Donna Cummings has worked as an attorney, winery tasting room manager, and retail business owner, but she admits nothing beats the thrill of writing humorously-ever-after romances. She resides in New England, although she fantasizes about spending the rest of her days in a tropical locale, wearing flip flops year-round, or in Regency London, scandalizing the ton. She can usually be found on Twitter talking about writing and coffee, and on Facebook talking about coffee and writing.
Time to chat with Donna!
What is your latest book?
My latest is a Regency romance titled Lord Rakehell’s Love. It’s a humorous novella which commences The Curse of True Love series, where Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, decides to relieve her boredom by playing matchmaker in Regency London. Unfortunately, she manages to curse the lovers she’s trying to bring together, with the hero showing up late to his own wedding, causing heartbreak and scandal for the heroine since he’s also accompanied by ladies of the evening.
What else have you written?
I’ve become a hybrid author this past year. I originally self-published a romantic comedy novella, and a full-length Regency historical in 2011. And then last December I published a full-length romantic comedy with Crimson Romance, and last April a humorous contemporary novella with Samhain. So my latest is the first self-pub I’ve done for a little while, and I’m excited I’m able to do both things.
How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?
Every. Single. Day. LOL I recently had a character come back from the dead, and she’s not a zombie. The good thing is she was right, and I like where the story headed as a result.
What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?
I love the dialogue. Since I write humorously-ever-after romance, the dialogue is usually witty banter, and it makes me laugh while I’m watching the characters flirt and fall in love with each other. I find description a little more challenging, because I have to fit it in without stopping the flow of conversation!
Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?
I do most of the editing once I’ve finished the first draft, because I can’t really see the story until I’m done writing it. However, I think I kind of edit along the way too, because often a scene will pop into my head and I’ll think, “Aha! That’s why this section wasn’t working the way I wanted it to.” So I add that in, and rework something else. And as soon as I think I’ve figured out my “process”, it changes radically with the next book. LOL
How important is the choosing of character names to you? Have you ever decided on a name and then changed it because it wasn’t right for the character?
I’ve done this a couple of times! It’s like the character knows they’ve been put in the wrong story, so they won’t talk to the other characters, or interact with them. As soon as I find the name that works, they perk up and start showing their personality. It’s funny how having the wrong name is like miscasting a character.
Have you ever written characters that you truly despise?
I haven’t. Although there are a couple that I think *other* characters despise. LOL But since that’s their role, to be despised, it all works out. I have a villain in Lord Midnight, another one of my Regency historicals, and he fascinates me because he truly believes he’s doing what’s right–for him, of course. And he’s frustrated at being thwarted by everyone around him. So he’s despicable, and does awful things to reach his goals, but I’m intrigued by his skewed world view.
Do you have any advice for first-time authors?
Write what makes you happy. There’s nothing more exhilarating than diving into your story, and playing with the characters, and seeing this creation come to life. So do that. Enjoy it without worrying about whether people will like it, or whether it’s publishable, or anything else. Doubt is always hanging around the corner, trying to get you to stop what you’re working on, but just keep having fun. You’ll also discover your writing style, and your voice, and that’s the most valuable tool you’ll have as a writer.
Please, tell us about your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least-favorite parts of it?
I am a Twitter fiend! I’m thrilled it was invented, and I wish they’d quit tinkering with it, because the latest update seems to impede conversation rather than aid it. Still, I have found a lot of fun writer friends there, and it’s always a thrill when readers come looking for me on Twitter after reading one of my books. I love chatting with them, probably too much because sometimes they kick me off so I’ll go write!
If you were to write a non-fiction book, what might it be about?
I’ve actually compiled my blog posts from the past few years, which are filled with what I hope is inspiration and motivation for other writers, and I’ll be self-publishing the book in the near future. It’s called An Encouraging Word.
Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?
I’m in New England right now, and I love it most of the time. There’s nothing more spectacular than autumn in this part of the country. But winter is getting tougher each year. In fact, I think it’s trying to start in September this year! Which wouldn’t be so bad except it never can be considered “gone” until Memorial Day. I’d love to live in a tropical locale. I’m sure I lived in one in a previous life.
What’s your favorite comfort food? Least favorite food?
Does coffee count as food? I count it as a necessity, since it’s the foundation of my personality. LOL I guess my fave comfort food is mashed potatoes. My least favorite food is liver. Or Brussels sprouts. Ack. I don’t even like typing the words!
What are three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place?
Laugh. Laugh at ourselves. And help others find something to laugh about each day.
CONNECT WITH DONNA