Author Tina Donahue Interview

Tina Donahue is an award-winning, bestselling novelist in erotic, paranormal, historical, and contemporary romance for Kensington, Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Siren Publishing, Booktrope, Luminosity, and indie. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. Three of her erotic romances (Adored, Lush Velvet Nights, and Deep, Dark, Delicious) were named finalists in the 2011 EPIC competition. The French review site, Blue Moon reviews, chose Sensual Stranger as their Book of the Year 2010 (erotic category). The Golden Nib Award at Miz Love Loves Books was created specifically for Lush Velvet Nights, and two of her titles (The Yearning and Deep, Dark, Delicious) received an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition (2011 and 2012). Take Me Away and Adored both won second place in the NEC RWA contest (different years). Tina is featured in the 2012 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Before writing full-time she was the editor of an award-winning Midwestern newspaper and worked in Story Direction for a Hollywood production company.

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“Heat with Heart


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What inspired you to write your first book? I really can’t say. I just did it. I was nine at the time and wrote/illustrated Dimples the Adventurous Flea, about a flea who jumps from dog to dog, one a French poodle, another an English bulldog. You see where this is going, right? On the poodle, Dimples thought he was in France. On the bulldog, he’d believed he’d made it to England. I made copies by hand (we didn’t have a copier in the house) and sold them to my friends’ parents in the neighborhood. My first book tour.

How much real life do you put into or influences your books? My heroines tend to be like me. Not a part of the in crowd by any means, and not having an easy time at love. Their world views on wanting a nice guy, rather than a rat, are mine too. Everything else, especially the steamy scenes, is generally my imagination. Don’t know if I’d have the guts to get into a ménage.

What is the hardest part of writing for you? The first draft. Getting something down. Once I have a scene, chapter, whatever, I can rewrite until it meets my specifications. When it’s in my head and the paper’s blank, it’s more difficult.

What are your current projects? Wow, I have several. I have an erotic historical series from Kensington coming out in 2016. I’m currently working on edits for Passionate Pursuit, book three of my Dangerous Desires series. I just finished The Ride of Her Life, my novella for the spring 2016 antho for the Naughty Literati. I have other novellas coming up for two groups I just joined – Risque Romance and The Naughty Nine. I was invited to write a novella for a new Decadent series. I’ll be working on that before Christmas (this year). I have several Samhain books to write for my various series with them, and…more projects to come.

How do you go about choosing the title for your book(s)? I have looked at song titles and lyrics in the past then play with those titles until they match my book. Doesn’t always work. I let it stew for a while and then suddenly, almost magically, a title will pop into my head and I’ll think – ‘yeah, that’s it’.

What is your favorite genre to write? I like them all, as long as I can lace the stories with humor. I like suspense, and I can get readers’ hearts pounding, but the easiest thing for me to write is romantic comedy. It just flows. Therefore, I tend to have a lighter side to my tales. Even the ones that have serious subjects.

Generally, how long does it take you to complete a book from idea to handing it over to your publisher? Depends on length. On a novella, I can usually complete it in a week. On a 90,000 word ms, takes a month, after I’ve done my research and outlined. Once I start writing, I do a chapter a day. So if a novel has 20 chapters, it takes me 20 days to write, then about 3-4 days for rewrites.

Do you ever use someone in your life as a sounding board for ideas or do you prefer to work alone? I prefer not to use someone as a sounding board. They might have a different worldview than I do and our ideas might not mesh. I’m better working alone.

Do your travel to research for your book(s)? Wish I could, but that’s prohibitively expensive. Besides, you can get whatever you want for free on the net. Whether I want to describe a billionaire’s home or a castle in medieval Spain, I simply Google the subject. Amazing what you can find online – with great photos too!

Did you learn anything while writing your book(s)? When I was researching Wicked Whispers, book two of my Dangerous Desire series, I learned a lot about medieval medicine (my heroine is a healer) and what killed people in those days. Amazing stuff. When I wrote Intimate Details, I had to research hacking (my heroine is a hacker, but she works for the good guys). I know zip about coding or programming, but I did learn how you can bypass a major security system and get into private files using vending machines. That’s not a misprint, vending machines and online menus will get you in.

Have you ever had an idea for a book but never written it and what is it?There are too many to relate here. I had the idea for Loving Lies for a long time before I actually wrote the book.

When writing, do you have a process? Research first, then outline, then write, then rewrite. Don’t stop until I finish.

Do you have any advice for new authors looking to make their own literary statement?Not sure what you mean by literary statement. If you mean a message, it’s best that the story comes first and the readers get the message from the characters’ actions rather than a statement. No one wants a sermon. If you mean style, then the only way for any author to find their style is to write. There are no shortcuts. I wrote a lot of serious stuff before I discovered my flair for comedy.

How many books have you written? Do you have a particular favorite?About 70. Can’t say I have a particular favorite. Usually, I’m partial to the one(s) I’ve just finished, until I start on the next one.

