Interview with Donya Lynne

Published 2018-07-13.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I wrote was for a writing assignment in fourth grade. Our story had to be at least one page, but I ended up writing something like ten pages. The story was about a kidnapped little boy and a cat, bear, and snake that teamed up to rescue him. Thinking about it now, it makes me laugh. Where in the world did I get the idea to create a heroic trio made up of a cat, a bear, and a snake. Why not a cat, a dog, and a rabbit? LOL. At any rate, this writing assignment wasn't just homework, it was also a contest. And my story won! My prize was a pack of Hubba Bubba bubble gum! So, how about that? My first writing contest win came in fourth grade, and I won bubble gum! I was well on my way!
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing before grade school. I honestly can't remember a time when I wasn't carrying around a pencil and a pad of paper, sitting and dreaming up stories. From the moment I could transform my thoughts into written words, I would sit and write poetry, short stories, you name it. Then came the writing contest I won in fourth grade.

Then, in junior high and high school, I started writing romance "fan fiction" about my favorite band, Duran Duran. Two of my friends and I LOVED Duran Duran, and I would stay up late every night filling notebook after notebook with stories about the three of us going on romantic escapades with our favorite band member. I was always torn between Simon LeBon and John Taylor, while one of my friends was crazy about Nick Rhodes, and the other hot for Roger Taylor. So at least that worked and we never competed with each other for the object of our affection in my stories.

But even back then, I was pushing the edge of naughtiness. Of course, at that age, "she straddled him" was the cutting edge of risque storytelling. But my friends ate it up.

As I got older, and my writing became more private (when I no longer wrote for my friends' entertainment), I explored even more taboo and sexual language. And when The Lost Boys came out, I became infatuated with Kiefer Sutherland's character, David, and started writing romantic fan fiction about vampires. I became obsessed with vampires and the paranormal.

Just think, if I knew then what I know now about myself, I could have caught the paranormal romance wave before it was even a thing yet. Oh well, maybe in my next life.
What is the one thing you want readers to know about your books?
Every single one of my books reflects something about me. For example, I wrote my first book, Rise of the Fallen, at a time in my life when I was at my lowest low. I'd lost my job, was in chronic pain from a back injury, couldn't work, could barely walk, and had suffered one cataclysmic event after another, culminating with my mom's death. As I wrote Rise of the Fallen, all my pain came out through my character. As he suffered, I suffered. As his life turned around, my life turned around. Micah Black, the hero of Rise of the Fallen, was my alter ego, and he still is today as a prominent figure in the rest of the books i that series.

So while there is the occasional bad review (as there will always be for even the best books out there) for that book due to the dark places Micah went inside his mind, I don't care. Those people don't understand where I was in my life was and what I was going through and what that story meant to me, and, apparently, to countless others who identified with the story enough to fall in love with it and the subsequent series that developed from it.

The first book in my Strong Karma Series, Good Karma, was also eerily autobiographical. I pulled on many experiences from my own life for both the characters and the plot of Good Karma. I won't tell you which ones, but shades of my real life are all over that book and series.

The point is, each of my books contains aspects of my life, whether they be past experiences, physical traits, habits, my emotional or mental state, or what I happen to be dealing with at the present moment. Right now, the concept of death seems to be showing up a lot in my stories. My dad died in March, and I'm processing what his death means to me and how it feels to lose my childhood hero and a man who made me who I am today, for better or worse. So, when I start publishing the books I'm writing now, readers can expect a lot of death themes, whether the deaths are literal or figurative.
Which other authors have most influenced or inspired your writing?
There are so, so many, but a few that come to mind are:

J.R. Ward - it was her Black Dagger Brotherhood that brought me back to reading romance and inspired me to create vampires for my own series who weren't cookie cutter characters. You know, characters with colossal attitude!

Skye Warren - Not only is she a great writer, but she is an amazing, savvy businesswoman. I've learned so much about indie publishing and marketing from her author newsletter and from taking her classes.

Alessandra Torre - Ditto all of the above. Just... DITTO!

Aleatha Romig - I met Aleatha through my local RWA chapter, and I've been able to glean so much knowledge from listening to what she has to say, as well as reading her books.

Jeana Mann - Jeana is my writing soul sister. We're so similar in our goals and writing styles that it was an obvious natural fit for us to work on a project together. As of this writing, she and I are developing a new series we think romance readers, especially those in older age groups, will ADORE!

Liliana Hart - This woman is one of the most magnificent indie publishing powerhouses on the planet. I bow down before thee, Ms. Hart.

This list is by no means all-inclusive. There are so many incredible authors out there that have influenced and inspired me. Maybe with just one small but powerful nugget of information or with a whole four-hour workshop.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
In the beginning, I wanted to be traditionally published. I had studied writing for years and had researched the industry, and was determined to get a book deal with a big publisher.

