I've Been an Author the Whole Time
I’ve been a writer longer than most people think.
Most of my friends, the ones I communicate with primarily through Facebook, know me as a theatre person. That makes sense. I did theatre all through school and got my college degree in Theatre Arts. I have been a performer in some capacity for most of my 54 years of existence. The vast majority of my friends, whether close or in passing, met me in a theatre setting. We have done shows together or have mutuals who have done shows together.
But all this time I’ve been a writer. Yep. The whole time while I’ve been performing and teaching, I’ve also been a writer.
I started writing as a child. I was passionate about writing stories, poetry and song lyrics. I illustrated my stories, stapled them together and gave them as gifts to my parents. Any time I could get near a piano, I’d tap out notes to figure out the tunes for songs in my head. I can still sing a couple of them to this day.
My senior year, I took a creative writing class, a playwriting class, and a literature course about fairy tales, and all three inspired me to write a series of original fairy tales over the next few years. Several of those eventually got published either in anthologies or as novellas.
After college, I had two original children’s musicals of mine produced by Imagination Theatre Company in California called A Pirate Tale and Who Stole the Circus? Those plays got me excited to write children’s books. I wrote Saving Christmas Spirit (a fantasy that I ultimately self-published) and three middle grade novels that were published by a small press that went out of business in 2008.
I had several stories and articles published in magazines, books, and on websites in the 90s and early 2000s. Then I got a contract to co-author five nonfiction books about classical composers for Morgan Reynolds Publishers. After those came out (to great reviews and a couple awards), I was asked to write another book for them about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. That publisher, sadly, is also no longer operating. I’m very proud of these books, however.
I moved to Tennessee during this time, and I got an opportunity to direct my play A Pirate Tale again and revived my one-woman show Donna’s Day (a music-filled biography about Doris Day that I originally performed in Los Angeles in 1996).
I had the opportunity to write and direct another play called Don Coyote: A New Western Musical for Kids at the Larry Keeton Theatre in 2012, and I got a contract to ghostwrite a series of romance novellas that same year.
Around that time, I decided to abandon writing under the name Donna Getzinger. With my books under that name all out of print, I felt like it was time to take on a new name and start fresh.
I decided on D. G. Driver because Driver was my new last name. I chose to use initials because at the time I was working on a couple middle grade books that had boys as the leading characters. Funny enough, the main character of what was On the Water, was ultimately changed to a girl, and that book Lost on the Water, was published in 2018. The other book, No Lifeguard on Duty, is finally being published as a YA novel called Dragon Surf. (Preorder the ebook today!)
If you’ve made it this far through my little autobiography, I think you’ll understand why it always seems odd to me that my friends seem surprised that I am a writer. Reactions to my posts about my books or writing career are often met with indifference in comparison to posts about theatre. (Also, TBH, I think FB hides a lot of my posts about my books.) In person, I’m often asked if I’m “still writing”, even though I feel like I’m constantly posting updates about my writing progress. Under the name D. G. Driver, I have 14 books published and stories in 7 anthologies. It's been a busy 9 years, as I've done all of this while still teaching full time and doing theatre.
I’m aware that I’m not with a major publisher. I haven’t had that kind of luck. You’re not finding my hardcovers at the big bookstores when you’re browsing the shelves. My publishing life is similar to my theatre life: small but satisfying. I mostly do community theatre here in Nashville. I get paid a little for directing and nothing for performing. The reward is getting to perform and delighting in the finished project. My writing career is kind of like that.
All of my YA books and my upcoming women’s fiction novel Anything but Graceful are with a traditional, small publisher. I do get royalties from them based on the sales of my books. It’s not a lot of money, but it’s some. I have a few self-published works as well for which royalties trickle in. Knowing I won’t get rich at this means that I do it a lot for the joy of creating. Getting the books published and available for others to enjoy is the reward. I've also met so many authors in person or online that I now consider friends.
I get a lot of rejection as a writer from agents, major publishers, and sometimes book bloggers or influencers. The seeming disinterest from friends does hurt. I often think about quitting and using my weekends to do other things besides sitting at my computer. After all, I have friends who make a lot more money babysitting than I do pouring my heart into a manuscript. Only, right when I think I can’t write another sentence is when my characters will call out to me, or a reader writes something encouraging to me. Then I’m back at it, struggling to find the right words for the ideas in my head. And I have so many stories to tell.
I get enough yesses and good reviews to keep me going. This year, in particular, is an exciting year for me. I’m releasing two books: Dragon Surf (a YA urban fantasy co-authored with Jeni Bautista Richard) with Fire and Ice YA Books on March 28th; Anything but Graceful (my first full length women’s fiction romance novel) with Satin Romance Books in June; and I’m having my original musical Songwriter Night produced at The Larry Keeton Theatre in September. I’m revved up and working on a new romance story right now!
So, as you now see, I’ve been writing all along. It’s not a secret thing I do. It just feels like a secret. If you asked me to define myself, though, I think I’d say I am an author before I call myself anything else.
I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or scroll through the pages of my website and see if something I’ve written appeals to you. Then go order it and let me surprise you!
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D. G. Driver
Award-winning author of books for teen and tween readers. Learn more about her and her writing at www.dgdriver.com
Author D. G. Driver's
Write and Rewrite Blog
“There are no bad stories, just ones that haven’t found their right words yet.”
A blog mostly about the process of revision with occasional guest posts, book reviews, and posts related to my books.