About Me – Donna Munro
I’m an Australian author, publisher, writer and graphic designer. I work part-time as the Administrative Assistant for Romance Writers of Australia. That’s my tribe – romance writers.
I began this blog years ago before I published my books. The themes in the blog posts have changed over the years to become more writing and reader-focused. I’ll still write about life, health and happiness, depending on what is happening in my life or the ideas I get from people and things around me. It’s not about selling books it’s about finding more readers and knowing people enjoy reading what I write.
I’ve always written and wanted to be a photojournalist (also wanted to be a vet but that’s another story when you faint). Those plans changed when I landed a job as a graphic artist instead. I write articles for publications, mainly women’s and health articles. I adore fiction and the joy of characters and locations coming to life. I have four book-length manuscripts (yes, a cliche they are gathering dust in a drawer). My last two The Zanzibar Moon and Kendwa’s Secret were self-published after I formed Warm Witty Publishing. Elephant Creek (the final book in the series) is due out early 2020.
I enjoy fitness and health but realise it’s about keeping things consistent. I’m no longer as hard on myself when I don’t go for that run or do that workout. I try to set a good example for my children and grandchildren by being kind, polite and open-minded.
I like to read as often as I can. My perfect reading place is on the beach. There’s nothing better than a sunny day, with a slight breeze, the smell of salt in the air and my toes in the sand; of course with a good book in my hands. My favourite is mainstream fiction but I read a variety to give me writer’s insight. I’m learning the craft all the time. I also read lots of writing references.
My favourite Australian authors are Liane Moriarty, Mandy Magro, Jennifer Bacia, Di Morrissey, Rachael Treasure and all the wonderful members of RWA. I’m a Nicholas Sparks fan and cry every time I read one of his books. Because I love Africa I can’t go past a Wilbur Smith and T.M. Clark. My favourite all-time novel is ‘A Man Cannot Cry’ by Gloria Keverne. I’m also a Tarzan fan.
I love cheese and Peanut Butter (seriously, do not leave a jar near me). Seafood is a favourite indulgence and I prefer beer to wine.
I avoid negative and unkind people. I respect compassion and generosity.
Animals are wonderful (especially my dog, Mahli and fostered elephant Tundani).
Family means everything. I am exceedingly proud of the men my sons have grown into. My grandchildren are my biggest joy (they just grow up too quickly).
I love sunshine and water views. I have a fascination with Elephants & Africa (maybe that’s where I was in a previous life). I believe I have an owl who looks over me (he appears close to my birthday most years and could be my Dad).
The person I most admire most is my mum.
My motto is: Believe in your talent and follow your dreams
You could say my writing life began early with a short story in primary school (I think 2nd Class) called ‘The Mouse with the Musical Ears’. Apparently, my teacher loved it and showed it to my mum, who showed it to my dad and after much praise and admiration I realised being a writer was going to be fun. It certainly got Mum and Dad’s attention.
Mum is an avid book lover and she passed that on to me. Dad had a limited education but I marvelled at how much he wanted to learn. Fond memories stem from nights Dad would pull a Britannica off the shelf, at random turn to a page and ask us (my brother, sister and I) what something was? He made us think.
And I continue to ponder and explore my world. Writing gives me the creativity I crave. I love it. There’s a compulsion to write. It can be solitary but I don’t mind that. Maybe my parents’ encouragement helped nurture my career. Maybe I was born a writer. I am a writer.
I continued to write throughout school, mainly love-struck poetry (eeewww!). I edited the St Joseph’s Vocational College yearbook and did a variety of work experience as a journalist for Port Macquarie Express and Tweed Daily News. I moved to the Gold Coast and had a blast partying at The Playroom, Jet Club, Cooly Hotel and The Patch to the best bands in Australia. For this brief period I barely had time to write (but ‘far-out’ did I have fun!).
My itchy feet got the better of me and I kept diaries as I travelled around Australia and to Indonesia. When I settled in Noosa for a year I wrote regularly for Dolphin Encounters and created my first writer’s letterhead.
On returning to my hometown of Port Macquarie to live near Dad I worked for the Bevan Ellem (I’m forever grateful) at Ellem Advertising where I got my first real writing break. I was their graphic artist but Bevan let me write for all the publications as well, which included tourism booklets (Manning Magic), betting guides, and later the surf lifestyle magazine Wax ‘n’ Wind (my concept and I edited and wrote the whole mag, which in hindsight probably wasn’t a good idea – I’m a better writer than editor). I started dating my future husband, Bevil.
We moved to the Gold Coast and added to our family with two more sons. While working for a printer I wrote in Burleigh Boomer a local publication.
I tried freelancing then. I was still completing The Writing Diploma at The Writing School when I sold my first story to Take 5. Soon after I was published in The Australian Woman’s Weekly, For Me and That’s Life as well as various newspapers. I also sold a story to She magazine about my father’s suicide (the most emotional piece I’ve written) but the magazine folded before the article was published (luckily I had my payment cheque). I sold my first short story to Woman’s Day (‘The Warm Hand of Fate’) and because it was fiction that was the day I counted myself as ‘a real writer’.
I’ve entered a few competitions and received a ‘highly commended’ from the Gold Coast Writers Association. I wrote newsletters for years for both Currumbin Junior and Senior Rugby League clubs as well as the touch football competition I founded with my husband and friends. I always put my hand up to write anything which has included an Easter camping newsletter, funny stories for birthdays and poems. I have been web editor for sporting clubs and enjoy blogging.
I used to have a book marketing and writing blog for Zeus Publications BooksZeus:
http://bookszeus.wordpress.com I also contributed to Inky Fresh Press.
I founded a writing competition that fundraises for Umoja Orphanage Kenya, which I discovered through a mutual friend. The Umoja Writing Competition ran for four years. The funds helped the orphanage in a small way but also contributed to literacy and the writing community.
At Pet Accessories Australia I upkeep the website, blog, social media and have a role in the branding of our products such as Pet Designz and Pawz Toyz.
Now I am the Administrative Assistant for Romance Writers of Australia. You could say it’s a dream job working with my writing community – my tribe.
So what am I doing now?
Over the years I’ve completed book-length manuscripts as well as articles and short stories. The first book-length manuscript was ‘The Fire Within’ a cheesy romance that I thought would be easy to write – it wasn’t. I wrote it longhand before typing it. I was so proud I finished it I went to a traditional bookbinder. The book (still one-sided manuscript) is leather-bound with gold writing. I will never throw that away no matter how many times I move. Priceless!
I wrote a mainstream novel after that ‘Bindi’. I thought it was good but I put it in a draw after one rejection and went on writing. The next was another romance, an erotic novel ‘Falling for Jackson’. Then the Australian romance novel with a Rugby League star as the main-male character ‘Under the Bali Hut’.
I had big plans for ‘Finding Tarzan’ now titled ‘The Zanzibar Moon’. I self-published it in 2017. Chick lit for the over 40 with a jungle twist! The following year I released its prequel ‘Kendwa’s Secret’. The final book in the series (currently writing) Elephant Creek will be released early 2020.
Meanwhile, I continue with short stories, articles and guest blogging and building my writing profile and business. I write every day in some form or another.
I’d love to write regularly for a magazine and have plenty of ideas bubbling. I seem to have a forte for human interest. I’m happy to work with specs such as word count, sidebars and research. Give me a topic and I’ll go to it and meet your deadlines. So contact me and let’s discuss the possibilities.