The Tales of a Contemporary Romance Writer

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Talkin' Tuesday with Donna Beckley Galanti

Good morning to the world and happy Fourth of July to all my American friends! 
Right now my house walls are getting mud on them and it looks like we might be able to move back home in three weeks. What a wonderful thought after living in a trailer for two months already!

Today I have the fun and sassy Donna Beckley Galanti. She rambles and jokes with such ease that you can't help but love her. When I first met Donna we were at The Write Stuff conference down in Pennsylvania. Her energy is infectious and I don't mind saying, she's the type of writer you want to be friends with--she makes you think, 'Damn that girl does a lot. I'm feeling a little lazy next to her!' LOL You're awesome, Babe! :)  

RR-What/who got you reading?
DBG-Roald Dahl. When I lived in England as a child I got his books from the tooth fairy. Fave is Danny the Champion of The World and Henry Sugar. I spent the backseat of a car driving through Europe with my parents. This is very boring when you are 8 so I read and wrote my own stories.

RR-Writing was a natural thing for you, but what part of it is the hardest?
DBG-Constantly re-working a project and learning  how much more I have to learn (ok, well that last part is fun too). I love to edit but the hard part is rushing to finish the draft but then slowing down to take the time to finesse it just right.
As a romance writer I could take the 'finesse it just right' in soooo many different ways! Heeheehee

RR-Your self-published memoir, 'Letters from Boot Camp' is about time you spent in Boot Camp in the Navy and the experiences that went with it. What was the most shocking/surprising thing that happened? And, did you intend to make a book out of your letters or did it just happen?
DBG-Shocking? All the ways some girls tried to get out of the Navy in boot camp through attempted suicide, acting crazy, etc. Plus taking a shower with 80 girls in one room. Eek! Surprising? I liked boot camp. It was challenging but fun. I guess because I didn't take it too seriously. I got in trouble for laughing at the inventive ways our company commander's cursed at us. I didn't intend to make a book out of it until I went to college for Journalism. I wrote A LOT of letters in boot camp. My Dad, a former sailor, wrote back with his old salt-of-the-sea advice. It read like a story and I wanted to put the project "out there". It's set in the 1980s so not a current view on boot camp but still the same 'flavor' of what you'll experience. It doesn't venture into my tales as a Navy Photographer afterward. I never intended to get an agent and go that route with this book.
You can buy it on Amazon or visit my website:
You received some great reviews from comrades. That must have felt great.

RR-Too organized Plotter or Maniac Panster?
DBG-Waaaayyyy organized plotter fer sure. I could never be a panster...ever! That may go against me, I know. But my plot will evolve in new ways as I follow my outline. But I always know the end and head for that.

RR-When writing, must you hide from the kid? Where do you go and what kind of death threats do you shout?
DBG-Hide me, Seymour! Hide me! I'm lucky to be a part time freelance writer so have a good chunk to write home alone (not the summer though....sigh). But with all this social media boom I head to the library more to get solid writing done. When I go into writing withdrawal I start calling my son "Yo, Kid!" and my husband "Dude!" Then I know I have to bust out and be alone. My husband gives me alone time otherwise its like the Kraken has been released.
I just watched Clash of the Titans, both original and new, the other day. My husband commented, "Wow. That looks like someone I know!" LOL

RR-You quit your own resume writing service in the middle of peek to write. Do you ever ponder that you're nuts for doing that?
DBG-Never! I was burning to get my first book on paper but between freelance writing and my own resume business I couldn't. It was a hard decision but once I closed down my business my writing took off and I am on my 3rd book. That was a year and half ago. (plus one supportive hubby!)
Aaagg, when taking that leap it really is scary. 

RR-Is there any thing we all would be shocked to know about you?
DBG-I was married before to another sailor in Hawaii. But it happened at sea and there was only one witness who can't be found. So it doesn't really count, right? Then I had the ex strung up for a court martial but he disappeared too. Shocked? ;) Maybe I am a character in my own book! On a serious note, I have phobias about being around people and crowds at times. Battled lifelong panic attacks with it and plan my life around it. I go to the grocery and exercise at 6 AM when no one is around. If you see me wearing sun glasses on a cloudy day I am in 'hiding'. It was difficult to finish college going to a huge university!  :)
I do believe most, if not all, of us authors can relate. As for the ex, *laughs evilly* his body has never been found, has it?

For Fun
Wine with cheese or Beer with TV?
Both! I'm a Gemini, so it's allowed, right?  That whole Jekyll Hyde thing, that's me.

Paperback or e-books?
Paper all the way! I have not ventured into e-books yet. I have scrolling issues. Beside, there's something about sniffing old bindings and paper like glue or gasoline. Hmmmm. Love it.

Independent kitty cat or adoring lovable dog?
Both again. We currently have two lovey dovey kitties who steal socks and toys like dogs. I guess they are Gemini's too! Or just really confused.

Great cook or master at ordering take out?
Great (I hope) cook. Can make up dishes on the fly like my mom did. She was a fabulous cook. Only thing better I could make than her was pie crust. Her gravy and biscuits are still a mystery.

Sexy in flannel nightwear or hopin' to get lucky silk?

Flannel all the way - with frills. Silk is too smooth, it never ends. LOL

Favorite movie of all time?
GLADIATOR. Perfection. Russell Crowe...swoon. The more tragic the better for me. Add some blood and guts, even better. When that chick gets sliced in half by the chariot. Awesome!
I closed my eyes at that part. -_-

What's your biggest pet-peeve, in the world, that makes you want to beat something/someone?
People who cut their nails at work! CLIP. CLIP. CLIP. I am plotting revenge on one anonymous person at my freelance writing job. shhhhh. Do I get a second one? Dogs that lick themselves. Slurp. Ewww. I have been known to give them a little kick when the owners aren't looking ;) And walking around in wet socks! See, I got 3 in there. ;) LMAO

Back to Work
RR-You hit me as a VERY organized person. Are you crazy like that?
DBG-I am. But it gives me a sense of peace. Order. Whether its visual or outlined on paper. And when piles of things start to grow like some giant blob oozing through the house I go berserk (just ask my hubby). I visit the dark side then and talk in tongues.
Please come over. *on knees begging* I have piles everywhere and are completely disorganized!

