Ask the Author: Rebecca Donovan

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Rebecca Donovan I chose to create Carol because I wanted to depict a female abuser who was not only physically abusive, but emotionally as well. She needed to be someone who would never be suspected of such abuse because of her social status and the love she shows her own children. I didn't want her to be a stereotype, and by doing so I hoped to reveal just how cruel a person can be, regardless of how they may appear to the world.

This story is told through Emma's point of view. You, as the reader, only know what Emma does. If she is not aware, or does not see what is happening, neither do you. There is so much that happens outside of her knowledge, but I cannot share that with you because you're in her head exclusively.

As is true for most survivors of abuse, she does not know why Carol hates her so much. I did not want to justify Carol's actions with an explanation because I believe there isn't a single reason why one human being should harm another, especially a child. So no, there will not be an answer to explain away the abuse. But if you listen to Carol's words, you will hear what you're looking for.
Rebecca Donovan I tend to listen to more Alt and Punk Rock than any other style of music. Although I am obsessed with Zedd. But I'm honestly addicted to any music that makes me feel. The musicians who are influencing my moods and inspiring my writing right now are:
* AFI
* Ben Howard
* Brand New
* Hozier
* Lana Del Rey
* Lorde
* Milky Chance
* Phantogram
* Royal Blood
* Sir Sly
Rebecca Donovan Thank you so much Alessia! I have about six stories swimming around in my head at any given time. Ha! But I can only really listen to one. And Jonathan's story (The Burning Series) is talking the loudest, so it has my full attention! It takes me time to prepare to write. Even though I may know the entire story, I cannot begin typing until I truly know that character. I must understand his motives. How he will react in any situation. He needs to become real to me. And Jonathan just recently fully revealed his true character to me. His story will be powerful! It is going to be an intense writing experience.
Rebecca Donovan The series I hope to release next year will be Jonathan's story - The Burning Series. In his trilogy, you will learn what happened to make him who he is, and how that changed when Emma entered his life. And yes... you will find out what becomes of him along with the other characters in The Breathing Series in his final book.
Rebecca Donovan You will see Sara and Jared in The Burning Series!

And Evan is the straight from my imagination. I created him to be a little too perfect... on purpose. The perfect complement to the girl who makes every wrong decision, although with the best intentions. Emma finally realized her worth because he was patient enough to not give up on her. He loved her unconditionally, making it easy for us to all fall in love with him.

I have yet to meet his true life counterpart. Doesn't mean I don't believe he's out there.
Rebecca Donovan "Rumors of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated" by Rise Against

"When I die, will they remember not
What I did, but what I haven't done?
It's not the end that I fear with each breath
It's life that scares me to death.

When we built these dreams on sand
How they all slipped through our hands
This might be our only chance
Let's take this one day at a time
I'll hold your hand if you hold mine
The time that we kill keeps us alive."
Rebecca Donovan I hope the "opportunity" becomes a reality! We shall see... Keep thinking positive thoughts!!
Rebecca Donovan YES!! You will get to see where they end up in their lives. I promise!
Rebecca Donovan Absolutely! I need to hurt and cry alongside my characters. I also fall in love and experience all the beautiful moments with them too. I must embody every emotion even when it tears me apart.

One of the hardest scenes I've ever had to write was the letter Rachel wrote to Emma in OUT OF BREATH. Getting inside the bitter and hurtful mind of Rachel, to feel hateful enough to write those words to her own daughter, affected me greatly. I was sobbing crying when I was done that scene.

It can take me a while to emerge from these dark places. I'm probably not the best person to be around when I'm creating. I often become disconnected from the real world around me. But I need to feel every emotion so that you can too.
Rebecca Donovan I have to believe in the story before I can begin writing it. The characters live within my head, talking to me until I know their motives, personalities, and how they would interact in any given situation. They need to be as real to me as any person I meet before their dialogue is typed on my screen. I need to see the ending before I can begin. If this doesn't all come together, if the voices aren't loud enough, and the story isn't compelling enough to hold my attention, then it's not ready to be told.
Rebecca Donovan I hope each book I write will be read without comparison to the last. I aspire to create original stories, with distinct voices, but with hope of touching every reader in their own way. My creative journey is profoundly unique with every story I write, every character I create, and every message I hope to convey. I will never publish a story I don't believe in. So the pressure I feel is that of my own expectations. If I'm able to connect with and feel the emotions being spewed upon the pages, then you will too. And that's what's most important to me.
Rebecca Donovan Such a hard choice, but if I had to choose... "I won't give up" by Jason Mraz truly embodies their relationship and the journey of the entire series. It gives me the chills every time I listen to it!
Rebecca Donovan I've always had an active imagination, even as a child. I would write for enjoyment, as a way of creating a new world, or releasing emotion. I actually went to college in hopes of becoming a journalist. Life ended up taking me in a different direction. However, I never stopped writing.

I blame my over active imagination for my bouts of insomnia as well. One night I was tossing and turning, half asleep. I decided to force a dream in hopes that I'd eventually be able to rest. It started with a boy and a girl in an art room. There was tension. He wanted her to talk to him, but she kept avoiding him. She had a secret that he could never know. A paint fight and an unbelievable kiss later, I forgot all about sleep and started to create a story around this couple and what it was that was keeping them apart.

Her secret had to be something she could conceal, but be devastating enough that there was a risk in being exposed. And I wanted her to be in a community where they really didn't want to know this secret, because things like this didn't happen in their town. That's when I decided she was being abused. With my background in human services, (I ended up with a psychology degree instead of journalism), I was able to use what I'd witnessed to aid in the portrayal of Emma's struggles.

By 4am, I was creating an outline.... and decided to write Emma's story.
Rebecca Donovan Knowing that The Breathing Series is beginning to circulate worldwide is so very surreal. All I can do is trust that the translation captures the emotion of my words in the way I want all readers to experience it. And I'm very fortunate to have received the same heartfelt and passionate responses from readers in each of the countries I'm currently available. This is a story that is relevant worldwide, so I am so touched when I receive messages letting me know how much my words have affected my readers, no matter where they live.
Rebecca Donovan I'd like to believe I'm a very empathetic person, able to connect with human emotion on many levels. So when I write, I submerse myself in the characters, letting their situation and reactions soak in until it's all I can feel. I believe most people have struggled with hardships in their lives, and have felt some degree of desolation, loneliness and sorrow. Although I have a degree in psychology, I do not claim to be an expert on the human psyche. But I am certainly human, and I believe this is what helps me to depict the spectrum of emotions that my characters express within the pages of my stories. I am pleased to know that I got it right. Thank you.
Rebecca Donovan When I created Jonathan, I was very careful with how I portrayed him. I wanted readers to question his motives and struggle with whether he can be trusted. I let him walk along a very thin line between creepy and misunderstood. Love him or hate him, Jonathan is one of the most complicated and controversial characters I've written to date. That is why he's getting his own series... The Burning Series.
Rebecca Donovan
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