Monday, January 19, 2009

Interview with Donna M. McDine

Donna M. McDine is one of the most supportive, enthusiastic and energetic authors I know. As busy as she is with her writing, she takes the time to promote and inspire other writers, including me. I am delighted to interview Donna and have her share with us the exciting things that are happening in her career.

Bev: You are now the Marketing Manager at Stories for Children Magazine. How did this come about?

Donna: In the last several years I have attended numerous in-person writers’ conference and the last two Muse Online Writers Conferences. The success stories that I've been privy to when a writer finds success in finding an agent or publisher are exhilarating. I have often wondered: How can I make this happen? Are these events pipe dreams? I'm here to tell you, you can make these special connections happen and they do not need to be pipe dreams, but reality. While coasting through the cyber-space hallways at the 2008 Muse Online Writers Conference, I received a virtual tap on my shoulder and an unexpected surprise was presented to me. VS Grenier, founder and editor of Stories for Children Magazine presented me an offer to join her team, starting January 2009 as

Your attendance at conferences is indeed crucial to be put into the right place at the right time. You never know who has been watching your writing career from afar and may present themselves to you and offer a wonderful opportunity.

Go for your writing career...the break you've been striving for may just be right around the next corner!

Bev: What are your responsibilities in this job?

Donna: My responsibilities include researching and contacting children’s writers and illustrators for the monthly Featured Guest interview, Media Releases, cross promotional and marketing efforts, and customer service inquiries.

Bev: In December, 2008, you also started your Write What Inspires You! Newsletter. What was your inspiration to publish this newsletter and what are your plans for future issues?

Donna: Since embarking on my writing career in 2007 I have continually read and heard about creating your platform. Not fully understanding what a platform is and how it can benefit your writing I began to pick many established writer’s brains via email and at conferences…particularly The Muse Online Writers Conference. After becoming inspired from the wealth of positive information I began to brainstorm ideas for creating my platform. I kept coming back to a newsletter. Since I have always been interested what other writers have to say I thought why not interviews with writers, but to expand it to interviews with editors and illustrators. The topics of the newsletter started to take a life of its own on and I expanded it to Book Reviews, Proclaim Your Successes Column and Reflections or Dreams column before the first issue debuted in December 2008. The Reflections or Dreams column is submission based and non-paying at this time. If you are interested in more details of the column please email me at: with any questions you may have.

Bev: The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Bulletins have mentioned many of your successes. Where do you get all of your ideas for these articles?

Donna: Many of my non-fiction articles have derived from a publications needs or theme list. Several of my fictional short stories are based on my children also…sssh…don’t tell them. Now that my oldest is a teenager she doesn’t appreciate it as much.

Bev: Do you have a favorite story or article you’ve written?

Donna: Hmm. The one non-fiction article that holds a special place in my heart is “The ‘Ghosts’ of the Night.” The idea came from a family vacation in The Outer Banks, NC. Each night the adults and children would head to the beach with flashlights to find ghost crabs.

Bev: Which do you prefer to write, fiction or non-fiction?

Donna: Tough question. Depending on my inspiration and the topic determines this for me. For non-fiction I enjoy the research process and discovering details I didn’t know before. For fiction when an idea and conflict comes to me I immediately begin writing my ideas and develop it from there. My notes and first draft are always written in long hand with my favorite Graf von Faber-Castell pen my family gave to me for my 40th birthday. I guard it and my family knows not to use it…it’s a quirk I have. Once I find a pen I love to write with, it’s mine only. I know, I know…we also tell our children not to be selfish…too bad on this one kids.

Bev: Besides your personal writing and your position as Marketing Manager, you have a couple of blogs. Can you give your readers a hint at how you organize your time?

Donna: Organization has always been a positive factor to me…even though my family and friends call me an “organization freak”. Hey, I could be called worse. I believe it comes from my 16 plus years working in Corporate America and juggling multiple bosses at any given time. I am a lists person by nature and I breakdown my To Do lists in categories, Must Do Today, Follow-up Today, Weekly Goals, Monthly Goals. At first in my writing career I did not follow suit and I did not write out my goals, but with the encouragement of an established author I began to. Once I did, my dreams and goals became clearer, which provided me with a focus for the day, week and month. Now to expand it to 6 months and yearly…haven’t gotten that far. You’ll see by Bev’s next question I needed to reflect on it for yet another tough question…just kidding Bev...your questions are terrific. Another important factor to stress is to treat your writing time as a job and show up.

Bev: What are your goals/plans for 2009?

