Kindle Author Interview: Donna White Glaser

Donna White Glaser, author of The Enemy We Know, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about The Enemy We Know?

DONNA WHITE GLASER: The Enemy We Know is the first in the Letty Whittaker 12 Step Mystery series.

In The Enemy We Know, psychotherapist Letty Whittaker, a professional secret keeper, has a secret of her own. When one of her clients slips free from an abusive boyfriend, Letty becomes the target of his violent rage. Wayne invades Letty's life, slithering his way past the barriers erected between her personal and professional lives, leaving gifts of dead rats, mutilated dolls, and freaky Shakespearian sonnets. Worst of all, Wayne uncovers Letty's deepest shame, infiltrating her AA group and threatening to expose her to the state licensing board.

And then—good news—Wayne is murdered. The bad news? The police suspect Letty. Worse yet, the sonnets and bloody souvenirs keep coming. Someone else has been watching Letty. Someone eager to drop bodies at her feet like a cat offering dead mole trophies to his mistress.

Someone willing to kill again.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

DONNA WHITE GLASER: As a therapist msyelf, I find that I enjoy the process of character development a great deal. I start with jotting down notes in a 3-ring binder, sometimes focusing on a character's physical description, but primarily filling out his or her quirks and mannerisms and backstory. I love the idea of what makes a person tick so I spend a lot of time on this. Later, this greater understanding of their personality helps me stay true to the character. Occasionally, they'll surprise me, but then real-life people have that ability, too.

Letty, in particular, is a fun character to write. Like me, she has the tendency to be flippant in serious situations. Humor is one of her major defenses and occasionally causes her more trouble. When I began "fleshing" her out, I wanted a female character that could rely on her own wits and wasn't dependent on a man to swoop down and save the day. Her insecurities and newly admitted alcoholism add an element of fragility to her, which I hope adds to her depth.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

DONNA WHITE GLASER: Anyone who reads. Just that.

From a marketing stance, I would say my target audience is probably women, ages 30-50, but, as I said earlier, people are surprising. I think the privacy of e-readers—not having a book cover on display for anyone walking by to see and not having a clerk to check out—is going to greatly expand a reader's willingness to experiment with different genres. At least, I hope so!

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

DONNA WHITE GLASER: I've been writing seriously for a little over ten years. I started my first book while I was pregnant with my first born so that makes it easy for me to remember. I'd always loved the idea of writing, but was more in love with the idea of writing than the actuality of it. Maybe I needed some maturity before I could dredge up the self-discipline to sit down and write. I remember being eight months pregnant and having to stretch my arms around my watermelon belly to reach the keyboard. When I reached page 100 or so, I thought, "I'm doing it! I'm really writing!" At that point, finishing actually seemed attainable so I kept at if for another two hundred pages until I could type THE END. 

I sent that book on the rounds of agents and entered it in a bazillion contests. It actually finaled in the St. Martin's Press/Malice Domestic, which gave me enough hope to keep on trying. I did end up with an agent, but ultimately that book didn't take off.

Having learned more about the publishing business and not being ready to give up, I took the opportunity to create a brand based on Letty's AA involvement. That's where the 12-step theme came in. And that's why I decided to take what I had learned and apply it to a new Letty Whittaker book: The Enemy We Know.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

DONNA WHITE GLASER: Unfortunately, I have a day job that interferes with my life. (Don't tell my boss I said that.) So I write in the spaces I find in between daily life. I carry a file around with various notes and an outline (yes, I use one now) so that I can pick up where I left off at any time. I'm currently writing the second in the series, titled The One We Love.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

DONNA WHITE GLASER: Dorothy L. Sayers, to start with. Years ago, I was re-reading Gaudy Night and had reached the part where Harriet admits to herself how writing had "mastered" her life. I could relate. It was the very first time that I felt challenged to do so myself.

Currently, though, I would say that I am most inspired by my critique group and SinC's online Guppy chapter. Talk about inspiration! Both of these groups have supported, challenged, and nurtured my ability to write. I am forever grateful to each of them.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

DONNA WHITE GLASER: Oo. Good question. How do I pick? There are so many classics that leap to mind: Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, so many more. If I were to look at contemporary authors, I would have to say that I am in awe of Jeffery Deaver's twisty, complex plots. I'd love to have written anything of his.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

DONNA WHITE GLASER: I've been published on Kindle less than a week so I'm working hard at marketing. I've been contacting book reviewers and interviewers (ahem, thanks David!). I've also spread the word on social networking sites. For the most part, though, I'm working feverishly to finish the second in the series. I truly believe that the best advertisement is word of mouth and having enough product to satisfy your customers. In this case, readers. When I'm ready to publish The One We Love, I plan to tinker with pricing strategies and see if I can draw readers that way. Bottom line, though: I hope people like Enemy well enough that they tell their friends. And they tell their friends. And so on. (Apparently my best marketing advice comes from an old shampoo commercial.)

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

DONNA WHITE GLASER: Because I believe e-reading is the future. Plus, I'm conceited. I like the idea of my books being here (or somewhere out there) forever.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

DONNA WHITE GLASER: Research, research, research! I've read at least a dozen books on self-publishing and I feel like I've just scratched the surface. I would also follow as many blogs that focus on the subject as possible. With the lightning fast changes of this field, even the newer books I've read are two-steps behind. Blogs are the most current information out there.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.


Donna White Glaser writes, "I’m a writer/psychotherapist/office manager, not always in that order. Some folks wonder why a therapist would gravitate toward writing mysteries. It’s the people thing. Both of my passions deal with relationships and exploring the past to gain a deeper understanding—and, perhaps, better control of—the present. My favorite quote is by Oscar Wilde: 'The final mystery is oneself.' It seems to cover facets of both my careers. So I stole it. Don't tell.

"I’m also a wife and a mother of two beautiful children. Three, if you count the husband. I usually do. We own and operate a residential construction company. He swings the hammer; I do the marketing, the paperwork, and deal with any overly emotional, what-do-you-mean-you-can’t-put-roof-trusses-up-in-a-thunderstorm? clients. Strangely enough, I often come up with ideas for creative murders and hiding bodies during business hours. I mention this for no reason at all.

"Currently, I'm at work on the second Letty Whittaker 12 Step Mystery, titled The One We Love."

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