Dana Marton writes fast-paced action-adventure romances that take her readers all over the globe. She is a Rita Award finalist and the winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence. She loves writing stories of intrigue, filled with dangerous plots that try her tough-as-nails heroes and the special women they fall in love with. Her books have been published in seven languages in eleven countries around the world.
THE SPY WHO SAVED CHRISTMAS
CHRISTMAS IS COMING... and this year, it's going to hit hard... For the first time, undercover agent Reid Graham has something to lose--the sons he's never met and the woman he couldn't forget.
While on a mission, Reid had broken the rules to share a very passionate night with Lara. After that night, Lara learned he was dead, his shop and hers burned to the ground. Later, Lara learned she was pregnant with Reid's sons. Almost two years later Reid and Lara are thrown together again when a gunman kills Reid's witness, an event which drags Lara into the middle of things. Reid then learns of his two sons, and Lara learns that the man she had fallen in love with, the man who she thought had died in that fire, was still alive. When Lara first tells Reid the twins are his, he doesn't believe her. But after taking her and the twins to a safe house, he knows they belong to him. Now, he will do anything and everything in his power to save the woman he loves and his children.
How did you start out your writing career?
With a long detour! It took me 12 + years and 5 completed manuscripts (and a stack of unfinished work) to get published. I finally got published when I took massive action and got focused. By massive action, I mean going back to college and getting a Masters' Degree in Writing Popular Fiction. I wanted to improve my writing in a major way in a short time. I didn't want to spend another 12 years learning in dribbles and bits. And I started to write full time, giving 100% energy to writing. By focused, I mean analyzing my strengths and finding the publisher who was the best match for me--Harlequin Intrigue. Then I bought a stack of their books and analyzed them for level of violence, level of sensuality, plot, etc. etc. Once I felt that I knew the line inside out, I started a book for them. That book was snapped up, and I've sold 25 books to them in the last 7 years.
New writers might think, well, if someone can afford to go back to college and write 8 hours a day, that must be nice. But it wasn't like I was some great lady of leisure. I went to college on faith, pretty much. I figured I'm going to work so hard that something will happen. It will have no other choice. Energy doesn't disappear. My husband kept reminding me that I put so much energy into writing, it had to turn into something big. As part of the course work, we had to write a novel of publishable quality. I wrote four, and ended up selling three before I graduated. Those books paid my tuition in full. Halfway through college I lost my job. That allowed me time to write in between searching the job ads. As it turned out, I ended up not having to go back to an office. Losing that job was one of the best things that have ever happened to me.
What did you learn while writing this book?
That I need to learn to write faster!
What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
I would like to give my readers a break. When my reader comes home from work and then takes care of the house and the kids and has an hour or two to herself finally at the end of the day, I'd like to take her out of that house on a grand adventure where she can experience thrill but can't get hurt, where she can be washed away by a grand romance, where she can completely unplug, where a happy ending is guaranteed. My goal is to make her forget her to do list completely. I want to give women like me a break. I think we all need it.
Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?
I have to admit, it's a lot more difficult. I thought things would get easier once I got published, but they only got harder. Instead of having to worry about pleasing 1 editor who might buy my book, I have to worry about pleasing 100,000 readers who will read it. Not to mention promotion, which now takes more time than the actual writing. Publishers expect writers to do more and more of their own promotion. I'm not crazy about this trend. As a manger, I was always told to put each person to a job that he or she does the best. I do writing the best. Hopefully, soon the industry will realize that promotion is best done by marketing specialists and not writers.
Which five characters (can be from books, movies, or tv shows) would you invite over for dinner and why?
Wow, right now all five that pop into my mind are either werewolves or vampires. Is that bad? I'm not sure how that dinner would go for me! LOL
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
1. To trust my own judgement more. 2. Not to settle for less than what I truly want. 3. Take more fun time and exercise time. I pretty much haven't left my chair in the last 7 years, which has not done wonders for my health.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
Do keep improving your craft. Go to workshops, read how to books. Don't keep writing at the same skill level. When a book gets rejected, write a new one and make it better.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
It's not about sitting around, eating bon bons and partying with male cover models! LOL I still get request to babysit the neighbor's kids or get together for shopping or things like that, right in the middle of my writing day. Since I work at home, people think I'm just hanging out. Truth is, I barely take time to grab a sandwich from the fridge for lunch. Writing is hard work. I need to be doing it several hours a day to have four books out a year. If you wouldn't like someone to drop off their kids at your office for you to watch them at work, please don't drop off your kids at a writer's house in the middle of the workday. :-)
What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry?
The worst? Best advice was to keep raising the bar for myself. Never give up, never surrender. Worst advice: If it's supposed to happen, it will happen. I'm not sure I believe in "supposed to happen" anymore. I think life is what you make it. Work hard, pray harder. Sitting back and waiting for fate to drop something wonderful on my lap tend not to work for me.
What is something readers would be surprised you do?
I worry about not being good enough. English is not my first language, I learned it fairly late. Sometimes I think of that as an obstacle and wonder if I can ever become a truly good writer. Then I snap myself out of it and tell myself that the only real obstacles are those that we create in our own minds, then I go and work twice as hard.
If you could be a character from any book you've read, who would you be?
This is difficult, because characters in books suffer so much. We need to make them suffer for the sake of sufficient drama in the book and also so the character can grow through the book. If I must be a character from a book, I'd like to be a character from a romantic comedy! LOL Maybe one of Jennifer Crusie's heroines?
Our theme this month is The Business Of Writing. Can you offer any advice about the business side of writing?
Treat you writing like a business. In fact, I've given a free online workshop on this subject recently. (http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/board/forumdisplay.php?f=1186) I've learned the hard way that while writing is an art, publishing is most definitely a business. I'd recommend to write 4 days a week, then take 1 day per week when you put on your business hat and think about things like a business plan for your writing, prepare a marketing plan, spend time on promotion, product development, networking, etc. I've seen absolutely superb writers disappear from the writing scene because they neglected the business side.
Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?
I know for sure Oprah is my favorite! :-) I also know for sure that it doesn't pay to pretend you're someone else than you are just to please others. We can only achieve true excellence when we are being true to ourselves.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
I'm working on a number of projects I'm hoping to sell, so pls. keep your fingers crossed for me. One is a paranormal thriller and the other is a YA paranormal mystery.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
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