Donna: Now that Bev has forced me to set my goals/plans for 2009…LOL…here goes:

1. Increase my opt-in subscriber list for my Write What Inspires You! Newsletter to 200.
2. Edit and resubmit my historical fiction manuscript entitled, “The Golden Pathway” for further consideration by the publisher.
3. Finally complete my middle grade manuscript, edit, submit.
4. Become an instrumental team member at Stories for Children Magazine
5. Network, network, network

Bev: Where can we learn more about your adventures in the writing and publishing world? Web site? Blog?

Donna: To find out more about my writing career please visit me at: and

Sign my guestbook and receive my Free e-book “Write What Inspires You! Author Interviews”

Bev: Thank you, Donna, for always taking that extra step to help other writers. I’m looking forward to hearing more good news about your writing.

Donna: Thanks to you too, Bev, for interviewing me…I enjoyed our time together. I look forward to staying in touch in 2009 and beyond.


  1. Very interesting interview, Beverly, about an interesting woman. I enjoyed it.

  2. Beverly...thanks for taking the time out to interview me. I enjoyed it!

    Vivian..thanks for taking the time out to read my interview and for your lovely comments...much appreciated.

    Warm regards,

  3. Great interview. It's so nice to find out a little bit more about people we have connections with. Donna will be hosting me tomorrow on her blog for my virtual tour. It should be fun. I hope to learn more about Donna through other places too. - Thanks for sharing with us, Beverly. Good luck on your tour too - E :)

  4. Bev, great interview. Donna, so nice to learn more about you. Good luck with all your endeavors.

    Margaret Fieland

  5. Elysabeth and Peggy...thanks stopping by today and reading my interview by Bev. Your continued support is appreciated. Be well. E...looking forward to hosting you tomorrow.


  6. Beverly thanks for sharing this interview with Donna. It is very motivating to see someone grab hold of her desires and move forward.


  7. Wow, Donna, you sneaky! Fantastic news! I send you my heart felt congratulations. I know you'll do a great job.

    I agree about the 'to do list' and setting goals... they really help me stay focused as well.


  8. Hi, Everyone,

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving comments.

    Donna, it was my pleasure to interview you. You're going places, girl, and I'm honored to be one of your virtual friends, along for what promises to be a great ride. You've interviewed many writers; now it's your turn. :o)


  9. Great interview: questions & answers. I enjoyed it so much I followed my nose through the rest of your blog. Is "BOOKS WITH A HEART" still going on? Email me at and tell me more about it.
    Happy New Year,
    J. Aday Kennedy
    The Differently-Abled Writer

  10. I'm dying to know what Donna's going to do when the ink runs out of her pen! I'm not a pen guru, but is it one of those that you can refill? Or will you move on to a brand new one? It's funny- I thought I was the only one who was a nutcase about her pens! :)

    Donna's an amazing person and writer and I'm so happy to see that all of her hard work is paying off! Thanks for such a wonderful interview on such a wonderful person!

    All the best,

  11. Beverly, you couldn't have selected a better author to interview. I've known Donna (virtually) for two years as we are members of the same critique group, one of them anyway. I am in awe at all that Donna manages to accomplish in the writing world and outside of it. Kudos to both of you!


  12. Thanks for visiting, J. I'm glad you followed your nose through my blog. It's not every day someone does that. : ). I'll email you about the Books With a Heart, but don't really know anything about it. I just copied the post from Live Journal.

    LOL, Lori. Maybe Donna will tell us more about her "magic" pen.


  13. Hi Patricia. Thanks. Donna is truly an inspiration to us all, as her blog is appropriately titled. She does so much for others I felt we needed to showcase her talents.


  14. Carma, Mayra, Jessica, Lori and Patricia...I am warmest heart felt thank you to you all for taking the time out to read my interview. I value each and every one of you in my writing career and life. Thank you for your continued interest. All the best for 2009 and beyond!

    Warmest regards,

    P.S. My pen is re-fillable and my family also gave me 24 refills for it. I better put it on my to do list to purchase more!

  15. Great interview ladies. Wishing you both great success in 2009 and beyond.


  16. I have to honestly say how proud I am not only of Donna but Beverly. For the past few years I've known them I've watched their careers blossom.

    Determination and consistency has worked for them.

    Great interview!

  17. And you've been right there with us, Lea, encouraging all the way.

    Thanks for all you do.


  18. Cheryl...thanks for your words of support and interest...much appreciated!

    Lea...thank you from the bottom of my hear for your lovely words of support. I'm right there with have been supportive every step of the way and I truly appreciate it!