Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Twenty Questions for Dana Corbit: Getting to Know Your favorite (or soon to be favorite!) Writer

It’s always a special privilege to hype the work of one of your book buddies, in this case, my critique partner, Dana Corbit. The talented members of my band of merry critiquers come from all areas of the romance spectrum and beyond, often providing my initiation into a particular genre. Dana’s warm and heart-felt romances were my introduction to the inspirational market where I found it easy to embrace the characters in her Love Inspired series books (my favorite - the trouble-making Charity!). Many a plot was born during our brainstorming sessions and I’m especially proud to welcome FINALLY A MOTHER because today is Special Delivery Release Day!

Here’s your chance to meet Dana and get a look at the new arrival!

1. Broadway or museum?

Tough choice. I love them both. I was so excited I nearly wet myself the day I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and saw Paul Gauguin’s painting “Three Tahitian Women” for myself. Yes, I’m a dork. One who happens to love Broadway musicals, too. RENT is my favorite. I’ve seen it four times, in New York and Detroit, and occasionally break out in my own weak version of “525,600 Minutes.” But then I also loved Rex Smith in Sunset Boulevard in Toronto and the always amazing Donny Osmond in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in Chicago.

2. Five words you use to describe yourself:


3. Other creative outlets?

I love to bake, and I’m pretty good at it. My chewy sugar cookies are a standard at our house at Christmas, Easter, Halloween and Valentine’s Day. I also make my own pie crust and even have a few ribbons…somewhere…from the Bartholomew County (Indiana) Fair. I have my own Pumpkin Pie recipe (using the pumpkin puree that my husband makes each fall), and my special recipe for Apple Amaretto Pie is really yummy.

4. Things that make you want to go “EEEEEEK!”

I am terrified of heights. I didn’t really know that until a few years ago when I was a chaperone on a mission trip in Beattysville, Kentucky. We took a side trip to Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Slade. After taking a three-quarter mile trek up a 500-foot elevation, we climbed on the sandstone arch that itself was 65 feet high and only 20 feet wide. I was okay until the teens on the trip wanted to take a picture near the edge. I crossed part of that bridge on my hands and knees.

5. What music are you listening to? (While you write?)

I have an outdated MP3 player that I listen to when I write. I only listen to the albums of three different bands/artists when I write, anyway, all ripped from my own CDs. First, there’s Richard Marx’s Greatest Hits. Who can beat songs like “Right Here Waiting” or “Now and Forever” when you’re allowing your characters to fall in love? Snow Patrol’s Eyes Open and The Fray’s How to Save a Life and Live From Soho always put me in the mood to tell stories. Those four albums complete my writing playlist, but I recently bought The Fray’s Helios, and I’ll definitely be adding that.

6. What’s on your Bucket List?

I want to go to Paris, so I can see some of those places I studied about during my eight years of studying French. My daughter went this year and gave me a photo of her in front of the Eiffel Tower - La Tour Eiffel – but next time I want to be in the photo, too.

7. Your first kiss . . .

My first real kiss that didn’t involve spinning bottles was in the eighth grade. It took place in the hall outside Mr. Grossman’s science class, which I guess was fitting. It had already been a big year for me after trading my glasses for contacts, getting rid of my braces and suddenly becoming a little less invisible to the opposite sex, but this was truly momentous. The boy had this slightly bad-boy vibe, which was like girl bait to me, but he was also a nice guy. Oh…the kiss. It was sweet and gentle and not nearly as gross as I’d expected. And that was it. A romance writer was born.

The Written Word:

8. Favorite type of hero (Type A bad boy or Type B good guy) Examples? (Which would you rather live with?)

Is it okay to say that I love both? There’s nothing like a bad-boy hero to get the sparks flowing in a story, but some of my favorite heroes I’ve written – Todd McBride and my current WIP boyfriend, Ben Peterson – are as Beta as they come. My own real hero, Randy, is an Alpha with Beta tendencies, which has made him the near perfect guy to have been married to for 23 years.

