Today the polite wordsmith Steven Donahue is put under the grill light. Enjoy!
JJ: When did you start writing?
SD: In high school I started writing a book about an NFL quarterback who was ambidextrous. I thought that ability would give a quarterback an edge. However, the story never fully came together.
JJ: What was the first story you remember writing?
SD: In seventh grade, I wrote a short story about a hero battling an evil warlord. I based the villain on my Social Studies teacher and handed it in as an assignment. The teacher wasn’t amused.
JJ: What genre is your most preferred?
SD: Science fiction.
JJ: What challenges you the most in your writing?
SD: Finding the time and the quiet place to write.
JJ: What is your favorite thing about being an author?
SD: The immense satisfaction I feel when I finish writing a new book.
JJ: What do you like least about being an author?
SD: The intense marketing efforts required by today’s writers. Unless you are signed by a major publisher, most of the marketing is left up to you.
JJ: How many books do you currently have available?
Amy the Astronaut and the Flight for Freedom
The Manila Strangler
Comet and Cupid’s Christmas Adventure
JJ: What projects are you currently working on?
SD: A historical novel about the Holocaust.
JJ: Which book, or series, is your favorite?
SD: The Catcher in the Rye. I know that sounds clichéd, but it is a phenomenal book. Sadly, I think it’s the only good book Salinger ever wrote.
JJ: Who are some of your favorite authors?
SD: Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Earnest Hemmingway, Arthur C. Clarke. Matt Christopher was my first favorite. His sports books made me want to become a writer.
JJ: Which book(s) inspire you the most?
SD: I love short stories, especially those by Bradbury, Asimov and Hemmingway. They are like mini masterpieces.
JJ: Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what band(s) do you play?
SD: I write best in a silent room, which is very difficult to do in a small apartment with my wife, our two dogs and our cat.
JJ: Tell us some more about yourself including your website and where we can find you on social media sites:
SD: I was a copywriter for TV Guide magazine for 14 years. My first novel, Amanda Rio, was published in 2004. It has received critical acclaim from reviewers for Amazon.com and thebestreviews.com. I currently reside in Bucks County, PA with my wife, Dawn. I love football, and I am a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan.
Below are links to my social media sites.
JJ: Care to share a bit of one of your books with us?
SD: From Amy the Astronaut and the Flight for Freedom:
Amy Sutter tightened her grip on the yoke as she stared at the monitor on the console. Sixteen oval-shaped, purple objects dotted the screen. She took a deep breath, targeted one of the alien ships and fired her first missile. The enemy craft exploded and created a fireball that destroyed the ship beside it. Amy smiled and wiped some sweat from her forehead. The other ships began firing missiles at her as she turned the Liberty Bell to the right and dove hard toward the surface of the planet below. A proximity alarm sounded behind her as the missiles flew over the top of her ship. Amy then pulled back hard on the yoke and lined up her next shot.
She waited until the enemy fleet got closer before she fired the laser cannons mounted on the outside of her 150-foot long spacecraft. She obliterated two more vessels before the Liberty Bell took a direct hit of laserfire on the portside wing. The shielding held but the concussion of the blow caused Amy to smack her head against the console. Thankful she was wearing a helmet, Amy shook off the momentary dizziness and tried to line up another shot. Before she could, three more laser blasts wiped out her cannons. Two more blasts caused another alarm to blare. Amy looked at the console and saw that her life support systems were failing. However, her engines were still online. She sent out a distress call as the enemy ships started to surround her. She then steered the ship away from the fleet and initiated the Sprint Drive system. The Liberty Bell bolted through a gap in the enemy’s formation and the crafts disappeared from the ship’s radar as they fell far behind the spaceship.
Amy let out a sigh and quickly searched the digital maps for a suitable planet to land on. Before she could find one, the Liberty Bell began to violently shake. The temperature inside the cabin shot up. Before she should shut down the Sprint Drive, Amy heard a loud explosion behind her. Then all of her instruments stopped working and the cabin grew dark.
The exasperated pilot unbuckled her safety belt and flipped a switch on a side panel. The door over her head opened and the twelve-year-old girl climbed out of the simulator and down a ladder to the concrete floor. She took off her helmet and looked at her reflection in a small window on the simulator. She brushed back a lock of her dark brown hair and saw a welt forming over her right eye. Amy shook her head and smiled at her clumsiness. “Serves you right for sneaking in there,” said a voice behind her. Amy turned around and saw Lt. Yale Brown marching toward her. The officer had a clipboard in her hand and a relaxed look on her face.
Amy shrugged. “I got four of them this time,” she said. “Then the Sprint Drive exploded as I was getting away.” She handed the helmet to the lieutenant and walked with her toward the equipment storage room. Around them other pilots were training for various missions, while security officers stood guard at the building’s four entrances. Amy glanced at the busy soldiers and noticed their tense expressions.
“You can’t trust that engine,” said Yale. “They haven’t perfected it yet.” At 5’10”, the twenty-eight-year old woman towered over her young friend. Yale’s frame was lean and strong as a result of her military training and her short blonde hair fit neatly under her green cap. She wore a camouflage shirt and matching pants, standard issue for Union soldiers, and no makeup. Her light green eyes had a tendency to change colors in differently lighted rooms.
They reached the door to the storage room and Yale unlocked it by running a blue key card with a magnetic strip along a black keypad. Amy followed the lieutenant into the room and watched Yale tuck the helmet on a shelf next to other flight gear. Then she turned to face Amy. “Should I even bother asking how you got into the machine?” she asked. She put her hands on her hips and smiled.
Amy reached into her pocket and pulled out another blue key card with a magnetic strip. She waved it in front of Yale’s face. “Just got to have the right tools,” she said. Yale glared at her and yanked the card out of the girl’s hand. The lieutenant stuffed the card in her shirt pocket and pointed to storage room door. “I’m going, I’m going,” said Amy. The girl tiptoed past her friend and watched the lieutenant lock the door.
Yale chastised the guards on duty for letting Amy slip past them, before she handed another officer the clipboard. Then she escorted the girl out of the facility and they walked side-by-side toward the adolescent’s living quarters.
The crisp morning air was a delightful change from the normally arid atmosphere on Paldor, a small hot planet just outside the Milky Way. The Sutter family resided in building 400, in one of the more elegant homes in the 23 square-mile Pioneer Settlement.
A fighter jet flew overhead. Amy squinted at the tail markings for Earth’s Union Defense Fleet. She thought about their ongoing war against the Crownaxians, an alien species that no surviving human has ever seen. The highly intelligent warriors attacked a human settlement on the planet Blaros. More than 3 million people were killed in the attack and eight years later the human death toll had skyrocketed past 29 million, with no end in sight.