Writer’s Desk: Donna Mumma
We’re so excited to have Donna Mumma and her debut novel, Fresh Scars, featured on this week’s writer’s desk. Donna Mumma perfected storytelling in her first-grade classroom, spinning tales exciting enough to settle a roomful of antsy six-year-olds. She is an award-winning author and loves to write about flawed people who find a way to overcome and thrive. A Florida native, she now lives in St. Petersburg, spending time with her husband, adult children, and their energetic collie, Duke.
Be sure to stick around until the end of the post for more about her most recent release plus a chance to win a copy!
Q&A with Donna Mumma
Do you have a writing routine? When/Where do you write?
I usually do most of my writing in the hours between lunch and supper. My mornings are spent doing errands, chores, and other “real life” stuff so I can concentrate on my writing with as few distractions as possible. I write at my desk in my bedroom. While writing I listen to movie soundtracks, choosing music that fits the scene, characters, or situation I’m writing about on that day. John Williams is a favorite, but I have many albums I love to write to. I can’t write to anything with lyrics—the words get in the way of my imagination! I also like to light one of my candles, usually my cinnamon/apple or cedar scented one.
When are you most productive?
It really seems to depend on what is happening during a particular day because my writing schedule varies. Early afternoon is usually my best time, but also late at night after the rest of my house has gone to bed.
What do you snack on or drink while writing?
I only drink water while I write. Hate getting any kind of crumbs or food residue on my keyboard!
How do you overcome writer’s block?
I’ll take a few days off to clear my head and think of anything other than my story, then jump back in. I’ll write, re-write, and keep going until I iron out the problem. Sometimes that means I need to go back and do more research, or re-work the entire scene that’s giving me trouble.
What is your outlining process? Are you a pantser/plotter or something in between?
I always have some sort of outline or list of what I want to happen in the story. Often I’ll go off in an unintended direction and have to blend the new ideas into my original outline. I love that part of the process.
When/Where do you get your best ideas?
To be honest, they just show up in my brain. Usually, it starts with a character and their problem, maybe I’ll get a snippet of a scene or a situation in my imagination, then the idea grows and suddenly I have the main idea of the story worked out. Or, I’ll think of a particular character and start building the story around them. There are times when I’ll get an idea about a setting first, and then the characters who live there will appear in my mind and start “telling” me their story. I keep a file of ideas and working titles on my computer. I think there are about a dozen or so in there right now.
Best advice for someone who is just starting out.
Join a writer’s group, like Word Weavers International or ACFW, so can find others who will encourage you, understand you (yes, we writers are quirky folks), help you learn your craft, and offer good, constructive critique. We all need a critique group. And secondly, go to a conference. I attended the Florida Christian Writers Conference and it changed my life. I discovered how much I needed to learn about the craft of writing and the business of writing. I’ve gone every year since and met my agent and my editor at FCWC. One of the most valuable things a writer gains from a conference is the opportunity to meet the people who will help you get your book published. Attending a conference also helps you build a network of friends who will jump in there to help you launch your book, build that writing platform, and listen with a sympathetic ear when you’re suffering through the hills and valleys of being a writer.
And above all else, don’t give up! Writing is hard, getting published is hard, but this is a mission field and someone needs to hear your story.
What is the last thing you binge watched: Last Man Standing. The entire cast is hilarious!
Favorite book(s): Gone with the Wind, Cross Creek, Where the Crawdads Sing, and anything by James Herriot
What books are currently on your nightstand: A Land Remembered by Patrick A. Smith, The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, My Bible
Favorite song right now: It’s called “Snow Scene”, from the movie soundtrack Father of the Bride with Steve Martin. It’s one of the soundtracks I’m listening to as I’m working on my next book. It’s a bittersweet melody that fits with my story.
Favorite thing to order at Starbucks (or wherever you get your coffee/tea fix!): I’m not a coffee drinker at all so I don’t go to Starbucks often, but I’ve had their Strawberry Acai Lemonade and that was yummy. My favorite kind of tea is decaf Lady Gray.
Enter to win a copy of Fresh Scars*
More about Fresh Scars:
Asia Butler and her sister, Ivy Butler Morelli, have not spoken in fifteen years. As children, they endured brutal emotional abuse from their mother, Veronica, and want only to forget the past . . . and each other.
But the past comes calling when they each receive a letter from Veronica’s attorney promising much-needed cash if they will fulfill her dying wish and consent to cleaning out their childhood home. Asia and Ivy reluctantly return to their hometown of Emerson, Florida, only to discover the house is a hoarder’s nightmare filled with strange mementos and clues hinting that they were not the only victims of Veronica’s sadistic nature.
Can this new pain be the path to their healing? Will they be able to choose forgiveness over resentment?