Interview: Donna Shields – Secrets of Jenkins Bridge

Happy Friday everyone! Casey Wyatt here. Please welcome my fellow Soul Mate sister – Donna Shields. She’s here to answer our favorite questions and tell us about her latest book – SECRETS OF JENKINS BRIDGE.

How do you battle the doubt monster?

The only way I can get past the doubt monster is a good two to three day break from writing. I’ll read a book instead. When I come back to the story, my mind is refreshed, and I can move on.

Have you thought about writing something that is completely different for you? Perhaps writing in a new genre or just taking a story someplace that you haven’t done before.

Oh yeah. I really want to write a steampunk one and maybe one day I’ll start one. I have a couple ideas kicking around.

What would you do if you couldn’t be a writer any longer?

First, I’d cry. I couldn’t imagine not being a writer. But, if I couldn’t I’d go back to college to become a nurse.

They say that every author has a partially completed, quite-possibly-terrible half a story shoved in a drawer somewhere. What is yours? What is it about? What makes it terrible? Would you ever consider picking it up and finishing it?

Yes, I actually have a couple. I don’t think there’s really anything terrible about the stories. I’m stuck where they have been left at. One is about a woman and a child in hiding from her now ex abusive husband and he’s on the hunt for her. He hired a PI (my hero) whom doesn’t know why this man is really looking for her. Slowly it comes out and all he wants now is to protect her. I will eventually finish this story because I believe it will be one awesome romantic suspense story to tell.

Author Jane Haddam says that anyone who seriously annoys her gets bumped off in her next book. How do you incorporate your real-life experiences into your stories?

Well, just between you, me and your entire readership (LOL), when my husband and I were having some serious marital issues I’d just begun writing Boneknapper (one I’m currently working on). I felt the need to punish my husband through my poor hero who has a deadly Voodoo curse placed against him. Let’s just say it’s wonderful therapy.

Your first book, THE SWAN COVE MURDERS is a novella. Is writing a shorter story, easier or harder? And is your new book – SECRETS OF JENKINS BRIDGE also a novella? And please tell us about your new book.

I think it’s easier to write a novella. With a novella you only have a short amount of words and I find I write with ease being direct. With a novel, you have to meet a minimum word count and I don’t even come close.

With Secrets of Jenkins Bridge, I just barely made the 50K word count needed to be considered a novel. Secrets of Jenkins Bridge is Katherine and Mitchell’s story. They used to be high school sweethearts until tragedy struck and Mitchell abruptly left Addison, unknown to him that Katherine was pregnant. Years later, he returns chasing down a mob boss who is a partner is his father’s company and to clear Mitchell’s deceased best friend of murder. Katherine has been run off the road, and her and Mitchell’s daughter has been kidnapped. They race against time to find their daughter and discover they still love one another.

Here’s the blurb:

Hunting down a dangerous mob boss has brought FBI agent Mitchell Donovan home, reawakening an old flame, resurrecting a dead best friend, and discovering fatherhood. As if those aren’t enough, his new case will push everything else aside: finding the kidnappers who took the daughter he never knew he had.

Katherine Delaney never forgot the heartbreak Mitchell had caused with his abrupt departure all those years ago. With her dead ex-husband accused of murder and her daughter kidnapped, she will place her trust in the one man who could trample her heart again if she gets too close. But, will the resurrection of Katherine’s ex-husband and Mitchell’s chase for a killer destroy their second chance at love and happiness?

This is your second book with Soul Mate Publishing. Please tell us about working with a smaller, digital press. How has the experience been for you? And what led you to go with a smaller press?

Since I’ve never worked with a big press, I can only assume. I get more one on one with my editor with quick responses to my concerns and questions. I feel like it’s more of a personal relationship. The experience has been great. I absolutely love my editor and am so excited to be starting my career with Soul Mate Publishing as they are beginning this great voyage into the publishing world.

What is your junk food of choice?

Why chocolate of course :)

What is your guilty pleasure? 

 I would have to say Ben and Jerry’s ice cream or Pizza Hut’s cheese stuffed crusted meat lovers pizza.

Excerpt:

They followed the paramedic toward the ambulance while Gladys and the other woman continued to talk.

He’d had a nightmare in the early hours before Gladys’ call had awakened him. The Camaro from his dream sat in the same exact spot. Aidan pointed out the car and told Mitchell he had to save ‘her’, whoever that might be. He figured he was about to find out. If, in fact, he wasn’t losing his marbles.

As they rounded the corner to the back of the ambulance, Gladys stopped short causing Mitchell to nearly colliding into her. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” he croaked, and then cleared his raw throat. “What’s the victim’s name?”

The paramedic shook her head, blonde ponytail swishing. “We don’t know. Haven’t found any ID yet, and she’s a little confused. Has a nasty bump to the head.”

He let Gladys climb aboard. Her upward movement stopped in midair, one leg dangling a little too close to Mitchell’s jewels. He jumped back as she whipped around, almost losing her balance. In a barely audible tone, she said, “I know her.”

