Just Between Friends is the story of Emma Stewart, a young woman who is helplessly in love with her best friend’s husband. She finds herself torn between her best friend and the man she loves when her best friend, Layne, tells her she has married the wrong man and begins to have an affair. Emma, like most woman, will do anything for their best friend, but just where will (where do any of us) draw the line?
How (or when) do you decide that you are finished writing a story?
I’m smiling as I type this because I’m never finished. “Finished” is such a subjective word when it comes to writing. I can read the same paragraph every day and change something in it. Each day, after editing, I will think it’s as good as it’s going to get . . . until I look at it the next day.
What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?
When reading Just Between Friends, I want people to put themselves in Emma’s place. I want them to think about how they’d respond to what happens to her and if their opinions would change as they read the book.
What was the most difficult part about writing the book?
The most difficult part about writing the book was finding the time! I work full time and have two children so finding a quiet hour or so to get something down on paper can be tricky. I’ve stopped searching for those large blocks of time and find that if I can write a sentence or two down, I feel as though I’ve accomplished something.
What are you working on right now?
Right now, I am working on my next novel entitled, Cinnamon Rainbows. It’s the story of a woman whose husband passes away unexpectedly. She finds out that not only was her husband having an affair, but he had a child with his mistress – a child with Down Syndrome. I’m hoping to have the first draft completed by the beginning of summer.
Does writing come easy for you?
Writing does come easy to me, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s anything worth reading! There are days that I’ll write pages of work, only to return to it later and wonder why I even bother to save it! I think the writing is the easier part – it’s the editing your own work that can be challenging.
How many stories do you currently have swirling around in your head?
Too many to count! I like to say that the voices in my head won’t shut up! I keep a notebook with me at all times and jot down anything that might have some possibility. Sometimes, I’ll just write down a word that sounds beautiful to me, knowing that I want to use it somewhere.
What advice you would give to an aspiring author?
Never, ever give up. When writing my novel and seeking publication, I would visit the website of every author I’d ever heard of, read, or wanted to read. They all pretty much said the same thing: Their first (or fourth, or fifth . . .) novel was rejected dozens of times but finally, their work still found a home. It was so encouraging for me to hear that everyone in this business has been in the same rejection-filled spot. Knowing that they’d experienced rejection as well made it easier for me to keep plugging along.
Have you written any other books?
The first book I ever wrote is called Unintentional Acts of Malice and is stored on my computer. I think the story is a great one – it’s the story of a woman struggling with her sister in law, who is an alcoholic. The mores she drinks, the more she puts the family in danger – but I’m not so sure my writing is as good as it can be. I would like to get back to it at some point and see if I can make it better.
The other book I’ve written is called A Ripple in the Water. It’s the story of a thirty-two year old widow and single mother who falls in love with her daughter’s nineteen year old swim coach. I’m hoping to have this one published as well. Stay tuned to find out!
Where do you get the names for your characters?
Names for characters are tough for me. I will write chapters using ‘ajdfjkd’ instead of names. I just have a hard time finding the right one for the character since I’m a huge believer in your name being having an impact on who you become. Both of my daughters play sports so I keep the rosters from their events and refer to them for different and unique names that will fit my characters. I also Google a lot!
What one word describes how you feel when you write?
That depends on whether it’s a good day or a bad day! If the writing is flowing, I feel invincible, wonderful, smart, and witty. If I’ve been stuck on the same sentence for hours, I feel irritated and ready to give up. That’s when I need to remember that all writers have those days.
Where can people learn more about your books?
Readers can read more about me and my book(s) at donnasmall.com. Just Between Friends is available on amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Just-Between-Friends-Donna-Small/dp/1935171909/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1348423037&sr=1-2&keywords=just+between+friends
It is also available at secondwindpublishing.com http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/product_info.php?cPath=36&products_id=144