Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Interview with Donna Simonetta, WHAT WAS I THINKING

1. Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
What Was I Thinking can be read as a standalone novel, but it is the third book in my Rivers Bend trilogy. The series follows the three single siblings in the Braden family of Rivers Bend, as they each find their happy-ever-after. What Was I Thinking is the story of the youngest brother, Jason, who is not a big fan of commitment, at least where romantic relationships are concerned.  His playboy days might be over when teacher Lily Davis moves to town to become temporary guardian to her niece. At least, if they can get over their mutual animosity. It was fun for me to have the chance to write his story, but also to give readers a glimpse into the lives of the characters featured in the first two books, A Sweeter Spot and Love is Lovelier.

2. Do you have a favorite character?
I become attached to all of my characters. It takes a while to write a book, so by the end they become almost like friends to me, so it’s hard to choose. But, I think probably my favorite character is Kelly Lynch. She is the main character in my first published novel, Angels Fly, and we have a lot in common. We’re both writers, both New England natives, who have moved to different regions. Kelly is kind, funny, smart––someone I would love to know in real life. I really enjoyed writing her story.

3. Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
Not within the same book, but in the Rivers Bend trilogy the secondary characters from one book became the main characters in the next books. You can definitely pick up any of the three books, A Sweeter Spot, Love is Lovelier, or What Was I Thinking and read it and enjoy it. But in creating the fictional town of Rivers Bend, you’ll definitely run into old friends in each of the books. That’s part of the fun of writing a series––you get to really delve into the characters and their world.

4. Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
I did. I felt like such a newbie that I wanted the guidance an agent or publisher would provide me. I’ve found such an amazing community of writers with my publisher, the Wild Rose Press, that I’ve never regretted my decision. They truly support their authors, and nurture professional relationships between us.

5. How long before you got your offer of representation/your first contract? Was it for your first novel?
It was a loooong time. So long, in fact, that my first book published was actually the third book I’d written.
When I finished writing my first book, I queried my five top-picks of literary agents. I loved the story so much that I expected a full-blown bidding war to begin over it. Yeah…not so much. Instead, the first rejection hit my mailbox within half-a-freaking-hour. Thirty minutes.

6. What factors influenced your decision to go with a particular agent or publisher?
I never did find a literary agent to take me on as a client. There are so many authors out there, clamoring for the attention of a limited number of literary agents in their genre that I started to think it wasn’t ever going to happen for me that way. But, I didn’t want to give up on my dream of being published, so I researched publishing houses that took unagented manuscript submissions. The Wild Rose Press was one of the publishing houses I learned about through my research, and the one that turned out to be the best match for me and my work. Five books later, and I’m still with them. It is a business, in a brutally competitive field, but TWRP is a great place for authors to grow and flourish.

7. Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Sometimes it can be challenging, but I usually find myself working on three different writing projects, in various stages of development. Promoting a new release, while editing another manuscript, and doing research on a third­­––it can make my head spin. But, I’ve always been an organized person, (I was a librarian in my previous career, after all!) and I’ve got a system down to juggle everything that needs to be done.

8. Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
Writing is a very solitary business, and it can get a little lonely. When I quit my day job to write full-time, I felt like I was getting a little squirrely being alone all day. Ha! So, I decided to volunteer as a Dog Deputy at a local animal shelter. What began as a way to get out of my own head and into the real world every once in a while, has become a passion for me. I love the chance to hang out with the dogs as they await their “furever” homes. Yesterday, I got to spend time with the sweetest eleven-year old boy. I took him for a walk, and spent some time in his kennel with him. I love having the chance to bring the dogs a little attention and comfort in what can be a stressful situation for them. It’s a complete miracle that I have not smuggled all of them home with me by now. My first day volunteering, my husband said to me, “Please don’t bring ALL the dogs home.”

9. Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or Tea? Talk or Text? Day or Night?
Dogs all the way, for me! I have nothing against cats, but I am allergic to them and haven’t spent as much time with them as I have with dogs.
For ice cream, I would pick vanilla. Although, I will never say “no” to a piece of chocolate candy.
Coffee. I drink tea also, on occasion, but I am a coffee person at heart.
Text. I’m your classic introvert, so texting is a lot more comfortable for me.
Day. I’ve never been a real night owl.

10. What’s next for you?
I’m working on a book I’m really excited about––it’s a romance, of course, but also a ghost story. It’s set in one of my favorite cities, Richmond, Virginia. The main character moves there, only to discover there’s a very nasty spirit residing in the grand, old mansion where she lives and works. Luckily for her, the neighbors are paranormal investigators…and pretty hot too! ; ) I’m polishing that story up, as I prepare to submit it for publication, which is always both an exciting and terrifying prospect! I think I might rather face the ghost in my story than query a publisher.


A wild Vegas fling isn't the traditional Thanksgiving celebration, and Lily and Jason have been like oil and water since they met. Blaming their steamy hook-up on too many shots at the bar, they head home.
Back in the real world, Jason wonders if he's ready to give up his crown as the Playboy King of Rivers Bend to be with just one woman. And Lily has enough on her plate right now without adding Jason Braden to the mix, even if their attraction is crazy-strong.
But life is good at throwing curveballs, and a lot can happen between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day. Maybe even enough to lead these two polar opposites home to each other in Rivers Bend.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Donna Simonetta writes the kind of books she loves to read––contemporary romances to help you escape the real world for a little while. Writing is Donna’s third career. She toiled in the business world, and when she decided being an Account Executive wasn’t for her went back to school to get her MLS degree. Next, she worked in a school library for many years. But, Donna dreamed of being an author since she was a little girl, and began to squeeze writing into her day. After the publication of her second book, she decided to leave the library and become a full-time author.

Donna lives in Maryland with her husband, who is her real-life romance hero. They enjoy traveling to visit far-flung family and friends, and spending time on the beach with an umbrella drink and a good book.

Author Links:

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  1. Donna,
    I love contemporary romance. This is right up my alley.

    1. That's great, Kelli! I hope you decide to give it a try! Thanks for visiting and commenting today!

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, Caryl! It was a a fun one to do--great questions!

  3. Hello! Thanks so much for sharing your book with us. Always fun reading about another book to enjoy.

  4. Thank you so much for letting me visit! I really appreciate it!
    : )

    1. You are most welcome! Best of luck with your book.


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