Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Author Interview #180: A Human Element by Donna Galanti

Our interview today is with Donna Galanti, author of A Human Element (suspense, 4.5 stars, 50 reviews) and its prequel short story collection, The Dark Inside. Donna’s debut novel reveals a haunting look at what it means to be human and a suspenseful ride through life and love…and death. Fans of paranormal suspense will enjoy this thriller full of believable characters, a terrifying villain, an epic battle for survival, and a love worth killing for.
In A Human Element, when Laura Armstrong’s loved ones are murdered, her unique powers lead her to the site of a crashed meteorite. There she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. The connection between the two seems to lie with the madman who haunts Laura’s dreams. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s 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. Can Ben and Laura stop him before he fulfills his promise to kill her next?
2012 International Thriller Writers Debut Author Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery with a dash of steam. She’s called “a true storyteller, highly reminiscent of Dean Koontz”, who blends dark fiction with horror, science fiction, and suspense in her novel A Human Element. Drawing rave reviews for being “a page-turner filled with fascinating twists and turns”, A Human Element is available in print and e-book through Amazon and other major retailers. More of Donna’s dark fiction can be had in her short story collection, The Dark Inside, which “builds a world of horror and suspense anchored deeply in humanity”.
1. What inspired you to write A Human Element?
I am fascinated by the power of the brain and how little we use. We are not even close to tapping our potential of brainpower. Writing in the paranormal allows me to tap into the “what if”. What if we possessed the power to do the unbelievable? Like telepathy, telekinesis. And what if we could use those powers to heal – or to kill? Some people like to imagine that aliens would have such power, as eluded to in A Human Element, but what if it was inside us all along and we just had to tap into it?
2. What specific themes did you emphasize throughout the novel?
Themes of adoption, love, loss, and redemption run through A Human Element. We follow three characters through the book that all end up parentless and tormented at some point. They all deal with it in different ways through hope, despair, and rage. Is it their genes that shape who they are or their environment? This is a question I have struggled with in being adopted, especially once I met my blood-family. In the book Laura Armstrong believes “we all have something redeemable in us, no matter how small” and this is what drives the story.
3. What’s your favorite / least favorite aspect of your writing life?

Favorite: falling in love with characters so much I create theme songs for them, creep away from my family to be with them, and drag out writing The End as I don’t want to say goodbye. I have a major crush right now on Caleb in the sequel I’m writing to A Human Element. It helps that he also looks just like Taylor Lautner (in my mind). Writing a sequel afterwards feeds this character addiction. Least Favorite: all the business stuff that takes away from writing time.
4. Tell us a little about your main character.
Ben Fieldstone, in A Human Element, is lean and tough with dark, brooding looks and intense gray eyes. He’s a loner, broken by evil influences and closed off from love until he meets Laura Armstrong. He’s also a photographer in the Navy on Oahu like I was. I worked for Fleet Intelligence Pacific in Pearl Harbor (in the building with no windows) processing aerial film of allied/enemy camps around the world, as Ben did. Except he gets into a wee bit of trouble with the Marines and locals there, unlike me. See an excerpt about that here. Want to know more about Ben? Check out an interview with him here

5. Who are your favorite authors? Have they inspired your writing?
Dean Koontz. Stephen King. John Grisham. 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 adore character-driven stories about; who they are, what drives them, what happens to them, and how they deal with it.
6. Your book talks about aliens landing on earth. Do you think that there are other life forms out there?
I do. We are such a speck in the universe that goes on infinitely. It seems impossible that we are the only life forms in a grand space. The theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking says he is nearly certain that alien life exists, but says we should avoid contact. He relates it to Columbus landing in America. That didn’t turn out so well for the Native Americans. In the movie Contact, based on a novel written by astronomer Carl Sagan, the main character in it, Dr. Arroway, says: “The universe is a pretty big place. It’s bigger than anything anyone has ever dreamed of. So, if it’s just us… seems like an awful waste of space. Right?” I believe so. We should look not only at the stars-but dream about what’s amongst them.
7. You have lived all over the globe. Which of your hometown destinations is your favorite and why?
Cobham Surrey, England! It’s so historic and old and beautiful. It was a place of days gone by where I’d walk down the country lane to school and feed horses along the way. Each day the fish man would bring kippers for breakfast and the milk man would drop glass bottles at our door…and clotted cream!
8. If you died and came back as a character in fiction, who would it be?
Sam Gribley in My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. I grew up with the Catskill Mountains as my backyard view and would love a season to live off the land as a youth as Sam does. No rules. No school. No parents. Tons of challenges. Total freedom. Plus having a pet falcon would be super cool.
9. What do you like to do when you are not writing? What is your ultimate luxury?
I love hiking, kayaking, and bicycling. My husband and both belonged to a bike club. We did the MS 150 one year in the pouring rain, a 150 mile ride to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis. My ultimate luxury is time alone to write and read. And good beer. I’m a nut for rich, complex beer. No Miller Lite please. I need a gladiator beer.
10. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
If you enjoy mixed genre works or just great suspense, I hope you’ll consider reading A Human Element and its follow up short story collection, The Dark Inside, which contains prequels to A Human Element and its forthcoming sequel. I love to hear from readers, so feel free to drop me a note via any of my social media links.
Thank you, Anthony, for hosting my interview on Digital Book Today. I really appreciated this opportunity to connect with your readers.
Social media and buy links:
Connect with Donna Galanti: Blog / GoodReads / Facebook / Twitter
A Human Element: Amazon / B&N / Smashwords
The Dark Inside: Amazon

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