Once Upon a Holiday Interview with Donna Hill
From Donna Hill: I write to weave the threads that connect us all!
Donna Hill began her career in 1987 writing short stories for the confession magazines. Since that time she has more than fifty published titles to her credit since her first novel was released in 1990, and is considered one of the early pioneers of the African American romance genre. Three of her novels have been adapted for television. She has been featured in Essence, the New York Daily News, USA Today, Today’s Black Woman, and Black Enterprise among many others. She has appeared on numerous radio and television stations across the country and her work has appeared on several bestseller lists, including Essence, Emerge and The Dallas Morning News among others.
Donna Hill has received numerous awards for her body of work—which cross several genres– including The Career Achievement Award, the first recipient of The Trailblazer Award, The Zora Neale Hurston Literary Award, The Gold Pen Award among others, as well as commendations for her community service, during her tenure as Director for Kianga House—a transitional residence for homeless teen mothers and their children. Donna co-wrote the screenplay Fire, which enjoyed limited theater release before going to DVD. As an editor she has packaged several highly successful novels, and anthologies, two of which were nominated for awards.
Donna served as a writing instructor at The Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center in New York. For the past three years, Donna has been a writing instructor with the Elders Writing Program sponsored by Medgar Evers College through Poets & Writers, and oversaw the compilation and publication of their memoir anthology. Donna is a graduate of Goddard College with an MFA in Creative Writing. She is an Adjunct Professor of English at Essex County College, and The College of New Rochelle, and lives in Brooklyn with her family. She works full–time, as a writer, for the Brooklyn Borough President’s office.
BPM: Who does your work speak to?
When I look at my work as a full body I discovered, quite by accident, that there is an underlying theme to all of my stories whether they are romance, women’s fiction, mystery, or even erotica and paranormal. My work speaks to our connection to each other. It speaks to the impact that one person’s actions have on another whether intentional or not. In other words we are our brother’s and sisters keeper and we have a responsibility for what we do because our actions will always impact someone else.
BPM: You believe in:
I believe, that if You believe in yourself, all things are possible.
BPM: You are humbled by:
I am constantly humbled by the readers who express their pleasure in what I do, and share with me the impact that my work has on them and has had on them for years.
BPM: Faith allows you to:
Faith allows me to believe that if when I think I can’t, I know that I will.
BPM: What writer would you consider a mentor:
For me there is more than one writer that I would consider a mentor for several reasons. One would be Bernice McFadden who is both friend and sounding board and whose work I admire. Another would be Gwynne Forster who has been a friend for decades and I can grouse with about anything from writing to family. I would also have to include Sandra Kitt as a mentor of sorts as she was the first writer that I met more than twenty years ago and convinced me that “editing” was not so hard!
BPM: If you weren’t a writer, you would be:
I can’t imagine myself being anything other than a writer in some capacity and my writing has led me to what I feel is my calling, which is teaching writing.
BPM: The greatest threat to literary freedom is:
The greatest threat to literary freedom… good question. I would have to say the overwhelming demands that are now put on writers to be everything BUT a writer; marketeer, speech maker, radio personality, salesman. And of course being pigeon-holed because of race and the genre in which you write.
BPM: Do you view writing as a gift or a career:
Writing is truly a gift. Not everyone can write, whether they think so or not. And clearly everyone cannot write, just as everyone cannot play a piano or paint a masterpiece. The arts, although the mechanics can be taught, is God-given. It is intuitive. It is a part of who you are as an individual. Gifted writers, write because they must. Career writers write for entirely different reasons.
BPM: Life’s greatest teacher is:
Life’s greatest teacher is living.
BPM: Success means:
Success means being happy in your life and feeling complete about the role you play in the lives of others.
BPM: What legacy do you wish to leave:
If there was any legacy that I wished to leave it would be: She did what she loved and changed lives because of it.
Connect with author Donna Hill
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