September 27th, 2017
Her latest book, Absolution (The Luciano Series Book One), [Right] is available now on Amazon!
Tell us about you! Can you share some interesting tidbits we may not know?
When I write, I need loud music, Diet Coke or a Starbucks Mocha, and my laptop. My playlist of old love songs is what helped inspire me when I wrote A Second Chance, my first published novel. I believe God put me on this earth to make people laugh. I do and say some of the stupidest things that turn into some great belly rolls for others and some cool blog posts.
What inspired you to start writing?
I always thought I was strange because I “watch movies in my head.” When computers first came out (yes, I’m that old) I decided to try and put the movies down on paper. From that came Absolution, Book 1 in The Luciano Series, then A Second Chance, both of which are published. I’ve written Books 2, 3 and half of book 4 in the Luciano Series and a new romance novel that needs a name. I still watch movies in my head. The great thing about it, you can watch them whenever or where ever you are. When I get a scene down in my head how I want it, I write it down.
Other than writing, what are some of your passions in life?
Other than writing, Diet Coke, and Starbucks Mocha’s, I love hanging out with my hubby and four kids. We binge watch shows, play with our dogs and sit around talking and eating. We do love some college football.
What was your debut novel, and how has your writing process changed since your debut?
My debut novel was actually the second one I wrote and it’s called A Second Chance. It came out last May and I have loved the responses I’ve gotten from readers. It touches some hard subjects, death, suicide, and forgiving yourself so you can move forward.
Absolution is my second novel, it’s a romantic mystery and just came out in July. You will fall in love with the Luciano’s, I promise. Since putting out those first two, my writing process has stayed the same. Loud music, Diet Coke or Starbucks Mocha. (yes, I accept gifts).
What is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process and why?
My favorite part of the writing/publishing process is engaging with the reader. I give away my email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to everyone I can who have read or buy one of my books. I love to connect with readers and hear what they thought. I want my writing to touch people’s lives and entertain them. I also love to connect with inspiring writers, so if you want to chat, shoot me an email.
What is your most challenging part of the writing/publishing process and what do you do to make it easier?
The most challenging part of writing is the editing. Gosh, I’m horrible with grammar, sentence structure, and spelling. Thankfully, I have three critique partners who edit for me and make some great suggestions.
What does a typical day look like for you? How do you find balance?
A typical day for me includes my day job. I’m a Children’s Minister, which includes directing our church’s Preschool. I work with lots of kids and love it! As far as my own kids, my oldest is a vocal music teacher, my two middle kids are in college and my youngest is a senior in HS. After work, I pick up food or make dinner (rarely) then hang out with kids and hubby. Occasionally, I clean and do laundry. When the house is quiet, I plug headphones in and write.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
If I could tell my younger self anything I’d tell her to enjoy the journey more. It’s amazing to have my books published and to see my dream come true, but the things I learned and did while I wrote and waited for that first publishing contract has been amazing. I learned valuable lessons in the wait. It may sound cheesy, but the Miley Cyrus song “It’s All About the Climb” is true. It really is.
What do you love about writing romance?
I love romance because of the hunks fighting over the girl of course!
What kinds of things do you find romantic in real life? Can you share a story?
I am not a romantic person per say. I can write it and put it down on paper, but my husband would attest, that romance for me is two tickets to a Mizzou football game (actually, any college football game would work), allowing me to sleep in on a Saturday or cleaning the house.
Do you read your book reviews? If so, how do they affect your writing (if at all)?
I do read my book reviews and love to get them. I do like constructive criticism. If someone writes something that is ugly, I ignore it. I don’t obsess over it nor do I sit down and say, “I think I’ll go read some reviews.” If it’s an email from a reader, I always read and respond.
What is the craziest, funniest, or most surprising thing that has happened to you since publishing your first book?
The craziest thing to me about publishing a book is when someone gets nervous about asking me to sign my book or shake my hand. I don’t think of myself as anything but a normal person. One gal’s hands were shaking as she asked me to sign her book. That just blew me away. Why would anyone be nervous to meet me? I’m a normal person just like anyone else.
You should read Absolution, Book 1 in The Luciano Series [Left] because Antony is one hot Italian and his brother Sonny isn’t bad either. 🙂 It’s about the two brothers, one woman they both love, and one bullet that changes their lives forever. Books 2 and 3 are completed and book 4 is about halfway written. Book 2 should come out by the end of the year.
A Second Chance [Right] is my first published book about a past Raven can’t forget and a future Matthew refuses to accept.
Both books can be picked up on Amazon or my website danakray.com and I’ll sign them for you.
Is there any other news you would like to share?
Check out my books and my blog at https://www.danakray.com/ My blog tells funny life stories about myself and what God teaches me. I have two new books coming out within the next year so look for them.
Five Facts Just for Fun!
1. What’s your favorite ’90s jam?
Bye, Bye, Bye, Nsync
2. What was the last gift you gave someone?
3. What were you like as a kid?
Stupid, my expunged police record as a minor proves it.
4. What was the last thing you binge-watched & what did you think of it?
Dr. Blake Mysteries – loved it.
5. What is the one thing (other than your loved ones) that you cannot live without?
Thank you so much Dana! It was great getting to know you!
The Luciano Series, Book One
Driven by family loyalty, Antony Luciano takes the blame when his brother accidentally shoots and kills a childhood friend. By protecting Sonny, Antony is stripped of the life he knew, the company he was destined to run, and the woman he loved.
Sworn to never reveal the truth of that fateful day, the lie catapults Sonny into a life he despises. He transforms the family and their business into one that is legitimate and respectable, but the burning desire in his heart is to find freedom from the sins of his past.
A man from the old days resurfaces, threatening to reveal their secret and avenge his family. Antony and Sonny are propelled back into a life they’ve tried to forget. Can Antony put aside his contempt and Sonny his guilt, and join forces to protect those they love?