Donna: At the risk of boring everyone right out of the gate, I'd be happy to.
Cate: Tell us about Meant To Be and where it's available.
Donna: Meant To Be is the sequel to There's Only Been You, which released last October from The Wild Rose Press. Before I had even finished writing the first draft of There's Only Been You, I knew I would be writing Garrett's story. The guy was just too sexy for words.
Here's a blurb:
She's running from her past, he's unsure about his future. Maybe together they can figure out what was MEANT TO BE. Officer Garrett Jamison is at the lowest point in his life. He’s lost faith in his ability as a police officer after unwittingly setting his sister up with a dirty cop. Garrett ended up getting shot, and his sister's son kidnapped right out of his own bed. He takes a leave from the force, in need of some time to make a decision about his future. Too bad he can't get a decent night's sleep thanks to his sexy new neighbor and her howling cat.
Jessica McGovern moves halfway across the country to start a new life in Green Bay, Wisconsin after her ex-husband is convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of their young son. Her new neighbor is as infuriating as he is handsome, but when her ex is released from prison early and shows up in town, Jessica discovers she's never needed anyone more.
[Readers, you can view the Meant to Be trailer here, or the trailer for There's Only Been You.]
Cate: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Donna: I was in my mid twenties when I decided to try and write my own romance novel. A historical, and I still remember my cheesy opening...LOL But I soon realized it was a lot harder to write a full-length novel than I'd thought. So after filling up tons of notebooks with partially-written stories, I became discouraged and quit writing. Several years later in 2004, I sat down at the computer and started working on There's Only Been You (Worth the Wait was the original title). I finished the first draft eight months later and was so freakin' excited! LOL
My first published story was a short erotic romance written under my pen name Liza James, which released on May 16, 2007. My first Donna Marie Rogers title released September 30th of the same year, and was also my first print book, Welcome To Redemption, an anthology I wrote with Stacey Joy Netzel. No fabulous "call story," unfortunately. All my contracts have been done through email.
Cate: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Donna: My mom attempted to write a Native American romance awhile back, but she gave up pretty quickly. My stepdad was a poet, though I don't think he published anything. He won a lot of awards from contests. When he passed he left me his notebooks full of poems and certificates. In fact, they were found on his kitchen table the day he passed with a note that read "For Donna."
Cate: Oh my gosh, that's so touching. How lovely he entrusted his work to you.
Please describe your writing in three words.
Donna: Emotional, heartwarming, humorous, hot...sorry, that's four, but I couldn't decide.
Cate: Do you have a writing routine?
Donna: I wish I did. Once fall arrives and both my kids are in school, I plan to plant my butt in front of the computer and write until I hear the first bus pull up in front of the house. Well, I'll probably take a break to do some Wii Fit once I figure out how to use it.
Cate: Oh, I could use one of those too! How many hours a day do you write?
Donna: I don't have a set time, though that probably wouldn't be a bad idea since I've been a really bad girl lately...LOL
Cate: How do you pick the character’s names?
Donna: Sometimes that's one of my biggest holdups, when I can't settle on a name for a character. Sometimes I flip through my baby name book, or troll the baby name sites online. Sometimes I just hear a name that really strikes my fancy. Like Brody. I'm crushing on Brody from One Life To Live, so I plan to name one of my heroes after him. ;-)
Cate: Names can hang up my stories too! I keep an old phone book at my desk for when I'm really stuck.
What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?
Donna: A big challenge for me is plotting. Sometimes I have the hardest time developing a plot I'm happy with. Thankfully, I have great friends/CPs who help me fine-tune things. Also, just finding the time to actually string a few sentences together. Once the school year starts, I'm going to settle down to a strict routine if it kills me. LOL
Dialogue has always been one of my strengths, or so I've been told. Character and world building, too. I also very enjoy writing love scenes, which is why I decided to try my hand at erotic romance.
Cate: What’s the most rewarding aspect?
Donna: Having someone tell you how much they loved your book, whether it's a friend, family member, fellow author, or a reader. Nothing feels better than hearing, "I just finished your book and I loved it!"
Running a close second would be a great review. I've been blessed with some amazing reviews, and that's one thing that never gets old. One of my (and Stacey's) very first reviews was a 4-1/2* star from Romantic Times for Welcome To Redemption. I can't even put into words how excited we were. :-)
Cate: Excellent! I agree, a great review can inspire for a long time.
Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Donna: Oh, boy, do they ever! Mostly they say, "Hey, lady we're bored here. Get your butt in gear and give us something to do!" LOL
Cate: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Donna: Bestselling author Tori Carrington gave me my cover quote for There's Only Been You, and one line "Reading Donna Marie Rogers is like coming home." just blew me away. I felt so honored to have my story described in such a profound way.
Cate: What a lovely tribute!
Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Donna: Ah, now here's a subject I can go on about...LOL Lately, I can't get enough of Lara Adrian, J.R. Ward, Christie Craig. My all-time favorite book is A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught, but several close seconds are Say No To Joe? by Lori Foster, Rainbows & Rapture by Rebecca Paisley, Honor's Splendour by Julie Garwood, Cry No More by Linda Howard, Shanna by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, A Knight In Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux, and too many to name by Dorothy Garlock (mainly her older historicals).
A few more of my favorite authors are Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick, Mary Jo Putney, Johanna Lindsey, Catherine Hart, Norah Hess, Elizabeth Lowell, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Tori Carrington....I could keep going; there's just so many incredible authors out there. :-)
The book I just started reading is Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich. I love her Stephanie Plum series - gotta get my Ranger & Morelli fix.
Cate: What's next for you, Donna?
Donna: Stacey & I are working on the sequel to Welcome To Redemption, and I'm deep into Jack Sutton's story, who you meet in Meant To Be. I have a Liza James title in the works, and I need to get started on Head Over Heels, Nick Jamison's story.
Cate: Sounds like you're keeping plenty busy!
Where can readers find you on the web?
Donna: I have two websites: www.DonnaMarieRogers.com and www.LizaJamesAuthor.com I'm also on Myspace and Facebook (though I've yet to figure that one out...
Cate: Donna, is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Donna: I'd like to thank you, Cate, for having me, and everyone else for stopping by! I'm going to give away a download of my new release, Meant To Be, and all you have to do to be eligible is share a favorite line (or paragraph because I know picking just one line can be hard
Cate: It's been a pleasure, Donna! Best of luck with the release of Meant to Be!
Readers, you heard Donna. She's giving away an ebook of Meant To Be to a random commenter... so throw us your favorite lines. **Donna is also giving away two sets of print books (There's Only Been You & Meant To Be) to two random commenters on her 17 day blog tour, so that's 17 chances to win if you comment at each blog on her tour. She'll announce a winner of the download tomorrow around 7 pm EST.
Standing there in nothing but a pair of black gym shorts, he was too hot for words. Damn him.
"So what can I do for you?" He leaned negligently against the doorframe, an almost pleasant smile curving his lips.
"I'm here to see Nick. Is he home?"
The smile disappeared. He straightened and crossed his arms over his chest, which made those huge biceps bulge even more. Jessica realized for the first time he had a tattoo. Huh. She wouldn't have thought him the type. Frankly, she thought tattoos were sexy, if they weren't garish, which his wasn't. It looked to be some sort of Chinese symbols.
Probably means `He-with-head-too-big-for-hat.'
"You're barking up the wrong tree there, honey. Nicky's married to his computer."
"Not that it's any of your business, but that's exactly why I'm here. I'm having trouble with my online service and was hoping he could help." Now why did she feel the urge to explain herself? Double damn him.
He looked her up and down in an insultingly blatant manner. "I know a thing or two about computers."
"No kidding? Great, next time I need help surfing the porno sites, you'll be the first one I call."
His eyes went cold. "You think I'm just some big, dumb Neanderthal, don't you?"
Jessica gave him the same insulting once over he'd given her. "If the leopard toga fits..."
"I happen to have a BS in Computer Science."
Hands on hips, jaw working furiously, he looked so offended Jessica was hard-pressed not to laugh. "I don't understand. You could be making a lot more money in computers than you are as a cop. And you wouldn't be putting your life in danger on a daily basis." She glanced meaningfully at the scarred flesh visible just above the waistband of his shorts.
"This didn't happen in the line of duty. Besides, I love being a cop."
He said it as if she should've instinctually known it. Jessica sighed. Garrett Jamison was turning out to be much deeper than she'd imagined. "It's a noble profession. It's also a very dangerous one."
"True enough. But it's not as if I have a family who's dependent on me."
She reached up to tuck a stray lock of hair behind her ear. "What about your uncle, or your sister and brothers? Or your nephew? I'm sure they'd all be devastated if something happened to you."
"What about you?"
His voice had taken on a deep, sexy timbre that turned Jessica's knees to mush. Garrett Jamison was entirely too gorgeous for his own good--or for hers. "What about me?"
Before she knew what he was about, he reached out and cupped the side of her face, tracing his thumb over her cheekbone. "Would you miss me if something happened?"
"What a thing to ask," she breathed, her gaze centered on his full lips. "I barely know you." Was he going to kiss her? Right there where any of the neighbors could see? Not that she'd mind...
"Uncle Garrett, the game's set up. Can we order pizza now?"
Garrett snatched back his hand, and Jessica's gaze dropped to the little boy leaning possessively against his leg.
Was it her imagination, or was the little stinker glaring daggers at her?
"Hi, Ethan, my name is Jessica."
Nope, not her imagination. In fact, the scowl on his face was downright hostile. Now what in the world had she done to warrant such disfavor?
"Ethan, you watch your manners," Garrett growled.
He cast her one last mutinous scowl, then turned and ran back into the house. Jessica had to resist the urge to laugh. She wouldn't take his behavior personally. The boy obviously adored his uncle and didn't care to share him. Another fascinating layer of Garrett Jamison--loving uncle.
"Sorry about that. Ethan's a good kid. I'm not sure what got into him."
"My guess would be old-fashioned jealousy. You two apparently have plans for the evening, and when he saw us...talking, his young mind assumed I was trying to lure you away."
A frown creased his forehead. "I don't know. Ethan knows I'd never abandon him. For anyone."
Ouch, point taken. She shrugged. "You know him better than I do. I'm just telling you what I saw. Well, this has been fun, but I need to get back. Mr. Louie doesn't like to watch TV alone."
Garrett chuckled. "Give His Highness a scratch behind the ears for me."
"What? Just this afternoon you suggested I have him euthanized."
"Good Lord, woman, can't you take a joke?" Garrett winked at her, then stepped back and closed the door.
Jessica shook her head. The man was crazy, no doubt about it. He was also so handsome it should be a crime. With a sigh of frustration, she headed back home to watch Wheel of Fortune.