I’m delighted to have the talented author, Donna Galanti, here at the Dark Dimensions as part of her blog tour for her debut novel, A Human Element. She was kind enough to answer my questions about her process, the novel, and her journey as an author. A Human Element is one of those novels that refuses to be put in a box. At times it is horrific, romantic, and heart-wrenching. The characters are impossible to forget, and you’ll be compelled to read on until the satisfying conclusion. I highly recommend it.
Read on for the interview.
Lucas Mangum: What was it about A Human Element that made it stand out for you among your other ideas?
Donna Galanti: The entire story – even the character names – came to me in a flash one day driving to work. It’s as if the idea spoke to me from some place I hadn’t tapped into. That was nearly fifteen years ago. I shelved the idea until recently when it kept haunting me to write it.
LM: What parts of the novel were the most fun to write?
DG: I love writing from the dark side but also love bringing characters together in love scenes. I think because violence and love both come from the same well of passion. It was especially fun writing hideous acts of the tormented villain X-10. I am driven to write about things I would get tossed in prison for life (and probably solitary confinement too).
Here’s an excerpt from a fun scene with X-10:
X-10 crushed his hands together and shrieked a demonic wail, pressing into her brain, probing with points of fire. Pain. He wanted her to feel so much pain. She fell to the floor, hugging herself. He watched her from his mind’s eye writhe and moan. When he faced her in person he would bring her to her knees and kill her while he stared into her forlorn eyes. Those big, brown eyes. He would snuff them of life so no human could enjoy them again.
Bitter bile filled his throat and he swallowed hard, forcing it down. It was time to go. A few hours sleep was all he needed and when dusk fell again he would be off, running the last few miles toward his prey. He was so close. By tonight he would be upon her. And they would be face to face.
He thumped his chest in a war cry and ran through the farmhouse door, a wild beast with one thing in mind. To kill.
LM: What draws you to the paranormal genre? Do you feel they are the same things that draw the rest of us?
DG: So many things fall under the paranormal, but I think we are drawn to it because they all have the same theme: the mysterious unknown. Are ghosts real? Do we have the power to read minds? Can we heal with our touch? Can we move objects with our thoughts? Can we kill with our mind power? Research says we use a very small percent of our brain power. I like to imagine the possibilities if we could access the remaining percent. We may not need physical bodies at all or need to talk to communicate.
LM: What was the biggest challenge in crafting the story of A Human Element?
DG: Bringing multiple characters together across years to a final conclusion. This challenge also included creating believable and consistent characters from childhood into adulthood.
LM: Who are some authors that have inspired you along the way?
DG:Dean Koontz. Stephen King. John Grisham. Robert James Waller. Laura Ingalls Wilder. That last one may not fit, I know! But Wilder’s Little House series is a series I re-read every year. Why? Because the characters are endearing. They suffer and love and adapt and have love of family at the core of their strength. I want them to overcome their struggles. This is the basics to a good book, I believe.
LM: So you’ve sold your first novel, what’s next?
DG: So many things! I am busier now than when writing A Human Element. Ongoing promotion takes up a lot of time. I am also editing a middle grade adventure novel I wrote last year and writing the sequel to A Human Element – A Hidden Element. I already envision the final book, A Healing Element. Then there are workshops and conferences to attend to keep improving my writing craft. Plus going to fun reading events like your Awesome Reading Fests, Lucas!
LM: You managed to sell a debut novel in a publishing industry that can best be described as chaotic. Aside from writing a damn good book, what else do you think contributed to your success?
DG: Thanks for the praise, Lucas. As far as success I would have to say: Never giving up. Really. I loved my book and wanted to share it. This meant editing it to be the best it could be and not being bothered by rejection. I would get a rejection, toss it with a smile and send out another query. Working on creating an author platform and surrounding myself with a supportive network of writers was a big part of it as well.
LM: What is a little known fact about you that readers of your work and fans of this blog may like to know?
DG: I’ve always been one to balk at authority. I was a non-conformist (hint: another word for trouble maker) at my Catholic high school. I’m not Catholic but my parents thought it would straighten me out. I skipped class. I was forever called down to the Principal’s office. I played tricks on the nuns. Once locked the library nun in the library. Another time stole the wheelchair ramp so the nun couldn’t get to class and hid it in the bathroom. Smoked in the chapel. So go figure, why I joined the U.S. Navy (although I had lots of fun in boot camp)! I think I have found my balance in life now as a writer. I am able to live my life now the way I choose and not dictated by others. If those others don’t like it, too bad. Life is too short. Besides, aren’t we writers all non-conformists in our own way?
About A HUMAN ELEMENT:
One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next. Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite–her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a mad man, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test.
With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him.
Readers who devour paranormal books with murder, mystery, and steam will enjoy A HUMAN ELEMENT, the new novel about loss, redemption, and love.
Reviewers are saying…
“A HUMAN ELEMENT is an elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart. Highly recommended.” –Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author of ASSASSIN’S CODE and DEAD OF NIGHT
“A HUMAN ELEMENT is a haunting look at what it means to be human. It’s a suspenseful ride through life and love…and death, with a killer so evil you can’t help but be afraid. An excellent read.” –Janice Gable Bashman, author of WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE, nominated for a Bram Stoker Award.
Donna Galanti is the author of the paranormal suspense A Human Element. She has a B.A. in English and a background in marketing. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, The Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group, and Pennwriters. She lives with her family in an old farmhouse in PA with lots of nooks, fireplaces, and stinkbugs. Visit her at: www.donnagalanti.com
LIKE Donna’s Author Facebook page for news and updates! Her tour runs through April 11thh with book giveaways, more guest posts, and interview fun, and a chance to win the big prize giveaway! So pop over to her blog to see the full tour schedule.
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Purchase A HUMAN ELEMENT here: