Interview with Donnette Smith, Author of Buried Alive

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What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Buried Alive/The Spirit Walker Series Book 2?

What’s your biggest fear? Mine is being buried alive. The thought of waking up in a casket buried six feet under with no way to escape sends shivers down my spine. Being the lover of horror tales that I am, I happened across the story of Dr. Johann Gottfried Taberger, who in the 1800s, came up with the bell system. A bell was placed above a person’s grave, and it was secured to a rope, routed down into the casket, and tied around a corpse’s finger in the event someone happened to be buried alive. They could pull on the string, ringing the bell, and alerting the cemetery worker, who would then dig them up. This is a true story. That laid the groundwork for the next harrowing ordeal our feisty little psychic, Jenna Langley would encounter in book 2 of the Spirit Walker Series, Buried Alive. How long could someone survive in a casket with no ventilation? This dilemma is put to the ultimate test when someone seeking revenge kidnaps Jenna and forces her to face the unthinkable.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of Buried Alive/The Spirit Walker Series Book 2, what would they be?

During the writing of book 1 and book 2 of the Spirit Walker Series, the song, A Thousand Years, from The Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn Part 2, kept playing in my mind over and over. The lyrics reminded me so much of Jenna and Cole. They loved each other from the time they discovered what love was…from a teenager to an adult so many years later. Time did not wash away what they’d found in each other. They had loved each other for a thousand years.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

I love to read everything from horror to mystery, thriller, fantasy, and paranormal. I feel there is a bit of mixed genre in my writing. But when I write a story, romance is always the biggest driver of all.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

I know authors get asked this question a lot. And I would like to answer with the names of at least five titles that are sitting on my desk waiting to be cracked open right now. But that would be disingenuous of me. I know reading is expected of authors. After all, we are in the business of creating stories. But if I read, I’d do it so often I’d never get any writing done. I must confess, I have this compulsive side. Once I delve into something, it’s hard to tear myself away. And it doesn’t help that every time I open a book, all it does is make me want to create another story. So, there’s the truth of it. I can’t read when writing is on my brain. And lately, writing is on my brain constantly.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

I think the moment Cole stumbles upon Jenna’s burial site. I can’t say too much about it or I’ll give away too much of the story. But I can tell you, the emotions exploding through him are profound. I had to reach deep into the heart of this tough man, this gritty detective, and lay it bare like I’d never done with any other character. I will never forget the tears streaming down my face by the time I finished writing that scene.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

A cup of hot tea, a laptop, and my imagination is all that’s required.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Yes. Many. But a few of the important ones regarding writing are: For the love of God, don’t argue with your editor. They are there to make you look good. Don’t break the rules, unless adhering to the rules is what’s keeping you from being the writer you are meant to be. Then break them as many times as you need to. You’ll know when a little rule-breaking is called for.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

The next book in the series is coming…and it’s going to be even better than the one you just read.


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