“You know practically the entire town.” Mitchell gestured toward the victim. “Say something. Who is she?”

Her gaze stared off in the distance above his head. “It’s just so weird. It’s the widow whose husband drove off that bridge.” She pointed toward Jenkins Bridge, the old wooden-covered overpass in the distance.

An icy chill ran up his spine. Gladys moved aside, giving him full view of Katherine Delaney. She may be battered and bloody, but Mitchell could never forget her face, her high cheekbones, or the tiny, turned up nose. S**t.

Their eyes met, and his chest instantly tightened, his throat constricting. Something was wrong. She seemed to stare through him. Surely, she recognized him. He hadn’t changed that much. He managed to find his voice. “Hello.”

Katherine closed her dazzling emerald eyes. “What happened?”

He put his trembling hands behind his back interlocking them. “You were in an accident. What’s your name?”

She shook her head, the confusion apparent..

“It’s all right. This is Detective Freeman and I’m Detective Donovan.” Would the name register?

If it did, she didn’t react. She closed her eyes and turned her head away from them.

The paramedic announced, “Gonna have to finish this at the hospital after the doctor examines her.”

Mitchell reluctantly backed away allowing Gladys to jump down. Once the ambulance left, Mitchell said, “She didn’t recognize me.” Hundreds of miles apart and fifteen years later, and none of that mattered anymore. He wanted to wrap his arms around her and protect her. What was her life like now? Did she still live on the ranch with Aidan’s mother? Or did she have another whole life somewhere else?

Would she be okay? What if something happened to her? He couldn’t think like that. He wouldn’t.

“You know her?”

Of course he had. When he left Addison, he had been running from the hurt they’d caused one another. And his mother’s death. And his own demons.. “You keep forgetting. I grew up in this town.”

“What’s your connection?”

He didn’t want to get into his and Katherine’s complicated past at the moment. “We went to school together. Her husband, Aidan, and I were best friends.”

Gladys’ milk chocolate eyes grew large. “Oh wow. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. That was a long time ago.” Life goes on.

About Donna:

Donna Shields grew up on romance and scary stories. With her love for suspense and the slightly unusual, she enjoys tying these elements together to create stories full of love, danger and the paranormal.

She lives in the beautiful upstate of South Carolina with her husband, her children, and some great haunts. She’s a mom, a ‘gramma’, a wife, a friend, an avid reader and writer. When she’s not occupied with all that, she loves traveling to Playa del Carmen and Jamaica.

You can find me:

At my blog: http://donna-realworldwriting.blogspot.com
On facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/#!/shieldsdonna
On Twitter: @Donna_Shields
On SMP’s Author Blog: http://smpauthors.wordpress.com/
You can buy Secrets of Jenkins Bridge at: http://soulmatepublishing.com
Coming soon to Amazon and Barnes and Noble also.

Thanks Donna!

Since we Scribes love secrets – who’s got one to share with Donna? Which do you prefer long novels or shorter novellas?

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23 thoughts on “Interview: Donna Shields – Secrets of Jenkins Bridge”

  1. Nice interview, Donna. The book sounds great! I have a book with a similar plot to the one you described that’s in your “drawer.” I haven’t finished it, but I’d love to go back to it.

    As for novels or novellas, I definitely prefer novels. It seems my brain thinks in 80,000 word plots. I don’t feel like I can really develop my characters in less than that, but since I have to write a short story for an anthology this fall, I guess, I’d better learn quick:-)

  2. Great interview ladies. I’ve written both novels and novellas. I like both. The novel I’m just about finished with now I wrote after writing two novellas in a row. When I started, I admit I was a bit nervous if I could bang out another 75,000 word story. (The Doubt Monster). After a couple of fitful starts, and my characters refusing to do what I wanted them to do, I took a break to edit a book my publisher wanted me to submit. After that, the new story flowed better. Stepping back from it really helped.

  3. Hi! I’m finishing up a novella myself and while I found it easier to get through the shorter first draft, I’m struggling to get it into shape. Perhaps that’s a motivation problem, unrelated to the length of the story…

  4. Great interview!! I think the story itself dictates how long or short (novel or novella) it needs to be. You have to sit still and listen to the Muse! ;-)

  5. I have to admit – I fear the short story. And I suspect its for the reason Julia mentioned above. I’ll have to leave my comfort zone sooner or later since all of us Scribes are supposed to write our own story for the blog! Donna and Julia – thanks for showing me that you can do both and still tell a great story!

  6. Great interview. Thanks for visiting Donna, and Casey thanks for inviting Donna. I prefer novels b/c most of the time I don’t want the story to end. I don’t have anything hiding in a drawer. Maybe soon with my first novel that is taking forever.

  7. Hi Donna,
    Thanks for sharing with us today. I have written longer novels and recently finished one that is just over 50k words. The short one was easier but I think it was a less complicated plot and with a shorter book you really don’t allow yourself the opportunity to delve deep. Best of luck to you on your new release.

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