Born in Chester, England, Donna became hooked on reading and writing after winning a Winnie the Pooh book in a school competition at the age of seven; and so, began her lifelong passion for stories. Whilst her career initially took her in another direction, as an accountant in the National Health Service, an ever-intensifying desire to write resulted in the creation of the character of Clara, the main protagonist of the Full Moon series, in 2011.
After writing as a hobby for five years, Donna decided at the beginning of 2017 that she likes to write more than anything else in the world, and thus began her professional writing career. Under the Light of a Full Moon is her first professional e-book.
EXTRA CREDIT INTERVIEW WITH D.A. MCGRATH:
Joining LitPick for an Extra Credit Interview is D.A. McGrath, author of the Full Moon series. The newest book in the series, Gypsy Legends: The Quest for Peace, has received the LitPick Top choice Book Review Award.
One student reviewer had this to say about it, “Gypsy Legends: The Quest for Peace is an electrifying book with plot twists around every page.”
***Do you have a solid outline before writing, or do you usually get ideas as you go along?
The further along I go in the Full Moon series, the more I’m finding that I need to have an outline before launching into the story. There are so many characters and plotlines to keep straight – it could get awfully messy if I didn’t!
***What do you do when you get writer’s block?
I move away from my computer, go for a walk, and just let my mind wander. Walking amongst the trees and taking deep breaths of fresh air, even if it’s only for fifteen minutes, is great therapy. If I’m completely stuck, then I sleep on the problem. Some of my best ideas have come to me when I’m lying in the dark – I just need to remember what they were when I get up the next morning.
***If you could live in a book’s world, which would you choose?
Ooh, this is a toughy. It would definitely be one where there is magic and where magical creatures live. Harry Potter world maybe, or Artemis Fowl’s world of leprechauns and trolls. On the other hand, I’m a little bit obsessed with stars and planets, so maybe it would be a world where humans travel between, and live on, different planets, or one where we can visit different dimensions, like Narnia or Oz or Tom’s Midnight Garden. So many different options – I don’t think I could pick just one!
***What is your favorite book-to-movie adaptation?
Whenever I see a movie adaptation of a book I always think the books were better than the movie. Mostly because it’s impossible to squeeze everything that happens in a book into a two-hour movie, but also because it’s someone else’s interpretation of the story, which is highly likely to be different from my own experience. Having said that, my favourite book-to-movie adaptation of late has been the Hunger Games trilogy. A strong female lead, tragedy, love and triumph – what more could you ask for?
***If you could have lunch with one other author (dead or alive), who would it be?
Anne McCaffery. Sadly, she passed away a few years ago, but she was a prolific Sci-Fi author I would have loved to speak to about the many fantastic worlds, and characters, she created during her writing career.
***Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I would like to wish all Liptick reviewers and readers a very Happy New Year, and I look forward to seeing your book recommendations for 2019!
D.A., thank you for joining us for another wonderful interview. We love your advice about what to do when you get stuck writing, and we hope others will use that to work their way through writer’s block. We eagerly await news of your next book!
SIX MINUTES WITH D.A. MCGRATH:
Joining LitPick today for Six Minutes with an Author is D.A. McGrath, author of The Full Moon series. The first three books have received 5 out of 5 stars from our student reviewers.
***How did you get started writing?
It started as a hobby. About seven years ago I got an idea for a character, Clara, and she became so real to me that I felt I just had to write down her story. I wrote for a few hours here and there, around my day job, and before I knew it I’d completed two books and started a third!
It’s only been in the last year that I’ve turned my hobby into a career – and I’m loving every minute of it.
***Who influenced you?
Anne McCaffery and Terry Pratchett, who have amazing imaginations, influence my writing. And reading about successful independent authors like Joanna Penn and Rachel Abbott inspired me to believe I could make my author dream become a reality.
***Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?
Growing up, my favourite books were Enid Blytons “Famous Five” adventures. Of course, I love J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter series, and also the Artemis Fowl character created by Eoin Colfer – I mostly gravitate towards action and fantasy/magic stories, but I also occasionally enjoy historical novels and crime thrillers.
***What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?
Read – a lot. What you read will influence the quality of what you write. Also, there is more to being an author than writing – whether you plan to be traditionally published or an independent (indie) author, you’ll need to be able to build up a supporting network of people who can help spread the word about your work, and you’ll need to understand how to market your work, so do some research in that area. Set really specific targets (both short term and longer term) so that you can celebrate each time you achieve one. And, as in any successful career, be patient - it takes time to become good at anything - learn from rejection, and your mistakes, but don’t let them put you off achieving your goal!
***Where is your favorite place to write?
At my dining table – facing the garden. It’s quiet and the view soothes me. Often, when I’m gazing out of the window for inspiration, the visiting wildlife will do things that make me smile or spark an idea.
***What else would you like to tell us?
I’ve loved every minute of writing and publishing my Full Moon series and I get a huge thrill every time someone reads one of my books and tells me how much they’ve enjoyed it. I’m working on my fourth novel in the series right now, which I’m hoping to get out in time for Christmas 2018. And I have an outline for a fifth book in the series, introducing a new villain, which will be published in 2019.
Thank you very much for joining us to share more about yourself, your inspiration, and your advice for others. We look forward to the upcoming release of books four and five!