Thursday, June 27, 2013

Author Spotlight: Donna Galanti

Today I'd like to welcome Donna Galanti to the Author Spotlight! Donna and I met last October at a writer's conference and then re-connected on Facebook (thank you Facebook!) More recently, Donna invited me to join her writer's group. This is my first experience with a writing group, and I've so enjoyed the time I have spent so far with this fabulous and talented group of people. Today Donna has graciously agreed to visit us to talk about her book A Human Element and her desire for wide open spaces:

Wide Open Spaces: Do You Find Belonging In Them?

Wide open spaces. Something I always yearn for. Dream of when it’s taken away. Find my way back to. I always loved being alone. My friends couldn’t understand why I wanted to live off a back road in the country by myself. Those wide open spaces called to me.

It may have been partly because I was an only child growing up on a mountain top, and partly that I was adopted and sought to find myself in those wide open spaces.

Laura Armstrong, in my novel, A Human Element, embraces wide open spaces as I do. She’s also adopted and an only child, as I am. A part of her childhood is from mine, although she loses her parents as a teenager. Adoption and being an only child runs deep through my book as both had a deep impact on my life. See my adoption story here and share yours.

As a child I roamed the woods, like Laura. I wandered ancient paths around craggy stone walls and over dim forest floors. I climbed knobby trees and sang to woodland creatures. I believe wide open space unfolds our hearts and minds to grow and create. Spaces where we can find peace and love–and belonging.

Here, in A Human Element, Laura sings to the open world as a child, as I once did:
Laura balanced her feet on the branches and spread her arms out wide. Her chestnut hair blew behind her in the warm, July breeze. She owned this piece of the world in the little town of Coopersville, New York. She overlooked the sloped meadows and woods around the farmhouse. Feeling confident in her footing in the tree, she took a deep breath and sang to the woods. She sang to the trees swaying to her tune and the animals chattering around her. She sang to the ancient craggy mountains before her. She sang to the birds claiming the sky and the creek that tumbled along its way.

In A Human Element Ben Fieldstone also loses his parents, and grows up as an only child in foster homes. Unloved, he closes himself off from people, but one day he encounters Laura as an adult recapturing her love for wide open spaces–and she opens up space inside him to love again.

Ben meets Laura in her wide open spaces:
Ben saw the woman now. She stood magnificent, high up in a giant birch tree with her feet planted shoulder width apart. Her arms spread outward gripping the branches. She flung her shoulder-length chestnut hair back and sang to the sky with her eyes closed. Her face moved in complex expression with each word she belted out. She looked as though she flew in her mind over the trees toward the sun.

He moved closer to stand a few feet below her. The leaves shook wildly in the tree around her in a gleeful dancing rhythm to her song even though there was no breeze.
Ben was enchanted. She was part of the tree. A nymph of the wood. A goddess of the Earth with the sun streaking through her hair. He reached for his camera and shot a photo of her as she belted out the last line, then he joined in.

Both Ben and Laura never feel like they truly belong anywhere, or with anyone, due to their circumstances. As an adopted child I felt like I didn’t belong either. I was lucky though. I had a loving family and I had questions answered. My natural family contacted me. I saw where I came from (and am very glad I was given up). I got married and had an amazing son. In having him, I have my own ‘blood’ now. I have peace. I do belong, with my family. He is my wide open space now.

In A Human Element Ben and Laura grow to adulthood alone. How are they different? Ben isolates himself from people. Laura opens herself to people. They both try to find who they are in their spaces. But is it their genes that shape who they are or their environment?
I like to think we can overcome our genes and thrive in an environment that allows us to do so–and find ourselves in our own spaces. In such an environment we can conquer our obstacles and achieve anything.

Do you ever feel like you don’t belong? How do you find belonging? And do you believe we can overcome our genes to thrive?

About Donna:
Donna Galanti is an International Thriller Writers Debut Author of the paranormal suspense novel A Human Element (Echelon Press). She evaluates manuscript submissions as a first-reader for the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency and is currently polishing her first middle grade novel, a fantasy adventure. Connect with her through her website:

About A Human Element: One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next. Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite–her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a mad man, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him.

Praise for A Human Element:

“Be afraid. Be very afraid. And be utterly absorbed by this riveting debut that had me reading till the wee hours of the night. A thriller star is born. Don’t miss A Human Element.”  – M.J. Rose, International Bestselling Author

A Human Element is an elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart.  Highly recommended.” – Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author

“Lyrical and creepy, Donna Galanti’s A Human Element tugs on our heartstrings and plucks the gut-strings of horror. This debut thriller author is a true storyteller, highly reminiscent of Dean Koontz.” -Dakota Banks, award winning author

Purchase A Human Element here:



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1 comment:

  1. Karen, thanks so much for having me on today! I love my wide open spaces. My hubby knows when I don't get them, I get crabby. :) I'm so glad we've met and I enjoy our writing space at Wegman's Cafe. It's wide open in a way, for our minds to write!


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