donna.  Tell us a little about yourself and what you've been up to lately.

DA:  I’m from Keswick Ridge, a small community in New Brunswick, Canada, where I grew up on an apple farm.   Oh my gosh, this spring has been busy. I have my new Cadence Creek Cowboys duet out and it seems to be doing well, and my October 2011 book, How A Cowboy Stole Her Heart, is up for a RITA® award as well as a National Reader’s Choice Award and a Booksellers’ Best Award. I found out a few weeks ago that it won the Colorado Award of Excellence. I think it was sprinkled with a bit of fairy dust to be honest. It’s been pretty surreal.

TBB:  That sounds amazing!  Congrats on all the big news and your recent successes.  I'm sure they are all well deserved.  Can you tell us how you began writing in the first place?

DA:  I began writing when I was going through post partum depression, though I’d always been keen on literature and writing. But that was when I sat down and wrote a novel from start to finish, and I was hooked.

TBB:  That's really interesting.  The writing was a sort of therapy for you then.  Wonderful.  How did you come up with the idea for your latest book?

DA:     I knew that Tyson Diamond was a bad boy. He’s the spare in the heir and the spare kind of thing. But the inspiration behind a lot of the emotion in the book comes from writing it at a time our family was going through a loss. There’s some pain in this book, but there are a lot of real feel-good moments too, I think. Trials really can bring people together and show you their best sides.

TBB:  So, that being said...what if you could only use ONE word to describe this book?  What would it be?

DA:  Gentle. Which surprised me, to be honest.

TBB:  What does your family think of your writing?

DA:  Annoyed when it’s frozen pizza night and the laundry isn’t done. Proud when good stuff happens.

TBB:  Oh, I'm so lucky.  My hubby does about 90% of the cooking around here.  But we do frozen pizza when he's out of town.  LOL  What about other authors...which one would you most like to meet and have lunch with if you could choose just one?

DA:  LaVyrle Spencer. I cut my romance teeth on her books and I am continually awed at how she could take topics that no one would generally touch with a ten-foot pole and make those characters sympathetic. She had a real knack for that, and I was so sad when she retired. Her books are blessings.

TBB:  A true classic indeed.  So, speaking of your fave authors...what book(s) are you reading now?

DA:  Right now I’m finishing up the last of Sherryl Woods’ Chesapeake Shores series (The Summer Garden) and after that, who knows? Whatever strikes my fancy from my toppling tbr. It might just be Game of Thrones…

TBB:  Sherryl Woods is fantastic.  Can you leave us with some good advice for aspiring authors?

DA:  There’s so much writing advice out there that it can be overwhelming. The truth is the most important thing you will ever do as a writer is just sit in the chair and write. No matter what. It really can be that simple. 

TBB:  Well, I have to say a special thank you to Donna for her generous contribution to the annual Brenda Novak Auction for Diabetes.  As my daughter has just reached her 9th year with juvenile diabetes (and she's only 11), this is a cause near and dear to my heart.  Donna won the Book Boost's auction for a year of promotion and I simply couldn't be more grateful.  Thank you, Donna and my fingers are crossed for you come the big RITA night this July!

Please leave us with a few more details about your latest.     


With his break-your-heart smile, rodeo star and rebel Ty Diamond has a reputation that should have Clara Ferguson running scared—not straight into his arms!

Ty knows he needs to take it easy with Clara—her past has left her with a bruised heart and she's determined never to rely on a man again. But Ty isn't all he seems…and his gentle side shakes Clara's resolute independence to its breaking point.

Excerpt (edited for length):

Clara had heard a lot about Tyson Diamond. Some of it good, a lot of it questionable. But none of the reports had warned her that he was over six feet of sexy cowboy with a break-your-heart smile and a devilish gleam in his eye. 

And now he was striding this way as Angela, still resplendent in her wedding dress, waved him over.

