Episode 87B – Donna Conrad – Inspiration for Writers

Overview

The missing interview has been found! A couple weeks back, I had Donna Conrad on, and we were missing the last half of her interview. I found it!

Donna finishes talking about her historical Mary Magdalene book and then we talk about inspiration for writers. She has been involved with many musicians, and that has been a big influence for her and her creativity. Music is something that many authors share a love for.

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Transcript

We were talking music. You mentioned Joni. Mitchell’s a nice person. I think that’s great. I love Joni Mitchell.

I know Jocko Pistorious played with her occasionally which is wonderful. Good to hear some good Jocko baselines.

[00:02:48] Donna: Oh, hang on just one second. Yep.

Okay. I’m just not hearing. And if you can take that out because you can hear. That’s been over here.

[00:02:59] Stephen: We’ll make that the [00:03:00] blooper at the end and I’ll amplify it.

[00:03:04] Donna: It’s a microphone. You need your microphone.

[00:03:06] Stephen: Okay. You’ve got two completely different books. We’re talking about your memoir and your historical fiction.

So for each of them, Would you rather see it as a movie or as a TV show?

[00:03:17] Donna: The, let me see so how’s the one surviving the sixties. I think it would work as a movie because it is just a four year period. And it’s just isolated incidents that are joined together by a common thread. And so I think movie, the last Magdalene is going to be the Magdalen Chronicles is going to be a four book series.

So I would love to see something with a series, like a Netflix series,

[00:03:46] Stephen: or

[00:03:47] Donna: that type of thing going season after season, because it, she lived for, we think, okay, At least 88, 90 years. Wow. And experienced it a lot. So she was born close [00:04:00] to the beginning of the first century, current era.

She lived through the destruction of the temple. She lived through. Not quite to the diaspora, but she lived through Paul B getting his teachings and the establishment of the early church. And that, so it was a dynamic time, her whole life. And then we also need to see into Egypt, which is the second book called lost in the holy, which is when she leaves after the crucifixion, she escapes to Egypt, to Alexandria, which was the traditional place for Hebrews to.

[00:04:34] Stephen: And the books what type of feedback are you getting from readers?

[00:04:38] Donna: The last bag Lin is not out yet. It’s right now we’re working on the cover. My publisher is having an artist do a rendering for the cover. So they’ll all be unique and tied together. I’m really excited about that.

Taking my description Miriam for the cover. How’s the moon, incredible feedback from people, how they’ve always wondered about the [00:05:00] sixties, how they felt one reviewer said it was like going to sleep and waking up in the trenches. A lot of people saying that it gave them the courage to be more honest about their own lives and to.

To revisit trauma because the book is, I don’t want anybody to think it’s a fun laugh, filled, want through the sixties. It’s a very dark disturbing book because that’s what the 60 is more to me as a time. You don’t have to fight something if it’s not a.

[00:05:32] Stephen: And as a tie in, look at all the music that talks about that time period and the strife and the struggle, and the things that went on through the sixties and just look how the music changed from the early sixties into the seventies, and then into the mid seventies, how different that music is.

[00:05:51] Donna: Well, in the book. Every chapter, every vignette has suggested. And it goes everywhere from what a day [00:06:00] for a daydream through, slip inside the house by 13th floor elevators. It it does, but everyone, so either that was a song that encapsulates the chapter. Like the first one barking mad is cheap thrills by Janice Joplin, big brother and the whole encounter.

And because it’s a hell’s angels party in this. I’m not a good place for a teenager to be.

[00:06:25] Stephen: I have a friend that did a podcast on incidents that shaped music history, and it talks about Altoona which I didn’t know a lot about what happened. And I was like, wow, that’s pretty intense.

[00:06:37] Donna: The song for what it’s worth which I think Buffalo Springfield, and that was about the sunset strip.

Where, something’s happening here when it isn’t class. Exactly clear. And again, I think that was not one of the first, but it was one of the notable police riots where people weren’t doing anything in particularly wrong. And the police got their hackles up about it and started riot. And then of [00:07:00] course, letting the kids, which again happened in 68 and in Chicago, which is another.

Bye Crosby, stills, Nash and down. And so yeah, the music reflected our times and we were talking about another person that I knew relatively well was Jim Morrison and the door’s music was atypical of the time. He was he screamed out our anx and our frustration and our just wanting to be more than we were allowed to do.

And he was an incredible poet that those skim the underbelly of what was going on. And I love one of his things. You walk across a floor with a flower in your hand telling me I don’t understand. He was not at all into hippy, love, peace and all of that. And when I first met him, I was very much, I was 14 and very much peace love, we’ll get by.

And that changes in the city. When we [00:08:00] realized that peace and love, doesn’t get you very far when you’re up against a government that’s feeding repressive.

[00:08:07] Stephen: Yeah. And it’s interesting because my son has just turned 21. The doors is like his favorite. And I find that great that there’s still some kids, younger kids that can.

Not experienced, but get the feeling of that time through the music. And then you got books like yours, between those two, like somebody said, it’s like living in the trenches. I think

[00:08:29] Donna: that’s it isn’t, if you listened to the music carefully, you had some very beautiful peace loving let’s get together now, let’s find a way to agree all the way up to.

Pink Floyd. And of course, led Zepplin came on the scene and you had the whole range of emotion of what was going on and how, and then there was a lot of what we affectionately called bubblegum music, which was just let’s just rock out to which I didn’t do much of. [00:09:00] I was very much once acid rock Canaan.

That was my music. And of course,

[00:09:06] Stephen: The Beatles. The Beatles is probably a second favorite group. So that’s

[00:09:12] Donna: amazing. And I’m glad a lot of people, a lot of young people are still interested in exploring the sixties and what happened because there’s a lot of correlation between our times now.

[00:09:24] Stephen: Yes, I would agree.

Absolutely. And one nice product from the sixties was we got Scooby doo, so lingers and helps you out right there.

[00:09:39] Donna: Now my favorite in the sixties was dark shadows. Yes. Yes. I would come home from school to

[00:09:46] Stephen: watch that Katherine, right? Don’t is that who hooked us up? Catherine characters. No.

Okay. I couldn’t remember because I got set several people, other authors recommended but I interviewed somebody [00:10:00] else from this area and she’s huge dark shadow. She’s been to the house and had,

[00:10:05] Donna: oh, tell her, put her in contact with me. Yeah. Oh yeah. That was the daily fixed start shadows.

[00:10:12] Stephen: So she talks about it in her book.

It’s Catherine Christman one of the past episodes, like five, six episodes. I’ll look it up. Okay. So Donna, what are some of your favorite books and authors that you like to read?

[00:10:25] Donna: In historical fiction, my, my favorites are Sharon Cape Penland. Who’s no longer with us. She did a beautiful series about focusing around Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry the second and all the way up through John.

All of that. So one time, and then Kalema Kola who did a masters of Rome and is no longer with us. I’m starting to feel old. And to me, they set the bar for writing historical fiction, as accurately as you can. And as entertaining as you can. Another one that lives with Chadwick, who is still with [00:11:00] us.

Thank you. Elizabeth. Stay with us for awhile. And she puts more of a romantic spin in her books, but that’s okay. Everybody can deal with a little romance. That’s wonderful. And and she has a quite prodigious and I’m blanking the other Boleyn girl. Not Chadwick. Okay. Cut this part out. I can’t remember.

I’m trying to remember her name. She did the other Boleyn girl, the river series, the white, yeah,

[00:11:32] Stephen: her I know that.

Yeah,

[00:11:36] Donna: cut it all anyway. So modern, I don’t know, historical fiction. There’s a great book out now called fortunes child by James Conroy, Martin. And it’s about Theodora and there’s two books. I’m reading that now. And then it is historical fiction. I would think the Golem. Bye Helen Walker and it approaches historical [00:12:00] fiction in the early 19 hundreds in New York city with a fantastical side of because the immigrants experience, but you have a Golem, which is a clay figure brought to life in the Hebrew tradition and agenda or genie, which is from the radiant tradition.

And these two. Mythological or supernatural characters are trying to adapt to the immigrant, to the immigrants experience in New York city in the 19 hundreds. So I think it’s brilliant to do that. And then also with fantasy Marie pals books, the I’m looking down at it. The last of the gifted spirit site and water site is dealing with the invasion conquering of whether.

By Edward launchings in England, along with supernatural. Abilities of these two children that are the last of the gift. So I like mixing it up. I tend to write very straight historical fiction, but I love it when people mix it up.

[00:12:59] Stephen: I [00:13:00] read a big variety of things. So I am not big on one particular genre, but I haven’t read a whole lot of historical fiction other than turtle dove, Harry turtledove, but that’s all Turnitin fiction.

[00:13:11] Donna: Historical fiction, I think gets a somewhat bad rap being dry and long. And one of my beta readers, I particularly go to people who aren’t. Incredible fans of historical fiction to get their field. And I had this one woman who, a beta reader, good friend of mine, but she said, I don’t really read historical fiction, but yes, I want to read your book.

And she said, I stopped watching TV at night. I had to finish your book. And she said, okay, now I’ve got to start reading historical fiction. So I think when you have. It’s a pat on the back, good historical fiction, or you have historical fiction. And that brings people to life and brings their times to live.

That’s it’s an exciting experience and you get wrapped up in this.

[00:13:58] Stephen: Yeah, I agree. [00:14:00] Philippa Gregory, excuse me. Out of all the ones you mentioned, that was the one I recognized, but I couldn’t think of it either. Couldn’t

[00:14:10] Donna: think of it. And I’ve read all of her books that I really enjoy them. And, she goes far field, but her research is in.

And that’s what I appreciate, anytime you’re writing historical fiction, you’ve got to change some, people went from a to D and you really want them to go from a to E and so you move deicide and then you explain it and your notes and that, but other than that, stay true to the time Trey stay true to the story

[00:14:37] Stephen: of.

Okay. So do you have a favorite bookstore by.

[00:14:40] Donna: I will, I have two good. One is low. It’s called the book bin. And there are two locations, one in Salem, Oregon, and wound down in Corvallis, but the bookstore to beat all bookstore, I think his pals in Portland, I try to stay away from it. It is dangerous.

[00:14:57] Stephen: I have heard pals several times, [00:15:00] but I haven’t been there. So it’s like now I have.

[00:15:03] Donna: Oh, you have to go. It’s five stories in downtown and it’s just has every book in the world. And I think it’s wonderful. And the people there no books they read. And so they know, if you say, I’m looking for something like this and this, they take you right to it never been

[00:15:19] Stephen: wrong.

Great. So a great

[00:15:21] Donna: local

[00:15:21] Stephen: treasure. Okay. So Donna before we move on to author stuff on finishing up all our book focus, tell everybody just simply why they should get your memoir and read it

[00:15:40] Donna: because it is an honest, true. And this. Retelling of what it was like to be in the sixties. So if readers have ever wondered what it was like to live at that time to know these people know Jim Morrison and Jimmy Hendrix and other rock and rollers and what it was like to get up every morning in the sixties and [00:16:00] have to go to high school.

And then, then this is a book to give you an insight into what it was like to be alive and active in the decade that

[00:16:11] Stephen: changed the. Nice. That was good. I liked that. Thank you. I appreciate you sharing all that with us and it sounds like a good book might be something I’ll get my son.

[00:16:21] Donna: I think he would like it.

The rock and rollers, although I must say, you know too well. Yeah, no, I won’t spoil it. You can find out. They can find out.

[00:16:32] Stephen: Okay, so let’s move on and talk a little author stuff. We’re going to talk about inspiration for writers. But let me ask a couple of things first. When you were writing your, you were a journalist.

And then you wrote a memoir and now you’re writing some historical fiction. So what have you learned along the way that you’re doing different than you used to do writing?

[00:16:52] Donna: Now that I’ve honed the craft of writing. So once you know the [00:17:00] basics, you know how to tell a story, then you’re able to write from your.

And to say, this is real. And to me as a writer, if I’m not moved by something, I’ve done something wrong. And so I go back to the drawing board and yeah, what I’ve learned is to be treatable. And to be myself and to tell the stories as honestly, as I can in keeping with the character. And that’s I wrote house of the moon from the viewpoint.

It’s all present tense, first person from a 14 year old to an 18 year old. I’m obviously not that now. So I needed to embody that my former self and remember what it was like and to stay true to the voice of a team.

[00:17:50] Stephen: And I’m going to bet listening to the music of the times helps get you back in that state.

Doesn’t it?

[00:17:58] Donna: Exactly. And so [00:18:00] the suggested listening, it either encapsulated what the chapter was about, or it was what I actually listened to while I was writing. Nice. And I do listen to music. That’s that question? I do listen to music that I write. I have a soundtracks for different books, and right now I’m writing the loss of the holy, which is the second book in the Magdalene Chronicles.

And I’m listening to a lot of traditional Egyptian music that tribal music from around the Alexandria region to set the air. The last Magdalen was written almost entirely to Peter Gabriel’s passion.

[00:18:40] Stephen: That’s cool. I like that. You

[00:18:42] Donna: know, and you set the mood, you set the time and then you have your facts down and you have your writing miles under you, and then you just let your heart speak to the page.

[00:18:55] Stephen: I, one thing I’ll make a comment about history. No more [00:19:00] is now like yours are filling in this gap because we talked about history being very dry and people don’t always learn a whole lot. And these memoirs now in the remembrances of times, at least, modern history, help people understand it better.

And one of the. That just always amazed me was in school. We never learned history from various places and how it went together, because when you hear about the pyramids being built and that there were still wooly mammoths on the planet at the same time, it blows your mind because they’re so separated in how we learn about that.

And I like talking about listening to the music. Because of the region, at least our culture, at least for me growing up, I don’t associate the Egyptians and the pyramid so much with the stuff from the early Bible, but when you look at it as wow that was the same time.

[00:19:52] Donna: It was the same time in Alexandria, of course was founded by. Alexander the great and was [00:20:00] a very Hellenistic society that was very Greek. The total amaze that ruled there were Greek. And so there, they influenced the native music and the native customs. And so you have this incredible blending in the music.

That is we think it’s authentic. Who knows, right? Yeah. We’re telling podcasts to record

[00:20:20] Stephen: these things. I’ve heard like a Bach and Beethoven and those that they actually tuned the instruments different than we do now. So they heard it differently. So speaking

[00:20:33] Donna: of which Joni Mitchell’s tone tuning

[00:20:38] Stephen: is completely.

She had a lot of experiment that she did. And I love her, some of her music I believe besides Jocko, her husband played bass on a lot of stuff for awhile. But yeah, I like Joni is one of those that snuck up on me. I didn’t, my bass teacher turned me on to her and it was really wow. This is some good [00:21:00] stuff,

[00:21:00] Donna: To me, she’s one of the most incredible poets, right?

Alongside Leonard Cohen. And you take the music side away from it, which just makes it such an incredible experience. But their words, both of them are remarkable for four count of four giving other people a glimpse into the human spirit. Yeah. And both of them when they didn’t particularly talk about their times as much as their lives.

And can you separate those two? I don’t know. We are a product of our times, but their poetry stands alone and the music just makes it exponentially.

[00:21:38] Stephen: I think I’ve seen a book. With like her song lyrics written out in as poems. And even maybe it had some sort of like original art with it or something like that.

[00:21:52] Donna: And again, we’re back to not remembering brain

[00:21:55] Stephen: cells. Again,

[00:22:00] Donna, when you’re writing a what software services do you use to write?

[00:22:07] Donna: We’re at a

[00:22:08] Stephen: computer.

I hear that the most I’ve only had, I think one or two authors still writing on like legal pads.

[00:22:14] Donna: I will take notes on a pad and I always have a pen with me, which hopefully will be clicking too much in here. But I take notes. When I’m reading or doing historical research, I, for somehow it’s more direct connection to me than with a keyboard, but the w one of the problems with my writing is I’ve gotten so I can hardly read it.

So on the keyboard, it, somehow it’s a separation. There’s no separation between what my brain thinks and what my fingers key in. And a lot of people have been trying to get me to try. Voice recognition. And while I am pretty good at talking, I don’t know that I could tell a story that way, but [00:23:00] I think it’s going to come to that

[00:23:01] Stephen: one day.

I’ve dabbled in that and had trouble myself. One of the. Someone told me, because when you’re doing that, they tell you, quote, and then I said, comma quote, and next line. Yeah. And that throws it all off. And I had somebody say, why do all that? Just talk as if you’re telling a story to your kid and.

Then worry about editing and putting all this stuff in afterwards, get the story and

[00:23:27] Donna: never thought of that.

[00:23:30] Stephen: That makes sense. We know

[00:23:32] Donna: the early Romans had no wasn’t punctuation. And that was one of the incredible things about Julius Caesar. He could read a letter where all your letters, all the letters, everything is just strong together, and he could read it and make sense out of it.

When other people needed to have a scriber, somebody break it up and.

[00:23:50] Stephen: The words, smart man for his dad until he turns his back on the wrong person.

What do you do to market your book? How are you getting the word out about your [00:24:00] book?

[00:24:01] Donna: That is tough. I have a marketing team now I to be honest, when I put out one of my publisher put out, Helsel the known, surviving the sixties. I thought, oh, and I think a lot of authors, first time authors do this, I’m going to put it out there and everybody’s going to find it.

It was published in 2016 and not a lot of people found it. And so I started teaching more and teaching it writers, workshops, and teaching online, and people started finding the books, but marketing is a whole different beast than writing and. You need a good team around you, and whether that is marketing people or people that are excellent at social media.

Or PR, which is different. I think public relations deals with you as a person and marketing deals with selling your book, which does, which seems to be a divide that still doesn’t connect in my mind, but [00:25:00] we’ll go with it. So find people you can trust. And realize even if you’re with a big, what is it now?

Three publishers, the biggest five. It’s going to be the big one pretty soon that even with that, you need to develop marketing skills. You need to get your name out there. Do interviews like this one show up to writer’s conferences, talk to other writers. Every writer I know is a reader, right? You have to be, if you’re writing, you

[00:25:29] Stephen: need to read.

And that’s a dilemma that I need to get some more words down today, but man, this book is really good. There’s a problem.

[00:25:39] Donna: There’s a problem. And what somebody said. What you love, because you’re going to read it 75 times. So you ended up reading your own work a lot but do with that and I’m with a small press, but I’m finding, I get a lot more attention with the small press because I’m, I am a a little bigger fish in a little smaller pond rather [00:26:00] than doing with how Shea and being.

One

[00:26:04] Stephen: of 55 when it went in the middle.

[00:26:06] Donna: And, but check out who is supporting you have a good support team and don’t think you have to do it all yourself. You don’t, and you can’t. But most of all, if you’re on podcasts like this, or if you’re at a book signing, just be yourself. Just go out there and be who you are and except yourself and accept your writing and the word will get out, but it’s a slow.

Got it. I was just at the Surrey international writers’ conference. And Bob Decone, who is a very big name and a very big seller said it is still a slow process and his book the incredible life of Sam hell, he just said, it’s just now picking up and starting to really outsell his other books because it’s word of mouth.

