TTS: The Top Shelf would like to welcome Donna K. Weaver to the blog! Tell the readers a little bit about yourself and your book A Change of Plans.
Donna: I’m a city employee by day and a writer by night. I’ve got a husband, six grown kids, eight grandkids, and a black belt. Yeah, no connection there at the end, though two of my boys did karate with me for a while—that’s why I got started in the first place. 😉
A Change of Plans is the story about a heartsick high school teacher who goes on a cruise to get past a painful anniversary. She doesn’t plan on meeting an intriguing surgeon or getting taken prisoner on a snorkeling excursion by pirates.
TTS: How did the idea for this book come about?
Donna: It started as a dream where a man and a woman were shipwrecked on an island. There was this huge tree with a tree house. I just had to figure out how they got there.
TTS: I like to ask this question of every author I interview because I find character creation interesting. How did you name your characters and did you shape them after people you know in real life?
Donna: I frequently do a lot of research about names. In this case, my oldest granddaughter has a middle name of Lyn. For Lyn in the book, I wanted it to be short for something. As for Braedon, I love Celtic names. I have a grandson named Aidan, so when I was searching for possible names and I saw Braedon, the similarity in sound did it for me.
TTS: Did you have the storyline all planned out when you sat down to write or did it take a life of its own beyond the initial paragraph?
Donna: I’m a pantser. I knew I had to get them to that island, and I had chosen the means to get them there. I just sat down and the story unfolded. It’s gone through many edits since, but the basic story is still what it was in that first, rough draft.
TTS: Were there moments where the story didn’t go the way you planned or personally wanted to go? How did you deal with that?
Donna: The character Jori wasn’t in the first draft. I thought something was too obvious and needed his character to fix that. My critique partners made it clear it wasn’t working, so I had to decide whether or not to keep him. As I considered deleting him, I realized I’d come to love him and couldn’t take him out. In fact, I’ve written a companion novel that I’m editing right now, where Jori is the main character.
TTS: A Change of Plans is your debut novel! What led you to writing?
Donna: I’ve always had stories in my mind, since I was very young. A few years ago, I was looking at working on my personal history and decided I didn’t want it to be a cure for insomnia for my descendants. The first thing was to find out if I could even write a full-length novel. A friend was participating in NaNo, which intrigued me. It was too late for me to join that year, so I did my own personal NaNo the following January. Cranked out 80,000 words in 30 days.
TTS: Almost every author says they’re a reader first. What do you like to read?
Donna: I love to read all kinds of genres—I guess that’s why I’ve written two romances, two YA fantasies, and 50,000 words into a SciFi. I also enjoy suspense, thrillers, and even horror if it’s not too over the top.
TTS: Do you feel that what authors read influences what they write?
Donna: I’m sure it does. I found, when I first started writing, that I write the way my favorite authors do. There’s sure a lot of telling and adverb use out there. 🙂 I guess you can get away with that kind of stuff if you get well known.
TTS: Are you planning on sticking to one genre or do you see yourself branching out into others?
Donna: As I mentioned, I read AND write all kinds of genres. The question is whether I should consider using a pen name for those.
TTS: What advice would you give a writer just starting out? Maybe something that you wish you would have known before you started?
Donna: Don’t expect that first draft to be perfect. Writing isn’t something you can just study about and then be great at. It something you have to do, and do a lot of. Definitely study about it, but write, write, write. As you continue to craft stories, your writing will mature.
TTS: Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on right now if you’re working on anything at all?
Donna: As I mentioned earlier, I’m editing Jori’s book. I’ve been having so much fun with him. He’s so broken, even more than Lyn discovers in A Change of Plans. It’s been interesting to try to pick up his story about 80 pages into the first book and then take it beyond where ACoP ends. This book also lets me give more depth and page time to Lyn’s best friend Elle.
TTS: Once again I would like to thank Donna for stopping by! We would love to have you back again sometime!
Synopsis: When Lyn sets off on her supposedly uncomplicated and unromantic cruise, she never dreams it will include pirates. All the 25-year-old, Colorado high school teacher wants to do is forget that her dead fiancé was a cheating scumbag. Lyn plans a vacation diversion; fate provides Braedon, an intriguing surgeon. She finds herself drawn to him: his gentle humor, his love of music, and even his willingness to let her take him down during morning karate practices. Against the backdrop of the ship’s make-believe world and temporary friendships, her emotions come alive.
However, fear is an emotion, too. Unaware of the sensitive waters he’s navigating, Braedon moves to take their relationship beyond friendship–on the very anniversary Lyn is on the cruise to forget. Lyn’s painful memories are too powerful, and she runs from Braedon and what he has to offer.
Their confusing relationship is bad enough, but when the pair finds themselves on one of the cruise’s snorkeling excursions in American Samoa things get worse. Paradise turns to piracy when their party is kidnapped and Lyn’s fear of a fairytale turns grim. Now she must fight alongside the man she rejected, first for their freedom and then against storms, sharks, and shipwreck.
About The Author:
Donna K. Weaver has always loved reading and creating stories, thus she’s been ever entertained. A Navy brat and U.S. Army veteran, she’s lived in many U.S. states as well as South Korea, the Philippines, and Germany. An avid cruiser, she’s sailed the Pacific four times. When she retired from Shorei Kempo Karate with a black belt, she decided it was time to put her imaginary friends and places on paper. She lives in Utah with her husband. They have six children and eight grandchildren.
Contact Donna K. Weaver: