In A Human Element, One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next.
Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite–her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a mad man, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him.
How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
Quite a bit! Ben Fieldstone was a photographer stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, as I was (eons ago). Also adoption and being an only child runs through my book. I am both and they had a deep impact on my life. In A Human Element, three characters have similar lives. Laura Armstrong is adopted and an only child raised by loving parents. Ben is an only child but abandoned when his parents die to live a lonely existence in foster homes. X-10 is raised alone in a government facility, unloved and as an experiment. All three characters grow to adulthood alone. How are they different? Ben isolates himself from people. Laura is still open to people. X-10 hates the world and wants to hurt people. Is it their genes that shape who they are or their environment? This is a question I have struggled with in being adopted, especially once I met my blood-family.
Who is your most unusual/most likeable character?
I love hearing from readers about who their favorite character is and why, from the sweet character to the dark villain. As for being likeable, many like Mr. B. He is a sweet old man who pretends to be gruff but has a heart of gold. He shares a fun game with Laura in outwitting each other with words from the Thesaurus. He also will do anything to protect her, and he does but is it to his own demise?
Why will readers relate to your characters?
I believe they all have universal elements to them that people can relate to; abandonment, loss, redemption, acceptance, grief, and yearning for something you can never have.
Do you think writing this book changed your life? How so?
Yes. This book came to me in a vision one day as I drove to work. I frantically wrote it on my lap with one hand on the wheel. Pages and pages. I had never written a book, but this entire story from beginning to end literally “hit me” in seconds. Even the character names. That was fourteen years ago. Then my mother died and I knew I had to make my dream come true of writing a book to honor my dream, and my mom. I believe this vision I had all those years ago was my “call” to fulfill what I was meant to do: write books. I’m glad I finally answered the call as I know some never do.
What are you working on right now?
I’m editing the sequel to my paranormal suspense novel, A Human Element. In Book 2, A Hidden Element, when a family’s son is taken by the same unearthly evil that brutalized them fifteen years ago they must sacrifice all again to defeat a new terrifying enemy–an enemy that wants to rule the world with their son as his heir.
Who gave you the best writing advice you ever received and what was it?
Do. Not. Edit. While. You. Fast. Draft. This was the obstacle that held me back from finishing my first book. Once I let go of that, I was able to write to the end. So go ahead, write that awful first draft. Then go back and polish your rough jewel until it shines.
How do you deal with exposition and give readers the background information they need?
I try to tease them with only a few descriptive details of backstory and setting as I go along. Give them only what they need at the time. Readers want to feel smart. They like to fill in the blanks, as long as there aren’t too many blanks. I try and look at all backstory and gauge if it serves the story. If it doesn’t out it goes. By introducing questions early on with giving just enough information to keep the story going, we involve the reader, take them along for the ride, and…build suspense. Hopefully!
Do your characters ever take on a life of their own?
Yes. I have a major crush on Caleb in my new novel I’m editing, A Hidden Element. I find myself daydreaming about being with him, and he’s just a creation from my imagination. It helps that he also looks just like Taylor Lautner. I’m really not robbing the cradle, honest. Caleb is the same age. J
Describe your writing in three words.
Haunting. Dark. Hopeful.
What one word describes how you feel when you write?
Do you have a saying or motto for your life and/or as a writer?
“Even if you’re on the right path – you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” (Thanks Will Rogers)
If your book was made into a TV series or Movie, what actors would you like to see playing your characters?
What is your favorite place, real or fictional? Why?
Where I lived as a child. England. It’s so historic and old and beautiful. We lived in Cobham Surrey in the old caretaker’s house of this old grand estate called White Tops. It even came with a gardener. It was a place of days gone by where I’d walk down the country lane to school and feed horses along the way. Each day the fish man would bring kippers for breakfast and the milk man would drop glass bottles at our door…and clotted cream some days.
Donna Galanti is an ITW Debut Author of the paranormal suspense novel A Human Element(Echelon Press). She’s lived from England as a child to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. If she couldn’t write she would bike, hike, and kayak every day. Donna lives with her family in an old farmhouse in PA with lots of nooks, fireplaces, and stinkbugs but sadly no ghosts.
Praise for A Human Element:
“Be afraid. Be very afraid. And be utterly absorbed by this riveting debut that had me reading till the wee hours of the night. A thriller star is born. Don’t miss A Human Element.” – M.J. Rose, International Bestselling Author
“A Human Element is an elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart. Highly recommended.” – Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author
PurchaseA Human Element here: