COLLEEN DONNELLY: ANNABELLE FROM MINE TO TELL IS AMALGAMATION OF WOMEN AND THEIR DESIRES
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Colleen Donnelly’s third book Mine to Tell became her brightest literary jewel. The novel was released on August 25. Until now the title gathered almost 100 reviews with stunning average of 4.8 Amazon stars. “I was hooked on the first page”, “Best fiction novel I’ve ever read” and “Unique and fascinating way to tell a story,” are few of the readers’ comments.
Land of Books is happy to meet Colleen Donnelly. We are sure that you will share the feeling.
– Colleen, what is your book Mine to Tell about?
– Mine to Tell, at the heart of it, is about forgiveness, and I use the clash of family guilt and innocence to bring that out. Annabelle’s great-grandmother, Julianne, was accused of adultery by Annabelle’s great-grandfather. The family ostracized Julianne and for three generations never questioned the accusation. Annabelle, the first female born in the family since Julianne, doubts her great-grandmother’s guilt and sets out on a course that upsets her family and affects her own engagement so she can learn the truth.
– How did you decide to write the story?
– This is a NaNoWriMo novel – National Novel Writing Month which takes place in November of each year where people all over the world agree to write a 50,000 word novel. I approached that particular November with the title – Mine to Tell – but no story. I fretted, laid awake at night, browsed the internet, and prayed. Finally the dilemma of a wife who disappeared for two weeks with the consequence of being accused of committing adultery surfaced. At 12:01AM on November first, I began to write.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– The middle of the book. The beginning was gripping enough, the ending satisfying, but oh, that middle was a lot of work!
– Tell us something more about your main character Annabelle? Is she close to someone from your real life?
– I didn’t model Annabelle after anyone, although she processes through problems the same way I do. Otherwise she is an amalgamation of women and their desires – to learn to stand on her own feet, love and be loved the correct way, to sometimes lose what you think you want only to find something better.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– This book, and generally all of my books, are a year from start to finish (final edited copy) for me, and my publisher often has it for an additional 9 months from query to release date.
– Describe your reaction when you saw your book in Kindle Amazon Top 10?
– Wide open mouth and a lot of gratitude.
– What the readers will find in your novel Sonata Contineo?
– Sonata Contineo is my only self-published novel, written before any of my others, yet its story again is a historical “mystery” with an underlying love theme. Two completely opposite college aged best friends – male and female – suffer through finding and losing love as they face and unravel the murder of one of the male’s ancestors, only to discover love then was no less passionate than it is today. Passionate enough to live or die for.
– Who are you?
Very analytic by nature, yet I write these literary stories of love and history…must be some lighter inner component beneath the black and white exterior. Love the outdoors, to read, theatre, but most of all, I love to write.
– What are your writing habits?
– I block off as much time as I can during the weekend to write. I’m an evening writer during the weekdays, tackling it as soon as I come home from work and writing solidly until the brain turns to mush. I rarely miss a day of writing, and I have the same schedule and devotion to editing my books once the first draft is done. Writing is my second job and I’m at least as committed to it as I am to my day job.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of your books?
– Mine to Tell has done quite well, and I attribute that to the boost my publisher gave it at its release date. Authors are to be actively involved in promotion and sales through social media, and very few of us find that to be our strong point, so I’m grateful to my publisher who has done their part to make my sales what they are.
– What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
– This is indirect, but I have found it worthwhile to spend time writing to the world about the world on my blog. I speak to the other artsy folks like me, and to those tangling and untangling themselves in/from relationships. To me this has been energizing, and a genuine way to open the door to what I write. On the practical side, I do book signings, employ family members to keep my website and author pages current, and try to stay active in the writing/reading community. But most of all – I write. Write the next good book, and the next, so one leads to another.
– When we will see your next novel and would you unveil something more about it?
– The one my publisher just finished the cover art for is “Love on a Train.” It is the dilemma of right person/wrong time as the main character finds herself in love with a man she meets on a train, but engaged to another. The story is her struggle to break that heart tie before her wedding day, which is rapidly approaching.
– What was your occupation before you started with writing?
– That analytic part of me has always loved and worked in science related fields. I’ve been in laboratories throughout my career.
– Do you remember the moment when you decided to start a novel?
– Yes…I’d been toying with short stories and theatre plays when I made the switch. I was on the road and saw a billboard about a famous person in an upcoming city. From that sign a novel was born in my mind, and eventually it made it to paper. It was my first “I’m learning how to write” novel, so it’s never been published.
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be?
– Why didn’t I start writing sooner??? Answer – important things like family always took precedence. Even with my day-to-day writing agenda now, I always break for family and friends. But once life and family were up and running fairly smoothly, that was when I sat down to write…and I hope to never get up from this pleasure.