Donna Small, Author of “A Ripple in the Water”

A Ripple in the WaterWhat is your book about?

A Ripple in the Water tells the story of Katharine Penner, a widow and single mom, who finds a second chance at love with Riley Morgan, a man thirteen years her junior and the son of one of her best friends. What makes this story more than just your typical “cougar” love story is that while Kate is the older woman, it is the young man who pursues the “older” woman. Throw into the mix an overprotective mother who can’t bear to see her son date, let alone date a woman she considers a friend and you’ve got yourself a bit of conflict.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

The inspiration was a bit of gossip actually. I was swimming with a few friends at our local pool and one of them made a comment about the two swim coaches and whether or not they were dating. Another remarked that the mother of the young man “wouldn’t like that at all.” I found it interesting since the young woman in question was an intelligent, and well-behaved young lady. I wondered why this young man’s mother might find this particular woman not good enough for her son. Then I realized that for some women, no woman is good enough for their son. Thus, the beginnings of a story began to work their way into my mind.

Who is your most unusual/most likeable character?

That’s easy. Riley. But not because he’s unusual; because he’s so hot! In the first chapter, Kate spends all morning staring at his physique without realizing who he is. I have to admit, I really enjoyed creating this character and putting myself into Kate’s mind while she was utterly distracted when looking at him. In addition to his good looks, Riley is smart and knows what he wants out of life. He also knows that he wants Kate and pursues with a vengeance I think any woman would find very flattering.

How long did it take you to write your book?

It generally takes me about a year to write a novel. I have an idea for a story and start to think about the characters…get to know them in my mind, if you will. I tend to write sort of splotchy – a scene here, a conversation there – and then spend a lot of time editing in order to get the story to move smoothly until its conclusion.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)

When writing this book, I really wanted to get a feel for what a mother might feel like if her son were to date someone she didn’t approve of, particularly someone she considered a close friend. I presented this scenario to women I was close to and who had sons who were about ten or so years younger than me. I would ask these women their thoughts on someone like myself dating their son. Though they tried to hide their horror at the question, it was clear to me that I was asking a very uncomfortable question. They couldn’t explain why they felt as such, only that it made them shudder. Once I saw that reaction, I knew I had to write about it.

What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

I would love for readers to fall in love with Riley and Kate’s story. They have to overcome so many obstacles in order to be together that hopefully, the reader begins to really pull for them. There is a sequel in the works for this novel and I hope my readers will stay with me until I can finish it and get it out there for them to devour!

What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?

Schedule? What’s a schedule? Seriously, though, I don’t really have a schedule. I work full-time and have two daughters to raise. I write whenever I get five minutes to myself. I try to piece together these little snippets of time and hope that at the end of the day, I’ve got a paragraph completed.

Do you have any rituals that you follow before sitting down to write?

Each day, I begin my writing session by editing what I’ve written the day before. Not only does this give me a chance to make some corrections, but it also puts me in the right frame of mind and the right place in my story to begin. Of course, before I can do this, I check email, facebook, twitter and then see if there is anything of interest on Ebay. Only then can I begin to write.

Do you prefer to write at a particular time of day?

There isn’t any particular time of day that words better for me. It’s more about what is going on at the time I choose to write. I’m one of those writers that needs quiet in order to complete a sentence so I can’t be watching TV while I’m trying to write a scene. Because I have children who simply cannot be quiet, I will sometimes jot down ideas for a chapter and then go back to it later once I have some quiet time.

What are you working on right now?

Right now, I’m working on a story about a woman who, after the death of her husband, discovers that not only had he been having an affair, but he fathered a child with his mistress. The child has special needs and my protagonist must determine exactly what sort of relationship she can have with this woman and her child.

What do you like to read? What is your favorite genre?

I’ll read pretty much anything. I do tend to stick to women’s literature and will only stray if referred to it by a recommendation. I’m also a bit of a book hoarder in that I have a very vast collection of “to be read” books in a spare bedroom of my house. It’s gotten too large, in fact, that it takes me several minutes to determine the next book I’m going to read! I’ll whip out several books and read the first few sentences and the book that pulls me in the most becomes the winner!

If your book was made into a TV series or Movie, what actors would you like to see playing your characters?

Oooh, I love this question. James Cameron should feel free to contact me at any time so that we can begin working on the screenplay. I would love to see Sandra Bullock play Kate Penner. Not only would she be great in the role but I truly feel that if we were to meet, we’d be the best of friends! For Riley, the actor I’d choose would be Alex Pettyfer, if only to see him wearing the tiny swim suit Riley spends much of his time in throughout the book.

Where can we learn more about your books?

From my author page at Second Wind Publishing:

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