Why did you choose to use a publisher instead of self-publishing? Self-publishing hasn’t been available that long and I’ve never gone solo in self-publishing. I’ve done indie with other authors in box sets.

Where do your ideas come from? They just pop into my head. I’ll be driving, working on something else, watching TV and the idea just happens.

How many books do you currently have published? Almost 60.

Are you working on anything right now? I was invited to write a novella for a new Decadent line. I’ll be starting that in a few days.  Will hopefully finish before Christmas.

Do you have a favorite Hero or Heroine from any of your books and why?No. I love them all. They’re my babies. J

Do you have anything you would like to say to your current readers or to those that haven’t yet read your work(s)? If you like heat with heart and a dash of humor, along with sexy heroes who are also nice guys and strong women, give my books a try.

More About You ~ The Fun and the Naughty

Share one thing about yourself that would surprise people who know you.

Basically I’m very shy. Despite some of the things I write, I’m really shy.

Doggy style, cow girl or missionary?Hmm. Doggy and cow girl. Why limit yourself?

What secret sinful pleasure do you keep hidden in your cupboards? Can’t say it’s in my cupboards. It’s on my computer. Dolls Behaving Badly. Dolls posed doing things we humans do behind closed doors. Love those pictures. LOL.

Are you a wine or beer kinda gal? Wine. Though I like chocolate milk the best.

If you could go anywhere at all on your next vacation where would you go?Andalucia, Spain

If you could choose any hot famous guy to take with you who would it be and why? Probably Joe Manganiello. He’s hot and looks like a nice guy. Loved his convenience store scene in Magic Mike XXL.

Thong, Bikinis, Granny Panties, or Boy shorts? Bikinis or boy shorts. Thongs feel weird to me.

Are you a dress up in heels or a jeans and flats woman? Jeans and flats.

Homebody or Party all the time girl? Homebody. Have too much writing to do to party.

Tall, Dark and Deadly or Smart and Sexy or Athletic and Funny? Tall, Dark, Smart, Sexy, and Funny. There, fixed it for you. J

Significant other or Tearing up the town free and clear? Free and clear. Don’t know about tearing up the town.

Favorite social network and why? I really don’t like social networks. Too many weirdos on them. But if I had to choose, I guess FB.

What was your “dream” job as a child? I wanted to be a truck driver. I thought it would be cool to drive around all day, visiting different places. Never occurred to me that I’d have to load and unload the truck and fight traffic, plus meet deadlines.

What was the worst job you ever had while working towards being a published author? Retail.

What would be your next best choice if not writing as a career? Can’t imagine. I have to write. Simply can’t stop.

About Your Latest Release

Introduce us to the main characters:

Isabella and Fernando in Loving Lies, available for preorder from Amazon, releasing February 16, 2016.

He’s a warrior-knight. She’s the daughter of a Duke.

How do these two meet? Can’t say. That’s how the story begins. You’ll have to read the book to find out. J

How would you characterize their relationship in one word answers, start, middle and end?

Start: Stunning or surprising

Middle: Smoldering and worrying

End: Satisfying

Sorry for going over one word on some. My bad.

 What three words would you use to describe this story? Romantic, steamy, adventurous. Exciting too. Again, my bad for going over the word count.


Deception knows no limits. Passion knows no bounds.

When she’s kidnapped, Senorita Isabella knows the men have been sent by her uncle in a murderous attempt to control her family’s fortune. But when she is rescued by a dashing and mysterious warrior, Isabella can’t imagine why a stranger would risk his life for her—until she discovers her rescuer believes she’s someone else….

Fernando de Zayas loves nothing more than the cry of battle. Defying death is his way of life. But when he discovers his betrothed has been kidnapped, he rushes to her aid—never suspecting that spirited beauty would soothe his warrior heart…

With her uncle’s minions close on their heels, Isabella finds herself drawing closer to Fernando. But as the desire between them builds, her secret could keep them apart forever…


The Moorish Kingdom of Granada, Spain—1488

Al-Caicería—The Great Bazaar

“Harem!” The slave trader’s shout rose above other voices in the open-air market. He dug his fingers into the hooded robe hiding Isabella Lopéz de Lara’s face and nudity. “Harem!”

The Arabic word seemed to linger in the still, warm air. Sweat trickled down Isabella’s cheek. Her abduction in Andalucía, on orders from her murderous uncle, was far too real and horrifying now.

Someone brushed past, startling her. The individual’s sandals or boots slapped hard against the ground, the sounds fading quickly. Isabella snatched a breath. The hem of her robe pulled away from her legs. She stilled, terrified to move. Work-roughened fingers slid over her ankle and up her calf.

Holding back a scream, she backed into the slaver. He released his hold on her robe and shouted in Arabic, his words incomprehensible to her. An object whistled close to her face, followed by a harsh crack and a man’s agonized cry.

The hand jerked away from her leg. A series of brutal whacks and stumbling noises rose above the other sounds.

Swallowing hard, she listened for what she couldn’t see.

