Donna Anastasi - Spin the Plate
What is your greatest writing challenge? Child abuse and post-traumatic stress syndrome are such sensitive topics, so I needed to proceed cautiously and strike a balance between realism and not being overly sentimental or dramatic.
What do you find most rewarding in writing a book? The many posts I’ve received from readers on how it’s moved them forward life journey. Plus winning the Living Now gold medal award was a huge honor.
Tell us about your previous work. I wrote two book on animal care – The Complete Guide to Gerbil Car and the Complete Guide to Chinchilla care. I just completed another “gritty Christian fiction” work, a short story entitled “In God’s Name” available free from Smashwords.
What other projects do you have coming up? Another small-animal book called “Gerbil Agility: Yes, they can”
Do you write full time? If so, tell us how you manage it. If not, what is your day job? No, I don’t write full time. I’m an interaction designer. I make on-line applications easy to use and improve the user experience. Design is a very interactive process requiring a lot of feedback and revision, plus a thick skin. The focus has to be on improving the end-product and making it right for your audience. These skills help in writing as well.
What is your writing process like--do you outline first or just start writing, etc.? The book was originally a short story that came to me all at once. I wrote it down in about two week. Then I thought, “these characters are such interesting people, why not tell the whole story.” Writing fiction is extremely difficult. So, I had many authors, editors, and avid-readers help me to expand it to a full-length novel, which took four years.
Do you work with a writing group or mentor? Why or why not? If you do, what do you get out of it? My husband has had four books published and has won several playwriting awards – he helped me with the dialogue – plus several friends and relatives helped by writing down their stories which I wrote the characters into. This style of writing which I term “mosaic” results in a very realistic portrayal of events because of the details know only to those with first-hand experience.
Tell us about your book.
This book is not your usual bodice-ripper romance where an unnaturally gorgeous heroine meets a buff, alpha-male for hot nasty sex.
Not even close.
Jo is a survivor of a bleak and abusive childhood. She channels her pain and rage into weight training and roams the city streets at night as a powerful vigilante. While she is more than capable of defending herself against physical danger, she is defenseless against the memories of the past that torment her.
Francis is a mysterious man she meets on the subway train. He doesn’t have a regular job and is still living at home. But he is gentle, likeable, friendly, intelligent, sensitive, respectful, generous, patient, and understanding. Just what a brave, but damaged soul like Jo needs.
In this story, the average-guy hero battles to win the battered heart of the wary, edgy, less-than-perfect heroine.
“Spin the Plate is a fast-paced, edgy, darkly comic tale of resilience, romance, and redemption that breaks over you in waves. All you can do is gasp, stay afloat, and enjoy the ride.”
-- Holly Robinson, author of The Wishing Hill and Sleeping Tigers
The novel is free from smashwords and itunes. It is a 99 cent kindle and available in paperback from amazon and barnes and noble. Make sure to get the January 2013 (full length novel) version entitled “Spin the Plate: A novel.
Where did you get the idea for the story?It came to me one day as I was driving my daily 65 mile commute across the width of New Hampshire. It was like remembering a movie I’d just seen. The main characters, Jo’s flashback and her story just hit me in crashing waves. It was a pretty amazing experience, the first one of that kind I’d ever had.