The Mistress of Pennington's Tour

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Welcome Sunday Times bestselling author, Donna Douglas...

Hi, Donna! I am thrilled to have you here and looking forward to finding out more about you and your work. Your books looks fabulous and I will be downloading your latest as soon as possible! Let's start with my questions...

What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was very young, I really wanted to be a dog groomer. Our next door neighbour had a poodle, and I just thought working in the poodle parlour would be quite cool. Other than that, I wanted to be the person who made up stories for Jackanory.

Coffee, tea or hot chocolate?
Tea, definitely. I can't live without the stuff. I always have a cup on the go when I'm working. And when I’m not, come to think of it.

What genre do you typically read? Why?
I love crime novels, from classic whodunnits to psychological thrillers. I love a story that rips along, with lots of twists and turns, and crime novels really pack a punch. I also adore ghost stories. I'm easily scared, but I love it!

Share a favourite childhood memory
When I was about five, there was a huge cuddly dog in the window of a local shop. It had been hand made by the owner's wife, so there was no other toy like it. I admired it every time I walked past with my mum and I dearly wanted it for Christmas but we didn't have a lot of money so I knew better than to ask. Anyway, on Christmas morning I woke up and there was the dog sitting beside the Christmas tree! My mum had taken on an extra cleaning job to buy it because she could see how much I liked it. Fifty years on, 'Big Dog' still lives with us as a reminder of my mum's love.

Do you have any shameless addictions?
Apart from tea, as mentioned above, my biggest shameless addiction has to be reality TV - the trashier the better! From Big Fat Gypsy Weddings to Plastic Surgery Gone Wrong, I'll watch it all. My current favourite is Dance Moms, an American TV show about a dance school with a temperamental teacher and pushy parents. Car crash TV at its best!

What do you think is the biggest challenge of writing a new book?
As I write a series, in my case it's coming up with new ideas! Whenever I finish writing a Nightingale book, I'm always convinced I'll never manage another one. But usually, after a few weeks I'll wonder what the characters are up to, and before I know it my head is filling up with random ideas that will one day become a plot.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
Yes, but what I aim to do and what I actually end up doing are two separate things! In the early days I try for 2000 words a day but I'm easily distracted by trashy TV/internet browsing/socialising etc so I don't always manage to meet my own target. Like most people, I tend to get more focused as the deadline looms. Then I could be writing as any as 5000 words a day. But that's tough, so I prefer to pace myself if I can!

What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
There are advantages and disadvantages to it. On the plus side, you really get to know your characters, and you never have to say goodbye to your favourites. The readers get to know them too, and they're always keen to find out what’s going to happen next. And after a while, the 'world' of your book becomes second nature to you. When I start writing a Nightingale book, I only have to picture myself walking through the hospital gates and I'm immediately immersed in the world of a wartime hospital. On the negative side, you have to work hard to keep the ideas flowing and to make sure every book stands up as a good read on its own.

Donna's latest release is NIGHTINGALES AT WAR - Here is the blurb & Amazon link:

Dora is the devoted mother of  twin babies but, determined to help with the war effort, she goes back to work at the Nightingale hospital.

More used to nights out in the West End, Jennifer and Cissy volunteer in the hope of tending to handsome soldiers. They soon find out that nursing isn't quite what they were expecting. 

For shy and troubled Eve, the hospital provides an escape from the pressures of home, but the life of a nurse is never easy, especially at war time.

Can the nurses rally together while war rages all around them? And will the Nightingale hospital survive the blitz?

Donna Douglas author Bio

Donna Douglas is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling Nightingale books, a series of novels set in an East End hospital in the years leading up to the Second World War. She started her career writing photo love stories in teenage magazines and worked as a women’s magazine journalist before becoming an author. Her most recent book, Nightingales at War, was published in May. Donna was born in London, but now lives in York with her husband.  When she isn’t writing, she likes walking, reading and watching trashy TV. 

Twitter - @donnahay1
Comments?? Questions?? 

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