If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our May author interviews: Marla Cooper-5/3, Rhys Bowen-5/10, Cindy Brown-5/17, Martha Reed-5/24, Sherry Harris--5/31.

Saturday Guest Bloggers in May--Paty Jager-5/6 and Maren Anderson-5/13. WWK Saturday bloggers write on 5/20--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 5/27--Kait Carson. E. B. Davis blogs this month on 5/30.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.”

In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on October, 18, 2017. Look for the interview by E. B. Davis here on that date!

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

An Interview with Donnell Bell

I’ve known award-winning Donnell Bell online for a while and knew that I’d like her novel. She blends mystery and romance well, which is important to me. I usually can’t read romance without the mystery element because the plots are not intricate enough. That issue certainly wasn’t a problem in Donnell’s first book published, The Past Came Hunting, which will be released this month by Bell Bridge Books. Her writing is no secret since she’s won awards for years.
E. B. Davis

E.B.: How many revisions did it take before you were satisfied with this book?

D.B.: First, E.B. thanks very much for that very kind introduction. I maybe had three to four revisions before I became agented. My agent had me make it hotter for today’s market (so not my comfort zone). When Bell Bridge bought the book, my editor, Pat Van Wie, said you’re not good at this, take it out. Not to say there’s no sexual tension, I think there’s quite a lot. So… let’s say five revisions. Sound good?


E.B.: Have you ever stared at a page you wrote and wondered if it was terrific or garbage? How does a writer know the difference?

D.B.: Let’s see. Would every day of my life qualify? As to how a writer knows the difference, sometimes a writer just has to trust his gut. For all the infinite times you’re unsure, that’s where a trusted critique partner comes in handy.

E.B.: The hook of your book is very believable. Teenagers make bad choices, which become complex given dangerous situations. What is the synopsis of the book?

D.B.: Drake Maxwell has one goal upon his release from prison―finding the girl he tried to help after a sadistic truck driver tried to rape her. For once Drake gave a damn, and how did the little hitchhiking Melanie Daniels repay him? By turning on him the moment he had the drop on the clerk, then thwarting any chance of Drake’s escape.


Lt. Joe Crandall is on the fast track for Commander and not pleased to learn his new neighbor is a woman he sent to prison 15 years earlier. Now her kid has befriended Joe’s son and the two basketball playing teens are inseparable. Add that Melanie’s former warden suggested her move to Colorado Springs so that a recently released convict can’t find her. Joe doesn’t need the headache or the unwelcome attraction.


E.B.: I was surprised that you had a prologue (even if unstated) until I realized how much romance the book contained. Why is it that prologues are fine in romance, but they are verboten in mystery? Is it just a trend?

 D.B.: You know, I’ve just never understood that prologues are fine for romance and not for mystery or any genre for that matter, (although if you know an agent you’re targeting hates them, don’t put one in).


Actually, I didn’t include a prologue in The Past Came Hunting. I was concerned as an unpublished author that so many people had said, “Don’t you dare.” So imagine my surprise, when in my revision letter, my editor said you need a prologue. Robert Crais and Harlan Coben put prologues in their books, so maybe a good rule would be-- prologues should only be written by successful thriller/mystery writers whose last names begin with C. Teasing of course. ;) I think it’s important to do what works for YOUR novel.
By the way, Mr. Crais was wonderful to give me a quote for my web site that reads, “Sure you can write a prologue. Just don’t write a bad one.”

E.B.: In this book, you crossed police procedural mystery with romance. Have you written other books of this cross-genre or have you tried crossing other genres?


D.B.: I love romantic suspense and mystery equally. In my 2010 Golden Heart finaling manuscript, Deadly Recall, I have a Romantic Suspense and a Mystery combination. But I admit to throwing in women’s fiction and young adult into The Past Came Hunting. It wasn’t a conscious choice. It just felt right for this project.

