Today we sit down with children and young adult author, Donna Zadunajsky. She is going to tell us about her work, her inspiration and her writing journey. Please enjoy this installment of 20 Questions.
Q1) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was a teenager I started reading a lot of Stephen King novels. I have always had a bizarre and far off imagination, and told myself that one day I will write my own novel. It wasn’t until my daughter was born in 2001 that I started to actually pursue the writing world with children’s books, then I started writing novels and now have self published 7 children’s books and 4 novels, and my first Novella.
Q2) How long does it typically take you to write a book?
It usually takes me about 6 to 8 months to write a book, depending on the story and length. NOT FORGOTTEN only took 4 months to write, where FAMILY SECRETS Book 1 took a little over a year.
Q3) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I love to write in the A.M., so I start around 9am and write until 12 or 1pm. It all depends on the story. If I’m on a roll I don’t like to stop until my brain says ‘that’s it for today’.
Q4) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Each book I write, I tend to talk to people about them. “You won’t believe what Carla did?” Or, I talk like they’re actual people, almost like a soap opera.
Q5) How are your books published?
All my books are self published, but it wasn’t until I wrote book 1 of my series ‘Secrets and Second Chances’ that a Publishing company wanted the rights to my book. And recently, I was contacted by Custom Book Publishing for the rights of my second novel NOT FORGOTTEN.
Q6) Where do you get your ideas for your books?
They come to me when I’m doing things around the house or driving somewhere. I write it down until I’m ready to use it.
Q7) If you don’t mind sharing, when did you write your first book?
I wrote my first book in 2004, TAYLA’S BEST DAY EVER!, but it never got published until 2009. I didn’t have the money at the time to pay for an illustrator.
Q8) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Read, watch TV and watch movies. In the summer, I’m outside messing around in my flower gardens.
Q9) What do your family and friends think of your writing?
They think it’s awesome and wonderful. They keep telling me how proud they are of me and that they tell everyone they meet that I’m a published author. My friend Jill always says that ‘I can’t believe I’m friends with an author, it’s so cool.’
Q10) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That it comes easy to me to write a story about my imaginary friends, lol. Things my real friends and I have done together and things I have never talk to people about and won’t admit is true.
Q11) What do you hate most about the writing process?
Besides editing, I hate when I’m unsure which way to take a storyline. I have a few stories where I’ve written a part going different ways and then I try to decide which way to take the story and whether my readers will like it.
Q12) How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have written 7 Children’s Books, 4 Novels, which two are part of a series I’m writing. I’m working on Book 3 now. Also, 1 Novella, which is also part of a series that has to do with teen suicide and bullying.
Q13) Do you have any suggestions to help us become better writers? If so, what are they?
There are several things: One: Write every day. Two: Don’t be worried that your book or story isn’t good enough because it is. Three: Find a genre that you’re passionate about.
Q14) Do you get feedback from your readers much? How and what kinds of things do they say?
The great thing about social media is that it’s so much easier for readers to connect with you. I received an email from a boy in Mexico that my latest book HELP ME! Saved his life. I also received an email from a woman that her and her mother loved my latest novel HIDDEN SECRETS and that I have two new fans now. It’s a warm and wonderful feeling to have inside.
Q15) What is your preferred reading audience?
It was children, but when I was a teenager I had always wanted to write for Adults, and now I’m getting into Young Adult books, probably because my daughter is a teenager.
Q16) What do you think makes a good story?
Being able to solve the mystery before the end.
Q17) As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
At first I wanted to be a teacher, which I think most girls do when they are little. Then as I got older, it was a policeman, FBI Agent, Writer.
Q18) Where can we find your books?
My books are on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble’s website, kobo.com, itunes and iGoogle.
Q19) Will you give us an excerpt from one of your favorite works?
Here is an Excerpt from my latest novel, HIDDEN SECRETS Book 2:
What would you do if you found a book, a journal hidden away, filled with secrets—things you weren’t meant to know; things you should’ve known from the beginning?
So the question remains, how well does anyone really know his or her own spouse, sister, brother, mother, or father?
You could be living under the same roof for five, ten, even twenty years, and not really know one another. Even before they became your significant other, did their parents or siblings know them better than anyone else did? Did your family keep things hidden?
Siblings don’t always share their secrets with each other. They are not close. They most likely won’t get along with one another until they become adults, and still maybe even then, not see eye to eye!
What if you’re an only child, no one with which to share anything? What if one day you’re all alone? Your parents or spouse dies, goes to heaven, and you oneday stumble across a secret that your socalled loved ones have been hiding from you. What would you do? Of course, you would read it. You wouldn’t be able to help yourself. You would be too curious the moment you opened the book and read the first line. Especially, if you saw your name written as one of the words.
What if everything you thought you knew about your family, your spouse, your lover were all lies? Something they thought was better kept hidden from the one person they supposedly loved the most.
Even then, no one really knows anyone, do they?
Q20) Can you tell us about yourself?
Donna M. Zadunajsky started out writing children’s books before she accomplished and published her first novel, Broken Promises , in June 2012. She then has written several more novels and her first novella, HELP ME! which is a subject about teen suicide and bullying.
Her third novel Family Secrets, “Secrets and Second Chances ”, which is first in a series she is writing, was given a publishing contract through California Times Publishing. Not Forgotten has also recently been signed by Custom Book Publishing.
You can follow Donna’s writing journey on her website here: : http://www.donnazadunajsky.com