Monday, June 16, 2014

Linda Della Donna, A Gift ofLove, A Widow's Memoir, plus #giveaway

As a freebie, Donna has three free bookstubs for ebook apps to offer. If you are interested in being considered for a copy of her book, be sure to leave a comment along with your contact information

Author:                  Linda Della Donna
Book Title:            A Gift of Love, A Widow’s Memoir

Please tell us about yourself:
I am a writer. For a lot of years I worked as a secretary to a state agency. In December 2002, after twenty-something years of service, I took a package and left my 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. day job. My dream at that time while waiting for my husband to reach retirement age, was to discover my writing niche, my voice, and to write—full time.

My husband’s dream was for us to retire to someplace warm, someplace less expensive to live, to travel, and to do all the things we had dreamed of doing and never had time for while working our respective full time jobs.
P.S. It didn’t happen.

At this time, I make my home as a single widowed woman in a suburb of New York with a small pretend kitty I named Tux.

Please tell us your latest news:
I’m published!

My book, A Gift of Love, A Widow’s Memoir is published. Better news is it fulfills a promise. It feels so great to be able to move forward knowing I fulfilled my promise to the best friend a gal ever had.

Are you a full-time writer or are you part-time, how do you organize your time?
I am a full-time writer. I am a part-time writer. I organize my time unique to my needs. It all depends on the season. Winter is my best writing time. When snow falls, that is when I am writing. When snow melts, I am packing up and resting for a next round of writing.

When and why did you begin writing?
In sixth grade my teacher, Sister Mary Ancilla, at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Elmsford, NY assigned a writing composition. I wrote about a turtle. I gave it a name, job, house, and neighborhood of funny fishy friends. I handed it in. Two weeks later, I found myself standing in front of my class reading my work out loud with sister saying, “Linda. You’re a Writer!” That nun was first person to call me writer. And at the time, I had no clue what that word writer meant. I just knew that it was the easiest A I had ever gotten and I will never forget the feelings that swept over me hearing her words. They are with me. Still.

What inspired you to write your book?
My whole adult life, my dream was to write a book. I wanted a book and make my husband proud of me. His illness and death was sudden. I was his caregiver. On his deathbed I said, I will write your story. I said, I will let the whole world know just what you went through. My words were last sounds he heard. His reply was, Somebody should. For a lot of years, those words haunted me.

What do you do when you are not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?
I am devoted to my two small grandchildren, boy and girl, H and Z, ages 5 and 4. They are a delicious. I am very grateful.

What are your thoughts about promotion?
I have a hard time patting myself on the back. Promoting me is hard. I am my hardest critic. But, I know that it is necessary to build book sales. There are thirty million books out here and if I want to make it with the publishing world, I will have to work very hard to make it happen. I like to think of myself as that little turtle in the first story I ever wrote--slow and steady and I will reach my goal. Eventually.

What was the toughest criticism given to you?
An individual read my manuscript. This was a person I admired deeply and had high respect for. She called me one morning and before I knew it, I was being yelled at. It totally came out of the blue. It is a complicated story, but at the time, I was overwhelmed. I am sensitive. It left me scarred and confused. I didn’t write for a year.

What was the biggest compliment?
Shortly after A Gift of Love was published, I received a letter from a woman. She had purchased my book and loved it. She added she remembered me from high school. That was back in back in the 1960s. She asked if my book tour would take me to Arizona where she now lives with her husband, because she wanted me to autograph her copy. I hadn’t seen this fine lady since June 1964. I saved her letter. Each time I read it, I tear up.
Do you ever have writer’s block?
No. I don’t believe in it.

Did you learn anything from writing this book? What was it?
I learned a lot. I learned as a driver needs a road map when traveling unchartered roads, this writer requires some form of an outline. Nothing fancy. Just some scribble marking how to get from point A to point B. I also learned to not get lost in my research. I learned how to put a stop on that. I set a timer. I learned that I love researching a subject.

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?
Archway Publishing, Division of Simon & Schuster, is my publisher. I did a huge amount of research locating a proper fit for my manuscript. I discovered Archway suited my needs best. Archway Publishing is considered supported publishing. It is not self-publishing. Archway has strict standards and there is a difference between self- and supported-publishing. I had to submit my work. I had to wait and see if it was accepted. At one point, my manuscript was kicked out and if I wanted to publish, I had to meet Archway’s standards. I had to make a revision, which I gladly did. In addition, I sought professional editors and book designers, and at the end, I worked eyeball-to-eyeball with one editor, living in a cabin in the woods for weeks to meetup with this editor. Though taxing and at great personal financial sacrifice, the experience left me confident and proud of my finished work.

What is your marketing Plan?
To have fun.

Every week I make a list of things that must be addressed to get my name and the title of my book, A Gift of Love out here. One item is to do one unconventional thing promoting my book: Last week I wrote a letter to the mayor of my city enclosing two free copies of my book to be donated to the public library and reminding him how much I enjoyed babysitting him when he was a small boy, along with his three siblings. My grandson, H, attends kindergarten with the son of a producer for a local news television station. Just yesterday, I hired my grandson to be my agent. H carries book stubs for A Gift of Love. It is awesome to watch him hand out these plastic cards and show his “Da De” off to his friends.

What are your current projects?
At present I am working a novel, an essay for a local magazine, and of course, my blogging, writing practice, photography, and doing social media.

What do you plan for the future?
I have a newsletter and a website in the cooker. I also have a following of widows, a private bereavement online safe site, Linda’s Place. I have a work-in-progress for an online course to help widows through the grief process offering how-to’s turning upside down smiles right side up again.

Any other news?
I will be an attendee, guest of Archway Publishing, Division of Simon & Schuster, at the Book Expo of America, at Jacob Javits Center in New York, weekend of Thursday, May 29 through Sunday, June 1, 2014. I am looking forward to meeting publishers, editors, authors, booksellers,and librarians.

Tell me about your book:

Genre:                 Memoir
Publisher:            Archway Publishing

A Gift of Love is the tale of two people in love. Like two chips in a cookie, rolling merrily along in their marriage, everything comes undone when the husband is diagnosed with cancer and less than a year later, dies, leaving me, a widow, and my world turned upside down. It is a narration of my grief journey, highlights the wonderful man I fell in love with and married, describes the love we shared, and tells about the woman I have become since burying my soul mate.

While tracing my golden thread of treasured memories, I share the struggles of a dying man, his untimely death, my deepest sorrows, and mark my new beginning.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
My goal in writing this book was to fulfill a promise. In publishing it, my goal is to reach one widow suffering through the grief process. I want that one widow to know that if I can get through the grief process, so can he or she. My hope is that my book, A Gift of Love, teaches life’s valuable lesson: when you lose a spouse, life goes on. Most of all, it acts as reminder that though life can change suddenly, each one of us possesses the power to decide to accept the unthinkable.

What about your book makes it special?
We all have a story inside us to write. This is my story. And just like grief being unique as a thumb print, no two alike, so is my story—A Gift of Love. 

How can we find your website?
A Gift of Love Fan Page:


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