Interview with Donna Stafford-Munro

What is your writing process?
My writing process varies. Sometimes it's spontaneous and I need to write down quickly whatever the idea is. Of course that will still only be a first draft. I do a lot of editing. Usually if I'm doing a longer work, such as a novel manuscript I'll think about it and let it form in my mind, sometimes making notes. I then do a plan of rough word count per chapter. Temporary chapter headings and how many. I can then figure out how long a project should take me and start setting goals.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Mum used to read the Fairy Tales and we had a beautiful big Grimm's edition with a linen green cover that I used to stroke. I still remember the feel of that hard cover now. I would ask her to re-read The Princess and the Pea. It had an impact on me in that it encouraged my imagination. Soon after (and I was only in my first year of primary school) I wrote a story called 'The Mouse with the Musical Ears', apparently my teacher and parents thought it was brilliant. I've been a writer ever since.
How do you approach cover design?
I have a graphic arts background so I approach it from the perspective of not only the reader but also the printer. It has to work both aesthetically and commercially. It also has to suit the demographic you're aiming for. Mostly I have to like it myself.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
A Man Cannot Cry by Gloria Keverne. It was an epic novel that combined my two of my favourite things - a man like Tarzan and Africa.
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. It was a haunting story from an author with a unique voice. It blew me away.
Shadows of Power by Jennifer Bacia. She was the first Australian author who I read who'd written a suspense thriller of the standards international bestsellers and it became one.
Nights in Rondathe by Nicholas Sparks. Possibly not one of his more well-know books but one of the first I read and loved. His books always make me cry. I wish I could write with the emotion he does.
On Writing. A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. I'm not really a horror fan but his books are fabulously written and hook you in. I was intrigued to read his memoir and am glad I did. It's given me insights into writing and it's a hardcover book that is a treasure on my bookshelf.
What do you read for pleasure?
Anything and everything but I don't get enough time to fit in the pleasure of reading when I'm working a full-time job and writing. My guilty pleasure is a quick romance read. I love the fact that I can fit them in to my schedule. If I have more time I like to read more in depth, mainstream, suspense novels that make me think.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I've worked in book marketing for a boutique publisher. The biggest thing is to consistently promote your book. Social media, word of mouth, press releases, book clubs, markets, blogs; anything that gets your book seen. Hopefully this results in readers buying the book. It's a lot harder than writing the book for most authors but a necessity.
Describe your desk
Organised chaos that gets a clean up once a week so I stop losing information. My computer desktop, however, is totally organised and filed. I like having a window to look out of, sunshine and a few trinkets, elephants, family photos, a scented candle and of course a coffee (lucky my husband works for a coffee company).
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up on the mid-north coast of New South Wales and then finished school on the Gold Coast, Queensland. I've always loved the beach and being outdoors. I'm not sure if it influenced my writing as much as the people I've shared my life with. I'm Cancerian so maybe it's more to do with emotions that influence my writing. I've written about where I grew up but I've also written about places I've never been. Imagination is a wonderful thing but so is research.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Dad Love was written in 2011 when I was missing my dad prior to Father's Day. I thought I do something about it and Dad Love is the result. I have just updated it with a better file so readers should enjoy it more if they buy this Father's Day. There's little pieces of me in this little book but I was lucky enough to have the support of many wonderful people who contributed some touching quotes.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wanted to give it a try before going on to bigger projects. I think it is a great way to see what you can accomplish and a way to be published if publishers aren't exactly looking for what you have proposed. Maybe it's a way to prove to them you've got what it takes too.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I'm not sure yet. But I'll certainly let you know when things change. I'm hoping this Father's Day I'll sell plenty of Dad Love.
Published 2014-08-06.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Dad Love
You set the price! Words: 8,420. Language: English. Published: August 19, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Relationships and Family » Fatherhood
(4.00 from 1 review)
This delightful book is filled with quotes and insights into 'Dad Love'. Why do we love our dads so much? That question is answered in short paragraphs of reminiscing, memories, feelings, thoughts, humour and love from everyday people, celebrities, authors and philosophers.