So to me, the best marketing [00:27:00] is to have avid readers who love your work. And they’ll tell other.

[00:27:05] Stephen: I agree that, especially at right middle grade. So parents talking to parents is a big thing. So it’s still

[00:27:13] Donna: in your bestselling and somebody reading and saying, you ha someone tells me that’s how I ended up with Goleman.

The genie, a friend said, you have to read this book and. So I’m reading it.

[00:27:25] Stephen: The dangerous though. A lot of my friends are big readers, so I’ll have five, six friends a week saying, Hey, you got to read this book. You, I read this book, I read this book. I don’t have enough time. I

[00:27:35] Donna: have right now I’m reading four different books depending on my mood.

And I have six more on my nightstand that need to be. And then to me, a great service is audio recordings. If I’m driving someplace in my car and to me that still counts as reading. If you’re listening, it’s still supporting the office are [00:28:00] artists and still getting the story. So a lot of them, Kate Quinn, I listened to all of her books.

I love the new.

[00:28:07] Stephen: That’s important. Very important. I’ve got a few books. I listened because I love the person narrating it. I’ve got the book, but I don’t even touch it anymore because it’s so perfect. Perfect.

[00:28:19] Donna: Another one that is great as any of Laurie, our Kings, her Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. The narrator is incredible.

And I think I have 12 or 14 of them and I can cycle back through them, but yeah, just keep reading.

[00:28:36] Stephen: Nice. And so we talked a little bit about marketing and how difficult it is, and that’s one of the reasons I like this podcast is because. The people I talked to, the authors, I talked to, aren’t going well, marketing’s easy.

I just pay my guys $5,000 a week. And they marketed. We don’t have that. We have people [00:29:00] and I think sometimes new authors or young authors or whatever, listen. And they hear it’s oh my God, I got a market. They lose touch or they’re writing and writing. I’m not getting any better.

So you wanted to talk about inspiring authors to write, and you do talks at writing conferences and stuff. So what are some things that you say, or that can help authors to keep them inspired?

[00:29:24] Donna: I would say, we’ve talked about this before and you mentioned it. My cup, your coach says this musi never makes a skilled sailor.

So what helped me in the beginning was having other authors tell me it’s not easy, except it you are alone with yourself, which can be really scary and you’re going to write and write, and then you’re going to rewrite it. And to me, the. This thing someone told me was, it’s not easy and you keep going because it’s something you love.

And the first [00:30:00] to me, important step and in writing Mr. Wright, and I know it sounds rather simplistic, but if you don’t write, you’re not a writer and it doesn’t matter what else you do writers write. And it used to be called back in my journalism days, pencil miles. Now I think we can say keyboard miles.

When somebody says, 10,000, 10,000 hours, I don’t think there’s a, you can cap it. It’s something I’m still always learning. Like I said, I just attended the Surrey conference, which is an incredible conference for any writers. It takes place in Sarah Cannon, BC, British Columbia. It’s just a wonderful inclusive.

I’m still learning. In fact, I, I still learn something about historical fiction and I learned something about being a writer from these people. And so never think, at all, there’s still more to learn. You can teach yourself. But find a supportive [00:31:00] community that understands how weird you are as a writer, because we’re on the street.

We really are. We sit alone in a room and create things.

[00:31:13] Stephen: We make up worlds. And if you piss us off, we’ll kill ya.

We talked a lot about music and I know music is something I, and a lot of other writers. To get them in the mood, get them going. I have a playlist that if I’m feeling down, there’s a particular playlist of every favorite song of mine. I just put it on for a couple minutes and I changed my mood.

Do you use used music in your memoir? You said when you were writing to do that so what other than music, what are some other physical things? People can do. Get them in the mood to write inspired or anything like that?

[00:31:50] Donna: One exercise that I do is to engage all five of my senses before I start writing.

And that would be, going for a walk outside, or if you’re in Oregon right now, [00:32:00] it’s too cold and rainy. I hear it’s that way in Cleveland. Also, it’s raining all over the world, but just engage yourself. Feel something, smell something in this cup is Earl grey tea, which is a wonderful smell and senses and devote the time that you need personally.

To connect with yourself to connect with your heart and to connect with the characters in your story. I don’t care if it’s dystopian or if it’s a happy, fairy tale where everything goes, which never happens in three tests. But take a moment to just connect with yourself with being alive, with being.

To create. There are vast numbers of people who do not understand how we can create, and it is a phenomenal gift. So celebrate that before you start writing, saying, I [00:33:00] am able to do this, I can do this and find something inspirational that is personal to you. Invoke that whether it’s a prayer, it’s a mantra is something on my computer.

It’s something I said way back in my journalistic days. I said belief in oneself is something faith finds almost your result. And I look at that before I write. And I say that is still true today, as it was 40 years ago,

[00:33:33] Stephen: I’ll have to maybe put that in the clip that we use for them.

[00:33:36] Donna: Yes, you’re welcome.

It’s on my website and then go easy on yourself. Don’t beat yourself up as a writer, start off every writing thing with, I can do this and I’m good at this. And I would explore something new. And again, if you have favorite music, if you have a favorite scent, if you have [00:34:00] incense you want or perfume that you use, put yourself in the mode and allow yourself to disengage from the busy world whirlwind and say, okay, this is time for me.

And if all you do is sit there and all you do is open a document and you have nothing to say. That’s okay, you open the document. You’ve given it a chance. And that’s all you can do. Just keep.

[00:34:25] Stephen: Yeah. You mentioned the open, the document channeling, my inner Jeff Foxworthy. If you stare at a blank screen all day, you might be a writer.

And I like what you said about taking a walk, because for me doing something like that, where. Away from the computer, which I can sometimes get stuck behind and just going out, unfortunately, even better for me is driving. If I’m driving on my brain starts firing. The problem is I’ve literally ended up in the wrong city because I forgot to get off at my exit.

I was just. Thinking so that’s dangerous.

[00:34:59] Donna: Did you [00:35:00] get a story out of? I did. I think that was the city you were supposed to be

[00:35:05] Stephen: actually it started doing, when I do a computer database stuff, I’d have a problem with a database and I go driving, put me in a different climate change, my mood, and the problem would solve itself.

And you don’t know how many times little problems in a story As a new author. I thought all my stories, oh, this is fine. Is perfect. As I learned more, I started learning. Yeah, this needs help. And you get stuck, but I’ll go make dinner for the kids and I’ll be like, someone’s stirred this. I got to, I thought of it.

I gotta go figure it out on

[00:35:38] Donna: an idea. So I think that’s a time that, the brain needs to have some downtime when it’s not being focused. And that’s it. That’s why if we take a shower. I’ll cook dinner. All of a sudden an idea pops up because the brain is it was the, when we were trying to figure out a full Gregory’s name, it’s gone.

It’s gone. As [00:36:00] soon as we stop thinking about it, the brain went, is this what you were looking at?

[00:36:04] Stephen: So

[00:36:07] Donna: to, to my time is two 15 to three o’clock and they come, actually I wrote the opening lines to the last Magdalene at three in the morning I woke up and boom, they were just there and I was like, that’s incredible.

And the book flow for.

[00:36:25] Stephen: And sometimes that’s what you need to get that flow state. I was just talking to someone else about that getting into the flow in the flow state that. It’s important sometimes, but you can’t force it.

[00:36:37] Donna: You can’t, you can be there and you can show up at a regular time at a regular place and hope that the muse decides to join me.

But if you’re not there and you’re not ready and you don’t have the skill, then it doesn’t matter how fall through the muses show up there. Yeah. If all the muses show up, if you’re not there, they’re going to give it to somebody else. So show [00:37:00] up, be there for yourself and for you

[00:37:03] Stephen: and I D I liked what you said about a community too.

