Posted by: Thomas Drinkard | January 17, 2011

Interview with Donna Cavanagh – A Funny Lady

Today, I’m delighted to introduce you to a woman who loves to make people laugh, Donna Cavanagh. You may have seen some of her work before, but I’d like to ask her a few questions about her work and about her background.

T.  Hello Donna, tell us about your book, please.

D. The book is:  Reality: Fantasy’s Evil Twin

T. What is it about?

D. We all have fantasies about how life will be, and we never give up on those fantasies even when reality rears its ugly head. The book takes the reader through the fantasy and reality version of the major life events of a couple from the first date to the empty nest. It is written as if the reader is the main female character in the story. Although written from a woman’s perspective, men will find it humorous too as they recognize themselves in the pages. The book does have a great deal of truth in it, even though that truth is somewhat exaggerated.

T. Where will it be available?

D. Amazon.com and its distribution sites

T. What inspired you to write this book?

D. I write a lot of humor about relationships, and someone once said to me “I wonder what it would be like if our fantasies came true!” This started me thinking about fantasies and reality, and the book jumped into my head.

T. How did you choose the title?

D. I wanted to let the reader know that I would taking into account fantasy and real life and the difference between them.

T. Who is your favorite character in your novel, and why?

D. The reader is really the main character. This is an unorthodox book in that it is written in the second person or “You” is the main character. I think it makes the reader identify with the situations more.

T. Who are the ideal readers for your book?


D. Women of any age would appreciate the book. I don’t want to leave men out because when they do read it, they laugh. I have had the honor of letting quite a few men read the chapters ahead of time.

T. What  publicity plans do you have?

D. I have a friend in Canada that wants me to come up for a book signing. She has set up promotions in her town. I will also tweet, Facebook and social media my way to sales. I will do press releases and probably also ask local independent bookstores to help me promote as well.

T. Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?

D. I learned that love and relationship and fantasy are inherent to both men and women, and even in the darkest moments in a relationship, some humor survives.

T. Where can readers learn more about your book?

D. Amazon.com. My blog at http://MyVeryOwnFan.com

T. What other books do you have underway or planned?

D. I’m working on a traditional novel now; it is also in the humor genre.

T. Tell us something about yourself. (Where are you from, what is your background, how long have you been writing and anything else we might find interesting about you.)

D. I am originally from New York City and northern New Jersey. I have lived in the Philadelphia area for more than 20 years. I am a freelance writer and I write for trade magazines. My humor has been published in national magazines and newspapers plus I had a biweekly humor column with a daily paper in Pennsylvania. In 2010, I published a collection of my most popular humor articles written over the past 15 years called Life on the Off Ramp. Currently, More.com and Divine Caroline publish my humor, and I also post on Yahoo’s Associated Content as well. I love to make people laugh.

T.What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Favorite book? Why?


D. I write humor, but I read mystery. I love Agatha Christie, James Patterson, Sidney Sheldon, Lawrence Sanders – anything suspense or mystery. I also love the classics from Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde and I will forever love F. Scott Fitzgerald.

T. What is your guilty pleasure read you turn to for sheer entertainment value (book, particular author)?

D. Danielle Steele. Yep, I confess. Sex and violence books are interesting.

T. Who is your literary idol?

D. Agatha Christie

T. When did you start writing?

D. When I was 10. That was the first contest I entered and won. Professionally, when I was 25.

T. Was there a favorite writing teacher or mentor?

D. Mrs. Spaldo, my English teacher in high school. She was the one that told me that I had real talent, and that I should pursue it.

T. Name one fun/weird/frightening fact about you that we don’t already know.

D. I am very lucky at casinos playing video poker. I rarely lose. I think I lost once.

T. Where can readers learn more about you?

D. They can go to my website http://www.MyVeryOwnFan.com. My blog has all my humor and some positive-themed poetry too.

T. How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

D. I got truly started writing a humorous newsletter for a company I worked for. After I left there, I got a job as a reporter for a daily newspaper and then the writing took off.

T. What sorts of things inspire you as a writer?

D. My family is my biggest source for inspiration. I tend to find humor in the dullest of events, so I am always looking for inspiration in everyday life.

T. How do you approach a story? Do you start with outlines or something else? Planner or pantster?

D. I never use an outline. I might write excerpts and then put them where I think they belong. My humor essays take me about 35 minutes to write. If I can’t get the 1000 or so words written in that time span, then I deem the story not workable.

T. Where do you work when writing? What is your ideal creative environment?

D. I work in my family room or in my office in my home.

T. When do you write (morning, night)?

D. I do my creative writing either very early in the morning or very late at night. The in-between hours are spent writing for trade and business publications.

T. Do you have any writing rituals?

D. I watch meditation videos or listen to Mozart before writing. Also, green tea gets me going and a piece of chocolate.

T. How do you come up with the names for your characters?

D. I don’t know. Names just pop into my head.

T. Is writing your main creative outlet, or do you have other talents/creative pursuits?

D. I also paint – not as much as I used to. I also exercise and swim a lot. I can sometimes write an entire story in my head in the half hour I spend running on the treadmill.

T. Do you ever get writers’ block? How do you tackle it?

D. I have never gotten writer’s block. The closest I get to it is getting the lead write on a business story I write. I hate starting those articles..

T. What’s the most personally challenging aspect of writing?

D. Finding time to write creatively is the biggest challenge. A great deal of my time is spent on business freelancing but I hope my books will one day give me the freedom to cut down on that writing.

T. What is the best advice you can give other writers about writing?

D. Just be true to yourself and keep writing.

T. What genres do you write in? Why?

D. Humor. I write articles for business publications and I don’t mind that because I get to interview people. I love interviewing people.

T. Can you tell us about any themes you have running through your stories?


D. Love, commitment and loyalty always run through my humor.

T. Tell us your “story of getting published.”

D. I did have a business book published by Henry Holt, but humor has been all self-published. I find the agent road very difficult and so far, I have not had great luck with that. Instead, I went the self-publishing route and it has worked out well. I wouldn’t mind trying a traditional publisher again though.

T. What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?


D. Just editing. I hate to edit and it takes me a long time to do it. I am a much better writer than editor.

T. Did you learn anything from publishing this book? What?

D. I learned that people will buy books whether they are traditionally published or self- published. I also learned that promotion is essential.

T. If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
D. I would start out with humor right away, and keep plugging away at it. I would have found a way to meet more writers sooner. I feel in the past 2 to 3 years, I have met so many wonderful writers who want to help each other out. Before the Internet, that connection was hard to find.

T. What is the best advice you could give other writers about publishing?
D. Just keep trying. Don’t look down on self-publishing either, because it might become the wave of the future.

T. What are your ideas about the future of digital publishing?

D. I think digital publishing will grow and become the main source of reading material for everyone.

T. Thank you for visiting the blog.

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