Welcome, Helen. What is your book about?
What Goes Around is about Phoebe who is adopted at birth. She’s yearned to know where she came from for as long as she can remember, so after she graduates from college she hires a private investigator to find her roots. He does. She is thrilled when he finds two living relatives…that’s when things take a turn for the sinister. And I mean sinister.
Sounds interesting and ominous. How long was it before you began to write the story?
The idea germinated for at least three years, maybe longer. My game plan for when I retired was to do music full time. And then when nature deteriorated my voice, I’d write. So that’s what I did. I sang, time marched on, but nature didn’t kick in. I could still sing but it was time. I had to make the decision. After a few months I told my friend and longtime accompanist that I was quitting.
What inspired you to write this particular story rather than, for example, something about music?
One afternoon I watched two members my friend’s family fly off the handle over nothing. Looking back over our long friendship, I must have had my head in the sand because that’s how her brother and sister always reacted. It was their behavior that intrigued me. Why do they react like that? Others would never react that way. What makes some people do what they do? Why does someone from a loving family commit murder and an abused kid becomes a priest?
Sounds like a good foundation for a story. How long did it take you to write the book?
Oh, at least three or four years. I had all of 96 pages and I thought I had a book but I knew I needed professional help. I was dead right. I enrolled in a general writing workshop that was led by a retired professor from Northwestern University, that’s in Evanston Illinois, and Jerry was merciless. At the end of six weeks I was among a few others he invited to participate in the advanced workshop, which I did. I recorded those sessions and rewrote What Goes Around.
How do you track or differentiate between characters?
What worked really well for me and what was suggested by another author was a flow chart. It was invaluable for remembering details. It ensures that if she always has an English muffin for breakfast on page 2 she gets the same muffin on page 296. Notes also help keep each character’s behaviors consistent.
Is there a message, or anything you want the reader to take away with them?
Yes, think about the age old debate: nature vs nurture. How much do we really know?
What was your greatest challenge?
Getting What Goes Around published. The only thing that kept me hanging in there after all the rewrites and all the rejections was keeping faith in the story that was based on a sound concept.
So, now that What Goes Around is published, where can we learn more about the book?
From my publisher, Indigo Sea Press. http://www.indigoseapress.com/deep-indigo–mainstream-authors-a-l.php#Helen
You can also buy the book at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/What-Goes-Around-Helen-Donovan/dp/1630662933
Thank you for talking with me today, Helen. Best of luck with your book!