Author Interview: Donna J. Warner

Have you ever traveled as research for your book?

Yes, for both books in my crime thriller series, I travelled to Honduras to do research for, “Targeted” and Quebec City for “Death’s Footprint”.

What inspired the idea for your book?

The idea for book #1 of my crime thriller series, “Targeted”, occurred when my co-author and I were on a Caribbean Island cruise vacation. I overheard several fellow travellers relating frightening stories about crimes and misadventures a few tourists experienced while visiting island paradises. This planted the idea for the theme for a crime thriller with romance, suspense, and comical interactions between the protagonists and a supporting female character. Two young women anticipating a carefree holiday of beach time, mojitos, moonlight, and romance on Roatan Island, trusted the wrong man that turned their week of fun in the sun into their desperate escape into a rain forest and a fight for their lives.

How do you develop your plot and characters?

The idea for the plot and theme for, “Targeted” developed as explained above. The theme for “Death’s Footprint”, book #2, occurred after I read an article outlining a university Philosophy grad course called, “The Reality of Death”.

Both books feature a female cop, Jordan Blair, as a protagonist, and Darcy Piermont, a male private investigator as a second protagonist. In addition, each book has supporting characters to enhance the plots and introduce elements of romance, suspense, and humour.

How important was professional editing to your book’s development?

I am a firm believer that before seeking publishing, writers should ensure their manuscript is error free, the best work they can produce, and the quality of their writing meets a professional standard. My background prior to writing crime fiction, included technical and fiction editing, and teaching English grammar and communications to adults. Some might deem the time I spend on self-editing as being excessive before seeking input from beta readers and other editors. They might have a point since I find it difficult to remove my editing hat even when reading for pleasure.

Do you like to create books for adults?

Yes, my target audience is 18 and up. I write in fiction genres that I enjoy reading. For example, well written mysteries and thrillers with surprising plot twists and a story theme that supports injection of sub-genres such as romance and humour to give readers a pause to take a breath from the fast-paced, tension of my crime fiction series.

What are common traps for new authors?

Not understanding that writing is a business that requires hard work with an extensive learning curve, and a commitment to pen many writing projects to develop a unique writing voice. Secondly, not recognizing that it is very difficult for a writer to spot their own errors when editing their manuscript. Not seeking input from a professional editor of fiction may result in selling fewer books and/or receiving uncomplimentary books reviews.

What do you think is the best way to improve writing skills?

Be an avid reader;

Subscribe to magazines that give tips on writing fiction;

Join writers’ organizations in the genres you will be writing in;

Attend writing classes and/or workshops and conferences where seasoned writers share their knowledge;

Believe that the more you write, the more polished your writing voice will become;

Refer to on-line writing reference guides for elements of grammar style, e.g., a dictionary, a thesaurus, a Writers’ Style Guide, and other useful digital or paper reference books on various aspects of fiction writing.

What, to you, are the most important elements of good fiction writing?

An interesting plot with anti-climaxes and a satisfactory ending climax;

Memorable protagonist(s) and supporting characters that complement them or the plot;

Choose a topical theme;

Choose an appropriate setting;

Varied pacing of story. Hook a reader’s interest at the beginning and ending of most chapters to ensure readers stay invested in turning the page;

Creative story conflicts;

Develop a unique and polished writer’s voice;

Ensure your manuscript is formatted to industry standards;

Whether submitting your manuscript to a publishing house or electing to self publish, ensure your manuscript has been professionally edited.

Whom do you trust for objective and constructive criticism of your work?

I am fortunate to be a member of an international writers’ organization, the International Thriller Writers that provides many opportunities to increase one’s knowledge about the art and business of writing from seasoned authors. Also, I enjoy being a member of several local writers’ groups. As a member of the Genre5 Writers’ group, (, I have access to writers that have expertise in writing in various genres, editing, marketing, and publishing. An added benefit is having gained four life-long wonderful friends. As first line beta readers, they provide honest and constructive input on my draft short stories and manuscripts. Since we live within driving distance of each other, we now meet on a monthly basis to discuss book related topics of interest and have a memorable social time together.

How do you use social media as an author?

I’m not aware of any authors who aren’t actively involved in some aspects of social media. Communication with readers, prospective readers, and potential publishers and author colleagues is paramount to writing and marketing books. Whether this type of communication be by creating and posting on-line newsletters regularly; being a guest on someone else’s social media site; maintaining a web page or blog site; participating in speaking engagements or conference panels; or interacting on-line with social media followers. This form of book marketing is required whether you are with a traditional publisher or are independently-published.  My books have been published by both types of book publishing.

It’s important to create and maintain a social media presence, but a word of caution. Social media interactions may, at times, interfere with your creative writing and/or self editing or marketing routines. It’s tempting to daily spend more time than you can spare, checking your media sites or reading posts from other writers. A list of my social media sites appears below.

Donna Warner’s Social Media Sites




Twitter: @DWarnerLiterary

Pinterest:  https://www/


Amazon Author Page:


Buy Donna’s Kindle or Paperback Books On-Line from Amazon, KOBO, Nook, Indigo, etc.     


“Death’s Footprint”:

Leave a Reply