February 21st, 2019
I asked Donise where she would like to interview:
The cafe was slow for a Sunday afternoon. Couples sipped coffee and exchanged smiles and laugh while singles read the paper or talked on phones. I smiled at the woman at the next table as she typed away on a small laptop. I admired her. I could never write anything in public because of the distraction.
The sweet smell of cinnamon rolls wafted over to where I sat at the table in the corner and I wondered if I should order some for the kids before going home. Lord knows they don’t need the sugar, but they did get their rooms clean, so maybe it would be a nice surprise. I sipped my coffee as Laura sat down with her drink and smiled warmly.
Laura Mae: Hello Donise! How’s it going today?
Donise Sheppard: Hi. Pretty good, thanks. How about you?
L: Same! Not great, but not bad. Were you able to fit any writing in today yet?
D: I did! I just finished up a flash fiction and sent it off to my editor. Well. A friend who edits better than any editor I’ve ever had.
L: Oh, that’s even better! Productive day! What was your flash fiction about?
D: This man robs a gas station so he can buy his girlfriend an engagement ring. I’m pretty excited about this one.
L: Interesting. Sounds complicated and intriguing! Do you do a lot of flash fiction?
D: I do! It’s my favorite. I’m a member of a Facebook group that does flash fiction challenges every so often. They give a prompt and the winner gets a book on writing of their choice and an edit, and the runner up gets an edit. So I tend to do those.
L: How very awesome Donise! That’s such a great way to get people to write when they’re in a slump. It’s more complicated than people realize, I think. Do you write in any other forms like novels, or poetry?
D: I love novel writing! The in-depth detail you get and the backstory. I have six novels available and am working on another romance novel.
L: You’re all over the place! How great! How long have you been writing for do you think, and do you still remember the first thing you ever did?
D: I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I remember when I was eleven, I tried to write a fan fiction of Harry Potter. It was horrendous and my eleven year old self knew it and shredded it. Haha. The first time I thought that maybe I could actually do it was when my science teacher assigned us to write a short sci-fi story. Everyone was turning in a few paragraphs and I apologetically handed in twelve pages. He read it and asked if he could show the principal and told me it was one of the best stories he’d ever read. I, of course, burst into tears.
L: Oh my goodness! That’s incredible. That science teacher sounds amazing, by the way. And fan fiction Harry Potter sounds really fun. So what type of stories do you usually write? I’ve seen a few different genres already. Haha!
D: He was incredible. One of the best. I write in most genres, but almost everything includes romance. It’s my favorite. I think every story is better with a little bit of love. I really enjoy science fiction, too.
L: That’s really cool. It’s hard for me to write in anything but fantasy (romance isn’t my strong suit.) But I agree that everything need some romance in it. What do you think your inspiration comes from to start writing?
D: I’m not sure really. I can see an image and get an idea or read a prompt. Sometimes I’ll just be working around the house and ideas will come to me. Of someone pays attention and lets their mind wander, anything can spark inspiration. Also, fantasy is really hard for me, so you awe me.
L: Aw, thanks! I can’t do flash fiction, so ditto! I agree, and also I think as writers we tend to overthink. So letting your mind go blank can help to let other ideas in. So Donise, can you tell me about your most recent novel?
D: My newest release is almost a year old. I took a break when Jensen and I started Pixie Forest and I’ve pushed some projects back. It’s a romance novel about a woman who falls in love again after a divorce. She had a rough relationship with her ex and doesn’t really trust men anymore, even though she wants to.
My WIP is also a romance about a woman who lets a homeless man sleep on her couch for a night. She might have some mental problems that makes her trust too easily.
L: Awesome! Seems like both are dealing with some pretty serious trust issues. I can certainly relate to that! Well congrats on your published work and we can’t wait till you’re newest one is out! You’ve published several books as you’ve mentioned. What do you know now about publishing that you wish you knew in the beginning?
D: The process. How much it takes. The editing, the formatting, marketing. Oh lord the marketing. I should have taken some business classes. It’s work. It’s not just writing and putting your book out there or finding an agent. It’s a lot of work that takes a lot of time.
L: Preach girl. Marketing is my number one I way underestimated! But, if you want to be successful and stick out, you gotta put the work in! I feel like I need business class too. Haha! Do you have any favorite literary characters at all?
D: Colonial Brandon. Sense and Sensibility. Perfect character for a romance novel. Edna Pontellier from The Awakening. Perfect vision of feminism of her time. Oh. And the antagonist from the novel I just read for a review. He is so amazing. Scary, sick, twisted, insane. Perfect. The book is Dead Petals.
L: Lovely! Yes, antagonists can be the best part of a book sometimes! Haha! I know it’s a hard question, but do you have a favorite book? And why?
D: Lol. Honestly? Those three I just mentioned. With Dead Petals in the number one spot. It’s scary and exciting and so incredibly sad. It’s about what happens to a family after their daughter is abducted. It’s seriously incredibly well written and the story itself is by far the best I’ve ever read.
L: Interesting! I may need to check that out! When you are sitting down to write, do you need to listen to music at all? If so, what kind do you listen to?
D: I don’t have to, but sometimes I do. I like different styles of music, depending on what scene I’m writing. If it’s a romantic scene, I’ll put on love songs, something bad happened? Sad songs.
L: I’ve heard that really helps. It makes sense enough. That’s cool you do that, though! What does a typical day look for you when you do plan to write?
D: I try to get up before the kids, usually around six (if I hear my alarm) and I try to edit or write first thing. While the kids are in school, I spend most of my day reading, writing, or editing. Lately it’s been editing. Then after the kids go to bed, I’m back to writing until ten, then reading until midnight.
L: Dang girl! You got busy days! Seems pretty productive though. I need you to give me some of that! Haha!
D: Lol. It’s routine and addiction to books, honestly.
L: A great addiction. Haha! So since you are a very big reader, are there any tropes that you’ve noticed recently that just need to stop?
D: I really don’t like the damsel in distress thing. And I’m not a big fan of women who don’t think they’re smart but really are.
L: Same. I’m glad we are in the age right now of making women stronger in current fiction. It makes me happy. 🙂
D: Yes! Me too!
L: Besides writing and reading, what are some other hobbies you enjoy or interests you have?
D: Baking. I love it! Cookies and cakes and cake pops and donuts. I love to make yummy food. I also love to sing and dance, but I’m not quite as good at those. Lol
L: Baking is so much fun! I suck at it, but when I don’t, it’s yummy! Haha! Singing is my favorite too. 🙂
D: Haha! I love that!
L: Alright Donise, it’s has been so fun talking with you today! Would you mind giving us some of your best wisdomly writing advice?
D: Don’t underestimate the value of a good beta reader. They open your eyes to story that you’ve written, spotting things you’ve not even noticed. Such as someone turning and doing something repeatedly. Haha. Thanks so much for having me! It’s been a lot of fun.
L: Great advice!! You’re so welcome!
Donise Sheppard is co-owner of Pixie Forest Publishing and a fiction writer born in Ohio, but residing in Southern West Virginia with her husband and four children. She has six self-published novels on Amazon and seven other short stories published in anthologies and a magazine. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, baking, or chasing her monsters.
Second Times the Charm: Two years after divorcing her cheating husband of thirteen years, Danielle finds herself falling in love with a man she met at the fair. Logan isn’t only charming with his English accent and rugged good looks, but he makes Danielle happier than she thought possible. The only thing standing in her way of happiness is her own trust issues.
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Become immersed in worlds where love is key. In these twelve stories, enjoy tales of new, unexpected, and lost love. Open the pages to discover love that fights through war, abuse, curses, death, and withstands time itself. These stories will touch your heart, make you laugh, and make you cry. Let the authors show you the many ways love can tug at your heartstrings in Love Dust.
Buy it here!