Monday, July 24, 2006

The Quintessential Writer: Donna Hill

Everywhere I turn, I see info about a book of yours being released, lol! Tell us about your latest work.

Very funny! Latest work---hmmm that would actually be several works to be honest. I just released my first romance for this year--Long Distance Lover which launched the Arabesque summer series. The theme this year was on athletes. My heroine Kelly Maxwell is a star sprinter, destined for Gold--until her secrets and a murder get in the way. As always with my romances, I've inserted some very topical issues that my character is faced with and I hope it will shed some light on very real problems. Of course there are those hot sex scenes! My upcoming romance LOVE BECOMES HER is scheduled to hit bookstores in August (but hint, hint, you can always pre-order!). Love Becomes Her, is the first in a four-book series that features four forty-something divas who have decided that they are much too young and fly to turn in their pumps! So they embark upon a joint venture and open an exclusive day spa for men! The spa is called "Pause for Men" and it's also the name of the series. Book 1, Love Becomes Her, features Barbara Allen who is being hotly pursued by a man almost young enough to be her son. Her girlz say go for it! And she does with some very surprising results. Readers will also get to meet her girlz, Ann Marie, Stephanie and Elizabeth and get a glimpse into their lives and loves. Book 2, Saving All My Lovin' hits stores in November. My big book GUILTY PLEASURES, will be released in October from St. Martins Press, and features Jake and Eva Kelly, who are just as insatiable for each other as they are to the con game. Jake wants 'one last job,' and that one job sets a series of crosses and double-crosses into play,forcing them to come up with a plan for the biggest sting of their career. It's fast, hot, sexy and plenty of fun. I'm also part of a great anthology TAKIN' CHANCES FOR THE HOLIDAYS. My character in the anthology is working on a PR campaign for the ladies at Pause for Men, while working on a personal PR plan to get her man in time for the holidays. At the moment, I'm working on MURDER IN THE AISLES, about a sexy sleuth, Felicia Swift, who happens to not only be a certified genius but also a librarian. This one I hope to turn into a series character. And I'm working on another anthology Creepin' an erotic paranormal collection that is going to be off the chain!

You have written romance novels and have ventured into mainstream, chick lit, and thrillers. What other genres are you interested in going into with your writing?

Well, I really love doing the thrillers like Getting Hers, Guilty Pleasures and then Murder in the Aisles. I grew up on crime drama and gobble up those kinds of stories. I like erotica, but I know I couldn't do it on a regular basis. I suppose, as long as I can move back and forth between genres and offer up good stories that readers truly like, that's all I can ask for.

I know novels are like children--everyone in the author's eyes is beautiful, but if you could pick, what three books were the most fun to write and why?

Hmmm, most fun. The top of this list in terms of fun would have to be Divas Inc. I was literally cracking myself up as I was writing. On the manuscript pages, I even inserted smiley faces! But of course my editor reigned me in and took them out. That was fun. Guilty Pleasures was also fun to write. I enjoyed the double-dealing as well as the raunchy language that I could use! And Rhythms was a joy to write for other reasons. It was actually the first book I ever wanted to write, waaaay back in the early 90's but didn't really know how. I poured my heart and soul into that book to make it sing and to recreate that time period. So to see it come to fruition and hear the response from readers who enjoyed it, makes it so very worthwhile.

On average, how long does it take you to pen the first draft of a novel?

I don't actually do more than one draft. As I write, I edit and clean up as I go. I reread what I've written before I start the next chapter, make insertions, take things out etc. So that when I'm finished, the manuscript is clean and says what I want it to say. From concept to finished product it takes about 3 months.

After all the characters you have created and all the books you have written, what keeps you writing and penning new stories?

Wow, the ideas just never stop. As fast as I get one idea out of my head in pops another one. Writing the books are a different story of course (LOL). But I always tell my editors if someone would just pay me for all the ideas I have, I'd be rich!!

As if penning great fiction wasn't enough, you have moved onto the promotion side of the publishing business with your company, Donna Hill Promotions. Tell us about the company. What types of services do you offer?

Donna Hill Promotions is really an outgrowth of ImageNouveau, a business that I had for a very long time. In its early stages, I did events, put together author-centered programs, and did some editing. Last year, ImageNouveau stepped out from behind the scenes and took on clients. I'd worked as a publicist for over ten years and was always doing "little things" for folks, so I figured I may as well step out on faith and do it for real. With the advent of Donna Hill Promotions, I want to expand what I'd already been doing, revamp the services and make it much more name-recognizable to the consumer. DH Promotions offers promotional services to authors from eblasts, monthly newsletters, webcards, book signings, podcasts, providing marketing materials, setting up interviews, mailings, and essentially using the connections and resources that I've acquired over the years to bring our clients' books to the attention of readers and booksellers.

What clients of yours have current books out in the market?

All of them! So it is truly a juggling act. Currently we have Michelle Monkou (Sweet Surrender), Angie Daniels (When I First Saw You), Suzetta Perkins (Behind the Veil), A.C. Arthur (Love Me Carefully), Maureen Smith (Weapon of Seduction), and Toni Staton Harris (Nothing Special, Just Friends). I'm preparing to also do some work for Robert Fleming. And we are hoping that Linda Hudson Smith will soon join our family as well. And of course no one can do anything alone. Missy Brown has been a great help, along with Pittershawn Palmer, and Tina McCray was there at the beginning. And the new, very dynamic site would not have been possible without the talents of Monica Jackson.

What made you decide to move into promotions?

Well, as I said, in my other life, the one that paid all the bills, I was a publicist for the Queens Library in New York for a little more than ten years. So it was something that I always did and understood the business and how difficult it was for authors to promote themselves.

How might an interested author get in contact with you for DHP's services?

Please visit our website at and feel free to send an email of inquiry to ImageNouveau is still the media arm of the business.

Writer. Promoter. Are there other avenues within the publishing arena that you think you might tap into some day?

Well, I have been working with a very good friend to move into publishing. So that is something that is in the works. Once we work out all the kinks, we'll be calling for submissions.

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