Mar 15, 2010

Look what the CAT dragged in... DONNA ALWARD

Canadian author and editor of the blogazine The Pink Heart Society, Donna Alward's, latest release, 'Her Lone Cowboy', releases today in North America. It's the second of her 'Cowboys & Confetti' duet started in January.

Welcome to LoveCats DownUnder, Donna. Let's get the most pressing question out of the way first...

Q1. Cat person or dog person?
That’s actually a tough question. Because I have both. But I think…while I love our little Boo dearly…I’m more of a dog person. I think it’s in the eyes. Puppy eyes are so expressive. And I always had dogs growing up but never cats (my mum wouldn’t allow it). We’ve only just brought our first kitty home in December, and I have to admit he’s added a little bit of something special to our household. My friend and CP Michelle Styles says there is nothing like a cat in the lap. She’s right – and there’s also nothing like the devotion of a dog. Dreamer is a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever – as you can tell, she loves the water. I love both our furbabies – how could I not when they’re this cute?

Q2. Your cover for Her Lone Cowboy is wonderfully evocative - just a man and a whole lotta country! What is it about your cowboy that makes him such a loner? Tell us a little about the story.

Can I just say how much I LOVE this cover? I was horribly nervous waiting to see it and boy did they get it right! Noah’s definitely a loner. He’s been a career soldier up until now, when he’s wounded and pretty much guaranteed to stay that way. He and his brother basically grew up without a mother and their relationship with their dad is complicated. He hasn’t seen his brother often in the intervening years. And now he’s come back home not by choice but by circumstance.

When I knew I was going to be writing a physically disabled hero, I also knew one thing – that there would be no room for self pity. Noah might be angry, and get frustrated, but he never feels sorry for himself. For Noah it is all about wanting to move forward and sometimes it doesn’t feel like it’s happening as fast as he’d like. He finds it difficult to accept help – which is where the heroine, Lily comes in. Lily just GETS him. And so when there comes a time that he does seek someone out to talk to, it’s her that he chooses. There were a few scenes in this book that were amazing – and draining – to write. I went through TONS of tissues during two particular scenes. I think at one point I had to stop as I couldn’t see the screen. What a baby I am!

I mention in my Dear Reader that it is hard to think of Noah as disabled. I just got caught up in their story and I still think he’s soooo sexy – despite his scars. Can you tell I’m still a little in love with this book?

Q3. Are you a country-girl yourself? What is it that you love so much about cowboys and ranches?

Aw, you’ve outted me. LOL Yes, I’m a country girl, though I grew up on an apple farm and not one with livestock. Still, being a country girl I feel that connection to the land and wide open spaces. I lived in Calgary, Alberta for several years – home of the Calgary Stampede and a short drive to the Rocky Mountains and ranch country. There is something about the prairie especially that is beautiful. The sky is so huge, and there’s a wild freedom to it. You can stand in the middle of a field and feel small, but also feel how awesomely big it is and marvel at being a small part of a big whole…it’s hard to explain. As far as cowboys and ranches – there is something about the farming work ethic, and a man who is self assured, a man who works the land to be a provider and protector. Hey, you get it – you have your own version with your outback heroes and cattlemen!

Q4. You're Canadian, eh? Right on the coast of Nova Scotia, specifically. What an amazing place to live - what do you see out your window (other than a heap of used Olympic banners)?

After years of being a city dweller (hard for a country girl like me), we moved a few years ago to Nova Scotia, which is much closer to where I grew up. We aren’t “rural” but rather I guess what you’d call “country residential” – our subdivision has minimum one acre lots, lots of trees, and is very quiet. The last place we lived our side door was three feet away from the neighbour’s steps. Here – if I shout, our neighbour and I can communicate while on our decks. Barely.

I have my own office here too, that looks out over our front yard. The two lots across from us are not developed so when I look out my window, I see our front lawn, my perennial garden, and lots and lots of trees across the road. Quite often I will also see pheasants strutting around or deer – they’d better keep away from my apple trees! J It’s a good life. I love it. And when the trees get too much – it’s a hop skip and a jump to the ocean. I LOVE sitting and listening to the ocean.

Q5. Have you ever been DownUnder? Would you like to come? I can have the spare room ready....

I haven’t! And yes I’d love to visit! I have such itchy feet but travel is expensive especially when you have kids to tow along. And we would have to take them…I love watching them experience new things and places.

My sister did a trip many years ago to Australia and New Zealand and her pictures are so gorgeous. And of course “meeting” so many Aussie authors only tempts me more. The one thing that scares me? You guys have some seriously poisonous species over there. I watched a show once that had the world’s deadliest creatures and I swear half of them were in Australia! LOL You’re made of stern stuff!

Q6. The Pink Heart Society... a great regular read (especially 'Male on Monday'...ahem...) What do you enjoy most about helping to run a blog-a-zine?

Hands down it’s the people I get to meet – even if it’s just cyber meet. This year I’m looking after the calendar and am starting to get over my numbing fear of cold-e-mailing people to be special guests. I learn a lot about different people and parts of the industry. It sounds weird but I can’t tell you how much I get from working with Michelle (Styles) and Jenna (Bayley-Burke) and the rest of our fab group. The PHS rocks and reminds me daily how great it is to be a part of the category romance genre.

Q7. What's next on your to-do list, book-wise?

I just handed in the second book of my current contract, and it was a book that was a slight departure for me but fun! My next deadline is the end of May, so I’m full-speed ahead with a brand new story. You can usually catch up with what I’m doing on my blog ( .

Donna, thanks for your time, I know there isn't much of it, especially in shelf-week. We've loved having you DownUnder albeit virtually. Maybe one day we'll see you here. Until then... race you back to The Pink Heart Society.


  1. Hi Donna. I had to laugh at your dangerous animal comment. I guess it's all a matter of perspective... we have spiders and snakes, but you guys have cougars, bears and wolves!

    I love you cover! You've got me very intrigued about your hero. Do you have an Aussie release date?

  2. Hi Nikki & Donna - great interview! I'm really drawn to heroes who struggle with physical disabilities. I find it fun to develop them as characters and to put them in situations where they have to overcome hurdles or confront their own frailties, often prodded by their heroines and I so get the "not pity for themselves" comment, that would make them seem weak.
    I hope you manage to make it DownUnder one day, Donna, maybe to an RWA conference?

  3. Hi Donna, it's so cool to have you visit us DownUnder!

    I love your cover for Her Lone Cowboy and it sounds like a wonderful, moving and intense read. I think we might get it on our shelves down here in May so I'll keep my eyes peeled for it. I hope we get the NA cover!

    Congratulations on being part of The Pink Heart Society - it's one of my favourite blog reads!

    Good luck with your next story - I hope the characters are feeling cooperative!


  4. Hey Donna

    Oh I love where you live - sounds wonderful - especially the deer and the pheasant!

    I also hope that one day you will get Downunder - but I hear you about taking the kids travelling too - I am inclined to do that with my 2 as well (and I think I drive their headmaster mad with the school time missed - but figure its so worth it) - and they are so much the richer in their 'world knowledge' for going places with us. Its great for them to travel too!

    Will look out for your book when it hits the shelves here!

    Bye 4 now

  5. mmmm ok now lets try that with my google log in, not hubbies...ooopsie.......

    Hey Donna

    Oh I love where you live - sounds wonderful - especially the deer and the pheasant!

    I also hope that one day you will get Downunder - but I hear you about taking the kids travelling too - I am inclined to do that with my 2 as well (and I think I drive their headmaster mad with the school time missed - but figure its so worth it) - and they are so much the richer in their 'world knowledge' for going places with us. Its great for them to travel too!

    Will look out for your book when it hits the shelves here!

    Bye 4 now

  6. Welcome to the LoveCats Donna. I am with you - too hard to say dog or cat person - I like to think of myself as an animal person.

    Love your cover and we would love to see you downunder too.

  7. gorgeous cover Donna, and I'm half in love with your hero already!! I've got to get my hands on your book!
    Thanks for visiting LoveCats =)

  8. Hi Donna

    I'm fully in love with your hero - I reckon the only thing missing is the faithful dog, sitting staring up at his master. And thanks for sharing about your home - as an Aussie who's yet to leave our shores I love finding out about other people's homes and their wildlife. Happy writing and hope we see you in Oz sometime.

  9. Hi Everyone! It's bright and early on a Monday morning, the kids are off for spring break and we're dog-sitting this week which is turning out to adventure. *yawn*

    LOL at bears and cougars! No cougars here and the odd was much more dangerous out west as there were grizzlies and mountain lions and if you're in the right spot, rattlers and black widow spiders. :-) There are bear bells to wear while hiking but really the only thing we ever ran into on the trail were big horned sheep.

    About that Aussie release date - rumour has it that May is the magic month. I'm dying to see the cover! The Aus/NZ covers have had a makeover and they're sooooo pretty!

  10. Great interview!
    Lovely cover too. Looking forward to reading Her Lone Cowboy.

  11. Sounds like a super place to write, Donna, with deer and duck tollers for company. Your dog must really like living in Nova Scotia. We had a toller and couldn't keep him out of the water. Congratulations on your new release!

  12. I'd give anything for a natural view out my office window and something more interesting than small birds. I've surrounded myself with wild things in my writing space but sadly my window overlooks the feral neighbours over the road :(

    We do live diagonally opposite a bush park but can't see it from my writing pozzie. Cest la vie.

    Donna - coming from a state that never sees snow, it's hard for me to imagine your view covered in pretty white stuff (although I imagine it doesn't stay pretty). But an acre of it must be challenging to manage in winter? Or do you 'manage' it by letting it run wild and waiting for the thaw?

  13. Hi Donna,
    Thanks for the great blog. I do love the description of your book, and the cover is lovely. Hope you get to visit Oz one day.

  14. Hi Donna,
    Love your cover. And your hero *g* So glad he gets a happy ending. Sounds like he deserves it. I'm lucky enough to live in 26 acres of Aussie bush. Can't see any neighbours or hear traffic except on a still day. I hang out my washing to the sound of birds. And the wind in the trees sounds like waves on the osean. I look forward to seeing yu at an Australian romance writers conference one day. Thanks for dropping by and giving us a look-see into your world.

  15. Nikki - snow is a mixed blessing. Fun for snowmen and tobogganing and not so much for getting the car out of the yard.

    We have a ride-on lawn mower and bought a snowblower attachment for it, so we blow the snow out of the driveway so we can get in and out, but otherwise, it just looks pretty and white. We didn't have quite as much this year as last.

  16. Donna, that is the sort of cover that would leap off the shelf at me - I *love* it! Looking forward to seeing the Aussie cover too.

    Yes, please come on down under! And if you make your trip at the same time as one of our conferences, it'll be so much easier to meet lots of Aussie romance writers. ;)