Interview with Brenda Donelan

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I've been writing stories as long as I can remember. One that stands out vividly was called "The Flower Bug Mystery" and was about someone placing a bugging device in a bouquet of flowers. Giving away the plot in the title probably wasn't the best move, but hey, I was only 9 years old.
What is your writing process?
For starters, I need three large cups of coffee with sugar-free vanilla caramel creamer! After that, I sit at my dining room table with my small laptop and write as I look out the patio door. I set daily goals for myself and work to reach them. When I'm working on a book I typically write 5 or 6 days per week. I don't work from a detailed outline or a complex story board. Rather, I imagine the story in my mind and just type what I "see" like I'm a reporter. I prefer to see where the story takes me rather than follow a pre-set formula. Sometimes the ending isn't clear until I'm nearly finished with the book!
Describe your desk
My desk is actually my dining room table. I find that I concentrate better when working there with my lap top than if I'm in my office with a large desk top computer. As I write, my cat, Taffy, frequently jumps up to help me. If she becomes too much of a pest, I move one of her boxes to the table so she can be near me but not right on top of me.
What are you working on next?
Day of the Dead is the first in the University Mystery Series. I'm writing a screenplay for Day of the Dead which I plan to shop around to the television and movie industries soon. In addition, I am working on the second book in the University Mystery Series.
Who are your favorite authors?
Wally Lamb is my absolute favorite author. Words can't begin to describe my feelings while reading I Know This Much is True and She's Come Undone. I also read books by three international mystery authors; Tanna French, Camilla Lackberg, and Karin Fossum. These three writers present a mystery within the context of their respective culture, which is fascinating for me since I love to travel. Finally, I really like the work of John Sandford and William Kent Kruger. Their mysteries are based in Minnesota. Being from neighboring South Dakota, I enjoy their portrayals of life in a rural state.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love to travel and spend quite a bit of my free time either planning trips or fantasizing about a new travel adventure. Perhaps I can use one of my travel locations as a backdrop for an upcoming book.
Published 2014-03-19.
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