9. Favorite genre to read? (Is it what you write?)

I go on reading binges, sometimes any young adult book I can find and the other times the darkest serial-killer books around. Then I hop over to the classics for a bit. I believe that reading in various genres helps me to grow as a writer. I always ask myself why something worked in a book and then try to figure out how the author accomplished it.

10. What would you love to write that you haven’t?

Young adult books. I actually wrote a proposal for one, but it didn’t take off. I really enjoy young love-first love stories. There’s just something magical about them.

11. Fiction hero you would run off with?

Mr. Darcy, of course, if you’re talking about my favorite hero ever. Dark. Brooding. Yum. But then there’s Sam Starrett from Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series. Gotta love Sam.

12. What are you reading right now?

I just finished reading the YA romance, The Promise of Amazing, by Robin Constantine, and I’m near the end of the romantic thriller, Hunted, by Elizabeth Heiter. Up next is the memoir, Romance is My Day Job, by Patience Bloom. It’s sitting on my TBR pile.

A Writer’s Life:

13. Which is easier, the synopsis or the book?

It’s funny. I don’t find either part especially easy. When I write a synopsis to sell with a partial manuscript, I feel as if I’m dragging that story from the depths of my soul. And then when I’m writing the story, I’m always tempted to hurry up and bang it out rather than to slowly craft each page.

14. Live to write or write to live? Day job?

For two decades, I’d been a stay-at-home mom, and it worked really well with writing because I could work around the girls’ schedules. As much as I love telling stories, writing really is a job for me, where earnings are important. This year, when we sent our second daughter off to college, I added a second job to the list, working as a substitute teacher’s assistant. It gives me less time to write, but I’m finding that I’m more productive when I do write.

15. Do you have a set writing schedule?

Now that would be a nice thing to have, wouldn’t it? But no, I don’t. What I do have is a determination to write whenever I can scrounge up a little time. I guess that will have to do.

16. First publishing rejection (and getting back on that horse)?

My first rejection came in 1997 on my first manuscript called “Come Kiss Me, Liar.” I’d received a few of those agent rejections with the form letters that said something to the effect of “this sorry piece of crap isn’t for us, you loser.” But then I received a real rejection letter from former Silhouette editor Karen Taylor Richman. She took time to point out some obvious mistakes I’d made, such as allowing my hero to get back with his ex-. Then she stated the deathblow for my manuscript: she hated my heroine. The small-town, newspaper-reporter heroine whom I’d based on myself. Ouch! Can we say I cried a little over that one? So much that from that point on, my husband would ask me every time I received a rejection, “Are you going to be suicidal again?” But I sucked it up after that and kept writing and submitting. I received “the call” on Jan. 16, 2001.

17. First person you call when you get a sale?

I usually call my husband first, but he’s one of those engineers, who gets so caught up in his work that the forgets to answer the phone, so he usually isn’t the one who hears first. That would be my mom. Then my critique group girls and my other girlfriends.

18. Solo muse or critique partner(s)?

I don’t know where I would be without my critique group, the POTLs. These six amazing women have gotten me through many crises, professional and personal, and I hope I have helped them in the same way. Some of us together since 2001, our group has grown to a nice round seven – Nancy Gideon (recognize that name?), Laurie Kuna (Laurie Carroll), Victoria Craven, Patricia Lazarus, Loralee Lillibridge (Lora Lee) and Dr. Constance Smith. We all write in different romance genres, and each brings her unique skills and perspectives to the group.

19. Biggest hurdle to getting words on the page and how you overcome it?

I’m a procratinator of the worst sort. Sometimes I talk a much better game about writing than actually planting my butt in the chair and banging out the story. To overcome it, I offer a reward system. If I finish a certain number of pages, I can play on Facebook or do a little easy reading.

20. When can we get your next book and what’s it all about?

Today (March 18) is the release date for my newest title, FINALLY A MOTHER, a category romance from Harlequin Love Inspired. The story is about a young woman who must face her regrets and the chaos that ensues when the baby she gave up for adoption nearly fifteen years ago shows up as an angry teen – in handcuffs - at the home for pregnant teens where she works. And, of course, there’s the hunky, but judgmental State Police trooper, who takes the boy into custody and finds himself in a situation as messy as his own recent divorce from his cheating wife. FINALLY A MOTHER is accepting responsibility, discovering second chances and learning that hope is contagious.

Amazon | Harlequin | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million 

Her work at a home for teenage mothers serving as a reminder of her own regrets, social worker Shannon Lyndon dreams of a reunion with the son she felt forced to place for adoption. But nothing could prepare her for the angry teen on her doorstep, nor the handsome but judgmental police officer with the runaway in custody. Still reeling from his ex-wife’s betrayal, 

Trooper Mark Shoffner should steer clear of this messy situation, but he can’t turn his back on Blake, a boy failed by a system intended to protect him, and the pretty young mother, who deserted her own son. After Mark volunteers to serve as Blake’s temporary guardian, and he and Shannon cautiously work together until custody matters can be settled.

What begins as a collaboration to benefit a troubled teen becomes an opportunity for two wounded adults to learn that love does offer second chances and that there just might be a perfect family for Blake after all.

…Corbit deals with the reality of teen pregnancy and reminds readers that hope is contagious,” 4 ½ Star Rating – Romantic Times Book Reviews

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Dana Corbit enjoyed making up tall tales before she learned to spell her name, so it came as no surprise when the Indiana native chose to work in a field where she could tell stories every day. She left her career as an award-winning newspaper reporter and features editor to raise her family, but the stories came home with her as she discovered the joy of writing fiction. An award-winning author of sixteen novels, Dana makes her home in southeast Michigan with her husband, three nearly grown daughters and two portly kitties.

Happy Birthday to FINALLY A MOTHER and Happy Reading!!


  1. You had me at "list-maker." :) And 'amen' to good critique partners! I think a good group can be both friends and critiquers, and each member of the group bring something different to the table.

    Happy Book Birthday!

    1. Thanks, Alyssa. Ooh, another list-maker. I write stuff on lists that I've already completed just to have stuff to check off.

  2. Greetings from another list-maker afraid of heights. Always happy to learn more about you, Dana. Best wishes on your new release.

    1. Thanks, Diane. So we have even more in common than crazy characters running around in our heads.

  3. Loved the excerpt, and the interview. As always, you ladies don't disappoint. Happy Birthday and best of luck from me too.

    1. Thanks so much, Margo. I'm glad you liked it.

  4. Okay, I liked the interview, but I LOVED the excerpt. I'm seriously hooked and want to read more!

    1. Ooh, Kristen, that's what I like to hear. The funny thing about this story was every time I would read over the opening, I would get hooked myself, as if I didn't already know what happened. Hehehe!

  5. Wonderful interview, Dana! Congratulations on your new release - I've been waiting for this book!! Looking forward to reading it! :)

  6. And I thought I knew you so well, Dana. : ) Terrific interview. So anxious to read the book. It's pre-ordered for my Kindle but won't be delivered until 4/1! Loved the excerpt. Guess that will have to do for a while. Sigh. WooHoo on the 41/2 star RT review!

    Nancy, you do such great interviews. Thanks for putting Dana in the hot seat.

  7. Thanks, Loralee. It's fun to learn the little secrets about our writing pals. I can just imagine some of your tall tales, Tex.

  8. What a wonderful interview. I can imagine myself crawling across the bridge too. I started up a zip line starting box after looking at all those narrow stairs and thinking I could do it, but it wasn't until I got about half way up and the stairs swaying that I knew I couldn't do it.

    I'm so glad that you didn't give up after all those horrible rejection letters. This book looks amazing! All the best!!

    1. Thanks, Melissa. I don't think I've ever felt more intense fear than I did that day. In every photo my beet face was red although I didn't have a sunburn. :)

  9. I loved reading your interview and getting to know Dana! I think I would have been crawling across that bridge too!

    As I'm currently in the throes of receiving form rejection letters, you've given me hope! Thanks for sharing part of your story and inspiring others!

    Your novel sounds awesome--looking forward to reading it! :)

    Nancy, thanks for stopping by my blog today! It's nice to "meet" you! :)