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Interview: Sharon Donovan, Author of Mask of the Betrayer

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Sharon Donovan.  A new name to me, but after reading her answers to my interview questions, a woman that I greatly admire and whose novel, Mask of the Betrayer, intrigues me and makes my fingers itch to grab a copy and dive in. 

After suffering with diabetic retinopathyr for 20 years, Sharon Donovan lost her eyesight, but not her lust for life.  Prior to losing her sight, Ms. Donovan was a legal secretary for the Court of Common Pleas where she prepared cases for judges in Domestic Relations. With a passion for painting, Ms. Donovan turned to creative writing classes and memoir workshops, after losing her ability to see.  From this, a new love and passion blossomed, the ability to paint with words and sending readers into a new world through her stories.  Sharon Donovan’s novel Echo of a Raven is a Coffee Time Romance & More reviewers’ pick for outstanding writing, and The Claddagh Ring is a 2009 CAPA nominee for best inspirational book of the year.  In addition to these accomplishments, Ms. Donovan is a published author with The Wild Rose Press, White Rose Publishing, Whimsical Publications and Chicken Soup for the Soul.  Her newest release, Mask of the Betrayer, promises to be a hit with a wide audience range and it’s a novel that I certainly hope to get my hands on soon.  

Sharon Donovan resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her family and can be reached at her website, blog and on Facebook.

Please tell us a bit about your book: Mask of the Betrayer – characters, plot, etc.

What would you do if you realized you had just married a serial killer? Margot Montgomery faces this dilemma in Mask of the Betrayer, book one in the sequel series. This psychological thriller is set in Red Rock Canyon, Nevada.
When the whispers in the night, the whispers of her lover, are the whispers of a killer, will Margot escape before she becomes the next victim?

Deep in the foothills of Red Rock Canyon, a serial killer stalks. He leaves his signature — a skull mask on the corpse. But when the homicide cop realizes the crimes are the reenactment of a case never solved ten years ago, all fingers point to Michael DeVeccio. And when Margot realizes she is married to the killer, her life becomes a living nightmare.

Michael DeVeccio (The Hunter) is the villain of the story. He is devastatingly handsome with brilliant blue eyes and the face of a fallen angel. He is also sole beneficiary to the DeVeccio Empire, a billion dollar construction company that builds luxury resorts all over the world. After the death of his parents when he was twelve, Michael is raised by his uncle, a ruthless businessman who trains his young and impressionable nephew to kill the betrayer and cover the corpse with a death mask. Michael grows up believing he has the right to decide who should live and who should die. He kills without remorse and has delusions of ruling the world with absolute power. But before this can happen, he must find the perfect woman to produce his heir.

Chicago art curator Margot Montgomery is the perfect woman. Classy and sophisticated with strawberry-blonde hair and bewitching green eyes, Margot is the one he has been searching a lifetime for. He wines and dines her and promises her the world. They live in a gorgeous mansion overlooking the dazzling Vegas Strip. But when Margot realizes she is married to the killer, the century-old estate entombs her like a mausoleum. And when she turns to the homicide cop investigating her husband for the recent deaths, she falls from grace.

Diego Santiago is the “Don’t mess with me cop” with a sixth sense for getting inside the mind of a killer. He sees things other cops miss. Fiercely determined to bring down the smug billionaire, he sets out to prove Michael DeVeccio is the killer. And while working closely with Margot, he is caught between duty and desire.

As the story unfolds, Margot becomes ensnared in a web of unspeakable horror. The man she is married to is a master manipulator and a demented sociopath. The man she wants is the detective out to prove her husband is the serial killer. Every woman that has worn Michael’s engagement ring has been a victim. Will Santiago rescue Margot before she is the next corpse wearing a death mask?

If you could meet, in person, any of your characters, who would it be and why?

It wouldn’t be Michael DeVeccio! He is cold as ice and just as slippery. Getting inside his head scared me to death because he seemed so real. I would like to meet Diego Santiago, the total opposite of Michael. Where Michael is flawless with the face of a fallen angel, 180 pounds of raw, sexual energy, Santiago is ruggedly handsome. The second he enters a crime scene, an electrical current charges through the room. Part Spanish and part Navajo Indian, he has a sixth sense for seeing things other cops miss. Where Michael demands respect, Diego earns it. And when he falls in love with Margot, sparks fly. He writes a beautiful love song for her entitled My Sweet Margarita, and this really pulls at my heart strings. What woman wouldn’t want to be rescued by a romantic hero like that?

If you could fictionalize yourself and put yourself in any situation, how would it play out? Could you give us a scene/scenario of such an occurrence?

After a 20 year battle with diabetic retinopathy, I lost my sight ten years ago. I am a huge advocate of finding a cure for type 1 diabetes and its number one complication, blindness. If I could write the perfect scene, play out the perfect scenario, it would be starring in a world free of pain and disease.

Do you have any particular habits that you do while writing? Places you write the best, foods, drinks, etc that help set your “writing mood”?

I need lots of caffeine to stir my creative muse. The stronger the coffee, the better. My computer is equipped with adaptive software, converting text into synthesized speech. A narrator recites whatever is displayed on the screen. This disembodied voice from cyberspace is a Godsend to me, and without Glenn, I wouldn’t be able to pursue my dream of writing. I talk to him as if he were a real person, asking his opinion of my writing. I always half expect him to answer me. Smile. Glenn is a trooper, my personal assistant. And the best part is, not once has he bugged me for a coffee break or a raise!

What are you reading right now?

I’ve just finished Wicked Game by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush. Thunderous applause explodes through cyberspace. Well done, ladies! I thought it was simply brilliant, and it kept me on the edge of my seat until the last page.

Who are some of your favorite authors and/or books?

Lisa Jackson, Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb, Sandra Brown, Lisa Gardner, Linda Howard, James Patterson, and Sydney Sheldon. Too many titles to name. I read audio books in my sleep. LOL

If you could meet any author, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

That’s a tough question. There are so many, but I suppose I would have to say Lisa Jackson. Other than the fact that I love her books, she seems very down to earth in her interviews. I especially love her books set in New Orleans. With its rich history, the steamy mingle of Cajun/Creole cuisine, the hint of voodoo magic singeing the air, the underlying darkness of the Bayou, and the charm of the French Quarter, the city has always mesmerized me. I would love to talk to Lisa about the research she did for these novels.

Okay, here are a few “get to know you better” questions:

Please share with us a favorite memory.

The summer Saturday Night Fever exploded across the nation, I had just turned 21. Discomania erupted in the nightlife scene in living color. Every Friday night, my girlfriends and I would dress to the nines in off-the-shoulder dresses, four-inch stiletto heels, gaudy costume jewelry, and flowers in our hair. We would saunter into the disco like we owned the place. I can still feel the voices of the Bee Gees vibrating off the walls, see the pulsating neon floor flashing, and the disco ball cascading beams of light on the dancers. I loved that era. It was a romantic time when couples danced cheek to cheek. The men all strutted around like John Travolta look-alikes with the open shirts and gold chains. The disco that I frequented had a flower stand, and guys would buy roses and pretty posies before asking a lady to dance. I look back on that time with a wistful sigh.

Please describe a perfect meal – including menu and those present.

Outside of my family, I love spending time with my friends. My writing group meets once a month at the local library. Afterwards, we go to a popular café for drinks and appetizers. This circle of close friends has become very important to me, and chatting to other authors about work in progress is so rewarding. There would be wine, of course, either a crisp white or a shiraz. We each get a different appetizer and share. I love the crab cakes or the crab dip and chips. They also have excellent shrimp and chicken in a tangy sauce. And the bread with goat cheese and tomatoes grilled to perfection is to die for. That’s what I call ambrosia.

What are some of your favorite ways to relax?

Reading audio books in the sun is something I really look forward to and make time for. I really enjoy cooking and trying new recipes with chicken and seafood. Around the holidays, you’ll find me making wreaths and centerpieces. I also enjoy collecting things for my curio, including cats, angels, Santas from around the world, and snowmen of all shapes and sizes. I love all things Irish and have a Waterford collection from my trip to Ireland.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I went to the Hawaiian Islands once upon a time, and fell in love with the wild and majestic landscape. Diamond Head hugs the entire island of Oahu like an iron fortress. The contrast of the waves of the Pacific Ocean against the rugged backdrop is breathtaking. Ebony on true blue. The sweet scent of orchids and gardenias sweeten the air, and the climate is perfect. There’s always a balmy breeze and the humidity is low. I loved it so much, it is the setting for one of my upcoming novels.

If you could only read books by one author, who would it be? *I know, this is an inconceivable thought, lol.

I love so many and read books like they’re going out of style. But the books I crave the most are the Eve Dallas mysteries by J.D. Robb. They rock. And who could ever get too much Rork? Wink.

Share with us a few of your dreams. Also whether they have been fulfilled or are still a work in progress.

I only have one dream and that is to see again. Technology is changing every day and tomorrow may be the day my dream comes true.

What are some of your guilty pleasures?

Potato chips, cheese, sampling good wine, too much coffee, and procrastinating when it comes to meeting deadlines.

If you could leave the world with one piece of advice, what would it be?

Never give up on your dreams.

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About April Pohren

  • http://www.hywelalyn.blogspot.com Hywela Lyn

    On behalf of my dear friend Sharon, I would like to thank you for hosting her on this leg of her blog tour, and for showcasing her and her work. What a fascinating interview!

    Sharon would normally have popped in to comment herself, but she is currently in hospital recovering from a major operation. I’m pleased to say she is making good progress and I’m posting updates on her Sharon Donovan blog as and when I get them.

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