Friday 23 October 2009

Interview with Donna McDine

Welcome to my first Author interview. I’m hoping this is the first of many to come. Thank you to Donna McDine for being my "guinea pig" for this project.

Please read through the interview, and feel free to leave any questions you have for Donna. She will be popping in throughout the day to answer questions.

Terrie: Please tell us a few things about yourself.

Donna: I am a wife, mother, and writer. Married for 20 years and raising now 14 and 11 year old daughters certainly has its roller coaster moments. Fortunate enough to work from home the last 11 years, first as an administrative assistant and since January 2010 as the Marketing Manager at Stories for Children Magazine, I cherish the moments I’m available for my girls, especially when they come home from school.

Terrie: Why and when did you start writing?

Donna: I first came across the Institute of Children’s aptitude test in 2006 and longing for something more fulfilling for a career I took the plunge, completed the test and mailed it in. I graduated in 2007 and haven’t looked back since. My first publishing credit was July 2007 with Stories for Children Magazine. Needless to say having VS Grenier offer me the marketing manager position definitely brought my writing career full circle.

Terrie: What genre do you like writing the most, and why?

Donna: At the beginning of my writing career I felt I wanted to write for the young adult, but my research and ideas lead me to the early reader and middle grade range. I’ve finally finished the first draft of my historical fiction manuscript and now I must get my editor hat on and begin the next task in accomplishing a finished manuscript for submission.

Terrie: What is your best age group to write for?

Donna: Hmm. This is hard to say. This may sound like I’m avoiding the question, but it depends what topic I’m brainstorming on. For example, for several of my non-fiction articles I originally envisioned them for the 12 plus range and after research and staying within the word count guidelines I find myself writing more in the 5-8 year old range.

Terrie: Is there any particular reason for this?

Donna: I believe this is the age range I’m most comfortable with.

Terrie: Thinking of books you've read, which one stands out, and why?

Donna: This is a tough one. I’ve read so many books over the years it truly is hard to pick one. So I’m going to name a few:

Victory by Susan Cooper. The author seamlessly transports the reader back and forth from current and past eras and you almost forget you are reading about two different main characters.

The Rock of Realm by Lea Schizas. I have never been one to pickup and enjoy a fantasy novel, but with the superb writing talent of Schizas I found myself mesmerized from the onset.

Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines by Beverly Stowe McClure. I’ve always been fascinated by history and McClure expertly brings you into this fascinating era. You can practically hear the echo of the cannons from within the caves, and the rustling of the crinoline skirts. Now that’s great writing.

Terrie: Is there another writer that you have aspired to be like, or have you always enjoyed your own unique writing style and methods?

Donna: I really can’t say who I’d aspire to be like without sounding like a stalker. LOL. With all seriousness, there are many who I admire especially with all the juggling they do with not only their writing careers, but always taking the time to help others. I’m not going to list names in fear of missing someone. And as my wise Nana used to say, “Be yourself my dear, no one else sees the world as you do, take your dream and soar.”

Terrie: If you were ever stranded on a deserted island, what are the three things you would like to have with you, and why are they important to you?

Donna: Husband, Nicole & Hayley, Graf Von Faber-Castell Pen & Refills, a trunk load of writing pads, and my best girlfriend. Why? Without family I’m not whole, without my writing I may explode, and without my best girlfriend I may become an emotional mess. I’ve gone outside the guidelines (and I know in the writing world that’s a no-no), but my choices are imperative.

Terrie: If you hadn't become a writer is there anything else you would have wanted to do?

Donna: Web design.

Terrie: You started a writers newsletter. What inspired you to take on this project, and what are you looking for as contributions to the newsletter?

