1. When/why did you decide to become a writer?
I don't think anyone decides to become a writer. It's something you are born to do. I developed an interest in writing in middle school and it stayed with me for the rest of my life.
2. What authors inspired you when you were younger? What books do you enjoy reading today?
I loved books by John Jakes, Ernest Hemmingway, Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury. My first favorite author was Matt Christopher, who wrote sports novels for young readers. I still love classic literature.
3. What was the inspiration behind your novel Where Freedom Rings?
I have always been fascinated with the Underground Railroad and those who were brave enough to risk their lives for their freedom. I'm equally impressed with the abolitionists who assisted the freedom-seekers, for they had so much to lose if they were caught, but they risked it anyway because of their fervent belief that slavery is wrong.
4. What was it about the Underground Railroad that made you say, "I have to write a novel about that?"
There are many nonfiction books about the Underground Railroad, but I noticed that there are few novels about it. I wanted to highlight this amazing institution and honor those who fought against slavery.
5. What kind of research did you have to do in order to make this book accurate?
I read many articles about the Underground Railroad, and I read William Still's book, The Underground Railroad, which provides startling insight into the plight of runaway slaves. I was so impressed with his book that I included him in the story.
6. What other genres would you like to try your hand at?
I have other published books in many genres, including The Manila Strangler (Mystery), Amy the Astronaut and the Flight for Freedom (Sci-Fi), and Comet and Cupid's Christmas Adventure (Fantasy). I don't see myself locked into one genre. I have ideas for many stories across many genres.
7. What would you do if you were a part of the Underground Railroad?
I would be an abolitionist who helped hide and transport freedom-seekers to the north.
8. Would you like to see Where Freedom Rings as a film? Who do you want to see play your characters?
Yes, I would love to see it as a film. I think Kerry Washington (from ABC's Scandal) would be a great choice for Kelsa, and Chadwick Boseman (Jackie Robinson from the movie 42) would be a solid choice for Kelsa's husband Wade. Kevin Spacey (House of Cards) would make an interesting Jackson Mallard. Of course, having Oprah Winfrey produce the movie was also be wonderful.
9. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?
I would like to be a best-selling author, of course, and I have many more ideas for other books. Hopefully, I will continue to develop my writing skills and produce quality books that readers love.
10. What would you be doing if you weren't writing?
I make my living by working for a health-care company as a customer service representative. If I weren't writing, I would probably just do that for the rest of my work-life.
11. Can you tell KSR what you're working on next?
My current work-in-progress is a historical novel about the Holocaust. That is another topic that I have a strong interest in.
12. Thank you for participating in the interview. Can you please leave the readers with three things that may surprise them about you?
1. I am a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan.
2. I don't drink coffee (can't stand the smell or the taste of it).
3. Dogs always seem to like me.
Purchase Mr. Donahue's novels via: Amazon