Too many buyers shuffled close, stirring up dust to mingle with the scents of cooked meat, cloyingly sweet perfumes, the stench of animals and men. Crude male voices yelled the word harem repeatedly. Moments later, fabric snapped.

She pictured the slaver stripping one of the other captives, forcing the poor woman to display herself.

Murmurs floated through the crowd. The slaver shouted above them, making the men speak faster, louder.

As they offered bids?

She shuddered, expecting the slave to plead for mercy.

Whoever the girl was, she held her tongue, seemingly resigned to her fate the Moors deemed qisma, destiny.

Men pushed past with cruel indifference, some pressing so close Isabella could smell the grime on their robes. Sickened, she stepped back. The slaver said something and ran his fingers down her shoulder to her arm, touching the side of her breast. She jerked away from his filthy touch. Those surrounding them laughed. The slaver pulled her tightly against him, proving she was in his world, his property, even though she was the daughter of a grandee and duke.

Her late father’s position hardly mattered now. Her only hope was in escape that seemed impossible.

Voices rose and fell during countless negotiations, sheep bleated, children played. Someone spoke above the din, the tone unusually high-pitched, sounding neither female nor male, marking its owner as a eunuch. A man who was no longer male.

His comments grew strident. The slaver shouted in return.

Her pulse pounded. If a way out existed, she had to see it. The eunuch and slaver argued on. She pulled at the hood of her robe and slowly lifted her head until she could see past the cloth.

The sun hung heavy in the sky, turning Granada’s structures a blinding white. Squinting at the overwhelming brightness, she regarded the numerous towers to determine if guards watched from there and would see any attempt at escape. If not, where would she flee?

Granada was a city of countless dwellings and strangers who would never offer sanctuary to a Spanish noblewoman. The free women here were as shrouded as she was, with only their eyes uncovered. However, if she could secure one of the dark robes sold in the market and disguise herself as a Moorish woman, there might be a chance to flee. No man would dare break the sanctity of the veil, not even to search for an escaped slave. The Moors’ religion forbade it.

The robes were tantalizingly close, though still out of reach.

The slaver’s voice rose again. He spat on the dinars the eunuch had offered. The eunuch’s palm looked as soft as a woman’s, his dark face bearing no trace of a beard. Clearly impatient, he gestured to Isabella’s robe. The slaver yanked the hood off her head. She gasped.

A flurry of excited murmurs rippled through the crowd. The eunuch stared openly at her elaborately braided hair, apparently stunned at its unusual auburn color. The slaver gestured to her robe, his words seeming to imply how the Moors had prepared her body for sale. The eunuch focused on her eyes, the same blue-green as Queen Isabella’s, a color well known within Spain’s Royal House of Trastámara.

The slaver’s broad smile revealed most of his decayed teeth. When he spoke again, the eunuch grew thoughtful.

On a shuddering breath, Isabella searched the market for any means of escape and found none. Too many people pressed close with no clear route from the area. If only she could see what was behind her, she might find a way out.

A quick glance showed even more people and cramped stalls, proving how trapped she was. The eunuch’s high-pitched shout suddenly rose above the slaver’s angry growl. Wanting away from them, she inched back. The eunuch dashed to her right, blocking her. The slaver to her left and reached for her robe.

Piercing wails filled the heated air.

Isabella stiffened. The slaver’s hand fell from her. He and the eunuch turned toward the sounds. Two dark-robed women pressed their hands to their veiled mouths. Children had stopped playing, their youthful eyes widened in wonder or fear at an aged man. His white beard trailed down his chest, and infirmity bent his tall frame, forcing him to keep his face lowered. He wore a turban and full robe, the voluminous fabric hiding the contours of his body.

Suddenly, he thrust his hand into a fire used to cook some manner of food.

Many in the crowd gasped. A young girl backed into a basket of olives, toppling it. The fruit rolled across the ground until it reached a pool of spilled honey where a black cat prowled.

The aged man kept his hand in the fire without bellowing in pain. He chose three smoking coals, tossing the hot embers from his right hand to his left much as jugglers did at fairs with brightly colored balls.

This was no fair nor was he a juggler, but a fakir, a holy man.

Isabella had heard tales of such beings who traveled the Arab territories. Fakirs had no homes or commerce, begging for food as they roamed from place to place, performing amazing feats to shock everyone, as he did now. Merchants, free women, and children waited to see what the strange man would do next.

With no one watching her, Isabella prepared to break into a run, to lose herself in the throng.

The fakir tilted his face and met her gaze.

Her heart caught. His eyes were arresting and strangely beautiful, his gaze so intent she stepped back. His expression changed. With a hard frown, he seemed to warn her to remain where she was. He turned to the eunuch and slaver, crying to them in Arabic, his voice reedy with age.

Her stomach churned. Was he warning them of her intent to flee?

When he looked back at her, raw power lit his expression, holding her to the spot.

Even if she’d wanted to move, she couldn’t now. The eunuch and slaver stared at her.

Tina D loving lies

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