Then, in 2012, I started meeting indie authors and talking to them about the differences between indie and traditional. It became clear very quickly that indie was a better fit for me. Not only because of the massive difference between royalties earned as an indie versus traditional, but also in terms of control. I can be a bit of a control freak, and the idea that I would lose so much control by going traditional concerned me. These were MY stories, and I had a vision for them. I didn't want a publisher to strip away my vision and replace it with theirs, as well as dictate the price, sales, and marketing. As a result, I opted to be an indie author and I love it.
How do you approach cover design?
I have a cover designer who designs all my covers. I love working with graphics, but I am no cover artist, so I leave that to the professionals. But I do contribute to the process, and my cover designer is fabulous to work with. She takes a true team approach, and even though she's the one doing the art, she's taking my input to create it. I might know exactly what I want on a cover, or I'll just have an idea as to the color scheme. I'll supply that information, along with other details about the story, to my designer, and she'll go to work and create magic. If we're including models on the cover, she'll send me several options to choose from, then build my cover around my selection. Ours is a truly interactive approach.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy is when I get to the end of the final, final, FINAL draft (because I put all my stories through several edits and rewrites to flesh out the real story from the muck) and know that I've done the best I can do and have a story I can be proud of from the first word to the last. Then to hear from readers that they love it just as much as I did when I wrote it is icing on the cake.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I actually prefer both print books and reading on my Kindle. I typically read nonfiction in print, as well as fiction books I want to make notes in. When I'm reading more for entertainment, I read on my Kindle. I also like trying out new-to-me authors on my Kindle before I buy their books in print.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Facebook ads and BookBub ads have been my most effective marketing techniques, but I'm always trying new things.
Describe your desk
I have cats, so my desk has become a more functional place for my cats to sleep than for me to work. LOL. I have two inboxes. I used to have one, but one of my cats, Sophie, claimed it as a bed. So I got a second inbox. Sophie claimed that one, too. As did three of my other cats. They take turns sleeping in it now. So, I have two inboxes but nowhere for my inbox items to go. I also have a cardboard box on my desk under the window for my black cat, Flash. That's his box. He'll sleep in that thing for hours while I'm working. I also have notebooks, magazines, reference material, and book binders for the stories I'm currently working on.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love to watch movies, read, and listen to music. These are great ways to refill my creative well. I also enjoy meditating and going for walks. I love being outside and feel very connected to nature, so taking walks in the morning or late afternoon/early evening when it's not too hot always lifts my spirits.

For nearly eight years, I suffered chronic back pain and could barely walk fifty yards down my street and back. Late last year, my pain finally abated enough for me to try walking around my neighborhood again, and despite some minor aches and pains, I was able to make it. So I slowly started getting out more, and now I'm walking 4-5 times a week for up to 40 minutes. I'll never take walking for granted again after not being to do so for so long. Every step I take now is a blessing and a gift, and I'm so grateful for it.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
You were born to be a writer. Write. Write tons of stories and read tons of books on how to write. Study how the bestselling authors write and polish your stories. Make them fabulous. It doesn't matter if you write vampires or contemporary romance, but write in series and be prolific and learn, learn, learn the everything you can about the industry. Don't procrastinate. Because by 2010, self-publishing and ebooks will be all the rage, and if you get into the game early with a dozen or more stories ready to go, you'll be a millionaire by the age of forty-one.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Negativity. Since the 2016 election, I've struggled to write. There's just so much negativity in the world right now, and every time I log into Facebook or anywhere on social media, I see all the bad news and the fights and the nastiness between the two sides on the issues. I myself can get swept up in them when I see something that deeply troubles me. I want to be aware and informed of what's happening, but doing so comes at a cost to my writing. So, for me to be able to write, I have to shut down Facebook and all social media, which can be counterproductive, because Facebook is where I connect with my readers. With a minimal presence there, my visibility obviously drops. Trying for a happy medium seems to be the best solution.
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He wants her company and her heart. She refuses to give him either. But in business—and love—the only thing sweeter than negotiation is closing the deal.
Raven's Gift
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Orphaned as a baby, Raven has no idea she’s a lycan . . . or that she’s in heat. When she meets her hot new landlord Barrett, a lycan who was born mute and finds her as captivating as she does him, Mother Nature—and the chemistry between them—will reveal the mind-blowing truth in one passionate, turbulent night.
Cherish Me
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In the shocking conclusion to the Banger Trilogy, Katherine and Greyson are right back where they started. Alone. If Greyson is going to win her back, he’s going to have to pull out all the stops. But Katherine has a few surprises of her own that could still destroy their happily ever after.
Covet Me
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(5.00 from 1 review)
Katherine can only resist Greyson’s attempts to woo her back into her bed for so long as her desire for him continues to grow. But if she’s going to get involved with him while they’re inking a deal to merge their companies, she expects him to respect her rules, which include keeping their relationship a secret. But can she stick to her own rules? That’s the real question.
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Micah's Bride
Series: All the King's Men. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 31,040. Language: English. Published: December 23, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Paranormal, Fiction » Romance » Short stories
Micah is a mated male. To him, that’s all the evidence he needs that he and Sam belong together. But for Sam, it’s not that simple. Haunted by the memory of her abusive ex-husband, she wants a proper wedding so she can put her painful past behind her. And since Micah will do anything to keep his newly pregnant mate happy, he’s going to give her the wedding of the century.
Black
Series: All the King's Men. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 109,410. Language: English. Published: September 12, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Paranormal, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
As Micah Black comes to terms with shocking revelations about his bloodline, alliances will be formed and new enemies exposed as paranormal forces converge in a battle for humanity. Don't miss BLACK, the much-anticipated eighth book of the emotionally-wrenching, award- winning All the King's Men Series by Donya Lynne.
All the King's Men Boxed Set 2
Price: $12.99 USD. Words: 266,770. Language: English. Published: February 11, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Paranormal, Fiction » Romance » Erotic
If you haven’t discovered All the King’s Men, yet, now is the time. This three-book collection showcases books four through six of Donya Lynne’s award-winning All the King’s Men Series and sets you up for one fast, sexy, action-packed ride into the next generation of AKM.
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