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Author Interview: Donna Burgess

This week we're visiting with Donna Burgess, writer, editor, and Broad Universe member. Some of you may know her from Naked Snake Press, where she's published some terrific authors, like Mike Arnzen, John Skipp (as artist), Eric S. Brown, Carol Weekes, Christina Sng and a number of others. She's released a short story collection called, "Breaths in Winter," which is currently available in all ebook formats, (with the print version coming soon). She also has an urban fantasy novel slated for release in early 2011. http://www.amazon.com/Breaths-in-Winter-ebook/dp/B0045OUM4G/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1286582346&sr=8-4

**When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I was in second grade, a poet came to my school, (I can’t remember his name now), and he encouraged everyone to write a poem using the words he had given us. Somehow, my poem ended up being the favorite and was posted on the big bulletin board in the main hallway for everyone to see. After that, I decided I writing was my “thing.”

**What is your writing process? When do you write? Any rituals?
I’m a compulsive list maker and outliner. I’ve tried lots of writers software because I was extremely disorganized with my notes and discovered one called Writer’s Blocks. It’s helped a great deal, as far as organization. I like music in my ears when I write and the type of tunes depends on the material I’m working on. I really don’t have a set time of day to write, but I have a goal to write at least some everyday. Sometimes, that is tough, as I’m sure most of you all know.

**What is your most current project?
"Darklands" is my urban fantasy and I am extremely excited over it. It’s received great feedback. Currently, it is being shopped by my agent. One major publisher is interested, but we’ll see. I’ve decided to move forward with publishing it through Naked Snake Press, if they pass.

I am also working on a strange paranormal romance set in early 1970s South Carolina low-country. That one may be a tough sale, but I’m so devoted to the characters. At this point, I need to write it just to get it out of my system. Think Donnie Darko meets Prince of Tides. Told you it was strange :-D

**What was the inspiration for the book?
I think most of it came from a dream I had. Plus, I adore the period of the late 60s-early 70s, although I wasn’t born until 1969. The music, the political and cultural turmoil, the lack of “devices” like cell phones and internet. It was a better, less complicated world, in my opinion. I say that as I am typing on a laptop computer with Wi-Fi, my iPod playing and my Kindle recharging across the table…cell phones, however, still hate them.

**Who is your favorite character, and why?
My favorite character from my own work is Susan, the protagonist from "Darklands." She’s one tough chick. She will not be everyone’s cup of tea, because she is somewhat unsympathetic. She is a vampire, after all. She doesn’t carry a very shimmery or sparkly attitude, but she does have a heart in there. I promise.

**Tell us one thing about yourself people would be surprised to learn?
Gosh, I can’t really think of anything interesting. I’ve done six rounds of P90X. The discipline to exercise, by the way, has really done wonders for my discipline behind the keyboard.

**What one book would you save from a burning fire, and why?
I’ll say one of the Harry Potter books, since a while back it was all the rage among the Bible thumpers to burn those. I’d save it because it got a lot of kids into reading who might not have picked up a book otherwise.

**Are there any writers (living or dead) that are influencing you right now?
I think every writer I read and enjoy leaves a positive impression as far as my own writing goes. I love Caitlin Kiernan, Cat Valente, Conrad William, Joel Lane, Allison Bird, the list goes on. Of course, Stephen King. I also find a great deal of inspiration in Rhiannon Frater—she’s an excellent writer and I love her path to publication with Tor. It goes to show if you believe in your work, rejection slips will not hold you back for too long.

**Favorite bookstore or library?
I appreciate indie bookstores. Locally, we have Litchfield Books here in Pawleys Island, SC, and Harborwalk Books in Georgetown. Of course, over in Charleston is the Blue Bicycle, which is popular with the big guys like Pat Conroy. But I also love to get lost among the shelves of the chain stores like Barnes and Noble or Books-A-Million. Ebooks and shopping online is convenient, but there nothing like the discovery of a great book, made of paper and ink.

**Favorite planet or fantasy world you'd like to live in?
I’d love to live in Hobbiton. I think my son would move there with me in a minute. Otherwise, I would choose Bon Temps, since it seems there are more hot guys per capita than any other fictional town. But the downside of Bon Temps is the possibility of dying in some hideous and gruesome way at any time.

**What's e one thing you want readers to remember after they finish this blog?
I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the Board Universe blog. Everyone keep reading and keep writing. If you’re good, get the work out there one way or another, and you’ll eventually find your readers.