Q&A with DONNA FIGUEROA
Tell us about your newest release.
What happens if you met the perfect person-at the wrong time?
This is the question at the heart of the Fall Again series, a four part contemporary romantic series set in world of working actors.
In the first novel Beginnings, you’ll meet actors Marc, Lauren and their closest friends in the optimistic New York City of the late 1980’s. When Marc and Lauren meet there is an obvious attraction. However, decorum dictates that their relationship remain within the boundaries of a platonic friendship. Over time this becomes increasingly difficult. The couple suddenly separates.
Fall Again: Lost Boy is the second novel in the series. This book chronicles Marc’s life immediately after his separation from Lauren and over the next two decades. When he realizes that Lauren is gone, he’s devastated. His life then takes him in directions he never expected. Marc will be faced with challenges that will often take him out of New York City as he searches for personal and professional fulfilment. With the help of friends old and new, Marc strives to become a better person, a better artist, and a better man. Lost Boy is Marc’s journey that will eventually lead him back to a woman whose memory refuses to leave him.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your story?
I never expected to become so emotionally involved with my characters!
Originally, the Fall Again series started out as a short story, which then became a stand- alone novel. But when I finished my first draft, I realized that I had only told part of Marc and Lauren’s story. I had a solid beginning and ending, but I had come to respect Marc and Lauren too much not to explore their entire story. I had to explore the period in their lives when they were apart. The next thing I knew was that my original short story had turned into a four-part series.
I was also surprised when I found that the first novel, written with women in mind, has resonated with several men. It seems that many men have a “Lauren” somewhere in their past, just like many women have a “Marc.” So many people have related to the story on this level.
Do you have any interesting or quirks or rituals?
As I’m writing, I’m also compiling a musical soundtrack. My playlist helps keep me focused when I start to slow down. Music is very powerful and can draw emotions out of us.
Each novel begins with song lyrics to set the tone of the story. Beginnings starts with a few lines from the classic George Benson song, On Broadway, a song that I’ve always found uplifting, positive and hopeful.
Lost Boy begins with an Elton John song, Birds which sets the tone for Marc’s journey. One line from that song is quite powerful; “A sliver of truth for every bridge we burn.”
So far, the Fall Again soundtrack has an eclectic mix of jazz, alternative and classical music. Hearing even a few bars of a song from my soundtrack will instantly bring me back into my story.
What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?
Funny, my mother always saw me as a writer, though I didn’t discover this in myself until much later. I’ve always written for myself, never imagining that others would want to read what I’d written. The first piece I had published was a short story, The Legend of Evie Everhart, a ghost story set in Hollywood. The response was amazing and I decided to write more.
I also live in Hollywood and know many writers who’ve inspired and encourage me to write and more importantly, to get my writing “out there.” Friends and authors Richard Brewer and Richard Johnson currently have stories in a new Science Fiction collection, Occupied Earth. http://www.amazon.com/Occupied-Earth-Stories-Resistance-Survival/dp/1940610524.
And then, writing runs in my family. My sister, Maria McKenzie is a writer of historical romance, and the author of the Unchained Trilogy. http://www.amazon.com/Unchained-3-Book-Series/dp/B00XM1WNHW/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1446768807&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=Maria+Mckenzie%2C+Unchained+trilogy
What does your family think about your career as a published author?
They’re thrilled! They’ve assisted me in the process by assisting in proofreading and marketing. I’ve also bounced ideas off family members from time to time. I’ve been a working actor for several years. My family has not always understood what I do for a living. (Very much like Marc and Lauren’s families.) Having a physical copy of a book means they have tangible evidence of my life and career as an artist.
Besides writing, what other interests do you have?
As an actor, I not only love performing but attending the theatre whenever possible. I love anything having to do with the Golden Age of Hollywood. I consider myself an Olympic class shopper and am always in search of the ultimate bargain. San Francisco is a favorite getaway for me and my husband Tony.
Can you tell us what is coming up next for you?
There are still two more novels in the Fall Again series which will be published in 2016.
California Girl: Lauren the Interim Years is Lauren’s story during the time she was separated from Marc. Reunion: A Romance Realized will conclude the series.
After that, there’s a stand-alone novel about a family funeral. This will be a dark comedy. I’m also considering spinning two of the Fall Again characters off into their own series, but that’s at least a few years down the road. Revealing which two characters would be revealing too much!
How can readers connect with you online?
I’d love to hear from you! You can visit me at my website: http://www.fallagainseries.com/
About Donna Figueroa
Donna Figueroa is an actor and writer living and working in Los Angeles, CA. She has worked on stage and on the big and small screens. Her credits include appearances on several daytime dramas, voiceovers for animation, commercials and industrial projects, audiobooks and several television commercials.
