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Galanti, Donna 2 (1)Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery with a dash of steam as well as middle grade adventure fiction. She is the author of books 1 and 2 in the paranormal suspense Element Trilogy, A Human Element and A Hidden Element, the short story collection The Dark Inside, and Joshua and The Lightning Road (Books 1 and 2, 2015). She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. She now lives in Pennsylvania with her family in an old farmhouse. It has lots of writing nooks, fireplaces, and stink bugs, but she’s still wishing for a castle again—preferably with ghosts.

Website: www.ElementTrilogy.com
Blog: http://www.elementtrilogy.com/blog/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/DonnaGalanti
Facebook: www.facebook.com/DonnaGalantiAuthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5767306.Donna_Galanti

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, A Hidden Element. What was your inspiration for it?

A: A Hidden Element is book two in the Element Trilogy. The novel that I was stumped on…and a dream. My readers asked for a sequel and I said, never! Then one day I woke up with a vision of that second book. I dropped the psychological suspense novel I had over-plotted and was stuck on, and got to work right away on the sequel. There’s a third and final one planned out, A Healing Element.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist.

A: Caleb lives an oppressed life. He has sons he can’t be a father to, he can’t choose who he loves, and he must carry out despicable acts just to survive. Yet Caleb finds he is pushed to the wall even further and must risk the very things he desires to save those he loves. Caleb is also a Watcher in a way, and Watchers are some of my favorite characters to write. Read an article I wrote about this theme.

Q: How was your creative process like during the writing of this book and how long did it take you to complete it? Did you face any bumps along the way?

A: I wrote this novel in a Write a Novel in 9 Months Class. We met once a week and it kept me accountable to get the story down in a certain time frame. One challenge was completely re-working some of the chapters to be in different voices from the original draft. I had to critically review each scene and really decide which character’s point of view was best to tell that scene.

?????????????????????????????????????????????Q: How do you keep your narrative exciting throughout the creation of a novel?

A: I look at each chapter as a short story in itself. There is a beginning, a middle, and an end – and I love ending my chapters on cliffhangers that raise a question and (hopefully) beg the reader to keep turning the pages.

Q: Do you experience anxiety before sitting down to write? If yes, how do you handle it?

A: Each day I sit down is like starting with a blank page all over again, so yes, there is some anxiety. The day before I try to finish writing in the middle of a scene or paragraph, and not end a chapter. This way I can easily re-read the scene’s intro and jump back into finishing it.

Q: What is your writing schedule like and how do you balance it with your other work and family time?

A: There are many days each week that my alarm is set for 4:30am. Early morning hours are my best writing time when the skies are dark and the world is asleep – and my mind is not yet filled with the details of daily life. During the school year my day ends at 3:30pm when I pick my son up from school but I have a very understanding husband! I often spend a weekend day writing all day at my favorite spot in my local Wegman’s Café.

Q: How do you define success?

A: To me, success in writing is continuing to learn the writing craft, add it to my expanding toolbox, and apply all I learn along the way and see the fruits of that labor. Success in writing can also only truly come when you let go – let go of your ego that is. I believe that this is the biggest reason why I am published, have a wonderful agent as my champion, and have four books coming out in the next year. And this is the biggest reason I see writer’s fail because they do not accept criticism and are not willing to do the hard work to make their writing better. To succeed you cannot think your writing is perfect or that your story can’t change. You cannot take it personal when a developmental editor tears apart your manuscript for you to re-work. I love it! I am like – bring it on! Help me be a better writer. Why? Because I want to write a good book and then a better one and a better one. This writing business is hard. If it were easy everyone would be doing it. This writing business is not going to be easy – it’s going to be worth it!

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers whose spouses or partners don’t support their dreams of becoming an author?

A: Every writer has times when they hit lows in their writing and think, I can’t do this! Every time I debate whether I should be a writer and tell myself that I should just update my resume and get a real full time job with an actual weekly paycheck so I can support my family better – I remember how I sat down and wrote my debut novel A Human Element without knowing anything about writing a book. And I remember how it came from my heart and came from the deep places inside me where I most love, where I most hurt.

And I know that no matter how much I think I suck at times – I KNOW THAT I AM A TRUE STORYTELLER. And this is what I was born to do. And if you think that, then that’s what you need to follow. No matter how much you suck at times. No matter if others tell you that your writing sucks. Don’t let the negative thoughts – or negative people – stop you from telling your stories. We need your stories. We need to tell our stories. Be the true storyteller you are. Visit my Writers Corner for inspiration and resources to help you keep writing.

Q: George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” Do you agree?

