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Queensland, Australia
I'm an Australian author of Contemporary Romance, Romantic Action/Adventure, and Historical fiction. I live in Queensland, Australia. www.noelleclark.net

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Day in the Life of: Author - Crystal Donahue

I’m thrilled to have fellow Etopia Press US author Crystal Donahue visit me today.

Crystal writes New Adult Romantic Comedy, and her second novel – Above Par – is out now.

Firstly, congratulations on the release of your second novel, Above Par. What inspired you to write this book?

Thanks, I’m very excited! ‘Above Par’ was actually inspired by my six year old son, of all people. His favorite summer activity is miniature golf so we spend most weekends just putting around. One day I noticed our favorite course was put up for sale. It made me think about how fun it would be to own a putt-putt course.

That thought grew and evolved into the story of Drew and Weston. I was actually in the middle of writing another book at the time, but I couldn’t get ‘Above Par’ out of my head. So I gave up and went with it, and I’m glad I did!

It sounds like there’s a fair bit of angst and tension in Above Par. What was the hardest part about writing this novel?

For me it was keeping readers guessing. Weston, for all his charm, is hiding a BIG secret from Drew. It was important that I handled this with care and not give too much away before the dramatic reveal. So far I’ve yet to hear from a reader that’s figured it out beforehand. Could YOU be the first? There’s only one way to find out!

Romantic Comedy stories often have parts where I laugh myself silly, and then have me in tears at the soft, tender moments. How hard is it to write comedy and balance it with sad bits?

I actually dislike writing sad, emotionally charged chapters. I tend to feel right along with my characters as I write. Since I know what’s coming next, I’ll do everything in my power to procrastinate. At some point I force myself to sit down and type. When it’s done I wipe away the tears and smile about the happy times that come next!

Does your main character, Drew, have any traits that could be found in yourself?

I think it’s impossible to write a main character that doesn’t in some way resemble yourself. All authors shed little pieces of our personalities in each story we create. For example, Drew and I both have a natural inclination to help people. While I’m a nurse by trade, she plans to be a therapist someday. This wasn’t really something I meant to do, it just sort of happened because it’s who I am.

There are problems that Drew and Weston need to overcome. Is there a hidden message in your story and if so what is it?

‘Honesty’ is definitely front and center in ‘Above Par’. All the problems that arise between Drew and Weston could’ve been easily avoided had they told each other the truth from the start. Shame on them! But then again, who wants to read a book without any ups and downs? Not this girl!

Where do you like to write? At your desk, or perhaps wherever looks comfortable at the time?

I do my best work in bed…uh, wait, let me rephrase that…I write most of my best scenes while sitting in bed with my laptop. Yeah, that’s what I meant to say all along! **Wink, wink**

LOL. Well now, Crystal! That made me sit up and take notice. How do you balance writing with all of life’s responsibilities? Which ones do you have to juggle?

If you saw the giant pile of dirty clothes in my laundry room you’d know that I don’t juggle well at all. The very same week that ‘Above Par’ released, I also started a new job. I really don’t recommend that anyone else tries that. I was beyond stressed! I’m only just now starting to get a work, writing, and personal routine back down.

Are you able to share with us what you are working on now?

If you’re a fan of a deliciously sexy man in uniform, that also has a sensitive side, then you’re in for a treat! But that’s all I’m saying for now.

Who doesn’t love a man in uniform. *wink* What tips would you have for aspiring authors who feel passionate about the stories they write?

Write the kind of story that you would want to read yourself. Don’t cater to the fads or genre expectations. Chances are, if you love it, someone else will too!

So many readers have told me they like ‘Above Par’ because it’s not like any New Adult novel they’ve ever read. This, to me, is a huge complement. It’s possible to go against the norm and still have readers connect with your characters and story.

And finally, where can readers get a copy of Above Par?

Let's meet Crystal Donahue:

Crystal Donahue has been fortunate to live all over the US, including Arizona, Hawaii, and Georgia but she currently resides near the Iowa/Illinois border with her tornado obsessed son and their mischievous cat, Brownie. She is a procrastinator of epic proportions, finds humor in almost everything, loves sarcasm and loathes washing dishes.
A 2004 graduate of Western Illinois University, Crystal has held several unique jobs including driving a Zamboni and being a relay operator for the hearing and speech impaired. While working as a claims adjuster she realized life is too short not to do something that makes you happy, so she quit her job to become a nurse. Between work and raising her son she somehow manages to find time to write too, usually to the detriment of her social life. Fortunately her friends and family are amazing so it isn’t much of an issue…yet.

Blurb for Above Par:

There are no mulligans in love.

Drew's life just got a whole lot harder. Her relationships are falling apart, her little sister is failing math, and her parents are leaving for Florida to take care of Grandpa. Now not only does she have to play surrogate parent, study to graduate from her last semester of college, and deal with the looming threat of full-on adulthood, she has to do it all while running the family's mini-golf course by herself. Even the upbeat Drew is starting to feel like she just drove her ball down the unfairway.

Her luck takes a turn when she meets Weston, the snarky geometry teacher. He's smart, capable, dependable, and handsome—a real hole in one. But even Weston has a few hazards of his own. Now Drew will have to decide whether his secret is the wedge that drives them apart, or pushes them together.
Contact Crystal Donahue:


  1. Lovely to see you here Crystal. Noelle sure knows how to make a girl feel at home..

    1. Hi Shehanne. Lovely to see you here too! Doesn't Crystal's book sound fabulous?

  2. Thanks for having me on your blog! I had a blast answering all your questions!

    1. Hey Crystal, the pleasure is all mine. You are a wonderful guest to my humble blog. I particularly like your revelation about how you do your best work in bed. ;-) Thanks so much for visiting. Please come back again some day.

  3. Great interview, guys! I'll have to try writing in bed...

    1. Hi Antonia! Great to see you here. Well, between my two cats and two little dogs, I doubt I'd get any peace if I tried it. They like to get my attention, and the cats walk all over the keyboard. :-) Thanks for visiting.