In March, author Dana Mitchell’s debut title, A Venetian Affair was published with Destiny Romance, Penguin Australia’s digital romance imprint. I posted my review of A Venetian Affair last week, which you can check out here and after reading the book I was given the opportunity to have Dana on the blog to answer a few questions.
1. Hi Dana and welcome to the blog. Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for me. How long have you been writing for and what was the road like to publication for you?
Hi there Bree, thanks so much for hosting me today. I’ve been writing for more than a decade, but in 2008 I decided to get serious about being published and joined the Romance Writers of Australia.
My road to publication has had its highs and lows, just like every author I’m sure. I’ve never had any formal training in writing so it’s been from the bottom, up for me. I’ve learned so much and made some fabulous friends that are going to be there for life.
2. Give us a little insight into your writing process – are you a meticulous plotter or a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of writer? Do you write to schedule or whenever the mood/muse takes you or whenever you can fit it in?
*Laughs uproariously [meticulous plotter]. If ever there was anything further from meticulous, it would be me. I try to plot but it goes pear-shaped. Time is a precious commodity for me; I work full-time and have small kids and write, so you can imagine the state of my house. I’ve had to learn to write on the fly and that can sometimes be difficult. I also write well into the night after the kids go to bed, so I have permanent bags beneath the eyes that will now never go away. 😉
3. Unsurprisingly, A Venetian Affair begins in Venice where Helen is able to hide behind a mask and do something she loves incognito. What was your motivation for choosing Venice specifically? Is it a place close to your heart?
I wanted to place Helen in a setting that was both exotic, teeming with life and colour and history. I have been to Venice and to me, it’s such a magic place, full of history—it’s a place where you can choose any mask you want. I wanted Helen to have some happiness, somewhere she felt safe to be who she wanted to be.
4. There are two different Helens in the story – the Helen of Venice and the Helen of Australia. Which one did you prefer to write and was it hard to essentially give two characters to the one person?
I loved writing Helen’s character in both settings, and it wasn’t hard to reconcile the two. I think we all assume a persona for whatever setting we’re placed, to a degree. I liked to think of Helen in Venice as the warm Helen, and the Helen in Sydney, working toward regaining that warmth she’d buried for so long as a dutiful daughter.
5. What was your favourite part of A Venetian Affair to write?
Definitely the beginning! [grin]. I found it easy to imagine myself back in Venice and listened to one of my favourite singers, Fillipa Giordana to get myself in the opera mood. But, I also enjoyed writing the dialogue between Helen and Gabriel when he is wooing her out from beneath the ice. That was challenging.
6. Name three favourite novels and/or authors (or more if you need to).
I have an awful memory for book titles, but some of my favourite authors are Lisa Kleypas, Robyn Donald, JR Ward, Anne Stuart, Meljean Brook and Christina Dodd. Am picking up a few more from Destiny Romance, too!
7. What do you think the benefits are to submitting to a digital imprint?
The benefit by far is not waiting long for your book to be out there. And when it’s available, it’s on your e-reader in seconds. I’m all for instant books! (Me too Dana, me too! – Bree)
8. And lastly, what’s next for you?
I’m nearly finished Helen’s sister’s story, whom is briefly in ‘A Venetian Affair’. She gets her own story! 🙂 Stay tuned…
You can follow Dana on twitter here, like her on facebook and stop by her page at Destiny Romance, where you can purchase a copy of A Venetian Affair which is also available through other ebook retailers.
Thank you so much Dana – and I can’t tell you how excited I am that you are writing a story for Helen’s sister. I actually said in my review that I really wished that there was a book about her. I’ll be looking forward to her story!
Thanks to Rhian and the crew at Penguin/Destiny Romance for helping this all come together.