Thursday, April 19, 2012

Interview With Local Author Donna Galanti

I had the pleasure of meeting author Donna Galanti a little more than a year ago. We first crossed paths at the Writers Coffeehouse, a monthly meeting for writers, aspiring writers, and other artists run by The Liars Club, and then were classmates in Jonathan Maberry and Marie Lamba's YA in 9 Months fiction workshop. Donna's a great writer, and I'm stoked to report that her novel, A Human Element is now available! Donna's book has been getting a ton of positive buzz on the interwebs, and she was kind enough to "sit down" for an interview with yours truly.

Without further ado, and now that I've gotten my obnoxious name-dropping out of the way in the first paragraph, here's the Q&A:

Q: A reviewer in the blogosphere read A Human Element and compared you to Dean Koontz. Do you see the similarities between this story and some of his stories? Are you a fan of Koontz's work?

Donna: I am thrilled that readers are comparing me to Dean Koontz. I can only aspire to write like such a master. I am a huge fan of Koontz, especially of his earlier work. My book has a mix of elements in it as his novels do. It can’t be put in a box. I write with a similar mix to Koontz as well: sci-fi, horror, paranormal, and suspense. I don’t focus on what genre my book is when I write it though. I just write the story that comes naturally to me.

Q: How did the idea for A Human Element come to you?

Donna: I always want to say some deep insightful thing to say here ... but the story just came to me in a flash one day as I was driving. I wrote the entire synopsis down, the first two chapters, and then shelved it for more than a decade.

Q: I read that the heroine of the novel, Laura Armstrong, is adopted, like you were. How much did your personal experiences inform the character?

Donna: Being adopted did tie into Laura and the other characters. When you’re adopted you can feel like you don’t have blood roots. You can roam around trying to find where you belong. I did this throughout my life. Some of my characters do the same thing. I connect with the nomad, the outsider, the alone one. Feeling abandoned is also an issue adopted children can have and it can be hard for them to commit to a relationship and fully trust. Three characters are abandoned in the novel and deal with it in extremely different ways. It colors their lives – good and bad.

Q: Is this book a standalone or can we expect a sequel?

Donna: I am in the middle of the sequel right now called A Hidden Element. There will be another fun villain in it that shatters the life of one family. When a son is taken, the family discovers it’s by the same unearthly evil that brutalized them fifteen years ago. In a race to stop a mad man, they unravel his frightening mission that binds them all together. But the killer’s desire to destroy them leads to a survival showdown that puts their son’s future to the test. They must sacrifice all again to defeat a new terrifying enemy – an enemy that wants to rule the world, with their son as his heir.

Q: You signed a deal with Echelon Press for A Human Element. Could you explain how that relationship developed?

Donna: I met my publisher, Karen Syed with Echelon Press, at the first writer’s conference I went to in March, 2011. It was wonderful how A Human Element released in March, 2012, a year later, while I was at the same conference. There is a full circle satisfaction in that for me. Karen worked with me on developmental edits before I even signed so I knew she was invested. I signed a contract with Echelon in September, 2011.

Q: Where can readers purchase a copy of A Human Element?

Donna: Right now it’s available online in paperback on Amazon and ebook at most outlets. It’s also in my local bookstore, The Doylestown Bookshop.


Barnes and Noble

Q: What other proverbial irons do you have in the fire? I've heard something about this kick-ass YA novel ...

Donna: Brian, love your description there! LOL. Yes, I am finalizing a YA book I wrote in our Write a YA Novel in 9 Months Class. I wrote it for my son and fell in love with it along the way. It’s called Joshua and The Lightning Road, and has the potential for a series. Watch for this in the next year or so! Here’s a summary of it.

Lightning never strikes by chance. Twelve-year-old Joshua Cooper learns this the hard way when a bolt strikes his house, grabs his friend, and whisks him away—possibly forever. To get him back, Joshua must travel the Lightning Road to a dark world that steals children. New friends come to Joshua's aid. While battling monsters and fending off the child collector, Joshua discovers powers he never knew he possessed and that his earthly family is linked to this world. Reeling from the implication he may be the half-breed foretold to save this realm, Joshua’s mission becomes more than a search for his friend – it becomes the battle of his life.

Q: Any advice for aspiring writers?

Donna: Being a writer is constant learning and improving your craft. You may write a good book but you still need other elements like professional editing skills, a good cover, marketing savvy, and involved with social media. That being said, at times you need to turn off the Internet and just write. Also, writers cannot go it alone. You may write alone but you can’t learn alone, improve alone, or become known alone. Join a writer’s organization, go to workshops and conferences, network with other writers. There is a wonderful camaraderie amongst writers. We want to help each other and we have wisdom and advice to share collectively. Most importantly, when getting a first draft down do not go back and edit. The first draft is brain spew. Get it down and then go back and polish, otherwise you’ll never finish. This is the obstacle I overcame to write my first book.

Q: How do you feel about the e-book revolution?

Donna: I love it! Most of my sales are ebooks. It truly makes books accessible, and affordable, for people across demographics. I do admit I prefer to hold a print book in my hand, but having my Kindle allows me to purchase and read a book of choice anywhere.

Thanks for having me on Brian!

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.

Readers who devour paranormal books with a smidge of sci-fi and steam will enjoy A HUMAN ELEMENT, the new novel about loss, redemption, and love.

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.

Donna Galanti is the author of the dark novel A Human Element (Echelon Press). Donna has a B.A. in English and a background in marketing. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, The Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group, and Pennwriters. She lives with her family in an old farmhouse in PA with lots of nooks, fireplaces, and stinkbugs. Visit her at:

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Donna Galanti