Amanda, it was a pleasure to connect with you via email and I’m honored to have the opportunity to interview you. We reside in neighboring states of NY and NJ and curious as to what town you live. It would be lovely once COVID-19 is behind us if we can meet up in person in the not too distant future.
Donna, thank you so much for connecting with me – it is great to meet you virtually! I share your hope that we can meet in person one day. I live in Bordentown, New Jersey. It’s a wonderful town with fabulous shops, restaurants, and small businesses. It has a real sense of community, and I feel fortunate to live there.
DMc: Do you hold a day job while continuing to follow your writing muse? If yes, what is your career beyond authorship? If not, how do you keep your day structured so you are productive?
AR: I do have a day job – I’m an academic administrator at Princeton University. I enjoy my day job, and it is so different from my writing work that it is a gift to have both in my life. It can be exhausting, though. I work full time at the university, so my writing and book promotion happen at night and on the weekends, so I’ve got a pretty full schedule. But I like to be busy and productive, so it works for me.
DMc: Please share the titles, genre, publisher and synopsis of each of your published books.
AR: Familius published my first children’s book in March of 2019. It’s called If There Never Was a You, and it’s about making children feel loved and teaching them that the world would be missing something important if they had never been born.
DMc: What is your process in creating your characters? Do you create a profile outline or other technique?
AR: My books often start with an idea of a character whose life or personality I want to convey. But it’s more of a sense of who they are than a detailed profile. If I’m writing a novel, I create a back story for myself with copious notes about the character’s behavior, tastes, and past. For a children’s book, I give some thought to those things, but in lesser detail, because the work is so much shorter.
DMc: What is your process in creating your storylines? Do you create an outline, free write or other technique?
AR: I do not outline before I write. When I first tackle a project, I let myself write freely, with no editing or revising. Creativity flows best for me that way – if I start making corrections, it gets me out of the idea zone and into the criticism zone, and that’s crippling. Once I get a first draft done, I leave it alone for a few days or even weeks, and then I go back and try to shape the narrative. The last step is revising for typos, punctuation, and grammatical errors.
DMc: Do you attend writer’s workshops and conferences? If yes, what do you feel is the most important aspect of attending?
AR: I have not attended any writer’s workshops or conferences, but I think it’s essential to be a part of a community of writers. I participate in a critique group and also some Facebook groups where writers share ideas and useful information. I learn so much from other writers about writing itself, as well as the business end of things. My publisher, Familius, encourages communication and camaraderie amongst their authors, which is terrific; I’ve met many talented and inspiring authors that way. We follow each other on social media and champion each other’s work. Familius has a real family feel, and I’m grateful to be a part of such a supportive and welcoming organization. It has been instrumental in making my writing journey the best that it can be.
DMc: Please share with our readers your current work-in-progress, your marketing strategy and how to reach you.
AR: I have written several children’s books; I’m hoping to get my next contract signed soon. I’m also working on a draft of a book for adults, which may or may not ever see the light of day. Not everything I write is for publication; sometimes, the writing itself is enough because writing helps me process things. After a piece is written, if I feel like other people might benefit from reading it, I will submit it for publication or post it somewhere. But if it’s just me venting, into the archives it goes.
I am active in promoting my work on social media, and I have a website with a blog. You can learn more about me and find links to my Facebook Author Page and Instagram account at .
Amanda, it’s been an honor to interview and profile you at Write What Inspires You! Wishing you all the very best, personally and professionally. I look forward to reading your book If There Never Was a You at my Facebook Live Story Time on Saturday, November 21 at 9 am EST.
Thank you so much for this interview, and for all that you do to support your fellow authors, Donna! I wish you happiness in your career and life as well, and I can’t wait to tune in to watch you read If There Never Was a You!
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Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author
Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!
Angel's Forever Home ~ March 2019 ~ Mascot Books ~ 2019 Purple Dragonfly Honorable Mention Picture Books Six and Older
Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters ~ December 2015 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2016 Purple Dragonfly Honorable Mention Picture Books Five and Under and Story Monster Approved
A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014 and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review
Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2015 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Historical Fiction 1st Place, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review
Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2015 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Honorable Mention Picture Books 6+, New England Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist