Monday, October 1, 2012

Author Interview: Donna Ball, author of Vintage Ladybug Farm

October already!!! This is one of my favorite months, holding one of my favorite holidays... I am SO excited it is finally fall.

Today, let's extend a warm welcome to the lovely and talented Donna Ball, author of Vintage Ladybug Farm, among MANY other amazing novels.

In case you missed it, my review of Vintage Ladybug Farm went live yesterday. You can check that out HERE!

Author Interview
Donna Ball
Vintage Ladybug Farm

GL:  Please introduce yourself to everyone.

Donna Ball: Hi everyone! The only way I know to introduce myself is as a professional writer, since I’ve been making my living this way for most of my adult life. I have seven pseudonyms (Donna Boyd, Rebecca Flanders, Leigh Bristol, Taylor Brady, D.A. Ball, Donna Carlisle, and Donna Ball) and have published in every genre except science fiction. I am also, as of very recently, the owner of a small (very small!) press specializing in canine fiction, cozy mysteries, and women’s fiction. (

GL:  Now, tell us about the Ladybug Farm series.

DB: The Ladybug Farm series is about three best friends who decide to start a new life in the middle of their lives and leave the comforts of suburbia to buy a rundown old mansion in the Shenandoah Valley together. They give themselves a year to fix up the house and decide what they want to do next (A Year On Ladybug Farm), but at the end of that time discover that they’ve found more than a home... They’ve become a family.   I call Ladybug Farm “the place for everyone who ever had a friend... or a dream.”

GL:  What’s happening in this installment, Vintage Ladybug Farm?

DB:  Four years of delays and setbacks (sometimes hilarious, sometimes serious) have kept the ladies’ ultimate dream—to restore the farm’s old vineyard and winery—just out of reach. But now, to their absolute amazement, everything is going their way.  The vineyard is thriving, the winery is operational, and they are preparing to bottle their first vintage by the end of summer.  But one of the lessons of Ladybug Farm is that nothing ever goes according to plan, and the old place still has a few surprises for them all.  In this installment someone is getting married, someone is keeping a monumental secret, and someone is leaving Ladybug Farm forever.

GL:  What other books have you written (I know there’s a ton! :-))?

DB:  I started out writing contemporary romance as Rebecca Flanders, and there were, in fact, a ton of those!  As Leigh Bristol I wrote ten or fifteen historical romances, the most well known of which was the Silver Twlight saga.  I will be re-releasing those in the next year or so.  As Taylor Brady I wrote The Kincaids series, a western adventure, which will also be re-released this year. As Donna Carlisle I wrote the original werewolf romance series, HEART OF THE WOLF, as well as nine or ten other light romances, all of which are now available under my real name.  As Donna Boyd I wrote the paranormal Devoncroix Dynasty series, The Passion, The Promise, and Renegade.  These days I’m mostly known for The Raine Stockton Dog Mystery series: Smoky Mountain Tracks, Rapid Fire, Gun Shy, Bone Yard, Silent Night, and The Dead Season. Also as Donna Ball, I have several suspense titles available now: Exposure, Shattered, Night Flight, and Sanctuary.  And in addition to the five Ladybug Farm books (A Year on Ladybug Farm, At Home on Ladybug Farm, Love Letters from Ladybug Farm, Christmas on Ladybug Farm, and Vintage Ladybug Farm) I have Keys to the Castle, which is slightly more romantic in tone.  Whew!  That’s a lot!—but you asked :-)

GL: I did, indeed! :-)

GL:  What inspired the Ladybug Farm series?

DB: Funnily enough, the Ladybug Farm series is based on my own experiences when I moved from the big city to the heart of nowhere and started fixing up a 100-year-old converted barn (still fixing it up, as a matter of fact!).  Almost everything that happens to the ladies in the first book happened to me or to someone I know—and that was the only one of my books to ever be criticized as  “unrealistic” and “unbelievable” by a reader.  Truth is indeed stranger than fiction, I guess.

GL: That’s crazy. I’d like to escape to your Ladybug Farm sometimes…

GL:  Why did you choose to write in this genre?

DB:  I never intended to write in this genre!  The story chose me, and readers embraced it so enthusiastically that I quickly came to understand that there is a real need in the world in which we live today for this kind of “gentle fiction.”   I’ve written plenty of dark books, scary books, silly books, sexy books, angry books, and preachy books in my career.  I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to write books that just make people smile for a change.

GL:  Do you ever experience writer’s block? How do you handle it?

DB: At this stage of my career, I’m not sure whether it’s writer’s block or exhaustion :-).  Whenever I do get to a place, though, where I just don’t have any more words, I find that it helps to walk away and do something else creative for a while.  Dance, paint, garden, do arts and crafts, or even fix up a 100-year-old barn!  I was three chapters away from being finished with The Dead Season last winter when I hit a wall.  I thought I had just spent half a year writing a book I would never finish.  I decided to take a few days’ break, but it was six weeks before I could face that book again.  When I came back to it, I finished it in a week.    

GL:  What kinds of books do you read?

DB:  It would be easier to say what I don’t read: YA and dystopian anything. I try to read the top of the bestseller list every year, and at least a handful of literary recommendations from my book club.  I love a good dog mystery, and I’m on a Chet and Bernie (Spencer Quinn) kick right now.  I can’t get enough of Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles.  I just finished Deborah Harkness’s A Discovery of Witches and was enchanted.  My vote for the best book of the decade (so far) goes to Stephen King for 11-22-63.  In brief, the kinds of books that I read are those that engage and entertain me; the rest get tossed aside after the first chapter. My motto: Life is too short to read bad books.

GL:  When you were a little girl, what did you want to be when you grew up?

DB:  I always knew I would be a writer.  I wrote my first book (120 notebook pages!) at nine years old.  My latest story was always being passed around the classroom.  If I hadn’t been a writer, though, I think I would have been an actress.  I was born to tell stories, one way or another.

GL:  What is your favorite way to relax?

DB:  With a glass of wine on my porch at sunset, watching the birds play at the feeder and gazing out over my magnificent view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

GL:  Yes, please! :-)

GL:  Best place you’ve ever traveled?

DB: Molokai, in the Hawaiian islands. Although, I have to say Venice, Italy, is probably second choice

GL:  What are you working on now?

DB:  So many books, so little time!  I have four projects started and am in the process of prioritizing them.  I promised readers of the Raine Stockton Dog Mysteries that High In Trial would be out this winter, so that will no doubt be first.  After that, I would love to write The Hummingbird House, which is a spinoff from Vintage Ladybug Farm.

GL: Sounds fantastic! I can’t wait…

GL:  Please tell us where we can find out more about you and your books.

DB: I probably have more unused blogs—the kind that I never post to—than any writer I know, and they all have links on my web site:  That’s also where you’ll find anything and everything you ever wanted to know about my books.  I love to get email feedback from readers and there is an easy “contact me” button on the web site. If you want to follow me on Facebook, I am Donna Ball Author Page.  And I think I am @DonnaABall on Twitter, although who has time to Tweet?

GL:  Buy Vintage Ladybug Farm on Amazon today!!

Thank you so much for visiting with us today, Donna! You’ve certainly found a new fan in me, and I am looking forward to catching up on all your work and checking out the new goodies you have coming up (which, as long as that list is, it might take me the rest of my life!).