It’s important to find one that you fit well with. I’ve gone to a couple critique groups that I’m just like, yeah, this just doesn’t fit me. It’s not. I feel that I want I’m in a mastermind group right now that I think has just spurred me a lot this year. And it’s actually. More the day job and family commitments that are holding me back more than anything else.

It’s not the writing in that. It

[00:37:33] Donna: is what it is. That’s why we need support groups, because we need other writers that have day jobs that have families that have calves that have dogs that have, life is constantly in and to find out how other writers deal with it, or if nothing else, just to have a good old fashioned.

That’s your session, to say, I’m so sick of this stuff. And everybody said, me too. And finding your community is so important and finding a good fit. And I’ll say this to other [00:38:00] writers out there working from desperation, whether it’s defined a publisher to find an agent, to find a writing group, to find a critique group is never been.

All of these relationships are very personal and make sure it’s a good fit. And if it’s not a good fit, it’s not you it’s the relationship, right? That’s

[00:38:23] Stephen: all. Yeah, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad group or that you’re a bad writer. I think it just has to fit world.

[00:38:30] Donna: Exactly. And that goes on, like I say, to publishers, to agents, I don’t know any writers that haven’t gone through a few agents and unfortunately, a few publishers until you find a place that’s home.

And then allow for that to change. Yeah. And always be aware, whatever you surround yourself with, make sure it’s nourishing you and that you’re giving back to the group or to

[00:38:54] Stephen: the relationship. Think of so many things are learned so many things that giving back will help [00:39:00] more than you think it will.

[00:39:01] Donna: And that’s why I teach because to me, I’ve learned these things and I want to share them and to let other people know that this can be done. We can do this and it’s not easy, but it is the best of all worlds.

[00:39:18] Stephen: Yeah, absolutely. And if anybody needs more inspiration, I have a whole list of past authors I’ve interviewed on the podcast.

I break them out by genre. So find the genre, go listen to those podcasts and hear other authors with the same problems, same issues, same things they’re trying to overcome.

[00:39:40] Donna: Resolutions.

[00:39:42] Stephen: I got my book published. Here’s how,

[00:39:46] Donna: and you just keep trying until you find, like I said, I went to a small press and one direct and it worked out

[00:39:52] Stephen: wonderful.

Good. Donna, this has been a really great talk. So before we go and piece together, the [00:40:00] 500. A different recording, only 500, something like that. That might be a slight exaggeration. Do you have any other last minute advice for new authors? Keep writing.

[00:40:13] Donna: There you go. That’s it. You’ll never get to the end of the book if you don’t write it.

And so believe in yourself, that’s the other thing, believe in your. You can do this

[00:40:23] Stephen: right. Donna, I appreciate it. It’s been great talking to you. Your focus sound great. Thanks for taking some time to talk with us today. And if anybody

[00:40:30] Donna: would like to read any articles or that I have a lot of things on my website, or get in touch with me, it’s pretty easy.

[00:40:36] Stephen: And I didn’t even ask that you did

[00:40:38] Donna: Not,

[00:40:39] Stephen: I got your back. I got your back. So I just find you online. Yeah.

[00:40:44] Donna: conrad.com.

[00:40:46] Stephen: Got it

pretty

[00:40:46] Donna: easy. And if you can go on there, sign up for, register for my website and then I’ll be glad to talk to you and exchange emails or we’ll have a little zoom chat

[00:40:59] Stephen: [00:41:00] and we’re all.

Can we find your book

[00:41:04] Donna: online at a, Barnes and noble, Amazon, and some local bookstore? That will be there. And then the next series for those who are interested in historical fiction should be out in, I think we’ve pushed it to June of 20, 22. Okay.

[00:41:23] Stephen: We’ll look for that. Great. All right, Donna, thank you very much.

I appreciate the patience with all the no, I appreciate

[00:41:29] Donna: all you’re doing for new and aspiring authors. We can do

[00:41:34] Stephen: this together. It is a community. Absolutely.

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