A: Yes! If we didn’t have demons chasing us to write, why would we? Knowing what I know now about being an author I have to wonder if I would have gotten in this business at all. If someone told me all I would have to go through to get here I would have said “I can’t do that! It’s too hard and too long!” I’m grateful I was ignorant about it all when I started.

Q:  Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

A: I truly believe that something wonderful can come of something that threatens to break your spirit. I started writing books to survive the grief of my mother’s death. She died from cancer five years ago. But here’s the thing. If she were alive I would not have finished writing my first book – or any book. I would not be getting published. I took care of her in the final moments and when she passed away I knew I had to make my dream come true. For in passing away my mom gave me her own gift – the gift to follow my dream of becoming an author.

So every once in a while I say these words out loud. “Thank you, Mom.” I let them hang in the air like a gift to her. She defined who I am and who I hope to be. And she was always my #1 champion and now I have be my own champion – like all of us writer so. So, I may have started writing books from grief but eventually my grief turned to peace and then joy at discovering what I love to do. Be a storyteller.

ABOUT A HIDDEN ELEMENT:

Evil lurks within…

When Caleb Madroc is used against his will as part of his father’s plan to breed a secret community and infiltrate society with their unique powers, he vows to save his oppressed people and the two children kept from him. Seven years later, Laura and Ben Fieldstone’s son is abducted, and they are forced to trust a madman’s son who puts his life on the line to save them all. The enemy’s desire to own them—or destroy them—leads to a survival showdown. Laura and Ben must risk everything to defeat a new nemesis that wants to rule the world with their son, and Caleb may be their only hope—if he survives. But must he sacrifice what he most desires to do so?

PRAISE FOR A HIDDEN ELEMENT:

“Chilling and dark…a twisty journey into another world.” —J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of When Shadows Fall 

“Fascinating…a haunting story…”—Rebecca Cantrell, New York Times bestselling author of The World Beneath 

“Will keep you up long past your bedtime…a pulse-pounding read.”—Allan Leverone, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Final Vector

BUY THE ELEMENT TRILOGY BOOKS:

Purchase Book 2 in the Element Trilogy, A Hidden Element: http://amzn.to/1p1YD1o

Purchase Book 1 in the Element Trilogy, A Human Element: http://amzn.to/1mNcyCO
ON SALE NOW FOR JUST $.99cents!

ENTER HER GIVEAWAY HERE: 

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Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery as well as middle grade adventure fiction. She is an International Thriller Writers Debut Author of the paranormal suspense novel A Human Element, the short story collection The Dark Inside, and the forthcoming Joshua and The Lightning Road.

Galanti, Donna 2An avid reader as a child, Galanti grew up in a nurturing environment, immersed in books such as The Hobbit, Little House in the Big Woods, The Island of the Blue Dolphins, My Side of The Mountain, Call of the Wild and White Fang. “My favorite author was Roald Dahl and my favorite book of his was Danny the Champion of the World,” says Galanti, whose dark imagination ran wild from the start.

From her early years in England to her later work in Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer, Galanti always dreamed of becoming an author. She wrote her first murder mystery screenplay at the tender age of seven. She had a career in writing for marketing and communications and ran her own resume writing service, but it wasn’t until her mother died five years ago that she began writing novels out of her grief. Eventually, that grief turned to peace, when she fully realized what it was she truly loved to do: becoming a storyteller. In addition to being a full-time author, Galanti also works part time as a freelance copywriter for an advertising agency.

“I write from the dark side with a glimpse of hope. I am drawn to writing the hero’s journey – more so the tormented hero, and tormented villain. I enjoy creating empathy for both by blurring the lines between good and evil,” states the author, whose first two books in The Element Trilogy, A Human Element and A Hidden Element (Imajin Books, August 2014) are both full of murder and mystery with a dash of steam, and both have their own tormented hero and villain. “I slay my own demons through my writing – and I highly recommend it!” she says.

A Human Element, just released by Imajin Books, is the thrilling, unrelenting page-turner story of Laura Armstrong. Her friends and family members are being murdered and, despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite in her hometown, where she eventually unravels a terrifying secret that binds her to the killer.

The book has already garnered excellent praise from New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry and international bestselling author M.J. Rose.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00067]Galanti lives in an old farmhouse – sadly, with no ghosts – with many fireplaces where she often curls up to create her page-turners. Other times she works in her office overlooking the woods. Throughout the year she meets weekly with a women’s writing group at a café where they write together and share advice and their success stories.

