We'd like to thank Donna Marie Nowak, for taking the time to answer our questions for 'Author of the Week.' We hope you enjoy her answers as much as we did!
1) What is your background and why did you decide to become a writer?
I was born a writer. By the time I was twelve, I had written over 100 short stories and four novels. I created equally as many cartoons, because I'm also a cartoonist. This is something that's in me. I love words and love writing and I've always been driven to do it. I'm a very creative person.
2) What book have you written for BearManor, and what is it about?
My book is Just Joan: A Joan Crawford Appreciation. I call it the ultimate Joan Crawford Bible for the ultimate star. It examines Crawford's work, influence, life, and image in meticulous and loving detail. It is illustrated with over 300 photos, many of them rare and never before in print. It bears testament to Crawford's enduring enigma and powerful star. It's a very comprehensive guide to Joan Crawford basically. I not only feature the films, but her television work and all the original stories, plays, and novels that these films derived from. I examine all aspects of Crawford.
3) Why did you choose that particular subject?
Although I've always liked Joan and have always loved classic films since a small child, I became particularly fascinated with Joan after I saw They All Kissed the Bride. As I say, I already liked Joan and had seen a great many of her movies, but when I saw They All Kissed the Bride, I was seeing another Joan. The Joan familiar to many people is usually the older Joan or the Joan of Queen Bee, but They All Kissed the Bride showed me a side of Joan that I was less familiar with. I started seeking out more of her films. Eventually, the more I saw, the more obsessed I became until I had hunted down every single one available. Joan Crawford doesn't disappoint me. The more I learned, the more I loved who she was and what she gave us. I consider her not only a fine and underrated actress, but a great artist and an amazing woman. She rose above all other stars in my estimate and has remained there.
4) How long did it take you to write it, and did you find it an easy task?
Just Joan involved four years of research. I was obsessed and very passionate about the subject, so every day I was at Lincoln Center Performing Arts Library, going over rare scripts which I had to read at the library. I read these scripts, taking notes, from the time the library opened until it closed. I had a master list of every Joan film, every story or book that was made into a Joan film, and every book written on Joan (even the paper dolls!) and I hunted down each and every one of them. I loved doing this research. I was thrilled with every new thing I learned. I also met many people, some of whom had known Joan personally. Jim Sibal, an archaeologist who had been personally involved with Carl Johnes who wrote Crawford: The Last Years and was Crawford's dear friend in her later years, wrote a phenomenal afterwards to the book.
5) What can we expect to find in your book? Because of what is is, the comprehensiveness of it, it's not just the Bible of Joan Crawford, although it is that, too, it's also an insight into early Hollywood and that whole exciting period of the early days of motion pictures up until the 1970's. Joan Crawford's story is the story of the movies and it's also a story of resilience, talent, determination and making the most of what you have, even with the deck stacked against you. Joan Crawford always turned lemons into lemon-ade. She was a true survivor.
6) What would you say is the most interesting thing about being a writer? I love being the actor, director, producer, writer and creator of this entire fantasy world, in the case of fiction, or just putting something out there that didn't exist, in the case of either nonfiction or fiction. It's a really satisfying and wonderful feeling. Writing also gives you the opportunity to learn about new worlds, new people. It's educational and limitless. It also gives you the feeling of never being alone, because you're constantly immersed in this huge realm of the imagination and are capable of entertaining yourself when you are alone.
7) Do you have a website, blog etc, where readers can find you? Yes, I have several websites and a Facebook page as well. My websites are:
http://www.filmsofcrawford.com/ (the one devoted to Joan Crawford) and my personal website, which also has details about my work is:
I have a Facebook page for JUST JOAN: A JOAN CRAWFORD APPRECIATION
8) Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I want to show people what I see in Joan, give a fuller understanding of all of her achievements, of that inner quality, magic and gift she had that explained why director George Cukor called her "one of the people that made Hollywood the place that touched the imagination of the world."
You can order 'Just Joan' from our website: