Steven Donahue was a copywriter for TV Guide magazine in the U.S. for 14 years. His first novel, Amanda Rio, was published in 2004. He released three novels in 2013: The Manila Strangler (Rainstorm Press), Amy the Astronaut and the Flight for Freedom (Hydra Publications), and Comet and Cupid’s Christmas Adventure (Createspace). His fifth novel, Chasing Bigfoot (Createspace) was published in 2014, and his short story Grit was also included in the anthology Hero’s Best Friend by Seventh Star Press in 2014. In 2015, he published his sixth book, Where Freedom Rings: A Tale of the Underground Railroad (Createspace).
1.What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something? When I was in middle school, we had an assignment to pick what careers interested us. I chose Journalism since I had always loved reading and writing stories. The more I learned about the subject, the greater my interest became. I followed that interest by majoring in Journalism at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, where I graduated with a B.A. in the field.
2.What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured? I try to write in the mornings on my writing days. However, my work schedule is not consistent, so I often find myself writing whenever I have the free time. The biggest challenge is finding a quiet place to write in the small apartment I share with my wife Dawn and our four dogs.
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? I am lucky. I do not get writers block. Just the opposite, I have so many stories to write, that I may never get to all of them.
4.Are you a plotter or panster when it comes to writing a story? I write a full outline before I start a new story. I find it helps me structure the story and it prevents gaps in the storytelling. However, my outlines are not written in stone and I often add or subtract from them as need be.
5.Are you traditionally or self-published, and what was the publishing process like for you? Any advice to aspiring authors? Two of my books (The Manila Strangler and Amy the Astronaut and the Flight for Freedom) were published my small, traditional publishers. The rest of my books are self-published.
6.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? I have had a few book signings since my first book was published. I enjoy talking to readers at these events, and it is a major thrill to see someone spend their hard-earned cash on one of my books.
7.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us? And any other books of yours, if you wish. Where Freedom Rings: A Tale of the Underground Railroad
The thrilling story of four slaves who try to escape to the northern area of the United States along the Underground Railroad in 1853. Kelsa Colver leads her husband and two young sons on the dangerous trek after a fellow slave is murdered by a vindictive slave owner. Along the way, the Colvers are assisted by various abolitionists, including a neighboring farmer, a progressive priest, a sympathetic lawman, and notable figures Harriet Tubman and William Still. However, their efforts are impeded by a dark family secret, and the interventions of a corrupt clergyman, vicious outlaws and greedy slave hunters.
8.What audience is your book targeted for, and what genre does it come under? Where Freedom Rings is a historical fiction novel that anyone with an interest in American History may enjoy.
9.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? I try to spend time reading (I like classic works from writers like Ernest Hemingway, Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury and Edgar Allan Poe), watching some television, and during the Fall I follow the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles.
10.What tip would you give to new authors when trying to build a fan-base / get followers and market their books? (What to do and what not to do.) The best tools for me have been the use of social media. Get the word out about your book on Facebook, Goodreads, Linkedin and other platforms. Try to engage your readers by providing more than just ads about your book. Write blogs about subjects you like and try to interact with your readers.
11.How would you describe your writing style? My writing style is direct and active. I try to offer readers sentences that are easily understood, and I structure my stories in a linear fashion.