Donna Galanti is another talented author from my native Bucks County, PA. Her novel A HUMAN ELEMENT is an exciting thriller and first rate debut novel. I spoke with Donna about what inspired her to write this critically well received first book.
What is "A HUMAN ELEMENT" about?
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.
Why did you choose that theme for your first novel?
I was inspired to create the world of Laura Armstrong in A HUMAN ELEMENT on her idealistic belief that we all have a redeemable human element inside us, no matter the evil we’ve done – or that’s been done to us. Being adopted, parentless, and raised alone runs through three characters in my book. These are threads from my own life. The characters all react in different ways, so is it their genes that shape who they are or their environment? Ultimately it’s revealed that if we can overcome our genes and thrive through love, we can conquer our obstacles and achieve anything. But without love, we are lost.
How did you get involved with writing? Do you prefer short stories or novels in terms of telling a story?
I’ve written since I could put words together. I wrote short stories and poems in my youth, but prefer the depth of writing a novel. It allows me to get deep into a character and take them through life changing events.
Who are some of your influences?
Early on it was Roald Dahl and C.S. Lewis. Later it became Dean Koontz, Stephen King, John Grisham and Robert James Waller.
Because they create endearing characters that suffer but transform through some change.
How many hours a day do you spend writing?
I’m not always able to get a creative word quota in each day so I look at the week as a whole which can average 3,000 to 5,000. The days I do write it’s anywhere from one hour to four. Does writing interviews and guest posts count? I seem to be doing a lot of that lately!
You’ve accomplished writing a well received first novel. What would you like to write about next?
I am already deep into the sequel, A HIDDEN ELEMENT. This book is grittier and darker with an evil villain who shatters the life of one family. This book happens over a much shorter span as well, about a month. However, I’m also getting ready to shop out a middle grade adventure fantasy that is a fun romp.
What do you love most about fiction?
That we can create stories as movies in our mind. That words on a page can make us feel strong things – loss, pain, hope.
How does your environment influence your writing?
I have woven my experiences through my writing. Being adopted, being in the Navy, having lived in many places in the U.S., including Hawaii, and England. I relate to the nomad and I think that comes across in the characters I write. They aren’t bound by any one environment, like me. I get restless in the same spot for too long.
What are your favorite horror movies and books?
For a novel, it’s The Stand by Stephen King. It changed my life one summer as a teen. I also enjoy his short story collections. His images stay with me. I am fearful of the garbage disposal thanks to his story, The Mangler. Horror movies that terrify me are Nightmare on Elm Street and Hellraiser. More recently The Ring and The Blair Witch Project (I made the mistake of watching this last one home alone and slept with the lights on all night).
What would your book be like if it was made into a movie?
Phenomenon meets The Dead Zone. Could I please get Hugh Jackman to play the hero, Ben Fieldstone? Hugh?
Tell us about why you love to write.
I love that we can create stories that no one else in the world can create. Then I get to share them with others and hope they enjoy as much as I do.
Please in your own words write a paragraph about yourself & your work.
I now do freelance copywriting for an advertising agency part time while writing novels. If I couldn’t write I would bike, hike, and kayak my days away. I was a photographer in the U.S. Navy before completing a degree in English. After working in corporate communications and marketing for years I launched a resume writing service for some time. I closed up shop to find time to write and lean towards writing dark fiction for adults. I like to call it dark with a dash of hope – and steam. However, I did challenge myself to write a middle grade novel last year, inspired by my son.
PRAISE FOR A HUMAN ELEMENT
“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.
“A thrilling ride full of believable characters, a terrifying villain, an epic battle for survival, and a love worth killing for. A page-turner filled with fascinating twists and turns!” – Marie Lamba, author of WHAT I MEANT and DRAWN.
Donna Galanti is the author of the dark novel A Human Element (Echelon Press). Donna 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 Pennsylvania in the U.S. with lots of nooks, fireplaces, and stinkbugs. Visit her at: www.donnagalanti.com
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Purchase A HUMAN ELEMENT here:
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/A-Human-Element-ebook/dp/B007IIIZUO/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_2
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-human-element-donna-galanti/1109435439?ean=2940013900530&itm=1&usri=donna+galanti