We recently spoke with Rebecca Donovan, Author of Reason to Breathe and & Barely Breathing.
“No one tried to get involved with me, and I kept to myself. This was the place where everything was supposed to be safe and easy. How could Evan Mathews unravel my constant universe in just one day?”
He knows there’s something more to the girl sitting in the back of the class the moment he sees her. She’s beautiful, intelligent, and athletic – but she slips quietly through the crowded halls, trying not to exist. Determined to get to know the elusive girl, Evan soon discovers…
Emma Thomas is hiding a terrible secret.
Emma’s struggle with an abusive home life came to a heart pounding conclusion in the final chapters of Reason to Breathe. Now everyone in Weslyn knows Emma’s secret, but Carol can’t hurt Emma anymore. Some are still haunted by the horror of that night, and some must face the repercussions of their choices. Fans of Rebecca Donovan’s debut novel will discover there’s still much to learn about Emma’s life.
We interviewed her about her books, and becoming a writer, hope you enjoy!
I’ve always had plans to write, ever since middle school. I just figured it would be something I’d do when I retired―when I had enough life experiences to draw from. But the actual moment it happened was during a winter when I was not working, and had way too much time on my hands to read. The thought circled in my head, “I could do this”. I couldn’t sleep one night and had a half-in/half-out of sleep dream about a boy and a girl in an Art room… Well, I decided not to let it go and started writing the next day.
2) How did you decide to self-publish and how has it affected your career?
Initially, I pursued all of the channels to become traditionally published―wrote a query letter, researched agents, sent out samples of my manuscript. I didn’t send too many letters out, but enough for me to realize just how much the process had to do with luck and who you knew, and I am not surrounded by much of either of those. I’d sat on the story for nearly two years when I discovered how easy it was to self-publish eBooks. I held my breath and took a chance… and the results have been fantastic. Readers will read what they like. They don’t care if I’m attached with to a publishing house. And if they didn’t like my stories, then they wouldn’t buy them. It’s that simple. So… I guess they like me! Ha!
3) Why did you choose abuse as the topic of the Reason to Breathe series?
I worked in Social Services with teens after I graduated from college. I was exposed to lives that too many people had given up on. Many of their behavioral and emotional issues stemmed from abuse, whether emotional, physical, psychological, or sexual. I decided that Emma was going to have a secret that would be easy enough to conceal, but that would make her character withdrawn and emotionally disconnected. And in an affluent town such as Weslyn, it had to be a secret that most people in the town would want to turn a blind eye to, since they wouldn’t want to believe what she was going through could happen in their town. Well… it can happen in any town, in any house and that was important for me to express in this series.
4) Speaking of Reason to Breathe, we know you are working on book #3, Out of Breath. Any teasers?
I will have teasers. I promise! But it’s still so early in the writing process. I need a little time. I will post the teasers on my FB page ~ www.facebook.com/thebreathingseries. But just know that Emma is going through some intense soul searching in this book, and in the end she discovers more about herself than she ever anticipated.
5) Will you be doing any book tours to promote Out of Breath?
I am slowly getting into book touring. Nothing official has been created, but I have attached myself to an amazing group of indie authors who have invited me to do a book fair and a book signing with them. The book fair will be in Decatur, Georgia from August 31 to September 2nd. And the details of the book signing are still being worked out, but I will be certain to release the details on my blog on Goodreads.com. I want nothing more than to finally meet the passionate readers behind all of the amazing support I’ve received since the release of RtB!
5) What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Write because you love it! Publish when you have something worth sharing. And then let it go. There will be praise and criticism, but you cannot control either. You just have to believe in your gift. (And EDIT! Find a talented editor to perfect your words. Sometimes you are just too close to them to see clearly.)