Broken Pieces

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Author Interview – S.D. O’Donell

How has your upbringing influenced your writing? What comes to mind with this question is probably not what you intended. My chiropractor read Deadly Memories and was amazed that she couldn’t hear my voice (as in me, the person she knows) in the story, only that of the characters. I took that as a great compliment and an indication that I was able to overcome my personal upbringing and present only that of my characters’.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I grew up with books and music. Going to the book store was considered an exciting family outing. We still do it, even with the onset of electronic books. My husband and I own around 15,000 books (not counting what’s on my Kindle). At one time, late in my high school years, our television broke. We didn’t fix it. Why bother, we had books to read, gardens to tend, music to play. Being around books so much of my life, and having an always-active imagination that needed an outlet, writing seemed like a natural choice of profession.

When and why did you begin writing? I started keeping journals as soon as I knew how to write. They were just “this is what I did today” until, as a teenage, I read The Diary of Anne Frank. I was both touched and inspired by the honesty and passion of the feelings she described. After that, I started sharing all of my innermost thoughts and emotions in my journals. That turned into writing stories and poems. That turned into a formal study of the craft of writing. After college, I moved further and further away from the creative aspect of story telling but kept working with words in other ways. Deadly Memories is my debut work of full-length fiction and a return to my roots.

How long have you been writing? All of my life. In addition to the journals, I wrote a play when I was 11 and directed it for my class (with class members as the actors). I worked on the high school newspaper and literary publication. I created a blog-like piece long before anyone knew about the internet, much less the word blog. Several times a week in study hall, I’d write a humorous take on what was happening at school and hand it off to a friend. It was then passed around and shared from person to person, often ending up in the hands of people I didn’t even know. I wrote and published short stories and poetry in college. And I have worked as a full-time free-lance writer, technical writer, and multi-media script writer over the course of my career.

When did you first know you could be a writer? In junior high English class. We had an assignment to write an autobiography. I started with “I’ve led a boring and uneventful life.” From there, I wrote about my life, such as it was at the age of 13. When I got the paper back, I not only had an A+ but the teacher wrote, “Your life has been anything but boring. This was a great read!!!” I figured if I could turn my life into an interesting read, I must have some talent at storytelling. Put that together with my penchant for journaling and I haven’t stopped writing since.

What inspires you to write and why? I write because I have a story I can’t get out of my head, a point I’d like to make, or built-up emotions that need release. I’m happiest when all three of those come together in one narrative.

What genre are you most comfortable writing? My favorite kind of book to read is mystery/thriller, so that’s the kind of book I’ve written. My challenge is finding a balance between developing characters and keeping the story flowing at a thriller pace. Based on the feedback I’ve received so far, I think I met my goal. But I might decide to give my hand a try at something else latter on in my career, just to experience what it’s like to put a little more time into character-building.

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Genre – Murder / Thriller

Rating – PG13 (some foul language, a few short love scenes)

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