Friday, May 7, 2010

Interview with Donna MacQuigg

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Donna MacQuigg. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called The Dragon’s Secret. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?
It’s my first fantasy romance set in 975. I think the advance praise or blurb given by my dear friend and critique partner, and a member of the Desert Rose chapter, Kathryne Kennedy bests describes it. “A beautiful tale of predestined love and the power of a dragon’s tears.”

The Dragon’s Secret is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?
There are several secrets revealed throughout the story and one of the most important is known by the spirit of the old dragon that ‘haunts’ the castle.

What made you decide to write in this genre?
I have to give Kathryne credit again. Kathryne is a well known fantasy historical author. She read the first draft of Dragon, which was a straight historical at the time and suggested that I add a little magic. She gave me some ideas which were fairly easy to incorporate into the story and waalaa, I created a fantasy full of sorceresses, mystical dragons, and an evil wizard.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?
I love medieval times and also stories about Druids, their culture and the various tribes of ancient Wales.

What are your favorite fantasy research books, and why?
I love books and usually end up buying them rather than checking them out of the library. I have quite a selection, but the three that influenced this story were The Sacred World of the CELTS, by Nigel Pennick, Myths and Legends of the Middle Ages, by H.A. Guerber, and lastly I picked up a “Living History” book entitled The Vikings. Although “Living History” books are geared for young readers, they are full of pictures and descriptive text that I find very useful. I highly recommend them.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?
Gosh, that’s a hard one. I love to write about villains, but I guess I’d have to say my heroine, Sayrid is my best character. In the story, her powers as a sorceress are just beginning to unfold. It was lots of fun writing about her reaction to the changes she’s going through.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research and world affect your character development?
I don’t use charts. I usually jot down descriptions and personality traits on a steno pad on my desk. I often go back and tweak my characters as the story unfolds.

How do you go about building your world? Do you use maps, charts or drawings?
Since I use real places, I use history books and the internet to help me with descriptions and locations. After I’ve chosen my location, and looked though as many pictures of the area I can find, I let my imagination take over. In Dragon, I wanted the castle to vaguely resemble a dragon’s head, yet still have towers and walls to incase the out buildings.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?
Well, at the risk of repeating myself, Kathryne Kennedy was and is my biggest influence.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?
I like to do library mailings, bookmarks and sending out ARC’s for reviews.

What do we have to look forward next?
I have several things on the burner, but nothing that I can say at the moment. I ask that my readers stay tuned for previews of next week’s show!

Thanks, Donna!

To celebrate her book release, Donna is offering a free book of The Dragon’s Secret to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see who won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Bio..Donna MacQuigg has previously published six historical romances and one contemporary western romance. The Dragon’s Secret is her first in a series of fantasy books.

Check out author’s website at


Anonymous said...

Good Morning Donna. It certainly is a pleasure having you here today after having a chance to meet you at our conference. I love Kathryne's books, I'm sure I'll love yours as well. I love the dragon ghost as well. Can I borrow him to scare off some bullies at my son's school???? :) ANyway, enjoy your chocolate and your day.

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

It's so terrific to finally have you on our blog, Donna! I'm feeling the love, but I'm afraid you give me far, far too much credit. It's your amazing voice and the tender, poignant way you tell your love stories that make your books so spectacular.
Whoever wins your book today is in for a wonderful treat!
Big hug!

Donna MacQuigg said...

Ahhh, ladies, you are too kind. And yes, Kim I think my dragon would love scaring some kids. He's kinda like that ... enjoys being a dragon!

Professor Stacy said...

Donna, I saw your post on facebook that you were blogging here today, so I stopped by. I will gladly add Dragon's Secret to my TBR list. I love books about women coming into power (magickal or not), so I look forward to reading Sayrid's story.

In this post, you wrote about using real places and doing research. Are there any "real" historical events incorporated into the story?

If you have time, I'm also curious about the genre "fantasy" tag. Did YOU choose "fantasy romance" as the genre? What makes it fantasy, just the dragon? Why not paranormal if it is about a sorceress? (Just curious about the details!)

Donna MacQuigg said...

Hi Stacy, Actually Roz Greenberg of Tekno chose the genre, so I was off the hook on the determination. As for the real events, no. I have used real events in my medievals such as battles etc., but in this one, I didn't. I wanted a strong heroine and decided to give her powers that grew as she grew in the story. I also incorporated a little hint of Druid customes according to what I've read and tweaked it to fit my story. And thanks so much for stopping by. This is about my first blog, so I was nervous no one would come :}

Donna MacQuigg said...

I'll be gone for about an hour and a half, so I'll be checking back with everybody as soon as I return. Keep your cards and letters coming. :}

Donna MacQuigg said...

Ok, where were we? I'm back and ready to answer any question.

Angel Barbin said...

So funny that you mentioned the Living History books. I have found them informational as well. The bonus is there are a lot of pictures since they're geared to kids.

I will admit I've read your book already and enjoyed it immensely.

Donna MacQuigg said...

Thank you, Angel. Yes. I like the books for children almost more than the adult history books. And, I love the pictures!

Linda Andrews said...

I'm a big fan of living history books as well. The pictures help alot when the technology isn't familiar. Now I want to know more about the dragon. Are he and the heroine friends?

Donna MacQuigg said...

Hi Linda, Yes my dragon and my heroine are old friends and they share a special bond. I've raised horses for years and kind of used the silent attachment that horses have with him, but he's able to speak to her where my horses only nickered and nosed around for treats! lol Yes, I spoiled them with carrots, apples and sugar. My mare even loved cooked plain spagetti! (That's a whole other story!)

Estella said...

I just put The Dragon's Secret on my To Buy list.
I enjoy dragon stories.

Donna MacQuigg said...

Thank you, Estella! Maybe you be the one to win the free book!

Donna Del Grosso said...

Hey Donna!
Good to see you on Much Cheaper Than Therapy! The Dragon's Secret sounds great. Especially because I can get into a dragon's head like I never have before. Both Kim and Katheryne are wonderful friends of mine as well. You know- it seems that the bigger the writing community gets, the more I have to mention something about the small world we really live in! Good Luck with your book!

Donna MacQuigg said...

Hi, Donna! Yes, it is a small world, but then we had soooo much fun at the Desert Dreams Conference. I can hardly wait till it rolls around again. Two years is toooo long to wait!