Crime Writer Knows the Difference Between Being A Victim and Being Victimized

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Popular author and playwright Donna Carbone published her first book in the Cat Leigh and Marci Welles crime novel series in January 2015. She immediately became a sought after guest at book clubs and author events. There was a good reason for her instant success. Carbone and her daughter, Jessica McKinney, survived brutal attacks and they are not afraid to speak the truth when it comes to domestic abuse and sexual assault.

Through Thick and Thin introduced Cat Leigh and Marci Welles, two female homicide detectives with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's office, as well as a cast of colorful characters. Carbone's writing style established a relationship between those characters and fans of crime novels. The reason so many readers - women, in particular - found Cat and Marci worthy of being "... invited to lunch" is that they are based on actual people who are identifiable on a social level.

The story details the real life friendship between two strong women-one a rape survivor (Carbone's daughter as Cat Leigh) and the other the CSI who helped to capture the attacker. Mary Bedwell Bain, the role model for Marci Welles, and McKinney have been best friends since high school. Bedwell Bain is a crime scene investigator with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and was instrumental in capturing McKinney's rapist.

In a recent interview, Carbone said, "In Through Thick and Thin, readers will meet some very devious criminals including the Kalendar Killer, the Ribbon Rapist and a lifeguard who used his breast stroke more often out of the water than in the water. The stories ring true because I always use my own life as a starting point. I wish I could say that life has been all sunshine and roses. It hasn't been, but I don't regret the thorns I've felt along the way."

In January of this year, Carbone published the second in the series, Silk Suit/Stone Heart. This book takes readers deeper into the lives of her brave and determined lady detectives and introduces a new group of clever criminals including a nerdy poet intent on killing politicians while they are dining in local restaurants and a tall, handsome, imposing organized crime boss whose confident air and casual attitude toward life and death intimidates everyone.

Carbone's goal in writing a crime novel series is to educate through entertainment. From the fan mail she has received, she has somewhat achieved her goal of making men and women wiser about the need to take personal responsibility for their lives.

Currently, she is writing the third book in the Cat and Marci series - Total Submission. In this book readers will be introduced to the underground world of sadism and masochism. They will also meet a depraved killer who preys upon the elderly and two callous men who believe women are only good for one thing. Thanks to Cat and Marci, they learn that the female gender can also be very effective at kicking butt.

Asked to give a synopsis of her stories, Carbone said, "The stories are dramadies. Yes... people die. But people also live, laugh and love. While the books are categorized as crime novels, they are also about friendship, loyalty, dedication and values. The stories feature real people... people who are humanized by their strengths and weaknesses. My dream would be to have the books made into a television series... a series that champions women who have survived violent crime.

Law and Order SVU is a terrific show, but more often than not, it shows women as victims, especially in courtroom scenes. When watching the series, I always wonder why any woman would report a rape if going to court is going feel like being raped all over again. That wasn't my daughter's experience, and I fear that perpetuating that myth will only allow rapists to continue committing their heinous crimes."

In the last three years Carbone somehow found time to write a third crime novel, Private Hell, which is semi-autobiographical and deals with domestic abuse. She also completed her first children's book, Lambie and Me. This charming little tale is based on conversations she has had with her eldest grandson. "He has convinced me that reincarnation is real," Carbone said. "I swear there is a 40-year-old man living inside that 4-year-old body."

Lambie and Me is more than a story about a little boy and his best friend. It is a morality tale... one that weaves the importance of good character into the narrative. The story subtly touches on the importance of family and speaks to adults and children alike about the importance of loyalty, kindness, empathy and friendship. Children will learn the meaning of unconditional love. Lambie and Me opens the door for discussion even with the youngest of children and leaves a lasting impression as children grow into adulthood.

Carbone also wrote the stage play, Shell of a Man. This is a true story based on the life of Robert Logan, a Vietnam veteran. Logan (not his real name) was raised in the Jim Crow south and picked his first bag of cotton at the age of two. The hardship of his early life taught him the skills needed to survive a 40 year battle with PTSD. Carbone's goal is to personalize this much talked about but barely understood condition in order to raise awareness of the need for better healthcare for our men and women in uniform.

When asked, Carbone explained how Shell of a Man came to be written. "In 2011 I published two columns supporting better healthcare for veterans. A Vietnam vet wrote to me, expressing his thanks and beginning what was to become a much cherished and, often, painful friendship. He calls himself Robert L. We've never met. His face is but a ghostly image in an old photograph he sent to me. I hear his voice only through the emails we exchange. I believe that distance and the anonymity of the internet allowed Robert to share his life with me in a way few others have heard. What he said forced me to accept that, despite being well read, I knew nothing about the effects of serving in a war zone. Although Shell of a Man is told through the life of one man, it is in actuality a story that touches the lives of all of our veterans."

Shell of a Man was performed at the Dallas Convention Center in 2015 under the auspices of The Black Academy of Arts and Letters. It has also been produced in Florida and is under consideration by theaters across the country.

Carbone is presently in California negotiating with theaters for a production of her play Women, Wisdom and Wine, which offers an eye-opening look into the conversations of women of a certain age.

All of Carbone's books are available through

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