Monday, January 7, 2013

Interview with Author Donna Fontenot

Donna D. Fontenot, AuthorDonna it is a pleasure to be interviewing you. Congrats on winning the BRAG Medallion. Please tell me about your book, The Grave Blogger.

The pleasure is truly mine! Thank you so much for the opportunity to speak with you and your readers. Winning the BRAG Medallion was a thrill that I'll never forget.

The Grave Blogger story centers around Raya, a freelance writer and blogger who researches cold cases for true crime websites. During her research, she stumbles upon a 20-year-old case dubbed the "Bayou Family Slaughter" case. The newspaper account of this horrific crime immediately causes a psychological reaction in Raya, with disturbing sights and sounds reverberating through her mind. Though they feel very real, Raya is unsure if these are memories or hallucinations. Determined to uncover the truth, she heads to the scene of the original crime - the small South Louisiana town of St. Felicity - to investigate the Bayou Family Slaughter case.

When she arrives, Raya gets help from Nick Simoneaux, a young St. Felicity detective who has reopened the old case, but is Nick hiding family secrets from Raya? Raya is uncertain if there is anyone in St. Felicity she can trust. Is the murderer still living in St. Felicity or nearby in the mysterious but scenic bayous?

As Raya reveals St. Felicity's secrets, she unravels the mysteries of her own past, and discovers that hidden secrets often lead to danger - to herself and to those she loves.

The premise for your story is intriguing. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I've been a blogger for about ten years now, so I thought it would be fun to make blogging the occupation of the main character. Once I determined that, I asked myself, "What does this character blog about?" The idea of blogging about unsolved cold cases came to mind, and I decided then that I would enjoy reading such a blog, so it just seemed like the perfect start to developing an interesting character who finds herself embroiled within one of the cold cases she is researching.

Is there a particular reason why you chose South Louisiana for the setting of your story?

The easy answer would be to say that I was born and raised in South Louisiana, so it's less challenging to write about familiar territory. However, while that's true, it's not the entire reason. South Louisiana, with its many bayous and its haunting past, provides a natural setting for a mystery / suspense novel. In addition, the Cajun population naturally contains its share of "quirky" characters, and I wanted to infuse the tense drama with some lighter, sometimes funny, moments. Finally, I believe readers enjoy learning about new places and cultures, without having to think too hard or being made to feel as though they are being educated. South Louisiana provides plenty of rich experience through landscape, history, and culture that keeps readers engaged and interested.

Where there any challenges in writing, The Grave Blogger?

The biggest challenge in writing The Grave Blogger was my own propensity for second-guessing myself. Since this was my first novel, I was constantly wondering if this thing was any good or not. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to distance myself enough from my writing to be a completely objective judge, but hopefully, the second-guessing will lessen to some degree over time.

The other main challenge is one that I'm sure is all too common - time - or the lack thereof. My "day job" and life in general makes it difficult to devote much time to writing, so the majority of the book was written late at night. I suppose the late night writing sessions may have even contributed to some of the darker moments in the book.

What is your next book project?

The Grave Blogger is the first in a series. I'll be writing several more that involve the same main cast of characters. Each subsequent book, however, will focus on a different character than the others. So, for example, The Grave Blogger's main character was Raya. While she will still play a significant role in every book of the series, she won't be the main focus. Nick, Dustin, Sharon, Elise, and perhaps others will get their share of the spotlight in future novels.

Will you self-publish again?

Absolutely! That's not to say I would necessarily turn down a publishing deal, but I do love the control that comes with self-publishing. There are benefits and drawbacks to both traditional publishing and self-publishing, but I don't regret taking the self-publishing route at all. It's been a very positive experience for me.

What is your favorite genre to read?

I love a good mystery! I'm not terribly picky about the sub-genre. Traditional mystery, hard-boiled detective, police procedural, suspense, or thriller...I'm happy with them all.

What are you currently reading?

I just started reading "The Exiled Element" by John L. Betcher. I've only read 6% so far (according to my Kindle), but I'm already enjoying it. I especially like the main character, Beth. She has spunk and wit to complement her brains and skills.

The Exiled Element (James Becker, #4)
How did you discover indieBRAG?

My sister told me about it. I have no idea how she discovered indieBRAG, but obviously word of mouth is still a powerful force in marketing.

What is your favorite quote?

"You'll never shine if you don't glow". This is a lyric from an old Smash Mouth song called "All Star". The video is a little silly, but the lyrics really do pack a lot of meaning. This particular quote is actually my motto; it's definitely one of my life's guiding principles. That line can probably be taken any number of ways, but I interpret it this way: Find the spark within you; the joy, the life, the wonder of yourself and let it out! Share those special parts of yourself with the world, and you'll find that the tiny spark begins to glow, eventually resulting in a light that shines brightly in many positive ways.

Author Bio:

Donna D. Fontenot is a blogger, novelist and web geek. Born and raised in South Lousiana, she grew up in a typical Cajun family that cherished good food, good football, and good fun. Her technical skills led her to a career in web development, but over time, the creative side weaved its way into her life, leading to work that encompassed online marketing, blogging, and now...writing suspense novels. You can find out more about her at or browse her book's website at .

A message from BRAG:

We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Donna Fontenot who is the author of, The Grave Blogger, one of our medallion honorees at To be awarded a B.R.A.G. MedallionTM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as The Grave Blogger merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.

Thank you!


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