Donna Hill a Pioneer of the African American Romance Genre
Donna Hill, began her career in 1987 writing short stories for True Confessions magazine. Since that time she has more than fifty published titles to her credit since her first novel was released in 1990, and is considered one of the early pioneers of the African American romance genre. Three of her novels have been adapted for television. She has been featured in Essence, The New York Daily News, USA Today, Today’s Black Woman, Black Enterprise, and many others.
She has appeared on numerous radio and television stations across the country and her work has appeared on several bestseller lists, including Essence, Emerge and The Dallas Morning News among others. She has received numerous awards for her body of work’which cross several genres’ including The Career Achievement Award, the first recipient of The Trailblazer Award, The Zora Neale Hurston Literary Award, The Gold Pen Award among others, as well as commendations for her community service, during her tenure as Coordinator for Kianga House, a transitional residence for homeless teen mothers and their children.
Donna co-wrote the screenplay Fire, which enjoyed limited theater release before going to DVD. As an editor she has packaged several highly successful novels, and anthologies, two of which were nominated for awards. She organizes author-centered events and workshops through her editorial and promotions company Donna Hill Promotions and provides publicity and marketing services for authors. She is also a writing instructor at The Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center in New York. For the past year, Donna has been a writing instructor with the Elders Writing Program sponsored by Medgar Evers College through Poets & Writers, with a goal of compiling the memoirs of the elders for publication. Donna currently lives in Brooklyn with her family and works full’time, as a writer, for the Brooklyn Borough President’s office.
Q&A Courtesy of BET Books Arabesque Romance News - June 1999
Q. How many Arabesque books have you
published and what are the titles and publication dates?
A. I have published eleven titles with Arabesque (including my current release, Pieces of Dreams): Temptation 1994, The Choice (from the anthology Spirit of the Season) 1994, Scandalous 1995, Deception 1996, *Masquerade (from the anthology Love Letters) 1997, *Intimate Betrayal 1997, A Private Affair 1998, Charade 1998, Chances Are 1998, Round Midnight (from the anthology Winter Nights) 1998.
*Intimate Betrayal will be featured as a made for television movie on the BET network during the 1999/2000.
Q. Where are you from?
A. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York.
Q. How did you decide to become a romance
A. I began writing True Confessions in 1987 and was encouraged by my editor to write my first book.
Q. How do you come up with the locations of
A. More often than not I decide on a locale that fits my story and then I do the research.
Q. What is your favorite locale for a romance
A. Japan (from Intimate Betrayal" target="_top">Intimate Betrayal). I always thought Japan was erotic and exotic. I also loved Savannah and the Guelah Islands (Charade).
Q. Do you have a full-time/part-time career
along with your writing career? If so, how do balance the two?
A. Yes, I work full-time as the Public Relations representative for the Queens Library system. I currently write movie scripts and produce author-centered events (Rhythms of Romance and others) which have been broadcast on cable and syndication. I have also produced my own cable talk show entitled Interlude. I am a single mom, and I have three kids and a grandson who all live with me. My balance comes from setting goals and priorities, including my children, and by incorporating people in my life who provide me with positive energy and who creatively compliment me. This gives me more energy to stretch myself further. As an example, last year alone I will have had five separate releases, not including two re-issues. To accomplish these tasks it takes focus, discipline and a lot of love and support from the people around me. I also conduct workshops and seminars on writing.
Q. What are your favorite hobbies and how do
you incorporate them into your romance writing?
A. I try to find ways to spotlight new authors and spread the word about romance. I enjoy going to the movies to see how the writer puts the story together. I like working in the music studio by putting tracks together or editing a television show. I also hang out with my kids and my soulmate.