Clara wondered if she could say her final congratulations to Sam and Angela and escape before Tyson reached them. She’d managed to avoid him up to this point, after all. She’d been helping his father, Virgil, with his rehab after his stroke and her off duty hours were spent helping Angela plan the wedding from the safety of Butterfly House, the transition shelter Angela managed and where Clara currently lived. And Ty had been wrapping up his business up north and spending time with Sam as they worked together running the ranch. Somehow she and Tyson had failed to cross paths in the weeks leading up to the wedding.

Until today.

This afternoon he’d turned up spit-polished in his black suit with his hair just a little messy. Her mouth had gone dry just looking at him. Ty was exactly the sort of man she tried to avoid. Tall, sexy, confident and careless. The kind that ate shy girls like her for breakfast. The kind that girls like her could never resist. 

Her heart had taken a little jump and she’d caught her breath before she could even put a thought together. But Ty had sauntered in, all long legs and crooked grins and there it had been. Whomp. Attraction, pure and simple. Nothing in the world could have surprised her more. 

He was still several feet away but closing the gap fast and Clara felt panic start to bubble, making her chest cramp and her breath shorten. She wasn’t ready to handle this. She felt as tongue-tied as a school girl only with the sobering wisdom of a woman who’d been through hell. Putting the two together only created chaos in her mind. A quick exit was in order. She turned to Sam and Angela and forced a smile. 

“I’m going to take Virgil in now, but I wanted to say happy wedding day to you both.” She gave Angela a brief hug. “I’m going to miss you around the house, but you’re going to have a wonderful time on your honeymoon.”

Sam hugged Clara as well. She didn’t feel the unholy urge to pull away and run like she usually did when faced with someone intruding on her personal space. She’d learned to trust Sam in the weeks leading up to the wedding, especially after he’d stood beside Angela as she faced her own demons.

“You did great today,” he said quietly, giving her arm a gentle squeeze. “And you look beautiful.”

Heat infused her cheeks at the compliment and at the knowledge that Tyson was nearly upon their little group. “Thank you…now I’d better get Virgil inside, he was looking tired…”

Sam’s voice cut her off as he looked over her shoulder. “Have you met Ty yet?” he asked. “Ty, this is Clara Ferguson, Dad’s nurse. You’ll be seeing a lot of each other from now on.”

Too late. Clara closed her eyes and took a steady breath. She really wished she wasn’t blushing as she turned around, but she could feel the heat centered in her cheeks. Dammit.         

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Paula Altenburg said...

Donna, I *loved* How a Cowboy Stole Her Heart so I'm really looking forward to The Rebel Rancher!

Lilly Cain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lilly Cain said...

I had to remove my last comment - it came out funny (have I said how much I hate computers today?) I love your books Donna - they have such real emotion in them. I admire the way you can bring that out in each book yet they all have a distict flavor. I think I have them all - hope someday to get some autographs!

Cathy Shouse said...

I'm about 3/4 way through The Rebel Rancher. Have never ready anything quite like it. It's a sweet love story and really makes you think about how people overcome their troubled pasts.

No sure if the authors come back to comment here.
How did you end up writing about cowboys, Donna? Do you do much research, visiting ranches and such? :)

Donna Alward said...

Hi Paula and Lilly! Lilly, really looking forward to your next release in a few days!

Cathy - interesting you should say that. When I was writing it, I got the feeling that I'd never written anything like it either. It took on a life of its own, and it's the ONLY book my editor called to say, "Please don't change a thing". You could have knocked me over with a feather.

Funny you should mention cowboys, too. I'm not a dyed-in-the-wool westerner, but I AM a farm girl. I lived in Calgary for a bit and loved getting out of the city into ranch country, and let me tell you, the rodeo is a blast. Now I live on the east coast and "in person" research is harder, but what led me to writing cowboys is still true - it's that simple connection to the land, and the respect I have for it and the men and women who make a living from it. It's not an easy life but it IS fulfilling and it's something that's deep in the blood.

When you stand in the middle of the prairie and look around you at the waving grass and the big's just something.

Thanks for popping by. :-)