Welcome! Today we have author Donna Alward with us chatting a bit about her debut book Hired by a Cowboy and a little about herself. Coffee Time Romance extends a warm welcome to Ms. Alward, WELCOME!
Hello Donna, Would you start out by telling us a little about yourself?
I’m one of two Canadians writing for the Harlequin Romance line. I live in the city now, but I grew up a farm girl in rural New Brunswick, Canada. It really was a wonderful place to grow up and after my sister read HIRED BY THE COWBOY, she said my farm roots were showing! I have a degree in English Literature and started writing again after my second child was born and I was a stay at home mom.
Ms. Alward, I finished your book and absolutely loved it! What made you write about a rancher versus let’s an attorney?
I live in Alberta, where cowboys abound. And you know there’s just something about a cowboy. I wrote this book in an earlier version starring a shipping magnate, but it didn’t quite work. I needed a different hero. I needed Connor, with his own isolation, his own needs, yet with this core of honour and loyalty. And I needed someone who would have a reason to want a marriage of convenience. It all just seemed to fit.
How long did it take to write this book?
Give or take – between three and four months.
I noticed you have another book coming out based on the Windover Ranch as in this book Hired by the Cowboy, can you tell us a bit about it?
Sure I can! It’s MARRIAGE AT CIRCLE M and it’s on the shelves next month! It’s the story of Mike and Grace who make small appearances in HIRED BY THE COWBOY. I have a real soft spot for the hero, Mike. He is different from Connor, but still with that cowboy core. He’s sexy as the day is long and infuriating for Grace, but he’s also her friend and former flame and the one person she finally trusts her darkest secret to. I also love that we get to see a bit of Connor and Alex and how their life has changed.
Have you always wanted to write?
In a way, yes. Even in elementary school I was always writing stories or poems. After I got married and started working it fell by the wayside for a few years. But I’d always thought of writing a book and I can’t imagine doing anything else now!
Ms. Alward you are really good about getting the emotions of your characters across; what is the hardest part (if any) in writing?
Short answer: writing! Seriously, though, sometimes it comes out and you wonder where it came from, and other times you have to fight for the words, because you know what you want to achieve and it’s not going just right. Part of the key is really tapping into your character’s emotions, and letting it come from within you. The best and hardest writing can happen when the characters are real people to you.
Where would you like to be in your writing career say in five years?
Now, wouldn’t that be shooting myself in the foot? LOL I’d love to have more titles out in the Romance line and I can see me branching out and exploring a few more avenues as well. I’m not completely sure yet how that will progress, but I definitely see me writing some longer fiction in addition to writing for Romance. For me though, Romance is home. I love writing for this line!
What do you consider are some of the requirements for one of your hero’s?
My hero has to be sexy. I like men who are self-assured. Confident in themselves and their sexuality. One of the things I like about Mike is that he just IS and he doesn’t make any apology for it. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t have insecurities, he does, and they play a huge part in MARRIAGE AT CIRCLE M. But the hero also has to be honourable, he is a protector and a defender of what is right (and hopefully you see this in Connor’s character). And a sense of humour is a MUST. I can say after several years of marriage that a sense of humour and fun goes a LONG way. I love it when my husband makes me laugh. Which he can do even when I’m mad. J
Ms Alward were you a big reader? And what did you like to read?
Read, read, read. My grandmother was a huge reader and so are my mother and sisters. Alternately we were all nicknamed Myrtle after my gram because we could often be found hiding out and reading. My favourite spot was our sunporch in the summer, or in the comfy chair next to the wood stove in the winter. When I was younger I read all the Black Stallion books and a lot of LM Montgomery, and I read the same books over and over again because I’m a fast reader. When I was a teenager I discovered VOWS by LaVyrle Spencer and my love of romance began.
What is a typical writing work day? Do you have a process?
I get up at six with my husband and when he leaves for work, I boot up the pc and start on the “business” part of the day – answering e-mail, checking blogs, posting anywhere I need to post, promotion, that sort of thing - in between getting my kids ready for school. After they’re at school, I come home and critique if there’s anything from my critique partner and then I write pretty much through to about 2 o’clock. On a perfect day that’s writing on the book I’m doing, but sometimes it’s revisions or edits or anything else that crops up! At 2 I try to do a quick tidy of the house. It always amazes me how messy it gets in 24 hours! I pick up the kids and then it’s the daily homework, dinner grind. I try not to work at night or on weekends unless I’m pressed for a deadline. I use my evenings to chill out and let my brain and body wind down.
Is there anything you can tell us about you that maybe your fans do not know?
Hmmm, I’m not sure if it’s anything too interesting. I do have a few special interests. Music is one, I’m very active musically at my church which is a lot of fun. We just put together a gospel group for Calgary Stampede week and had a special service. It was fun to dress up in my hat and cowboy boots. And I also volunteer a lot at my kid’s elementary school. This coming year I’ll be spending a day a week doing prep work support and more exciting, I’m working with a few teachers and we’re starting up a creative writing club!
Ms. Alward is there any special news or anything new you would like to tell your readers?
Just that MARRIAGE AT CIRCLE M is out really soon, and if they liked HIRED BY THE COWBOY they will enjoy visiting Windover again. The town where I set the books will always be a little bit special to me. And in March, THE SOLDIER’S HOMECOMING is out, and that one is special too because I set it in the city closest to where I grew up and it features a soldier returning home after being wounded.
My web address is www.donnaalward.com, my blog is www.donnaalward.blogspot.com, and the Harlequin Romance Authors blog is www.harlequinromanceauthors.blogspot.com
I love getting reader mail and my readers can contact me at email@example.com,
Thanks Ms. Alward, I truly enjoyed this book and I am sure others will too. Coffee Time Romance wants to take this time to thank Ms. Alward for taking the time out of her busy schedule to be here today.
Thanks again Wateena