Interview with Donna Galanti: 'Finding success in writing is continuing to learn the writing craft'

Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery with a dash of steam 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 Joshua and The Lightning Road.

She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. Donna dreamed of being a writer when she fell in love with the worlds of Narnia and Roald Dahl attending school in a magical English castle where her dark imagination ran wild in an itchy uniform (bowler hat and tie included). 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.

Her latest book is the paranormal romance, A Hidden Element.

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About the Book:

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?

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  • A Hidden Element is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

Book 2 in my paranormal suspense trilogy, A Hidden Element, was written after a dream. Readers had been asking for a sequel to book 1, A Human Element, but I couldn’t see it happening until I woke up one morning with the story all planned out in my head. It was a vision to be acted on, like the vision I had years before to write book 1. Is it any wonder my books have a paranormal element to them? And why the paranormal? I am fascinated by the power of the brain and how little we use. Writing in the paranormal allows me to tap into the what if. What if we possessed the power to do the unbelievable? And what if we could use those powers to heal – or to kill? This is what I write about in A Hidden Element.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

To me, finding success in writing is continuing to learn the writing craft, adding it to your expanding writer’s toolbox, and applying all you learn along the way. Read books in your genre and join writer communities and organizations now, no matter what level of writing you are at. Success in writing can also only truly come when you let go – let go of your ego that is. Accept constructive criticism if you want to be a better writer. And don’t we all want to be better writers and be published someday?
Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

My publisher for both books 1 and 2 in the Element Trilogy, A Human Element and A Hidden Element, is Imajin Books run by Cheryl Kaye Tardif, a bestselling author in her own right and marketing whiz. I submitted book 2, A Hidden Element, to Imajin Books when they opened for their annual submissions. Then in getting my rights back for book 1, A Human Element, they also grabbed it up. I was very lucky! Now I have a new brand that encompasses both, and an amazing publisher backing them.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

Yes! I wish I had joined writer communities and organizations sooner. I wrote my book and then “came out” of my writing cave. I didn’t feel like I belonged or was part of the club. I now know that anyone who wants to write and improve their writing is part of the club. What a great camaraderie there is amongst writers of all levels! Also, I wish I’d taken classed to learn about how to write a book before publishing my first book. This required going back and fixing a ton of things in the revision phase! I don’t regret the learning that took place afterwards as I can now write a better book from the beginning.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I am now plotting the third and final book in the Element Trilogy and a young adult medieval fantasy series. I also write children’s books and in 2015 have the first two books coming out in my middle grade adventure fantasy series, Joshua and the Lightning Road. In book 1, Joshua Cooper learns the hard way that lightning never strikes by chance, when a bolt strikes his house and whisks him on an adventure to a world where stolen kids are work slaves for the frustrated heirs of the Greek Olympians. You can learn more about it here:

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

Definitely Facebook! Whether it’s being silly with folks on my personal page or engaging folks with funny pics, writing woes, and news about my books on my author page – it’s just plain fun!

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

I believe the story of A Hidden Element contains universal elements that people can relate to; abandonment, loss, redemption, acceptance, grief, and yearning for something you can never have. Two strong messages in the book are that relinquishing the struggle to belong can lead to self-acceptance and choosing love over hate leads to peace. These are the themes I am drawn to writing about.

Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

I meet up with a wonderfully supportive group of women writers each week at Wegman’s CafĂ©, where we write, share advice, help each other with story issues, and enjoy lunch. Finding a support network to boost you up in whatever you love to do is vital to achieving success. And for writers, we can write alone, but we certainly can’t make it alone in this publishing industry.

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