Hello, all! Another Friday, another wonderful author for you to meet. Dana Romanin is another author in the Clean Reads publishing family. As many of you know, I just love being a part of this group of authors. We help each other, encourage each other, and give much needed advice. This group is how I met Dana. So, she is on my blog today talking about her novel and even offering a giveaway (details below).
Abby’s Letters is a story about sisters, first love, and forgiveness. It’s about a seventeen-year-old girl who fakes her mom’s life in order to keep her little sister from going into foster care. Along the way she discovers things about herself, her cute next door neighbor, and most importantly her dead mother that changes the way she looks at life forever.
Interesting… What was the inspiration for Abby’s Letters?
Well, the idea for my story came from a morbid newspaper article I read years ago. It was about the amount of unclaimed bodies crowding the morgues. They’d just be written off as John or Jane Doe and would be stored for months, even a year or longer. It was sad to think that someone could die and nobody know or care enough to claim them. Then I thought, unless there was a reason no one claimed them. Maybe they were protecting someone. And Abby’s Letters stemmed from there
It is true that inspiration for writers comes from anywhere. I totally get it.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve been seriously writing for almost seven years. Before that, I was more of a dreamer. I was enamored with the idea of being an author. I’ve dabbled in writing since I was a preteen and I had this romanticized “Anne Shirley” type notion of what writing was supposed to be like. But I didn’t have a good reason for why I wanted to write. Therefore, if it got too hard, which it inevitably does, I just didn’t do it. I’d give up. I never thought it was possible to actually become a published writer, because it just seemed too doggone hard. But it wasn’t until I became a youth group leader that I figured out why I wanted to write— to encourage, comfort, and bring light into hurting girl’s lives. Once I figured out why I wanted to write nothing was going to stop me. It didn’t matter how hard making it in publishing was, I wasn’t going to quit because I had a reason not to quit.
I love that. You really have a wonderful personal inspiration. Something you said is really true. It does get hard. There are parts of the process that are not as fun. What part of the writing process do you dread the most?
The part of the writing process that I dread the absolute most is writing the blurb and synopsis. I can write 400 pages, but ask me to write one paragraph about that 400 pages, and I’m paralyzed.
I always ask, because we are always learning from each other… Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?
The best advice I can give is don’t fight the story. Don’t shy away from writing the tough stuff. There are parts in Abby’s Letters that I didn’t want to write. I wanted to do some things differently, but that wasn’t the story. I wanted to take the easy way out, but I had to dive into those scenes and write them anyway.
I always have to set the mood when I write…and music is a key part of that. What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?
The music I listen to depends on my character’s personality. One of my character’s personality most matches French music, so when I’m writing in his POV I listen to the French Cooking Music on Pandora. Another one of my characters has a lot of issues so Julia Michael’s Issues song is perfect for her scenes.
Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?
I write best in the morning. My brain is completely fried by the afternoon so I found that the best time to write is first thing in the morning after the coffee kicks in. And my favorite place to write is anywhere that I’m not interrupted. I have three kids so that can be hard to find.
I totally get that. I have three of my own, so it can be challenging 🙂
How long does it take you to write a book?
Abby’s Letters took me about a year to write from beginning to end. However, I’ve recently made changes so that I can focus solely on my writing career, and I hope that will decrease that time frame quite a bit.
I’m going to take a chance and ask if you could tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
In my original plan for Abby’s Letters, Clark’s character did not exist. If you read the book, you will see how different that would make the book! And Lindsey was supposed to be nothing but a minor character. But she was so insistent on having more depth that I wound up giving her a book of own.
Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?
As I mentioned before Lindsey was so insistent on being more than just a stock character that I’ve revolved the second book in the series around her. So I’m currently in the editing process on the second and third book in the Abby’s Letters series. I’m also writing a novella from the perspective of Beth, Jane’s best friend in Abby’s Letters. I also have a rough idea for a supernatural trilogy that is just begging to be written. So now you can see why I need to work on my turnaround time on writing books. So many books to write, so little time!
I so get that! So much inspiration all around us! We have to pick and choose sometimes.
Thanks for being on my blog today. It was so great to hear more about you and your process. I look forward to hearing more about the book!
For years, Jane’s mom told her horror stories about her time spent in foster care. Now she’s determined to keep her little sister from suffering the same fate.
Seventeen-year-old Jane Sanders has had to take care of her alcoholic mother and little sister, Abby, since her dad died seven years ago. And now Mom had to go and die too. Authorities determine it was a homeless transient who died in the fire of the old manufacturing plant, but Jane knows the truth.
There is no way she’s going to let Abby go into foster care which leaves her with one option—fake her mom’s life. As far as Abby knows, their mom is in rehab. And Jane wants to keep it that way. She’d be eighteen in a few months then she could become legal guardian to her sister. With the help of her best friend, Clark, it should be easy, right?
Juggling nosy neighbors, a concerned school counselor, and an oblivious new boyfriend turns out to be harder than Jane thought. But the real problem begins when Abby starts writing letters to Mom. Through Abby’s letters, Jane sees a different side to their mom—a side she could have loved. And loving Mom is something she didn’t plan on. Because loving somebody makes it harder to ignore their death.
Enjoy an Excerpt
Clark exhaled. “Anything for you, Janie.”
Oh. He had to pull out the nickname. It crushed her. Asking Clark to lie for her—she had never asked so much of him. It went against everything he believed in. She didn’t believe in all that Christian stuff, but he did. Keeping this secret would mean disrespecting his mother. It meant he would have to go against his beliefs.
Disrespect his God.
But his God wasn’t there for her, and He certainly wasn’t going to save Abby from foster care.
Jane would, though.
She entwined her fingers with his. He was so different than the little boy who’d played hide-and-seek with her on warm summer nights, back when her world was filled with her father’s laughter and her mother’s smiles. Now his muscle twitched in his strong jawline. What happened to the freckle-faced boy she had played G.I. Joe and Transformers with? He even had stubble.
“You’re the only one allowed to call me that.”
“And you’re the only one allowed to call me Janie.”
“This is too much. You can’t do this alone.” His thumb caressed her hand.
“I’m not. I have you.”
More about the author
Dana Romanin has dreamed of being a writer since she was a little girl pretending to be Anne Shirley (from Anne of Green Gables). She used to write under a forsythia bush, but now she writes in a messy office that she shares with her sewing obsessed daughter.
Dana’s short story, The Silence of Sand, was chosen for adaptation into a short video performed by the Blue Man Group. Dana has also published short fiction for teens in Encounter—The Magazine and had a short story published in a Family Fiction anthology, The Story 2014. Her first novel, Abby’s Letters, released June 20, 2017.
She lives nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with her wonderful husband, three beautiful kids, and a lot of persnickety pets.
Connect with Dana and her books
Dana has generously offered an ecopy of her book Abby’s Letters to one Rafflecopter winner. So, please follow the instructions below to enter to win this fabulous prize!