Welcome to author Donna B. McNicol, writing as DB McNicol. She has published two mystery series, two children’s books, and one romance novel (with a free prequel). We asked her to answer some questions for us. We thank her for taking the time!
Describe your favorite writing spot or space.
I have to admit to using a local McDonalds as a favorite writing spot. Free wifi and never-ending coffee. What more could I ask for? Quiet? Not for me, I can easily tune it out and when I need a break, I love to people watch. Since we live rurally, there aren’t any coffee shops or I would probably gravitate towards those instead.
Describe your current writing spot or space.
Well, we are in the middle of a pandemic as I write this so my current writing spot is sitting in my living room on my reclining loveseat. I have a nice lap desk on my lap with room for my MacBook and mouse. I have cables at the ready and we have fast, fiber-optic internet. That, combined with my own never-ending cup of coffee and our two Doodles to keep me entertained (and make sure I get up to stretch my legs in their constant quest to be on the other side of the door).
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Well, I have titles for a couple of books I may never write. One would be a children’s picture book titled, Manfried – the Dragon Who Drooled. I’ve had that title for over twenty years… The other could be a mystery or a romance, Brussel Sprouts at Midnight. Personal story to that one.
I have a trilogy of romance novels, partly outlined with the first partially written from when I started writing fiction again in 2012. Once I wrote my first mystery, I got bored with writing romance. Now, that’s not to say I won’t someday pick them up again.
I’m currently working on two prequels for my two current series, the Klondike Mysteries and the C’Mon Inn Mysteries. I have two partially outlined future mystery series, Lia Rules Mysteries and the Hunt & Tech Mysteries.
What comes first for you, the plot or characters?
I usually start with a location setting, a couple of characters, and a dead body. I research as I write and do very little outlining or planning.
With the Klondike Mysteries I started with a dream I had years earlier as well as a location and some basic characters. It got fleshed out from there. I enjoyed using a setting I was familiar with and only needed minor research on location issues. In this case, I had no idea how the story would unfold and even I didn’t know the killer until near the end of the book.
With the C’Mon Inn Mysteries it was a little more difficult. The series is set on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. I had never been there and had to use a lot of research on the location. I developed a wide variety of characters, adding new as the stories unfolded.
How do you select the names of your characters?
I enjoy picking the names for my characters. Sometimes some just pops into mind, usually a first name. I often Google search for a character photo for inspiration – not to share, just for my use while writing. From time to time a character is inspired by someone I know in real life. If I am really stuck for a name, I have a spreadsheet with female/male first names and last names. I get my husband to give me two numbers and I use those for first pick names.
Even more fun is hosting a contest for my readers where they get to give me a name to use. I have several ready for use in upcoming books!
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Needless to say, I love to read. I’m a fast reader, too. When I am writing, I don’t read so I look forward to those spells when I can. I also enjoy travel with my husband and our two Doodles in our fifth wheel trailer. We were full-time RVers for ten years until we bought our home here in middle Tennessee. Now we are sometime snowbirds, traveling to warmer climes in the winter.