Friday, March 9, 2012

Interview with Donna Milward



1. What works have you released? What are they about? Thoeba is my first novel. It’s a paranormal romance about a refugee angel charged with the task of bringing the Energy back to power. Eden is gone and her soulmate is dead. She’s alone, lost and being hunted by demons. Her only option is to band with humans-the man who rescued her along with his teenage children. She has to put her prejudices aside and work with them because the fate of the universe depends on it.


2. How did you get the idea for your work? What lured you to your topics? This one was inspired by a bad dream I had at fourteen years of age. I was an angel in hiding from monsters. I had a crystal around my neck I knew I had to protect with my life because it was the essence of God. I was always dreaming strange things. Must have been due to a voracious interest in mythology and the paranormal…which is where I get my ideas.


3. What scene, topic, or section was the most intense (or visual) for you to write? Oddly enough, it was the sex scenes. It was like losing my virginity in public. I had three more experienced critique partners at the time, and it was so awkward to hear them picked apart and be told I needed more expression and detail. I kept reminding myself I had to get used to it because someday hundreds, possibly thousands of people were going to read them too. I was so intent on making them work, I couldn’t even enjoy them!


4. In the event that your novel became a screenplay, who would you like to see included in the casting? Elizabeth Banks is perfect as Thoeba herself. I love her work and her look. Too bad Dakota Fanning is no longer a teen. She would have been great for Kayla. I also think Jackie Earle Haley (Watchtower, Nightmare on Elm Street) would make a great Jim-Thing.


5. If you could meet anyone or see anything (characters, locations, events, abilities, creatures, etc) from your novel, who or what would you choose? I long to go back to Cold Lake! I know I sound like an ad for tourism, but the lake was so clean you could see the fish swimming and everybody we met was fantastic. We made a lot of friends there. Someday I actually want to see the Maple Flag event for myself instead of living vicariously through the locals. Although I think it would be cool to meet Jim-thing…from behind bars! I’m exactly the kind of person he’d like to eat.


6. How did you go about selecting your cover? That was easy. My publisher, Heather Savage, read the novel and told me she had some ideas. She gave a copy to Terra Weston Koster. Between the two of them, they came up with my cover art. I instantly fell in love with it. Everything worked, the feathers, the demon dust, and Thoeba’s scars were exactly how I imagined them. It was a relief to see their ideas were better than anything I could come up with and that they really got it.


7. Do you have any upcoming projects? When can readers expect them? I’m finishing the final drafts for ‘Aphrodite’s War’ and hope to get it to my publisher within a couple of months. I’ve started the outline for my next novel under the working title ‘Chasing Monsters’ but that won’t be ready for at least a year. I’m also trying my hand at erotica. The television program of which I’m the writer/interviewer is entitled ‘Entities Unknown’ and it is a paranormal ghosthunter reality show. We just found our directors and are still bouncing ideas around…stay tuned. If we don’t get picked up, we’ll be on Youtube.


8. Why did you become an author (or start writing)? I’ve always been a writer. It’s been my joy and my escape since I was little. I wrote my first book in grade two. It was about the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and came complete with pictures I drew myself. I think the opening lines were something like, “When the Edmund Fitzgerald sank, lots of people died. You should have seen it!” (laughing) When my maternal grandmother died, we found journals I don’t remember writing full of outlandish tales. Apparently I beat up bears with my karate. I always kept a diary of some kind.


9. What do you love the most about being an author? Everything! I love being able to express my imagination. I love spending hours alone at my computer. I love setting my own hours. I love not having to deal with customer service on a day to day basis, and even love struggling until I get the scene just right. Writing gives me a lot of satisfaction.


10. What or who inspires you to write? My beloved troll of 15 years, Dan. I met him at the Boston Pizza I worked at and read him some of my poetry. He’s believed in me ever since. He even gave me the key to his apartment so I could work on his computer before we started dating. I’d like to make enough money writing to retire him so he can attend all the cooking classes he wants.


11. What is the top cause you champion? Right now, I’d say the Edmonton Food Bank is number one. Dan and I volunteer twice a week filling hampers. Every time we grocery shop, we pick up a little something like shampoo, feminine hygiene products, soup, pasta, pet food or school lunch items. It all helps. We remember what it’s like to be poor and hungry, and every week I’m surprised by how rewarding and heartbreaking it feels to be a part of it.


12. What advice do you have for anyone who is interested in becoming an author? Listen and learn. Absorb everything you can. Take classes. Attend seminars. If you can, get one or more critique partners and take note of their comments. As the saying goes, “No one became great by being told they were great.” Suck it all up, and use it to your advantage.


13. What is one thing your readers should know about you? I am not a religious person and Thoeba is not designed to convert anyone to my point of view. It is my own way of mixing theology, mythology, paranormal and metaphysics. I only wish to entertain the reader and spark their curiosity. I respect people’s various beliefs.


14. If you could do anything (for a career), besides being a writer, what would do? Good question! I don’t know. I’ve been a waitress, a chambermaid, a cook, and a professional meatcutter. I’m done with the day to day angst. I want to write until I die. But since you asked…I’d probably work in a local meatshop. That was my career for ten years. I loved it but it is cold and I’m not sure how I’d feel cutting meat now that I’ve got a cat that I’ve fallen in love with.


15. Aside from writing, what are your hobbies? Haha! After gardening season, it’s all about Christmas and look out-I just discovered Pinterest. Homemade gifts next year! In January, I start planning my yardwork. I love planting, weeding, and canning. Oh, and I love fishing. I dream about it and never get the chance to do enough of it.


16. What is…?
a. …your favorite author? Dean Koontz
b. …your favorite book or series? Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
c. …your biggest literary inspiration? Both of the above. Dean Koontz taught me the value of character development and Ray Bradbury encouraged me to find inspiration in everyday things.


17. Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what artists? If not, do you have other muses? I never listen to music when I write. I just end up singing along! But both my muses are musicians. Bruce Dickinson is the vocalist for Iron Maiden. He is also a commercial pilot, world-ranked fencer, tank collector and author among other things. He inspires me because he is a modern day renaissance man. He’s 53 and unstoppable. The other muse is Amir Derakh, lead guitarist of Julien K and keyboardist for Circuit Freq. He started in Rough Cutt and Jailhouse in the 80’s hairband era. When those bands fizzled out, he became a sound engineer and began producing for grunge bands. He’s been in the music business for 30 years and has educated himself and adapted accordingly. Did I mention he designs guitars for Yamaha? I want his tenacity and determination.


18. Is there anything that helps you write or is unique about your writing process? The only thing that may be unique about me as a writer is the fact that I don’t get writer’s block. I have the ability to bounce ideas around my brain until I find what I need, and it usually happens quickly. I never stress out about it, because I know the answer will come. That’s half the battle. It’s happened more than one that my partners point out something that doesn’t work, and ten minutes later I’ll say, “Wait, hey! What if I did this…?” Thank you, Ray Bradbury.


19. Which, if any, character do you feel has the most of your characteristics (behavioral or otherwise)? Thoeba has my teenaged cynicism, and in a lot of ways she grew out of it like I did. Sometimes she reminds me of the person I am now.

Anything else? :-)
I also write non-fiction articles for the Edmonton Paranormal Newsletter. We are working on making it available on-line.



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