Donna McDine is a freelance children's fiction writer with a first book in the works. Balancing her family life, day job, and writing career isn't easy, but as she herself stresses, setting boundaries and having a private writing space helps. In this interview, she talks about her writing environment, habits, and she offers aspiring writers some useful advice.
Why don’t you begin by telling us a little about yourself?
I'm a native of Rockland County, New York and live with my husband and two daughters. I write, moms, and I’m a personal assistant from my home in Tappan. I’m a 2007 graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature, Writing for Children and Teenagers program. I’m also a member of the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators), The Children’s Writers Coaching Club at The National Writing for Children Center, and Musing Our Children Group. I have been published in Stories for Children Magazine, Kid Magazine Writers, Long Story Short, Institute of Children’s Literature Rx for Writers, SCBWI Metro NY Newsletter, and Once Upon A Time. And a forthcoming non-fiction article with Boys’ Quest to be published in December 2012. I’m also a children’s book reviewer for Musing Our Children Group, The National Writing for Children Center, and Stories for Children Newsletter.
When did you decide you wanted to become an author? Do you have another job besides writing?
I married 18 years ago and with the strong desire to be home (after contending with the rat race of sending Nicole to daycare and running off to my corporate job) I found myself pregnant with Hayley 10 years ago and armed with a Bachelor’s Degree in Office Management and 11 years as an Administrative Assistant in the corporate world I successfully landed a job working for a Fundraising Consultant working primarily from my home. This position has been a Godsend, since worrying about the endless responsibilities of what to do with the children at the end of the school day, illnesses, etc. I was now home to deal with them. And the gentleman I work for is a doll - he respects the fact that family comes first. However, over the years I have yearned for something more challenging and rewarding. Then suddenly one day in the mail, info on the Institute of Children’s Literature found its way to me. I haven’t looked back since - even though I still hold my “day job” (it helps pays the bills). I continue to make progress in achieving my writing goals (even if they are baby steps).