Today we welcome Donna Brennan to my blog. Donna is very graciously giving away one copy of Forget the Mess--It's Time for a Story to one commenter. Include contact information and answer the question in bold.
Welcome, Donna! Tell us about Forget the Mess—It’s Time for a Story – a brief blurb:
Forget the mess is a collection of six short stories, some with humor and all with a twist. Sometimes we don’t have time to read a whole book, but you can read a short story quickly and get back to whatever else it was you were doing. Here’s a quick line about each one:
- My Good Son – The son she remembers is missing; and who is this man calling her “Ma”?
- Pretense – Sister-relationships can be complicated, especially if you’re afraid to tell the truth.
- Another Day – Clara looks for a way—and a reason—to keep going.
- Spectator – When watching other people’s lives is more interesting than living your own, maybe you need to take some action.
- Taking Care of His Wife – Brad promised to take care of Megan forever—but he never said exactly how he would do that.
- Love Your Frenimies – When Jesus said to love your neighbor, he couldn’t have meant Gina’s neighbor, Anna.
Is there one particular message or “moral of the story” you hope readers walk away with?
My main intent is to entertain and encourage. Often my main characters misjudge someone else initially, but then come to change their mind by the end of the story. So I guess one of my common themes is not to judge others and to look for the good in people. But each story in the collection has its own message. My hope is that these stories touch my readers’ hearts and make them smile.
What one question would you like us to ask your readers?
Please share, briefly, about an experience in your life that made you smile unexpectedly or gave you a new perspective on a person or thing.
Tell us about the giveaway you’re offering.
I’ll send an autographed, paperback copy of Forget the Mess—It’s Time for a Story to the reader with the most intriguing or humorous response.
Each story started with a kernel of an idea—an emotion or situation that sparked my interest. And then I played with that idea over and over again in my mind, until I knew what I wanted to happen.
For example, taking care of my aging mother (who couldn’t remember me) made me wonder what was going on in her head. She often got confused or focused on something that to me seemed inconsequential—I wanted to know how the world appeared to her. So the protagonist in my first story, My Good Son, starts out not knowing her own son or where she is.
Second example: I had a friend who started to get on my nerves by pointing out things I did (or things she imagined I did) that she didn’t like or think were right. Part of me wanted to get defensive and tell her what I thought, regardless of what it would do to our friendship. I knew she was going through some “stuff”, so I held my tongue. But I was hurt and offended; it was easier to avoid her than to listen to her complain. But the hurt festered and I found it difficult to forgive. Writing Love Your Frenemies was very cathartic for me. As I wrote it, I felt my heart softening toward my friend. We have started talking again and, so far, there’s been no criticizing or complaining.
Tell us about your research process.
My research process for these stories is life itself. There are stories happening all around us all the time; we just have to pay attention—although maybe not quite as intensely as my protagonist in Spectator. (She starts to get more interested in the personal conversations between two fellow students she’s never met than in the conversation her friends are trying to have with her.) I take in what happens around me and put in a little bit of this and a drop of that and mix it with a touch of my own life experiences, until I have a story I’m happy with.
What impact did your research have on you personally?
My research didn’t impact me at all. I’m always looking at things on the news, TV shows, books, and life around me and wonder, “What if…” One of the benefits of finally writing those ideas down on paper is that they are no longer swirling around my head.
How do you see yourself in your character’s story, if at all?
Several of my characters feel that life is a bit out of control—and I can surely identify with that sometimes. They try to do what is right, even when it’s not easy or when the right choice isn’t obvious. They care deeply about others. Most of them try to have a humorous perspective on things. And they all have strong opinions—right or wrong, but they are willing to reevaluate their opinions when faced with other possibilities. All qualities I hope I have.
While you were writing Forget the Mess—It’s Time for a Story, do you think it mattered where the book was set?
Most of these stories could have taken place in any neighborhood. Spectator could take place at any university. Setting is not as important to these stories as the internal struggle and transformation of my characters.
Share your bio:
She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group (GLVWG). She’s served in various capacities on the GLVWG board, including several terms as Conference Chair. She’s always looking for opportunities to encourage others and to share what she’s learned.
Social media and buying links
Donna’s website is www.DegunkingLife.com.
Forget the Mess—It’s Time for a Story is available on Amazon. It’s currently only in paperback, but a Kindle version will coming out soon.