Thirteen just might be A.C. Arthur’s lucky number.
The prolific writer is back with the latest installment in her series about a rich and famous family. Arthur recently spoke with Magic City Momma about In the Arms of a Donovan.
Tell me about your book, In the Arms of a Donovan.
In the Arms of a Donovan is the 13th book in the Donovan series. It’s Brandon Donovan and Amber McNair’s story. For the past three books, this series has had an ongoing plot called The Secret Son, where some of the Senior Donovan men are accused of fathering a child and then paying the mother to keep it a secret. Clues have been dropped and members of the Donovan family attacked physically and through the media as they draw closer to finding out the truth. In this book, Brandon, one of the more low-key Donovan sons, meets Amber, the national spokesperson for a non-profit foundation determined to combat the negative stigma inflicted on plus-size individuals. So this book is packed with the unraveling mystery and in-your-face realistic struggles of plus-size women and mental illness. Of course there’s still lots of romance and steamy love scenes, but I really wanted to touch on a couple of serious issues that oftentimes go undiscussed in our society.
Why did you decide to write it?
I’ve had a plan for the Donovan series for the last couple of years. I wanted this series to go out with a bang, so I began The Secret Son plot. As each story has evolved I’ve begun to weave in some of today’s hot-button topics, such as eating disorders, domestic violence, police brutality and now with this story, body shaming and mental illness. Even though this series has always been centered around a rich and famous family, I want readers to see that everyday problems come knocking on the rich person’s door as well.
This will be your 13th book in the Donovan series. Why do you think readers enjoy the series so much?
I think they just love the characters. From the start, readers have felt as if they are members of this family, and to me it is truly amazing. My second reader event was The Donovan Family Reunion back in 2013, and the way the readers came out and talked about these characters as if they knew them all personally was so touching to me. I was able to see firsthand how much people that I’d created in my mind had touched others, and I wanted to continue with that. I love this family as if it were my own, and I have been blessed to have a dedicated group of readers that feel the same.
What is the biggest lesson you want readers to learn from your books?
Each time I begin writing a book, my goal is always to touch a reader—even if it’s just one—on a personal level. I want them to be able to read about a character and find something in common with them, whether it be the way the character looks, talks, feels, or even a situation that they find themselves in. I know that writing romance I should probably say that I want everyone to take away the happy ending, but sometimes I believe it’s the journey to love that is the more rewarding part. I want readers to go on that journey and to be inspired by it every time.
How do you juggle being a writer with all the other hats you wear?
Whew, I have absolutely no idea. LOL. I make plans all the time for how a day is going to go, what work I’m going to do when and how long I’ll spend doing one task and then go into another. Rarely does it ever work out that way, and still I manage to get things done. I know that it’s nothing but the Lord. I really make an effort to write every day, and that’s usually in the very early morning hours. I work full time for a judge so that can be extremely demanding on some days. I am married and have three children, so I don’t think I need to say how demanding that can be. It’s as you said, a juggling game. I just get up each day and try my best to do them all. Some days it works, some days it doesn’t.
What advice do you have for women trying to pursue their dreams while raising a family?
Family is always first. That’s as it should be. I am so thankful for the ability to have a family and so I try to be very careful about giving them the time and attention they deserve. At the same time, I am committed to following this dream, so I make some personal sacrifices to get things done. My family is very supportive of my dream, and we now work this as a team. They help with all of my reader events, they get me ready for conferences or other appearances and oftentimes travel with me. I think that keeping them involved also helps, so when I’m on a deadline they understand a little more of what I’m doing and why. So my advice to women trying to juggle both is to stay focused and stay committed. It’s not always easy, but it is possible.