Reviews of Blood Will Tell by C.S. Donnell

C.S.Donnell is multi-talented. She is a poet, an artist, plays the viola, and on top of that, she is also an author. She is amazing! -Valerie Lee, The Jade Rubies

Superlatives all round – excellent, gripping, imaginative, well plotted!! Wishing the author all success, I’d like to see more from C.S. Donnell – The bad guy was scary! Very well done. -Tina Glasner, former SBW President

Welcome to the February SBW TalkBooks group read Blood Will Tell by C.S. Donnell. Tonight’s live Q&A, conducted by SBW author Valerie Lee, was a lot of fun! Many joining tonight’s author event know Carolyn Donnell from the South Bay Writers Club. Let’s get to the mystery and find out what will be revealed.


Blood Will Tell Cover

Family ties. A good thing, right? Not if you come from Amy’s family. Amy escapes her gilded cage only to find herself alone. One by one, everyone disappears from her life. Eighteen years of futile searching end when a letter arrives and leads her through a maze of shifting identities, kidnapping and attempted murder. Will she find the answers in time?

Live Interview Recap

What’s your writing background? When did you first start writing?

I started writing in junior high school; a couple of short stories were featured in a publication. But music was my life all through school and most of my adult life. I didn’t get back to writing till I moved to California, and found Edie Matthews’ creative writing class.

Please describe your book Blood Will Tell.

Amy Cummings dreaded coming home until she met the new chauffeur and fell in love.

When her father discovers her secret he ships her away in the middle of the night to a place that only pretends to be a simple home for unwed mothers. While she is there everyone disappears from her life—her baby, lover, father, even the housekeeper.

In spite of years of searching, she can find no trace of anyone. After 18 years a letter arrives from her father with information about her daughter. Old family secrets are exposed. No one is who they thought they were. Lives depend on finding answers in time.

If you had to choose one of your characters to have coffee with, who would it be?

To have coffee with? I think it would be Amy.

How did you happen to come up with this story?

I went looking for my birth mother, found her, and then went looking for my birth father. I found out that I was a war baby. Became interested in, and did a couple of DNA studies, and became interested in how people are connected, and how you can know who is really connected to whom and what those relations are.

 What is your favorite part of writing?

Researching is my favorite. For Deeper Colors, I found an artist on Facebook who was just like my character—I found Genevieve’s doppelganger. I found the cathedral on that same search for artists, it was in Perigueux, France. With regards to Blood Will Tell, I found, that Basque DNA has whole cults built around the bloodline.

Do you have any quirky writing habits?

Quirky, well, I eat nachos when I write.

What powers you through finishing a story?

Friends encourage me. The writing groups, Marge’s and others, and belonging to South Bay Writers.

How long did it take you to write and edit Blood Will Tell?

On and off for ten years. I put it in a drawer for a few years and when I pulled it out again, I found that I liked the story enough to finish it.

Who is your favorite author and favorite book? Why?

Agatha Christie is my favorite author and her book Sleeping Murder. For Deeper Colors, a Nora Roberts story, “Born in Fire,” influenced me.

What are some of the differences you’ve experienced being published in anthologies versus novels?

Anthologies are easier. I’ve had to do everything for my books.

You like to write short poems about paintings you make, do you write short poems for your books?

My poem, “Lavender Oblivion,” I wrote for Deeper Colors; the book inspired the poem.

What have you learned from writing and producing Blood Will Tell that will help you with future books?

I learned from writing Blood Will Tell, at some point you have to stop revising and finish and get on with the next book, and that guys liked short chapters.

What’s your favorite thing about being published, not just as part of anthologies, but having your own novel out there

Having someone “get” something means a lot to me.

What marketing strategy have you chosen?

Marketing? I’ve had a lot of help from friends in South Bay Writers encouraging me to get on Twitter and Goodreads; I have a Facebook Author page and an Amazon author page as well.

What was your favorite writing prompt?

I set up a short story from a picture on a front page of a newspaper showing an alligator coming up out of the water to grab a deer hanging on a tree where a hunter had strung it up. It became “Night of the Silver Moon.”

What are all the formats you’re publishing?

Other than paperback: Kindle, and all the Smashwords formats, including Nook, iBook and others.

What problems did you have with CreateSpace?

I like Createspace. They have a lot of tutorials and responsive Help. I can upload updates even to a published version. The one thing I don’t like is shipping, takes forever sometimes.

Why did you choose short chapters?

I was taught that short chapters (paragraphs, even sentences) increase tension, and this story has a lot of that.

About the Author
CS Donnell w Blood Will Tell

C.S. Donnell’s short stories and poems have won awards (under the name of Carolyn Donnell) including 1st in fiction at the 2015 San Francisco Writers Conference, Literary Arts Division-San Mateo County Fair Exhibitor of the Year in 2014, Frontiers in Writing-Panhandle Pro-Writers, Southwest Writers, and CWC South Bay Writers Club. Other passions include painting and playing viola. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

You can learn more about C.S. Donnell at: