Guest Author Interview - Danna Wilberg
A note from Danna: First of all, I would like to thank Chi for arranging our Holiday Blog Party! I have enjoyed getting to know the other Authors.
Thank you Danna for granting this author interview with our readers. Please give us a brief overview of yourself and your work.
I have written a romantic-suspense trilogy published by Pretty Road Press about a young psychotherapist who learns the true meaning of love through fear. My short stories are published in three anthologies; “Borrowed Time” - Capitol Crimes Anthology 2008, “Not Fair”, Our Dance With Words, “Christmas Chronicles”, Capitol Crimes 2016.
I also write film scripts. I am a six-time winner of the “A Place Called Sacramento” script writing contest, and have won several awards for my short films. My favorite genre to write is suspense, but I dabble in other genres as well. My current projects are “Undue Influence”, a feature film about elder abuse, and “Borrowed Time”, a series featuring a woman who acquires unwanted gifts after surviving being short, thrown in a pool, and left for dead.
As a fellow Sacramentan I find this fascinating, what made you want to be a writer? How did you begin writing?
I have always love to read. Although I excelled in English composition writing in grammar and high school, I never imagined myself as an author until 1998 when a series of events changed my life. I was in a serious car accident, I won a writing contest, and I began writing stories to escape painful, sleepless nights. I wrote short stories that I would pass on to my mother and a friend who would add to the story. It gave us all something to look forward to, and we were all quite creative! When I won the writing contest, I thought, “Why not try writing a romance novel?” And so I began...However, when an agent sent my manuscript back saying she like the story, but it lacked suspense, I took it to heart, and killed one of my characters. Pretty soon, my romantic novel transitioned into romantic suspense. And that was a good thing. When I finished “The Red Chair”, I missed writing, I wanted more. I wrote the next two novels.
Your story is inspiring, Danna. What inspires you to write?
I am one of those lucky people with a persistent muse. I have more stories to tell than time in my day to write. I write every day, even if it is an inspiring post on Face Book, or a blurb about something I am doing. I always have more than one project going at a time, so I switch off. I think my biggest inspiration is my daughters, and I feel I was meant to write.
Is there any significant situation that has happened along your writing journey that you’d like to share?
As I mentioned earlier, I was in a car accident several years ago. I suffered memory loss and had to go back to school to relearn how to write a sentence. I still struggle with the mechanics of writing, which is frustrating after having been an A+ student, but luckily the most amazing people have offered me help. I call them my angels. Over the years I have learned that the only thing that can defeat me is myself.
Since you're a seasoned and published author, do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Keep at it…don’t get discouraged. Find your voice, and keep homing your craft. We all have a story to tell.
Do you have any advice for approaching publishers?
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Write the best query you can and keep submitting until you find the right match. And keep in mind, it’s all about the match. Again, don’t get discouraged. Remember, self-publishing is getting more popular, and more lucrative.
What do you think is the biggest marketing challenge for new authors?
Learning how to use social media has been challenging, and it seems that is the majority of marketing strategies today. Be creative is my best advice.
Would you share with us the methods of book marketing that you find the most effective?
I try to participate in events, go to bookstores and introduce myself, get on writers panels. I find meeting readers and other writers helps me gain perspective on how to present myself, and my work.
Since you're not self-published, how do you handle rejection as a writer?
I have had my share of rejections, but once I had more of a “package” to offer, I felt better about putting myself out there. I built a brand which included my films, my talk show, and my books. I also learned not to take rejection personally.
Tell us about your recent success with your book.
Once I connected with a publisher for my first book, he optioned the next two. Having three novels published got my foot in the door for panels and such, but my series will be the test. I plan to use a different game plan.
What have been the reactions from your readers regarding this book? Any lessons learned from your readers or author events?
People who have read my books cannot believe I wrote. (She laughs) I take that as a compliment. I have had nothing but positive reviews, and have been pleasantly surprised by my reader’s reactions to certain situations. It seems that everyone has been able to relate to one or more of the characters and many mentioned their inability to put the books down.
What I have learned from readers at events is that people’s tastes in reading run parallel to their taste in movies. Many people don’t like hair raising stories. I get that, and respect their space.
I have thoroughly enjoyed our interview and appreciated your taking the time to share your writing experience with our readers. Is there anything else you’d like to share with aspiring writers?
I encourage anyone who wants to write to do it. We all have a story to tell! Start with a short story, a few paragraphs. Get comfortable with what comes to you. Listen to your muse! And above all, write to please yourself because you will never please everyone.
Last but not least, where can readers/other authors find you Danna?