Friday FabOoolousness – Donna Galanti’s A Human Element

I first met Donna Galanti on Twitter and we’ve since had the opportunity to get to know each other a little bit better by following each other’s blogs and keeping track of one another on Facebook.  But Donna is more than just a friendly face on social media; she is accomplished (holds a B.A. in English, has a background in marketing, and previously published a memoir, Letters from BootCamp via iUniverse) and is very well traveled.

Author Donna Galanti

Many of us hope and dream of one day visiting as many locations around the globe as Donna has lived (from England to Hawaii).  She has dreamed of being a writer since the age of seven when she fell in love with the worlds of Narnia and Roald Dahl. Here’s the best part: Donna lived in England at the time, attending school in a magical castle where her imagination ran wild in an itchy uniform (bowling hat and tie included).

Donna now lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, son, and two crazy cats in an old farmhouse. It has lots of writing nooks, fireplaces and stink bugs, but she’s still wishing for a castle again.  Aren’t we all?

This month, Donna debuts her paranormal suspense novel, A Human Element.   How about a taste?

A Human Element:

One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next. Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite–her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a mad man, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him.

A Human Element releases March 15th.

*****

When you were a little girl, did you dream of one day writing a bestseller, or did you have something else in mind?

I don’t think I thought of it in ‘best seller’ terms but since I was about seven I knew I wanted to be a writer. That and an actress! I fantasized about my books being made into movies and I was the star.

Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?

I think I’m best answering where do I find inspiration. All my stories come to me as visions when I am alone and without distraction. These days, it’s on a long walk.

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

Dean Koontz. Bill Bryson. Stephen King. John Grisham. LaVyrle Spencer (need something light at times!).

The cover art for your book is amazing.  Did you design it yourself?

Thanks so much! My publisher did it, Echelon Press. I told her the concept I wanted and she got it right on. Dean Koontz like.

Many writers imagine a celebrity or familiar face when developing their characters.  Did you have anyone particular in mind when writing Laura and why?

I didn’t have a celebrity in mind but I created her as part of me and part of what I wished to be. She had the same childhood as me, growing up an only child on a mountain where she would roam the woods and climb trees to sing from.

Speaking of celebrities, who are you thinking of at this very moment?

Sigh….Daniel Craig. Just watched him the other night in Casino Royale for the 100th time. When it first came out I was a little crazed with him and that movie…rented it five times in a row On Demand. My husband damn near killed me.

Besides writing, what other hobbies do you enjoy?

Biking, kayaking (ahhh, down the Brandywine River, PA in the Fall) and hiking. My hubby and I did many long distance charity rides including the MS 150. Our son is doing his first one this summer.

You have lived all over the globe. Which of your hometown destinations is your favorite and why?

Cobham Surrey, England! It’s so historic and old and beautiful. We lived in the old caretaker’s house of this old grand estate called White Tops. It even came with a gardener. It was a place of days gone by where I’d walk down the country lane to school and feed horses along the way. Each day the fish man would bring kippers for breakfast and the milk man would drop glass bottles at our door…and clotted cream some days!

I wouldn’t be myself without asking about television – what are your four favorite television programs airing today? 

I hardly have four shows I watch. I’m stuck in time and watch my old fave ones on Netflix. Just finished up the entire show of West Wing.

But here goes: Law & Order SVU and CSI. There are others I’d like to catch but haven’t found time to watch.  The other two? Don’t laugh, but I love to watch Big Time Rush and the Wizards of Waverly Place with my son.

What is your favorite movie all-time?

OMG, it’s sooooo G-L-A-D-I-A-T-O-R. The story, brutal scenes, Russell Crowe, the tormented Maximus (I wanted to name my son Maximus but that got nixed), the music, the cinematography…did I mention Russell Crowe? Sigh…

Maximus. Enough said.

What snacks do you order when at a movie theater? 

I don’t! Really!

Lastly, you claim to make up songs to be silly.  Would you like to share one with us now?  

Oh, boy, you got me good! This is a song about my son when he was a toddler (he would die if he knew I gave you this! I have icky 9-year old boy ones now, but won’t share those – LOL).

Sung to ‘Here Comes Santa Claus’:

Here comes Mommy, Here comes Mommy
Right down Mommy Lane.
She snuggles and hugs
and kisses away the pain!
Give your mommy all your love
and all your boo-boo’s too
cause your mommy will keep you safe
and give you ice cream too!

*****

Seriously, that may be the cutest song ever!  You fully exceeded my expectations, Donna!  Thank you!

Isn’t Donna great?  Don’t worry – everyone can have a little more Donna…

LIKEherAuthor Facebook page for news and updates! Her blog/book tour runs March 19th through April 11th with book giveaways, more guest posts, interview fun, and a chance to win the big prize giveaway! So pop over to her blogto see thefull tour schedule.  Remember to follow her on Twitter too.

Do you have a question for Donna?  Have you been lucky enough to live anywhere special like Donna’s English home at White Tops?  Do you have any “original” songs that you’d like to share with Donna, since she so generously shared “Here Comes Mommy” with us?  I’d love to hear from you! 

And one last thing: mark your calendars for the A Human Element e-book and paperback release, Thursday, March 15th.

Reviewers are saying…
“A HUMAN ELEMENT is an elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart. Highly recommended.” –Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author of ASSASSIN’S CODE and DEAD OF NIGHT

“A HUMAN ELEMENT is a haunting look at what it means to be human. It’s a suspenseful ride through life and love…and death, with a killer so evil you can’t help but be afraid. An excellent read.” –Janice Gable Bashman, author of WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE, nominated for a Bram Stoker Award.

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25 Responses to Friday FabOoolousness – Donna Galanti’s A Human Element

  1. donnagalanti says:

    Tiffany, thanks so much for having me on! What fun…thanks for adding in the pics too…now I can swoon over Daniel Craig and Russell Crowe again…sigh…And now I’m totally embarrassed I gave you that song! 🙂 Love your blog too!

    • You are very welcome, Donna! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer the questions and for being a part of my Friday FabOoolousness Author Interview series. I am really looking forward to A Human Element! And you are very welcome for Daniel and Russell. I couldn’t resist! 🙂

      • donnagalanti says:

        P.S. Tiffany..had to tell you its tooo funny you posted that exact photo of Daniel Craig because that very one was smack on the front of our fridge for A YEAR! (and yes, my poor husband!)

  2. Going to check Donna’s book out. Writers are all story tellers from the early years. One question. How hard is it to go day to day and keep up the suspense level you’ve already built? Thanks

  3. donnagalanti says:

    Tom, thanks for stopping by….I like to keep the suspense up in my writing and it is hard to do day to day. I find that I have a story arc for each scene and that involves keeping tension in that arc and a goal for suspense in action or dialogue. And each scene story arc I find I need to tie into the main story arc so its all linked together. I can get off track and then need to review each scene or chapter to see where I got off target. Challenging to say the least! I love dumping more and more stuff on my characters to see how much they can handle before they break and I’m having a TON of fun doing this now as I write the sequel A HIDDEN ELEMENT that is faster paced, grittier and only spans a month vs. years. I also get excited about writing dark stuff- my husband wants to know I’m that way! LOL. Great question!

  4. Great interview. So excited for you Donna.

  5. Stacy Green says:

    What a great interview! I love Donna’s background in England and am a bit jealous as well. I’ve read A Human Element, and readers won’t be disappointed. As much as Donna and I have talked, I don’t know a lot about her plotting strategy, and I’d love to hear more about it.

    Thanks!

  6. Reading this thriller right now, and Donna is a masterful writer. Wow, that town in England sure sounds romantic and beautiful!

    • donnagalanti says:

      Catherine, very sweet of you – now if I could only world-build like you in Fireseed One! Sigh…I do love England, love to take my husband and son and just stroll down any lane we see and fancy where it may go

  7. donnagalanti says:

    Hi Stacy, glad you enjoyed and I so grateful I have my early reviewers like you! 🙂 HA – plotting? Thats funny as I think I AM a plotter and my developmental editor told me she thought I was a pantser. But I do plot. Actually all my plots come to me when I go for walks. I guess its the only time my brain is not overwhelmed with too much information. Its free and open to accept new ideas. I begin with the seed of an idea and then sit down and write. For my new book this is what I did before I began writing Chap 1:
    *Write entire preliminary synopsis (8-10) pages. This is the basics of the story.
    *Write a bulleted chapter outline of the story. About 40 chapters with 3-5 bullets of chapter points that include action and chapter goal. Each chapter has a story arc within the full story arc.
    *Create a 1 page character worksheet on each character. This includes sensory details, important facts, goals, motivations, weaknesses, strengths, supporting evidence.
    Then I start writing chap 1. I have found I cannot do more than this as otherwise I get bogged down and cant write the story as too many details. This happened with a recent novel plotted and I abandoned it. My stories are more action based vs. psychological based so that may be easier to plot than say a psych suspense novel.

  8. Lisa Green says:

    Hey Donna! That was such a great interview – she really captured your personality 😀 I like that you admit to watching kids tv shows with your son. I’m totally ramped up for the release of your book!!!
    (The caretakers place in England sounds like what I imagine heaven is like)
    Thanks Tiffany for posting those pictures of Daniel Craig and Russel Crowe…..now I’ll be distracted all afternoon! LOL

  9. Catie Rhodes says:

    Congratulations, Donna! I’m excited for you and wish you the best success with A Human Element. It sounds pretty interesting. 😀

  10. Sounds like a very interesting premise! Will keep an eye out for the release. Oh, and The West Wing rocks! One of the best shows of all time that never gets old.

  11. Fun interview, thanks, Donna and Tiffany!

    Here’s the song I sang to my son when he was little:

    You’re my little peanut yes you are
    You’re my little peanut near and far
    You’re my little peanut all day long
    Cuz you’re my peanut I sing this song!

  12. I love Donna! She’s so fun and a woman after my own heart with her crushes and movie pick. The book sounds fabulous ~ the Ides of March can’t come quick enough. Thanks for the terrific interview, Tiffany!

  13. Sounds like a fun super creepy book! Great interview Tiffany.

  14. donnagalanti says:

    WOW, Tiffany – again- thanks for having me on and such wonderful commenters you have. Thanks as well to Tameri, Angela (lover of West Wing!), Catie, and Reggie.

  15. Julie Glover says:

    Enjoyed the interview! That childhood home in England sounds utterly delightful. Congrats on the book! The premise sounds great.

    And I was happy to learn that Donna also writes silly songs. I’ve written silly songs and lullabies for my kids also.

  16. This sounds like a great book. I’ll have to check it out when it becomes available!

  17. Fantastic interview you guys and the book sounds great! Here’s to all your success Donna. BTW, loved reading about your plotting strategy above…FANTASTIC to hear how it works for you.

    • donnagalanti says:

      Thanks Natalie! Hope it helps you any. I’m always looking for new ways to help plot – anything to get the ball rolling. Its so hard to start writing page 1 each time. 🙂

  18. Wonderful post! I too wanted to be an actress and writer as a kid, and I got to do both 🙂 Surrey, England sounded amazing. It’s on my bucket list to live in Europe at some point and that sounds like the experience I’d like to have. Thanks for the intro Tiffany 🙂

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