RR-What's the biggest misconception people have about you and your writing?
DBG-That I write "nice stuff." I went to my first writing workshop and shocked them with my chapter read (and that was a tame piece!). My friend said I look so innocent reading such baaaaad stuff. Heads in a vise. Brains popping out. You know. Stuff like that. But I love writing a juicy sex scene too. No throbbing members though, I promise! ;)
*to the audience* We had a good time joking about 'throbbing members* down at the conference. *snickers* It was a dirty conversation!

RR-Does your husband like to brag about your writer career and if he does, what does he say?
DBG-Hmmm...I am not sure. He is very supportive but here is the funny thing...he is SO not a reader, doesn't like to read and hasn't read my work at all. ;) I hope to embarrass him with that tid bit on my Today Show interview someday. LOL.
I soooo want to be on Oprah!

RR-Do you ever get so overwhelmed you want to quit?
DBG-Not quit. But I do get very overwhelmed at times. You know that naggy voice that puts you down. I take a break and refuel then or look at different ways to get my motivation back. Walks help free my brain cells from prison. I could never quit. What would I do??
Stand up comic. That's all I'm saying!

RR-You have two books you're currently working on, tell us about them.
DBG-My YA called Joshua &The Lightning Road is about a boy who finds out lightning doesn't happen by chance when a bolt strikes his house and grabs his best friend. To get him back, he must travel the Lightning Road to a dark world that steals children for energy. On his journey, Joshua discovers he's linked to this world through parents he never knew and a grandfather who isn't what he seems. He also discovers his own powers and must shut down the Lightning Road or remain a prisoner of forever.

My paranormal suspense I am shopping out now to agents is called A Human Element. In this book, Laura Armstrong's friends and adoptive family member sare being murdered, and despite her special healing powers, there is nothing she can do to stop it. The killer haunts her dreams and leaves cryptic notes
advising her to use her powers to save herself: she is next. With the killer closing in on her, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and realizes she has two choices - redeem him or kill him. Dark stuff! LOL. But there is love and hope in it too!

RR-Is it hard going from self-pubbed to trying to find an agent or publishing company?
DBG-It's a long process - as you may know! But exciting and overwhelming and challenging. I am enjoying getting to know the process and have some great peers that support me and provide advice. I am in the new stages of it so still have lots of enthusiasm. LOL.
It is an exciting and tiring process, but no doubts we'll be seeing you on TV!

RR-You write a few different genres, is it difficult to keep it straight?
DBG-Actually, writing dark suspense is what drives me. I have a 4th book I began, The River in Me, that requires much research as a psychological suspense book.
I am writing a YA now to challenge myself writing in a different genre. I am having a lot of fun writing it in a class led by NY Times Bestselling Author Jonathan Maberry and YA Author, Marie Lamba. Plus, they are fantastic mentors not only in the craft of writing but the business side of writing. I also have a memoir in me...someday. A dark one, of course! LOL.

RR-What part of writing makes you want to pull your hair out and scream like a banshee?
DBG-When I get new fantastic ideas and have to re-write and add in to lots of scenes. I am going through this now with my YA book!

RR-Any advice for aspiring writers?
DBG-Never listen to that voice inside that says you can't. You CAN. You have to get out of your writing rabbit hole and hook up with other writers. Join a regional writers group, go to some writing conferences, take classes. NEVER stop learning. You must be open to advice and criticism. I love good old constructive criticism. You have to want to write better.
I have found a wonderful camaraderie amongst writers that we can't find with the other non-writers in our lives! We writers get each other. I put together a blog that features writers (you!) and a writers group on Facebook that is churning out some great topics by my peers (you again!). Twitter is a great place to hook up with industry peers and professionals.
Gosh, you're right. I remember my rabbit hole being very deep. When I emerged, the sun felt wonderful! 

Been a blast. Thanks Rebecca! Off for beer and TV. Or maybe wine and cheese. Or beer and cheese? I'm confused. Maybe no TV. The cats stole the remote again. Need a dog to chase them down. Arghhh! Dude, find the remote!

Meet up with me here!
Twitter: @donnagalanti
Linkedin: Donna Galanti
Facebook: Donna Beckley Galanti

Thanks for being here Donna! I talk to ya later. :)
Next week I have the ambitious, Sera Rivers. I can't keep up this the amount of stuff this woman does!! Author and advocate for the Western Massachusetts Special Needs Kids and Everyday is Different Raising a Child with NLD blog. Hope you'll come back and have tea with us.

Have a Sparkling Day!
Rebecca Rose


  1. Rebecca, it's you who is the awesome one, babe! Was so much fun to be on, you are not only witty and sassy but an inspiration too! -Donna

  2. LOL We need to work together more often!

  3. HI Donna and Rebecca, Great long juicy interview! Learned a few new things about you Donna! Your last "Been a blast" paragraph ties it all up nicely. You guys are a hoot.

  4. Rebecca, it was so nice to read your interview - I know Donna and it makes me feel good that she came across as fun and energetic as she is in person! I love her writing and can't wait for her to crank out more. A Human Element is AMAZING!!!
    Donna - you're the best!

  5. I love this interview! Donna: PUSH IT!!

  6. LorettaJo - Yes. Push it real good! I am trying ;) thanks!

  7. Sounds like you two had a lot of fun doing this interview.