E.B.: You’ve obviously done your research. You make the point that there are differences between parolees and ex-cons in that ex-cons have a right to privacy that parolees do not, which seems odd to me since ex-cons have no rights to vote or own firearms. How did you find out about these differences and what was the legal reason for these differences?


D.B.: Great question. I wanted my antagonist to move around freely, and if he was on parole, that couldn’t happen. He’d have a parole officer to check in with. So I made my bad guy serve his entire sentence at which point, he’s simply released. A Douglas County deputy by the name of Sue Kraus drilled into me the difference between a convict and an inmate. An inmate she said is from the jail. A convict is in prison. Although the terms get interchanged, it was important for me to know the difference.

E.B.: You started Crimescenewriters email group. How did that come about?

D.B.: Actually, I didn’t start it. The wonderful Wally Lind did. Wally is a retired veteran police officer who has a strong background in CSI and forensics. After I’d been a moderator for more than a year, he asked me if I’d be co-owner. I was delighted. Wally provides an invaluable service for writers.

E.B.: How many queries did you send out before submitting to Bell Bridge Books? Did you pinpoint agents and publishers that specialize in romance, mystery or are there some who specifically sell cross-genre?

D.B.: The Past Came Hunting, formerly Walk Away Joe, was undisputedly a romance albeit romantic suspense. I didn’t try mystery agents for that reason. I had four romance agents interested when I signed with an agent. We parted ways in the fall of 2009. Then, I finaled again in the Golden Heart in 2010. At National, I sat in on a workshop led by Debra Dixon and Deborah Smith. The day after I returned home, I queried Belle Books and they were interested.


E.B.: What has been the process working with Bell Bridge Books? Did they provide you with editing and a front cover artist?
 D.B.: Senior Editor, Pat Van Wie of Bell Bridge bought the book. The Past Came Hunting has gone through revision, copy edits and proofreading. I was allowed to read it twice, one for big, cohesive changes, then for minor edits. Then, finally, they yanked it from my insecure little paws and said that’s it. They asked for input on the cover, but I believe Debra Dixon had her own vision. (Gotta say I’m pleased!)

E.B. Will your books have print and epub format?


D.B. Yes, The Past Came Hunting will come out in book form and digital print.

E.B. Do you attend conferences?


D.B.: Yes. For the most part, I attend conferences close to Colorado, and hope to attend more mystery conferences in the upcoming years. I get so excited and jealous listening to people talk about Killer Nashville, Bouchercon, Left Coast and more. I’m definitely concentrating more on thrillers and mysteries, so those conferences will be the ones I target.

E.B.: How do you stay so active online and write at the same time?

D.B.: I don’t. I have ADD and if I stay on line, my writing suffers. So to write, I go offline. I write in shorthand. I take my notebook, (you know the 120 page, College-ruled type) go outside or into my bedroom and get away from the computer. After I transcribe my shorthand, I print it out in longhand (this acts as a second draft). Only then do I go anywhere near a computer. I simply can’t be trusted if you leave me alone with a keyboard and a monitor not to see what everybody else is doing.

E.B.: Will your next book have a dog character?

D.B.: Well, I don’t know. Do I need one? Who’s going to take care of it when my protagonists have to run for their lives?


E.B. Were you a Barbara Stanwyck “Big Valley” fan?

D.B.: Hmmm, is this a trick question? Let’s just say I didn’t name my daughter Audra for nothing.

Also, Writers Who Kill readers, if you’re interested, I’ve linked a never-before-seen chapter in The Past Came Hunting to my web page. I’m calling it “The Chapter that Got Away.” It should give you a glimpse into my heroine’s past. www.donnellannbell.com.
 You can find me at my web page, on Facebook and on @donnellannbell.com.


Donnell and I welcome your comments and questions on her new release or other inquiries. Anyone commenting today will be entered in a give-away for early release copy of The Past Came Hunting. Thanks for the interview Donnell!

24 comments:

Warren Bull said...

Donnell,

Thanks for sharing with us. It sounds like you've written a very interesting book.

Pauline Alldred said...

