HOW SHE WROTE IT …

Author: Donna Barker

Genre(s): Non-fiction; creative non-fiction; quirky women’s fiction

From: Canada

Started writing her 1st book in her: 40s

Published her 1st book at age: 49 years, 11 months

Titles to date: 1

Amazon.com: Author Donna Barker

Best place to learn more about Donna: here

 

WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO GET YOUR FIRST BOOK WRITTEN?

The perfect storm of revenge and love. I used anger and hurt and a good amount of shaking my head at myself as fuel to write the first book I wrote to the end. It’s not been published and the title of this creative non-fiction story may give you a hint as to why it should probably never seek a wide readership: Drinking Scotch with Strangers.

So, although the novel I self-published is the second manuscript I’ve written, it’s the first to become a book. And I drew my energy to write the book, again, on generally negative emotions like anger toward certain men in power and frustration with society’s attitudes towards women’s rights. That was one part. The other energy came from a place of love.

I started to write Mother Teresa’s Advice for Jilted Lovers at the same time my dad told us that he’d been diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. He’d always wanted to write a book and so, knowing that he couldn’t put it off any longer, he started to write. Dad and I were accountability parters and we shared drafts. It was challenging but fun since both of our stories involved a lot creative ways to kill people. My story is dark humour, women’s fiction; his was a political thriller. And both had autobiographical elements, though we never explicitly admitted what parts of our stories we’d drawn from experience and what parts were fictional.

WHAT ROADBLOCKS DID YOU ENCOUNTER ALONG YOUR JOURNEY TO PUBLICATION?

Getting fifty agent rejections was a bit of a downer. I shelved the story for a year at that milestone, deciding that my dream of being a published author had been a silly fantasy.

HOW DID YOU DEAL WITH AND OVERCOME THE BLOCKS?

Luck. It turned out that in addition to submitting my manuscript to fifty agents, toward the end of my submission months I also sent the story to a contest. A contest that took over a year to adjudicate. I’d totally forgotten about it and one morning I had a tweet that mentioned me:

Congratulations to @donnabarker for winning the @ChantiReviews Chanticleer Award for best Mystery/Suspense in Women’s Fiction.

That win changed everything. Attending the writer’s conference that hosted the awards introduced me to dozens of self-published authors… I left with a plan.

WHAT IS THE BEST WRITING ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?

Write for yourself. Don’t think about your readers when you’re writing. You can think about them when you’re editing.

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