Monday, May 2, 2011

Interview with romance author, Tina Donahue

Today my guest is multi-published romance author, Tina Donahue.  Tina is discussing her recent paranormal release, The Yearning from Samhain Publishing.

Why don't you start with telling us a little about yourself? What genre do you write in and why?

My first books were romantic comedies, which I dearly love. I find it incredibly easy to inject humor into a book and dialogue has always been a snap for me. I write like I talk and think.   From romantic comedies, I moved into historical for a while, then onto contemporary erotic romances and I’m now into paranormals. I like to write a contemporary erotic romance and then switch over to a paranormal erotic romance – keeps me interested and keeps the juices flowing.

Tell me about your current book which you are promoting.

The Yearning, my first paranormal, was released February 1st from Samhain Publishing and reached its Top Ten Bestseller list!! It was also nominated for Book of the Week at Whipped Cream Reviews and got a Recommended Read rating (5 lips) from TwoLips reviews.  Here’s the blurb to give you a feel for the story:

To break this curse, they’ll have to turn the heat up. Way up.

Jasmine Dante prowls Key West’s nightlife, fighting a losing battle against a jealous rival’s curse that forces her to seek carnal pleasure, no matter the danger. Weakened from lack of sleep, driven by insatiable lust, she spots a man who stirs her desperate craving, and begins yet another dance of seduction.

Except the dark stranger who returns her direct stare is no ordinary lover. Inside his powerful body lies a raw sexuality that just might be enough to break her curse. There’s only one way to find out: imprison him in her bed and feed on his passion.

Former U.S. Marshal Mike Stearn is many things, but he’s no woman’s sex slave. The deadly telekinetic power he ruthlessly suppresses comes alive again at Jasmine’s touch. Beneath her bold, potent sensuality he senses vulnerability and desperation. He may be in handcuffs, but she’s the one who’s enslaved.

As Mike resurrects his power to free himself so he can find the curse’s source and defeat it, Jasmine revels in his masterful rule. Her ravenous yearning evolves into rapture as she surrenders to his hunger, her darkest needs—and the emotional connection that lies beyond. Unless the curse takes her life first…

Warning: Tons of steamy sex, smoldering passion and a to-die-for love story with a hot Alpha hero who finds himself imprisoned by one sultry and desperate babe.

How long have you been writing?

Since I was eight or nine – can’t recall the exact date. However, at that time I did write my first children’s books. I also illustrated them. And then I went around the neighborhood to my friends’ houses and asked their parents if they wanted to buy my ‘books’. My very first promotional tour. 

What got you interested in writing, and what inspired you to write your first book?

I honestly can’t recall a time in my life when I wasn’t writing. During high school and college, I was very much into poetry. After college, I became the Associate Editor of a neighborhood newspaper and began writing books in my spare time. They were all thrillers or horror. Nothing came of them.

Do you outline before you write? If not, what’s your initial process?

Absolutely. I want a roadmap of the plot so I know exactly where I’m going – how the story will end. That doesn’t mean I won’t change something halfway through, but by outlining everything, I can write that much faster. Many times, my outlines are longer than the actual books.

What comes first: the plot or the characters?

Hard to say. With some of my books, I had a plot in mind. With others, a character popped in my head and I worked on how to use the individual in a story.

Which of your characters do you love/hate/fear/pity the most and why?

Wow. It would be hard to choose just one, especially for my heroes and heroines. My favorite heroes are RJ from In His Arms, Zach from Sensual Stranger, and Kyle from Take Me Away, my most recent erotic romance just contracted with Ellora’s Cave. In each of these books, the heroes are commanding and cherishing, alpha males with integrity that will give their all for the woman they love.

For my heroines, my fav are Summer from In His Arms, Toni from Sensual Stranger, and Lexi from Take Me Away. In each of these books, the heroines are facing incredible odds, yet they remain strong in the face of adversity.

For a villain, I do have one I absolutely hate and that would be Anthony in In His Arms.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

For me, there isn’t a hard part about writing any book. However, I do grit my teeth at writing the promotional blurb and synopsis. Synopses are incredibly difficult to write (as are blurbs). They’re marketing pieces and so much emotion has to be packed into so few words.

Did your book require a lot of research? How long does it take to write a book for you?

I do a lot of research for all of my books. For The Yearning, I researched telekinesis, curses and paranormal events. As this was my first paranormal, I wasn’t all that familiar with the territory. For In His Arms, I researched white slavery and young women getting abducted. For Sensual Stranger, I researched motorcycle performance artists, aka daredevils.