Your book sounds intriguing. I think romantic suspense often deepens the plot in a mystery because the writer has to delve into the characters. Good luck with sales.

E. B. Davis said...

I read The Past Came Hunting and loved it. Just the right mix of suspense to romance. It was apparent that Donnell's no novice writer. (BTW-this interview doesn't appear the way I want it in format and boldness. Blogger isn't cooperating today so sorry to Donnell and to our readers.)

Donnell said...

Good morning, Warren and Pauline, thanks for your warm welcome. The Past Came Hunting in its truest sense is a suspense. The reader knows what's going on -- for the most part -- the mystery writer in me had to keep some things secret to up that suspense ;), and, yes, Pauline, I would definitely say it's a character-driven book. Now where's my coffee? :)

Donnell said...

E.B., no worries, it looks great. Yay, are your comments. Every writer's nightmare I fear is that one or the other doesn't work in the novel. I appreciate that very kind thought!

Susan M. Boyer said...

Great interview! I've been intrigued by the premise of The Past Came Hunting since I first read a blurb on one of the Guppy loops. I'm looking forward to downloading my copy tomorrow. :)

Wishing you huge success with this and many future books, Donnell!

Donnell said...

Hi, Susan, thanks so much! I wish you the same!

wlynnchantale said...

Hi, just dropping by to show some support.

Donnell said...

Ah, thanks, W Lynn. :)

Toni Anderson said...

Congrats, Donnell. And thanks for writing my favorite type of genre crossover book :)

Donnell said...

Toni, thanks. I have to say, I love suspense, and this was a fun crossover book to write. Scary but fun! Thanks for stopping by! :)

Misty Evans said...

Hi Donnell!

What was the hardest part about this journey? What was the most fulfilling part?

I've read The Past Came Hunting and I can't wait to get my print copy! Congrats, lady, on doing a terrific job!

jblynn said...

I love your title. Did you come up with it yourself or did your editor suggest it?

Donnell said...

Hi, Misty. Gosh, that's easy. The wonderful friendships I made along the way.

Hard... Research and making sure I got it 3/4 of the way right. In fiction you have to take some sort of creative license, but I sure tried to make sure I was right.

Thank you for a great question and your support!

Donnell said...

Hi, JB, interesting question. My editor liked that title. The unpublished title was Walk Away Joe, but that spoke too much of romance to Bell Bridge. There's romance in this book, no mistake about it, but it's suspense. My heroine protagonist must face some strong battles from both my police lieutenant protagonist and the very evil antagonist. Thanks for stopping by!

E. B. Davis said...

Donnell,

Are you a member of RWA? If so, how much support have you received from that organization?

Donnell said...

E.B. I am a member of RWA, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime and Thriller Writers of America. I've received tremendous support from RWA, particularly the Kiss of Death Chapter, whom you may or may not know this, I coordinated the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense for some time.

Ellis Vidler said...

Great interview, Donnell and Elaine. I can't wait to read the book. It really does sound like a story I'll enjoy.

Donnell said...

Thanks, Ellis! Coming from you with your amazing background, that is such a compliment. (I go to Ellis when I have a grammar or language question ;)

Kaye George said...

Thanks for another excellent interview, E.B.. Congratulations on the upcoming release, Donnell,and best of luck with it!

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks for dropping by Kaye--I intended on getting my donut! But so far haven't had time today.

Donnell-four pages of interview questions and I still have more on my mind. Thanks for the interview and please promise to come back.

Donnell said...

E.B. Four pages? Yay! I would love to come back. How about next book? Debuting is hard work LOL. Thank you so much for having me, Writers Who Kill. Love the fingerprints and letters on the typewriter! Gnight!

Polly said...

Definitely a book on my "To Order" list. Like today. It sounds like a great book, Donnell. I'm thrilled for you.

Supriya Savkoor said...

Me too, Donnell, I'm thrilled for you and can't wait to pick up my copy of the book. And I do like that new title. Many congrats!!

Elaine, another great interview...I look forward to part 2.