Welcome to Dana
By Jeff Salter
Delighted to welcome my new colleague at Clean Reads – Dana Romanin – just a few days before her first YA novel is set for release. Dana, who had a birthday only yesterday, has been writing YA for quite a while and already has an agent.
I had only recently been introduced to Dana – at our C.R. author group – so I didn’t know much about her. Now, after reading her perceptive and witty replies to my questions, I feel I know Dana rather well.
You’ll read about her new novel shortly, but let’s first introduce Dana and then get to the interview questions.
Dana Romanin has dreamed of being a writer since she was a little girl pretending to be Anne Shirley (from Anne of Green Gables). She used to write under a forsythia bush, but now she writes in a messy office that she shares with her sewing obsessed daughter.
Dana’s short story, The Silence of Sand, was chosen for adaptation into a short video performed by the Blue Man Group. Dana has also published short fiction for teens in Encounter—The Magazine and had a short story published in a Family Fiction anthology, The Story 2014. Her first novel, Abby’s Letters, releases June 20, 2017.
She lives in a small town near the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia with her wonderful husband, three beautiful kids, and a lot of persnickety pets.
You can find her blog and awkward videos on her website www.DanaRomanin.com. She can also be found on Twitter — @DanaRomanin — https://twitter.com/DanaRomanin
— and her Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/DanaRomaninAuthor/
JLS: You look too young to have three kids. When did you discover the fountain of youth, and can you send me a few bottles?
[ * Dana * ] — Ha! Thank you so much! I always tell people that after they get to know me my “old” will show. For example, my selfie skills are severely lacking.
JLS: Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia? What’s the view from your favorite part of your house?
[ * Dana * ] — I have a beautiful view of mountains from my front deck. I’m truly blessed.
JLS: What was your favorite aspect of high school? Your LEAST favorite?
[ * Dana * ] — My favorite aspect of high school was laughing with my best friend so hard that I peed my pants. (Well, I guess the laughter part not the peeing.) My least favorite part was all the drama. I’m rolling my eyes now just thinking about it.
JLS: Did you go to college? Have you held any jobs other than the challenges of being wife, mom, homemaker, pet-tender, and author?
[ * Dana * ] — I went to Virginia Tech. Go Hokies! I majored in Marketing Management and minored in Psychology. Before I became a stay-at-home mom I was a consultant and sales engineer. After my kids got older, I dove into writing. But I still have a part-time job with a real estate investment company that I do from home.
JLS: Why did you become an author?
[ * Dana * ] — I became an author because I love to read, but it went beyond that. I found myself rewriting books in my head to how I wanted the story to go. Or I would continue the story in my imagination after I finished reading the book. After years of writing in my head, I decided it was time to create worlds of my own and actually put them on paper.
JLS: Your novel (Abby’s Letters) has a very interesting premise. How did you develop that story? Any particular inspiration?
[ * Dana * ] — Well, it’s kind of morbid. But I’ve heard stories of bodies being found that could never be identified. They’d just be written off as John or Jane Doe and would be stored for months, even a year or longer. It was sad to think that someone could die and nobody know or care enough to claim them. Then I thought, unless there was a reason no one claimed them. Maybe they were protecting someone? And Abby’s Letters stemmed from there.
JLS: Sounds like you’re well on your way in publishing short fiction. What nudged you over to novel-length stories?
[ * Dana * ] — I’ve always wanted to write novels. I wrote short fiction as a way to practice writing and to make a little extra money. But mainly I write short stories for fun. They’re quick and satisfying, unlike a novel which takes an excruciatingly long time to write!
JLS: Tell us how you “found” Clean Reads? Any special connections with any of the on-board authors?
[ * Dana * ] — My agent, Cyle Young, is the one who found Clean Reads for me.
JLS: I gather most of what you’ve published has been Young Adult. If sales (money) and critics (reviews) were immaterial to you, what genre and length would you write?
[ * Dana * ] — I’d still write young or new adult fiction no matter what. It’s what I love.
JLS: What is your favorite part of being a writer? (ie. plotting, editing, networking, creating and destroying lives)
[ * Dana * ] — My favorite part of writing is creating my own world where I determine the fate of others. Wait. That made me sound like an egotistical maniac. Um…my favorite part of writing is drinking coffee and staying in my pajamas all day.
JLS: What is your least favorite part of being a writer?
[ * Dana * ] — Selling. Ugh. I wish people would magically buy my book without me having to market, market, market.
JLS: Have you ever encountered people who seem unable / unwilling to comprehend that writing is something you are driven to do?
[ * Dana * ] — Yes, I have. Fortunately, people that are close to me seem to understand. But I have met some people who after telling them I’m a writer, they nod and look at me like I just said I wanted to be a ballerina or professional boxer. I felt like I was seconds away from a pat on my head and a “that’s nice, dear.”
JLS: If you were not a writer, can you imagine what else you might do to express the creativity within you?
[ * Dana * ] — Oh, perish the thought. I guess I’d paint. They’d be scratch-out-your-eyes horrible paintings though.
JLS: If you could be any character in a book, who would you be?
[ * Dana * ] — Easy. Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. She is full of life and passion. She expresses herself without an ounce of shame or fear. She has an appreciation for beauty and nature that encourages me to look for the beauty in my own life. And she has a nice nose. That’s always a plus.
JLS: Give us at least one example of someone who has contacted you and expressed how much your writing meant to them.
[ * Dana * ] — I had a person from Germany leave a comment on my blog about how their pastor used one of my articles in his sermon. In Germany! I was so honored.
JLS: Do you have any quirks that you’d be willing to share with us?
[ * Dana * ] — I have a tendency to talk to myself. Or more like mumble to myself. It can be embarrassing if people catch me at it. My kids though are used to it and don’t appear to be permanently scarred or anything…yet.
JLS: In the interviews & blog questions you’ve handled over the years, what is one writing question which you’ve WISHED had been asked of you… but never has been asked?
[ * Dana * ] — That right there — the question you just asked. Just kidding. Um…what is your favorite saying?
JLS: What’s your ANSWER to that never-before-asked question?
[ * Dana * ] — Don’t pee on my back and tell me it’s raining!
Abby’s Letters Blurb:
For years, Jane’s mom told her horror stories about her time spent in foster care. Now she’s determined to keep her little sister from suffering the same fate.
Seventeen-year-old Jane Sanders has had to take care of her alcoholic mother and little sister, Abby, since her dad died seven years ago. And now Mom had to go and die too. Authorities determine it was a homeless transient who died in the fire of the old manufacturing plant, but Jane knows the truth.
There is no way she’s going to let Abby go into foster care which leaves her with one option—fake her mom’s life. As far as Abby knows, their mom is in rehab. And Jane wants to keep it that way. She’d be eighteen in a few months then she could become legal guardian to her sister. With the help of her best friend, Clark, it should be easy, right?
Juggling nosy neighbors, a concerned school counselor, and an oblivious new boyfriend turns out to be harder than Jane thought. But the real problem begins when Abby starts writing letters to Mom. Through Abby’s letters, Jane sees a different side to their mom—a side she could have loved. And loving Mom is something she didn’t plan on. Because loving somebody makes it harder to ignore their death.