Thursday, June 18, 2015 | By: The Write Way Cafe

An Interview with Dana Tanaro Britt

The Write Way Café welcomes Dana Tanaro Britt, a self-claimed dreamer, a wisher, a liar, and a magic bean buyer, traits she draws from to write her books.

Dana is giving away e-copies of Shades of Blue to 5 lucky commenters.  Please leave a comment for a chance to win.  Be sure to check our giveaways page in about a week to see if you're a winner!

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
     I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember—I suppose from when I could actually write. By the same token, my first thought to writing romance probably came along as soon as I was old enough to know what romance was. I’m a people person, relationships fascinate me and thus romance is intriguing.

Where did the idea for your story come from? 
     As with all of my story ideas, a spark happens and then the story takes on a life of its own.  Shades of Blue was originally sparked by my sorrow for an acquaintance who had suddenly lost her husband, one of my deepest fears.

Why did you pick the setting you did? 
     I chose the setting for Shades of Blue--based on islands in the South Pacific--because I needed it to be a far-flung place, someplace Charlie felt would be the edge of the world, so to speak.  In addition, it needed to be magical and idyllic in contrast to Charlie’s grief.  As I was freezing amid an Indiana winter at the time, I also wanted to immerse myself in an island story filled with sunshine and warmth!

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself? 
     My main characters are always a product of my imagination with traits or quirks that I might have seen or experienced in real life. That’s the way this writer’s mind works, it gathers bits n bobs whilst living daily life and sometimes those things show up in a story.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret? 
     No blocks--my secret is that I’m a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a magic bean buyer (click here for explanation) *laughs* In truth, my stories happen organically. I don’t plan them, I simply write them down as they come to me. If a story isn’t flowing, then it’s because I’ve let something distract me and I need to walk away, to change my scenery in order to let things return to what happens naturally.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about tropical islands, safe harbors, and firefighters-turned-fishermen? 
     Writing Shades of Blue was an incredible experience on so many levels. I learned so much, it’s rather baffling. I learned that the revision process—I like to call it renovating—is just as exciting as the first draft. The first draft captures the story while the renovation polishes it up for company.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you. 
     I can pretty much write anywhere I feel the need to, but am so lucky to have a study in the house as well as a big porch from which to write. The most important part of my writing space inside is the double windows—I’m a windows wide open girl, seeing outside makes me happy and I don’t feel closed in. I spend a lot of time gazing out that window! Books and more books, pictures, odds and ends that make me smile, while not necessary for writing, are bonus.

What are some of your favorite books and why? 
     We might be here awhile with such a question! *laughs* Okay, let’s see…I adore the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon for a king among men in the form of Jamie Fraser, but also for the fascinating world that is built around him and Claire. Absolutely nothing in their lives can be depended upon except their love for one another— a love that’s repeatedly tried and tested yet still strong.
     I also love Maeve Binchy’s stories—specifically Nights of Rain and Stars and Evening Class, but all of them are dear to me. Maeve’s stories weave a rich tapestry of friendship, of love—both romantic and platonic—and Ireland. The people are the focus, living their ordinary yet extraordinary lives, weaving in and out of each other’s worlds.
     While I can’t name a specific title, Nora Roberts’ books top my favorites list, as well. Her stories bring not only romance but friendships and connections.

What are you working on now? 
     Right now I am working on the book to follow Shades of Blue, a second book in the Island Sanctuary series—same setting, different characters. That being said, you just might see a familiar face or two from Shades of Blue.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why? 
     I didn’t set out to write in a specific genre in the first place, I just wrote the story that came to me. I love a story that has deep friendships as well as intimate couple relationships and I always want a happy ending for the main characters—always.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
     My dream has always been to be a mother and a writer—I’m living that dream, every day is an incredible gift. To say I’m a lucky girl doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine? 
     My all time favorite fiction hero is Jamie Fraser from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. It’s no wonder he’s been dubbed a king among men or that fans often say Jamie raises the bar for husbands everywhere, he is the ultimate fiction hero with his abiding loyalty and love for those he loves—Claire, above all. Interestingly enough, what drew me to Jamie most was how so many of his characteristics remind me of That Husband o’ Mine, my own personal Hero. Again, so lucky.

“I can promise you one thing will stay the same—me.”
She wants to get lost in her memories.
He wants her to find her way home.

  Heart-broken and reeling with grief, Charlie flees to a far-flung tropical island in search of a safe haven where she can let her treasured memories consume her. Hiding away from the world, she battles nightmares and fresh tragedy while trying to make sense of her new reality.
     Living his island dream, firefighter-turned-fisherman Gabe Montgomery is determined to be Charlie’s port in her storm of pain and loss. Blindsided by life-changing revelations from his own past followed by the possibility of terrifying personal loss, Gabe realizes that sometimes letting go is as much a part of love as holding on.
When Charlie and Gabe acknowledge their powerful connection and cling to one another for comfort and hope, both face a frightening dilemma: surrender to the past, or face the challenge and promise of a future together.
Will the memories and mistakes of the past consume them or can Charlie and Gabe hold fast to each other and the hope that will bring them to promising future together?

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About Dana:  Once upon a time, a sassy Kentucky girl fell in love with a handsome Hoosier boy. What followed is a still-unfolding story filled with laughter, children...and pizza--yes, pizza.  When Dana Britt is not writing stories of hope, home and happily ever after, she can be found porch sitting with a book in hand. Her idea of a perfect day is a road trip that includes sunshine, taking pictures and spending time with her own Hero and two young adult children. Dana often shares bits about it all online at'd love for you to stop by!

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HiDee said...

Enjoyed this interview, Dana. Looking forward to reading Shades of Blue! Thanks for being with us today!

Dana Britt said...

Thanks so much for having me, HiDee--I hope you enjoy Shades of Blue!

Dana Britt said...
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Dana Britt said...
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sue robinson said...

I know this sassy Kentucky girl and her family-they were living in Paducah, KY when her children were born and attending church with me while her father was my minister. Miss all you guys and so exited for you Dana!! Keep on keeping on-love ya, Sue Anne