“When I am creating a new book I love to sit outdoors overlooking the woods with a pen and notebook and handwrite my ideas. My thoughts are slowed down this way as my brain connects to pen in hand, and it opens my mind up to brainstorm,” says the author, describing her creative process. “There is nothing more freeing creatively to journal story ideas and throw all sorts of ‘what if?’ questions out there to find the kernel of a good story you want to pursue. Then I create character worksheets and type up a ten page synopsis of the book. I do all this before I write that first word of the story. And I always create a title first! It’s what drives my inspiration for the story.”

Galanti began writing A Human Element seventeen years ago from a vision she had while driving to work one day. She wrote two chapters and shelved them for over a decade. When she finally decided to continue the story, she wrote Monday through Friday from 4:30am to 6:30am. After seven months she typed THE END.

All writers have their stronger and weaker points, and for this author, revision is her favorite process. That’s where she can make her story shine. “Knowing how important this process is has been one of my strong points,” she says. “There are many layers to a story to be found after you write that first draft, and that’s what I love to do: peel back the layers.” One area she struggled in for a long time was to slow down her writing. She can be a very fast writer, creating pages and pages of words that often would need to be trimmed down. She has since then learned to slow down her writing and craft her words with care as she writes them, so she doesn’t have to spend so much time on revision.

In an era when small presses, the good, the bad and the ugly, abound, Galanti’s experience has been nothing but positive. “My experience with Imajin Books has been amazing!” she says of her Canadian-based publisher. “Imajin Books is dedicated to working with me to help my books succeed. The owner, Cheryl Kaye Tardif, is a bestselling author in her own right.” Imajin Books was very responsive and provided in-depth editorial guidance as well as marketing plans, not to mention fantastic book cover designs. The publishing industry is notorious for being slow-moving, but in the case of The Element Trilogy, Imajin Books made the process quick and efficient.

As with many authors, Galanti finds starting a new book most challenging. The first blank page can be a scary thing, until the story takes over, propelling your main character into his new unbalanced world toward the ultimate end. However, being an author can be extremely rewarding. “When it comes to readers, there is nothing more thrilling than reading wonderful reviews about your book that you spent months, or years, creating and shaping,” she says. “It’s from that private place in your heart, where you love the most – and hurt the most – that you pour out pages to show the world. And it’s all worthwhile when you discover that others have been touched by your story, just as you were touched while you were writing it. Second, it’s rewarding to pay it forward to up-and-coming authors. There is a wonderful feeling that comes from speaking to writers about your publishing journey and sharing advice and techniques on how to find success as an author, and hope that they do.”

Galanti is currently working on the idea for the third and final book in The Element Trilogy called, A Healing Element, and gearing up to release book 2, A Hidden Element, on August 28th. A native of upstate New York, the author now lives in Southeastern Pennsylvania with her family in an old farmhouse. It has lots of writing nooks, fireplaces, and stink bugs, but she’s still wishing for a castle—preferably with ghosts.

Connect with the author on Facebook Twitter and her Blog.

This profile was originally published in Blogcritics

 

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When did you decide you wanted to become an author? Do you have another job besides writing?

I was telling stories before I could write. My Dad was a great story-teller, and he encouraged me to make up stories. The adults indulged and applauded and spoiled me. I wrote my first poem in second grade (I was about 7) and it was published in our very small village’s weekly newspaper. I started a newspaper in the 5th grade, a little weekly that ran 2-3 pages. Started writing stories about then, too.

Yes, I have another job. I teach in the Theatre Division of The Boston Conservatory, a very fine Theatre/Music/Dance private college in Boston. I teach History of the Theatre, Cultural History, occasionally Acting.

Were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading?

Yes. I especially loved animal stories, and action stories. I read a lot of comic books, too. I read all the kids’ stuff — loved Robin Hood (I wanted to be Robin, not Marion), Mark Twain, Stevenson, the Nancy Drew Dectective books. I liked poetry books and I read the dictionary. (It was a children’s version.)

Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.

JEMMA7729 is a rather dark action-adventure, futurist story, set in North America in the early 23rd century. The government is rotten and repressive —it’s a government that tells Big Lies and holds the country together with fear and intimidation. Once Jemma discovers that what she’s been taught is not the truth, she sets out to discover the truth for herself and becomes a rebel, a saboteur, and the government tries to stop her.

I got the idea one day thinking the “what If…” mantra. What if there were a government so repressive it just lumped all crimes and misdemeanors into one huge category: Inappropriate Behavior. That was the original title of the book. I’m sure that the discomfort and anger that I’ve felt (and many many other Americans have felt) over the past eight years of bullying and repression by my own government has a lot to do with why I wrote it.

The theme may be one reason that I got frame able rejections from American publishers and it wound up being taken by a Canadian publisher.

How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?

I can’t work with outlines. I had a hard time starting the novel. I just couldn’t get past a few pages until … it sounds hokey, but there was the morning when I sat down to write … and Jemma walked into the room. The novel had to be written in the first person. That’s not my favorite voice, but nothing else worked. The whole book comes off Jemma’s ideas and personality.

Of course I manipulated the character, but she’s a strong personality, and not a particularly comfortable one to carry around in your head for years.

From the moment you conceived the idea for the story, to the published book, how long did it take?

For-Evaaa! Or so it seemed. I wrote it first as a short story in 2000. Then a novel in two parts, and finally I turned the first part into JEMMA7729. From the time the publisher took the novel to its publication was about 2-1/2 years.

Describe your working environment.

I live in an 1860 farmhouse at the edge of a small Massachusetts town, with a huge yard and a protected wetland just beyond my back yard. Very pleasant place, even though the age of my house means windows don’t fit well anymore; it’s hot in summer and cold in winter and the floors are uneven. There are two stories. My study is a huge room on the second floor, with a window beside my desk that looks out to a street and a wonderful maple tree I planted in 1976 which is now taller than the house.

My study is very messy and full of bookshelves, files, two desks — the computer desk and one that came off a 19th century sailing ship. There’s a sound system, too. Sometimes like music when I write — music of all kinds. Mozart is good, so are Dixie Chicks. Depends on what I’m writing.

I use a Mac. I am generally accompanied by one or more of my three cats. If they aren’t sprawled some place in the room, they come to interrupt me periodically. The big catboys (Max and Mouse) like to sit behind me when I write. I have a big leather chair, so there’s room for them, one at a time. The little cat, Jenny, likes to sit under my feet.

Are you a disciplined writer?

Yes. I like to write in the morning. I’m an early riser — usually waking at 5:30 or 6:00, and after the cats are fed, I’m at the computer. I write something every day.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What seems to work for unleashing your creativity?

Yes and it’s a rotten state of affairs. I think only once has it be really disabling, and that was early on, because I wasn’t able to sell any of my stories. I’ve been a nonfiction writer, and , generally, everything I wrote, I sold. These were articles and a book about endangered species and marine mammals, short plays, some theatre stuff.

Then I did begin to sell the fiction, and that helped to get me back on track. The trick I use when my Muse is failing is to open the dictionary at random, stick my finger on the page and write something using or about the word I’ve pointed at.

One of the times I did that, I had pointed to “name.” I wrote a weird horror story called “Names,” which I’ve just sold to Inkspotter Publishing for “Backless, Strapless and Slit to the Throat: A Femme Fatale Anthology.” It’s due out sometime soon.

Technically speaking, what do you have to struggle the most when writing? How do you tackle it?

Starting. I need the first sentence. That is sometimes tough to get. I just keep writing first sentences. I don’t let myself give up. I have rarely changed those first sentences. I certainly didn’t with JEMMA7729.

How was your experience in looking for a publisher? What words of advice would you offer those novice authors who are in search of one?

When JEMMA was first shopped around, I had an agent. I don’t have one now. We had all those glowing rejections. Then nothing happened, my agent couldn’t think of where to send it any more. Once I was on my own, I started sending it to small presses, and finally sent it to EDGE. It took them about six months to get back to me, but they bought it.

Just don’t give up. If you believe in your work, keep trying. Often, the problem is that what publishers are looking for is a narrow band. You have to fit into that band. You have to find the compatible fit.

What type of book promotion seems to work the best for you?

I don’t know yet.

What is(are) your favorite book/author(s)? Why?

I would love to write like Connie Willis. Her fabulous time-travel novel “The Doomsday Book” is one of my very favorites. I’ve read it many times with pleasure. And I like George R . R. Martin, and Suzy Charnas.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

That one is simple: write from your heart.

Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?

Yep. http://www.phoebewray.net. It’s under construction, but readable.

Do you have another book on the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?

JEMMA7729 is my first published book. I’ve got four setting on my desktop. A magic realism series, Tales of the Winter People, and a thriller.

The Winter People series is partly based on my adventure of being a working environmentalist for eleven years, I worked several times with Native American people, and became fascinated with the old tales of how the tribes integrated new technologies into their societies without losing their culture.

Anything else you’d like to say about yourself or your work?

think people who can write ought to. We’ve become so wifi and anime and other techno things that sometimes we can feel overwhelmed. But I’m about to teach Drieser’s “Sister Carrie,” published in 1900, and it captures the fin de siecle in America as nothing else. Words ARE.

Thanks for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here!

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