About Donna Gielow McFarland:
Author Donna Gielow McFarland developed an early love for literature. She wrote her first book at age ten, and later contributed to her high school and college newspapers while working in book stores and libraries. After earning a degree in piano performance from Wheaton College and a master’s degree in piano pedagogy from the University of Oregon, she taught at New Hope Christian College and currently teaches at Northwest Christian University. She also served as class piano program coordinator at the University of Oregon.
Her books include Follow the Star: Christmas Songs for Piano, The Purple Elephant chapter books, Duck and Friends early readers, Sam and the Dragon: A Medieval Mars Story and several college music textbooks. Donna and her husband live in Oregon and are the proud parents of a talented 10 year old son who inspires them daily.
What inspires you to write?
I am inspired by all the great books I read! The book series that inspired me to write my first book, The Purple Elephant, was the Harry Potter series.
Tell us about your writing process.
I wrote my first book as a participant in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and their philosophy is to just write, write, write! I wrote, wrote, wrote and then spent about four years editing before the book was ready to be released. Ever since then, I’ve been a little more methodical about how I write so the editing process won’t take so much time later. I think about what I want the story to be and I may sit down and write, write, write, but I also do some editing as I go. It works for me.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Sometimes I picture a scene in my head like a movie and try to see what my characters will do next!
What advice would you give other writers?
Get your story into the best shape you possibly can, and then hire a professional editor. When you get feedback from that editor, listen and learn because the editor can see things that you can’t see, yet.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I sent my first manuscript to a few agents and publishers, but when it wasn’t immediately picked up I decided to publish it myself. The reason was that I had written the story for my son and I didn’t want him to be too old for it before I got it published. Self-publishing has worked pretty well for me, but I am also pursuing traditional publishing for one my current series’.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
This is an exciting time for book publishing! With the ease of self-publishing, the number of authors has just exploded. I think that among the millions of people publishing their own works there will continue to be stand-outs whose books contribute to the rich heritage of English literature. I think there will continue to be a place for both traditional and nontraditional publishing for decades to come.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?: children’s books, piano books, music textbooks
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
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