This week we’re getting to know Donna Migliaccio, the author of the gorgeously written Gemeta Stone series. The third book, StoneKing, just came out Feb. 20th. If you’re a fan of Jennifer Nielsen (The False Prince) or Elly Blake (Frostblood), then you’ll love this series. If you dare to open the first book, Kinglet, be prepared to wake up at the end of the series wondering what day it is and suffering from major book hangover.
They call him StoneKing: the lord of four countries, the vanquisher of the Wichelord Daazna, the man who will restore his people to prosperity and peace.
But there is no peace for Kristan Gemeta. Already weighed down by the cares of his new realm, Kristan carries a secret burden – the knowledge that Daazna is not dead. He isolates himself in his ruined castle in Fandrall, where he struggles to control the destructive Tabi’a power that may be his only hope of defeating the Wichelord once and for all.
And there’s trouble elsewhere in his realm. His Reaches are squabbling in Dyer, Melissa and Nigel are experiencing heartache in Norwinn, and Heather’s command in Hogia is in jeopardy. Unaware of this turmoil, Kristan receives an unexpected gift – one that forces him, his knights, an inexperienced squire and a crafty young shape-shifter into a hazardous winter journey.
Donna Migliaccio is a professional stage actress with credits that include Broadway, National Tours and prominent regional theatres. She is based in the Washington, DC Metro area, where she co-founded Tony award-winning Signature Theatre and is in demand as an entertainer, teacher and public speaker. Her award-winning short story, “Yaa & The Coffins,” was featured in Thinkerbeat’s 2015 anthology The Art of Losing.
1. Tell us a little about you and what you’re working on.
I’m a professional stage actress with more than 30 years in the business, although writing has always been my first love. I’m currently working on the first draft of what I hope will be the fifth and final book in The Gemeta Stone series.
You As A Reader
2. When did you first fall in love with books?
I’m the fourth of seven kids, and my mother always read to us at night, so that’s probably where my love of books came from. My father was a career Army officer, so we were always moving. It was tough being uprooted all the time, but books and family were the two constants in my life.
3. What’s your favorite book from your childhood?
I loved books about animals: Walter R. Brooks’ “Freddy the Pig” series and Albert Payson Terhune’s “Lad” books were some of my favorites.
4. Of the books you’ve read, which one changed you the most?
T.H. White’s “The Once and Future King” was a big influence. I enjoyed it initially for the whimsy of “The Sword in the Stone,” but the wistfulness of the later books, in which Arthur struggles to maintain both his power and his basic decency, draw me back to it time and again.
5. What’s the last book you read and your current favorite?
That would have to be George Saunders’ “Lincoln in the Bardo.” It’s simply an extraordinary book and worthy of all its praise.
6. If you could meet any author, alive or dead, who would it be?
Probably Jane Austen. I’ll bet she could teach me a thing or three.
You As A Writer
7. When did you first know you were a writer?
My younger brother and I were writing stories together even as small children. I started writing my first real book when I was in college. I never finished it – fortunately, because it was dreadful – but that’s when I first started writing with an eye toward publication, rather than for my own amusement.
8. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? If so, what was it about?
I wrote a rather mournful tale about a little girl who wanted a pet but couldn’t have one because her family was always moving (sound familiar?). It must have worked on my mom because for my next birthday I got a parakeet.
9. What has been the most difficult part of your writing journey? The best part?
The best part has been the creative rush. I never feel so good as when I’m writing well. The most difficult part was telling people that I was writing a book. As a career actress I’m not shy at all, but for some reason I was very shy about revealing that information.
10. Of all the writing advice you’ve received, what helped you the most?
Ira Glass, of the radio and TV show “This American Life,” gave a talk about creativity that you can find on YouTube. It’s about having the courage to fail, because failing shows you where you can improve. I think too many people these days are afraid to fail, so they don’t even try.
11. Tell us about your current project and any others you’re working on.
The Gemeta Stone fantasy series follows the conflict between Kristan Gemeta, a young prince who loses his father, his kingdom and his family’s legendary talisman to the Wichelord Daazna, a vengeful magic user. As Kristan struggles to regain his crown and his self-respect, he’s also trying to find balance between his naturally compassionate nature and the harsh, often violent world he’s been thrust into.
Fun Stuff About You
12. Besides writing and reading, what are some of your other interests?
I’ve mentioned the acting career; I’m also a voracious reader, a dedicated birder, a weather watcher and a nature freak. Right now, I’m fascinated by a small group of foxes that visit my suburban backyard, so I’ve set up a trail cam to record their activities and have been keeping a journal of my sightings.
13. If you could become an instant expert at any one thing, what would it be and why?
I’ve always wished I could play a musical instrument proficiently, or be fluent in another language. Both those skills would be so useful.
14. You’ve just won an all expenses paid trip to anywhere in the world. Where would you go?
I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland and have the time to explore the entire country – not just the usual tourist spots. It seems like an extraordinarily beautiful place.
15. How can people connect with you?
16. Anything else you’d like to tell us?
If you read my books and enjoy them, I encourage you to recommend them to your friends, ask your local bookseller to carry them, and feel free to write a review on Amazon or Goodreads.
Thanks for letting us get to know you. I can’t wait to finish the whole series. You’ve definitely gained a new die-hard fan here.
Are Donna’s books just the thing you’re looking for? You can find them at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and iBooks.