She is a producer and storyteller at The Story Salon, Los Angeles’s longest running storytelling venue where she has written, performed and developed three one person shows.
Donna considers herself an athletic shopper always in search of the ultimate bargain.
She lives in Hollywood with her husband writer/comedian Tony Figueroa, and their three neurotic cats.
What if you met the right person-at the wrong time?
In Fall Again: Beginnings, the first instalment of the Fall Again series, actors Marc and Lauren meet in New York City in the late 1980’s. While there’s an obvious attraction, circumstances dictate that their relationship remain within the realm of a platonic friendship. Over time they struggle to maintain the façade of friendship to their closest friends and to each other. Until one night…
The Fall Again Romance series continues.
Fall Again: Lost Boy
Marc: The Interim Years
When Marc Guiro learns Lauren Phillips is gone, his life shatters.
LOST BOY, the second novel in the FALL AGAIN series begins as Marc frantically returns to New York, only to find that the woman he loves has left New York permanently. Marc is devastated, but struggles to put his life back together, often making choices that drastically alter the course of his life.
With support and encouragement from old and new friends, Marc unknowingly begins a personal odyssey to find himself- an arduous journey that brings Marc personal and professional fulfilment, and eventually leads him back to the woman whose memory refuses to leave him.
Two minutes later, when Mel opened the door to the apartment, Marc barged inside. “Where’s Lauren?” This was a frantic demand as opposed to a question.
If Marc had looked at Mel, he would have seen she was deeply troubled, but he hardly noticed her. The only thing that mattered was seeing Lauren.
Marc was moving toward Lauren’s closed bedroom door before Mel stopped him by firmly grabbing his arm.
“Marc, stop-I need to talk to you!”
Marc tried to shake her off. “And I need to talk to Lauren!”
But Mel only tightened her grip and angrily raised her voice. “No, I said stop!”
Mel had never intended to sound so cruel, but at least Marc stopped and looked at her, stunned, as the manic energy that had come over him dissipated.
Mel slowly released the grip on Marc’s arm while making every effort to calm herself down. “Look, I don’t have a lot of patience right now. I’ve had a rough day!”
Marc resented her comment. The only thing preventing him from exploding was fatigue. “That’s funny, Mel, because I’ve had a rough day too! Actually I consider today a continuation of yesterday, since I didn’t sleep last night knowing that this morning I would be breaking things off with Miriam. That task was successfully accomplished before nine this morning. Needless to say she wasn’t too happy about the breakup, and neither were her parents-or my parents! I made my mother cry and my father called me a disgrace to the family.”
Mel remained still as Marc recounted the events of his day. Her day had been smooth and easy in comparison. “Marc…I’m so sorry.”
He took a deep breath and continued to recount what had to be the longest day of his life. “Since I’d already caused enough pain in Montreal, I decided to head back to New York. Three major airports, a four-hour layover in Boston and one trip through U.S. Immigration later, I’m here.”
Mel could see that Marc was under a lot of stress. She took his coat before giving him what she felt was a much needed hug. Her voice took on a soothing quality. “I just wasn’t expecting you back until tomorrow.”
Marc was hardly in the mood for small talk. “That was the plan but I’m back now-and I need to see Lauren.” He broke free of Mel’s embrace and quickly moved to Lauren’s closed bedroom door. He called to her while opening the door. “Lauren?”
Marc stood frozen in the doorway of Lauren’s room, confused. All of her belongings were gone. He turned back to Mel as his voice caught in his throat. “Where’s Lauren?”
Mel could see that Marc was worn down, vulnerable and exhausted as she dreaded what was coming next. “Marc…she’s gone!”
For the first time since he arrived, he heard the sadness in Mel’s voice, a sadness that now filled his own. “God, Mel! Where is she?”
As she spoke, Mel saw tears fill Marc’s eyes. “I don’t know!”
With that Marc brushed past Mel as he headed to the front door. But instead of opening the door, he struck it hard with his fist, and then struck it even harder a second time.
Mel was frightened by Marc’s unexpected and violent display of emotion. “Marc stop. Please calm down. You’re scaring me!”
Her emotional outburst stopped him. When he turned to face her, he was barely audible. “Mel, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
Mel watched Marc shakily sink down against her front door before she heard uncontrolled sobs. At first, all she could do was stand and watch helplessly before her instincts kicked in. She sat on the floor next to him while doing her best to console him.
All this time she had only been worried about Marc hurting Lauren, never imagining that Lauren would hurt Marc. But as Marc put his head into her lap, she sadly realized that Marc and Lauren had hurt each other.