I have a very special interview today. Not because I’m such a great interviewer, but because it’s with Donna Fleisher. During these next couple weeks, we thought we’d thank the mentors and cheerleaders who have supported this community of writers during our writing journeys. And this amazing lady has been both a mentor and a cheerleader to me. She edited my first novel, taught me a LOT, and has been a cheerleader ever since—although I believe she prefers jeans to the teeny-tiny skirt…
On that note, let me introduce Donna Fleisher.
JW: Before we get into your whole writing career and life story, I have a question of utmost important to ask you. Who is your favorite—Hoops or Yoyo?
DF: I don’t even know which is which, but I don’t think they one would be near as funny without the other. They seem to feed off each other. Actually, I think Hoops is the more dominant one. Which probably means I like Yoyo better.
JW: Rooting for the underdog, eh? That sounds like you. (Side note: If you don’t know who Hoops and Yoyo are, you are very deprived. Contact me, and I’ll send you an e-card.)
JW: Next question is the standard one. How did you get into writing? Did you always want to be a writer, or did it just kind of come like a little light bulb on that brilliant head of yours?
DF: I didn’t always want to be a writer. I never even considered writing until 1996. Suddenly I realized a few things: First, I need to read. Second, no novel out there will satisfy my unbelievably picky, pathetically narrow, absurdly demanding taste. Third, if I want to read a novel that will satisfy my taste, I need to write it. Fourth, if I don't write it, I'll burst. Fifth, what bad thing would happen if I gave it a try? I mean, would the sky fall? Would the ocean dry up and blow away? Would life as the world knew it grind to a halt just because this bored aired-out little Christian girl living by the beach wanted to write a novel? This was my main thought: It'll be fun!!!! Oh, man, I had no idea.
JW: And for the rest of her amazing writing story, check out The Entire Adventure on her blog at http://www.donnafleisher.com/. Because this woman’s long-winded and I ain’t gonna post the entire 500 or so pages here. Instead, why don’t you tell me about the latest project you’re working on.
DF: The latest project I've completed is a six-hour course on either CD or cassette on "Bringing Fiction to Life: On writing powerful Christian fiction." I'm so jazzed about it, cuz it'll make my job as freelance editor soooo much easier. And I can (hopefully) sell it on-line and at conferences and such.
JW: Speaking of editing…I heard you're taking down your writing shingle for now and replacing it with a bigger one for your editing business. Any comments?
DW: Yep, you've heard right. For now the writing shingle is tucked away in my attic. Well, actually, it isn't, cuz I don't have an attic. Let's just say it's safely in storage. When (probably not if) that time comes when another story idea starts to work inside me (sorta like a bean burrito would ... no, actually, not like that at all), I'll be ready to pull that shingle back out of storage and let it fly once more. (Do shingles fly?) Until then, I'm totally excited about the opportunity to work with new novelists. There seems to be oodles of them out there.
JW: Well, if I could, I’d send them all your way. Everyone, she does a fantastic job. There. I put a plug in for ya. Maybe that means you’ll send me your newest book. LOL. Speaking of Standing Strong, this is the last book in the Homeland Heroes. You couldn’t decide which character was your favorite. Do you have a favorite book in the series?
DW: Ouch! Do I really have to choose? Well, okay...Warrior's Heart. That one was my problem child. So to speak. But it came together and I think it worked. No, actually, I'd have to say Wounded Healer,cuz that's the one that I brooded over for so long. (Thanks to Nick Harrison for the b-word.) Well, no, probably not Wounded Healer, cuz Valiant Hope was a special book to write, especially when Margaret Becker allowed me to use her amazing song "Who Am I?" at the end. But, then again, Standing Strong does wrap everything up, and I am fond of the epilogue at the end. So I'd have to say...I can't decide. Sorry, lady.
JW: Well, we tried. How about some easier favorites? Food, hobby, book, verse…whatever.
DF: Ahh, let's see. Food? Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and Skippers. And whatever my brother is grilling at the time. Hobby? Beachcombing, especially for sand dollars. Author? Camy Tang. Susie Larson. Book? Okay, I'm helpless. I don't read enough to have a favorite. If I could be totally honest without coming across as pious ... I'd say the book of Hebrews. That's one book I could read over and over. Growing up, my favorite book was the Sears Christmas Wishbook.
JW: Ha! Me, too. Here’s my last question: Give us some random advice. Writing-related and otherwise.
DF: Bits of random advice. Hmm. Writing related: As you're typing, make sure the Insert button hasn't been pushed. In other words, try not to delete what you've previously written with every keystroke of new material you're typing in. Hey, been there, done that. And it ain't pretty. Not writing related: Take time for a walk on the beach. Let the sand squish up between your toes. Breathe deep of the lush, fresh, ocean breezes.
JW: Thanks, Donna, for sharing. And thank you for all you’ve taught me, for your encouragement and humor and example. And most of all, for your friendship. I am so thankful that our paths have crossed. Hopefully someday they’ll cross in person.
To learn more about Donna or to contact her (for her editing services!!), check out her website at http://www.donnafleisher.com/. She is the author of the Homeland Heroes series: Wounded Healer, Warrior’s Heart, Valiant Hope, and just released, Standing Strong.