I generally research for a month before writing. It takes me two to three months to write and then do several rewrites on a book. I write every day, even holidays – except for Christmas and New Years – so I tend to produce books very quickly.

What are some of the challenges in your writing process?

Inability to find details for the world or story I’m creating. With one of my historicals, I wrote about Spain in 1488. Although there were tons of articles and pictures on what people wore, ate, etc. for that period in England, Germany and France, there was absolutely no information on Spain. I had to look at paintings from that period and I also read translated manuscripts to get a feel for the time period. Very time consuming.

Describe your writing space.

I write at the kitchen table. It’s seen more books, computers, and manuscripts than it has ever seen food.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love to travel or simply drive in the car with the music blaring away. It allows me to relax and to think.

What books or authors have influenced your writing?

Hilma Wolitzer wrote a book called Hearts. Very moving and funny. It got me into writing romantic comedies. Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss got me interested in historicals.

What do you see for the future of publishing and e-books?

Common sense should tell most people that print books won’t be around forever. It simply costs too much to produce, transport and warehouse them. In my opinion, cutting down trees isn’t the way to go. Kids born today will grow up with e-readers. They’ll probably wonder what all the fuss was about with those who claim print books will always be a reader’s first choice. Why lug around dozens of books or store them in your home when you can have hundreds in a little e-reader? Besides, the content is the same.

Those who dismiss e-books would probably have complained about computers or typewriters when they came out, saying they preferred the written word to be in someone’s handwriting.

What are your current books out right now and what are the books coming up for release?

My current books (released 2009-2011) are:

Adored – Ellora’s Cave
Deep, Dark, Delicious – Ellora’s Cave
Lush Velvet Nights – Ellora’s Cave
In His Arms – Ellora’s Cave
Sensual Stranger – Ellora’s Cave
The Yearning - Samhain

Future releases:

Unending Desire – Samhain – coming October 17
Take Me Away – Ellora’s Cave – just contracted – pub date to come

What is your marketing plan?

I tend to try everything – at least once – to see what works. I have my own website/blog:  – I’m also co-owner of the Sweet ‘N Sexy Divas blog with my friend and fellow writer Sarah McNeal -   I’m a member author at Romance Books ‘R Us where I blog the 6th of every month, and if a promo opportunity comes up, I snatch it.

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?

Write like you mean it. It’s not a hobby, it’s your life’s work. Don’t let anything get in your way – don’t let anything distract you from your art. If you don’t need to write, and I do mean need, then you’re not a writer. You have to want it more than anything. And you can’t give up. Never ever ever give up.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?


“Tell me about you,” she said. Curiosity shone in her gaze.
He wasn’t certain where this was heading and avoided an answer. “I thought I did at the club.”
“I want to know more. Everything. I’ll keep asking till you tell me. We have so little time.”
His belly cramped at her comment. The floor squeaked with Ben’s shift in weight. Mike had forgotten about him. “Is something going on besides the dizziness?” he asked her. “Does your head hurt? Do you need to lie down?”
Jasmine’s fingers curled over his, catching on his bottom lip. “I need to know about you, Mike.”
He joked. “I swear it’s boring.”
“Not to me.”
Was that her talking or the curse? Again, he told himself it hardly mattered. She didn’t really want him. She never would. His only purpose was to help and keep her safe. Sighing, he tried to think of what to say and just went with the truth. “My childhood was uneventful, except for the usual crap boys get into. You know.”
“No, I don’t. Tell me.”
Uncomfortable, he frowned.
“Please,” she said.
Her plea melted his resistance. He considered his greatest adolescent crimes, settling on one. “When I was eleven, I sneaked a smoke from my dad’s stash. By the time I was seventeen, I was going through a pack a day, working odd jobs after school to pay for them. Dad started getting sick and it scared the shit out of me, so I quit for good when I turned twenty.” He shrugged, finished.
“What else?”
He hadn’t a clue what to say and thought for a moment, recalling an event he’d forgotten. “At my buddy’s fourteenth birthday party I got drunk for the first time, along with the rest of the guys. I had a hangover that lasted two days. As I remember, it felt like someone was shooting rocks into my eyeballs.” He grinned at the stupidity of youth.
Her fingers traced his lips. He sobered. She asked again, “What else?”
Why did she want to know? Where could this possibly lead? He wanted to argue for her to eat, to let him call Erica. In the end, her next plea had him throwing out what he could recollect, though it wasn’t much.
“All through school I got A’s in math and science and struggled with history. I just couldn’t get interested in such tedious crap. I wasn’t one of the cool kids. I was far too tall and skinny. In those days, I wore my hair so short and had such a slight build a girl I liked called me Mr. Eraserhead. She said my head looked like an eraser on top of a pencil.” He winced inwardly at the awful memory. “I did my level best to avoid her after that. In my sophomore year, I found sports or they found me, and I learned discipline for the first time in my life. It’s not that my parents didn’t keep me in line, but my coach—God, he was a real fucker. Hiding my smoking habit from him nearly killed me, but it didn’t get me to stop. I puffed away whenever I was off court and under his radar. I played varsity basketball in high school and college, though nothing the NBA would be interested in. Dad seemed disappointed, not that he said anything. He was too nice a guy to hurt my feelings. Mom just wanted me to be happy and to stay out of trouble. I tried not to let either of them down.” Wrung out, he lifted his shoulders for a second time, truly having nothing else to offer.
She squeezed his fingers gently. “More.”
He laughed. “There isn’t any, really.”
“Tell me why you feel so guilty. You’re so sad.”
A pain, deep and familiar, pricked his chest. He shook it off. “I’m not. I’m worried about you.”
“You’re grieving. I can see it in your eyes. What happened?”
He stared and lowered their hands to the bed. His eyes fixed on their laced fingers not her.
“I want to help,” she said.
“I don’t need any.”
“I can listen. Tell me.”
“No.” He released her hand and toughened his voice. “You need to eat. Go on. Have all of it, I’m not hungry.”
“We have so little time.”
“Dammit, quit saying that! I’m going to find that bitch and fix this!”
“Because it will ease your conscience over what happened in the service?”

Jasmine’s about to find out exactly what happened, and the truth will endear Mike to her even more.



  1. Great interview, Tina! I'm with you on the synopsis thing. They take me forever to write, but I spend the time because I know that's what is going to help marketing write my blurb and other promotional items. They drive me nuts but I know they matter so I make the time. :)

  2. Hey, Penny - thanks for having me! :)

  3. Great review, Tina. You sound like you're very eclectic with regard to your writing. I am as well. Best of luck with your new book and others as well.

  4. Woohoo! Awesome interview, Tina.

    I wish you continued success as always!

    S.Lira aka Michael M/Rawiya

  5. Tina, it's a pleasure to have you. I see you brought some fans along. @ Anitra, Stormy and Michael, so nice to "see" new faces. Glad you enjoyed the interview.

  6. I loved The Yearning. I liked the way you managed to separated the real inner, shy feelings of the heroine from the sexy and rather forward personality she portrayed from being under the curse. That was so trciky and you did it so well.
    Here, here about e-publishing. It's not going away, so adjust. LOL
    Loved your interview and thanks for mentioning our group the Sweet N Sexy Divas.

  7. Hi, Tina and Penny, thanks for the great interview! The Yearning's on my TBR--if only there were more hours in the day ;)

  8. I agree on the synopsis and blurb also. i agonize over writing them. nice interview too.

  9. Interesting interview. I liked your excerpt, Tina.

  10. Dear Tina ,
    Great interview I read that you write young and I see you do a lot research for your book it for that I enjoy reading your books
    I wish you a wonderful week


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  12. Sarah, it's always good to hear from someone who's read the book. Thanks for stopping by.

  13. @Fichen1, glad you enjoyed the interview. I'm sure Tina will be glad to hear you plan to read The Yearning.

  14. Larion, Sandy and Mannouchka, glad you could all stop by and thank you for commenting.

  15. However, I do grit my teeth at writing the promotional blurb and synopsis.

    This is my hardest part of writing too! I hate blurbs. I'd rather write an entire novel than have to try to "summarize." haha

    Wishing you all the best!

  16. Very good interview! You mentioned SHANNA. When I began writing, a friend gave me a copy and I thought Shanna was so incredibly stupid I was inspired to write a historical. Shanna was perhaps a typical heroine at one time, but smart women are far more popular now.

  17. Kelli, glad you liked the interview.

  18. Renee, I also agree. Those pesky blurbs are a royal pain.

  19. Phoebe, thank you for sharing your thoughts and for stopping by.