Donna: In the midst of attending the 2008 Muse Online Writers Conference I began to learn about platform. One of the main points of platform is to get your name known before your book deal. I was then inspired to publish a monthly newsletter of interviews from the children’s publishing industry and include one book review (normally tied into one of the interviews), proclaim your successes column, and a submission based Reflections or Dreams column. This is a non-paying market at this time. Submissions can be either fiction or non-fiction up to 500-words on any aspect of one’s life whether it be writing or not.

Terrie: Can you give us one highlight of your writing career?

Donna: One highlight? What’s with the tough questions? Not to sound like a cliché, but each publishing success holds a special meaning. I’ll narrow it down to three: Entering the 77th Annual Writer’s Digest Contest and placing 12th in the Children’s/Young Adult category; Meeting Lynda Burch, publisher of Guardian Angel Publishing at the 2008 Muse Online Writers Conference and submitting my Writer’s Digest winning manuscript The Golden Pathway and have it accepted by GAP resulting in my first book contract, and unexpectedly being offered the Marketing Manager position at Stories for Children Magazine by VS Grenier.

Terrie: Is there anything else you've never been asked, but would love to tell others?

Donna: Go with your inspiration and instinct. If you feel something is NOT right steer clear, if something FEELS right, go for the adventure and bloom!

Terrie: Donna, thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions. I’m sure my readers will have questions for you. I would like to take the opportunity to wish you great success with your new book.


Donna McDine said...

Good morning Terrie:

Thank you for hosting me today. I look forward to stopping by during the day today.

Have a great day.


Mayra Calvani said...

Hey, Donna,

It's nice getting to know more things about you and your writing career!

Great interview!

Anonymous said...

Great interview. Keep up the great work Donna!

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Wonderful interview. I love your answer about being stranded on a deserted island. Write, write, write, no matter where you are or the circumstances. Great! :)

And that's so sweet about your family. They are lucky to have you.

And I'm thrilled that you think that much of my book.

You're just beginning, and your career looks promising. Dusting off my shelves for your books.


ColoradoKate said...

Great interview, Terie--good job. Hi, Donna!

Terrie said...

Thank you everyone for visiting my blog and reading my interview with Donna.

Thanks for doing this interview Donna. I really appreciate it.

To Mayra, michvioletto & Bev, I'm glad you liked Donna's interview. She is such a lucky person.

Kate thank you for stopping by. I'm glad you liked the interview.

Unknown said...

Donna is a talented writer with a winning personality. The combination is a sure winner. WAY TO GO!

Great blog, Terri.

Terrie said...

Thank you for your comment, Kathy. It is greatly appreciated.

Donna McDine said...

Mayra, Michelle, Beverly, Kate, and Kathy:

Thanks for taking the time out of your day to visit and for your lovely comments. I'm grateful for having each of you in my life.

Best wishes to you all.

Warmest regards,

Unknown said...

Great interview. It's always fun to hear another authors journey and way they create.

Terrie said...

Thanks for stopping by Angelia. Thank you too for your comments.

Lori Calabrese said...


You're a nutcase with those Graf Von Faber-Castell Pen & Refills! You crack me up! :)

Fascinating interview!

All the best,

Donna McDine said...

Angelia & Lori:

Thanks for stopping by and for your supportive comments. Hey, for some girls its flowers and candy. Give me a good pen and I'm yours forever!

Have a wonderful weekend.


Donna McDine said...


It was a pleasure visiting and being interviewed by you yesterday.

Best wishes,

Terrie said...

Donna, sorry I've taken so long to post. Thank you so much for doing this interview. I really appreciate it. Wishing you all the best for your future projects.

Yaya' s Home said...

Donna and Terrie,
I learned quite a bit from this interview. Some of what I learned is that I really want to know more about the Muse Online Writers, but I learned so much more, too.

Wanted to mention that anyone can get a link on Yaya's Changing World. Today's post explains it all; "Share And Share Alike". Hope to see you there. Be sure to leave your blog address so I can link to you.
~ Yaya

Donna McDine said...


You are very welcome. It was my pleasure.

YaYa...great to see you here!