Mark Koopmans' REVIVAL Blog Tour

I'm so excited to be today's stop on Mark's REVIVAL tour. If you've been around the writing blogosphere, you know Mark is a fantastic guy--plus, I was lucky enough to read an early version of his manuscript. Loved its humor and heart!

And I'm even MORE excited because Mark's giving us a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how he connected with Donald Braswell about writing Donald's story. But first...


Title: REVIVAL - The Donald Braswell Story Subtitle: How a Tenor Lost his Voice, but Found his Calling 
Authors: Donald Braswell with Mark Koopmans 
Length: 236 pages 
Synopsis: Five years removed from his 1990 Juilliard graduation, Donald Braswell is set to be “the next Pavarotti.” Braswell’s successful career ends, however, not with a standing ovation at Carnegie Hall, but alone, lying in a dirty ditch. 

Following the hit-and-run accident that steals his voice and future, the “Texas Tenor” struggles with depression and despair—until the night his daughter, Aria, is born.

Understanding this new and immediate life change, Braswell fights to relearn how to speak, sing—and share this gift of second chances with others. 

Working as a plasterer, a car salesman, and many jobs in-between, it takes thirteen years—and a musical miracle—for Braswell to battle back and sing on a professional stage. His dreams and ambitions collide with a tired and angry crowd when he auditions for America’s Got Talent. For his family, his faith and his entire future, can the Rocky Balboa of the operatic world find the courage and strength to win just one more fight? 


Take it away, Mark.


Happy post-Thanksgiving Day, and best wishes to anyone who’s reading this after surviving the Black Friday shopping day crowds (It’s madness, I say, madness!!)

Special thanks to Nicole for the invitation today, and she’s curious to know how I convinced Donald to “sign off” on me writing REVIVAL.

When I initially realized Donald’s story was way more than a simple feature I was writing for the newspaper, the first thing I did was to take a step back.

I scribbled a simple outline to get my initial thoughts down on paper (sometimes when I talk with others—especially when I have an exciting idea—my mouth (sadly) works way faster than my poor, little brain.)

Once the outline was in place, I pitched the idea to Donald in a phone call, and he agreed to meet for a coffee in a local mall.

In the meantime, I wrote up a business plan, printed it, and built a tabbed folder for him to look through the day we met.

Our meeting lasted about an hour (and I had my then-baby boy with me, which looking back is really funny… talk about making a lasting first impression! Donald, however, is the proud parent to three girls, so the addition of the stroller didn’t faze him a bit.)

The only other thing I brought with me to that initial meeting was a passion and sincerity that if Donald would trust me—and be a little patient—I would do my very best to share his inspirational journey with the world.

Donald agreed… and as I said elsewhere, the rest is his story…

Wow, great backstory, Mark! Thanks so much for sharing.

Mark Koopmans is originally from Ireland. After working in Holland, Spain, France and England, he won his U.S. “Green Card” in 1994, and is an American by choice since 2003. Koopmans began his writing career with a feature for a regional magazine in California. Since then, he’s worked as a staff writer for newspapers in Florida and Texas. Koopmans is also a proficient blogger and is working on his next book, a novel. Koopmans lives in Virginia and is a married, stay-at-home dad to three active boys under the age of nine. He writes at night. 

Donald Braswell II is an American actor, classical crossover tenor and composer. Braswell was on a fast track to become an internationally acclaimed opera singer when he suffered a car accident in 1995 that made him unable to speak for almost two years. After that, he lived a quiet life outside of the spotlight until his appearance on the 2008 season of America’s Got Talent where he was a Top 5 finalist, which gave him another chance at a career in entertainment. Since then, he has entertained audiences both internationally as well as shore to shore in the United States in concerts, television appearances, inspirational speaking and radio. He boasts an international fan club with fans from over 25 countries. 

Braswell has reentered the world of music by singing in concerts starting with the Symphony of the Hills in Kerrville, Texas in June 2009. He performs a variety of musical genres ranging from pure classical repertoire to soul to mainstream pop. He engages people of many cultures by singing in various languages outside of English, including Spanish, Italian, Neapolitan, French and Russian. His concerts are generally multilingual, and he has performed pieces that are themselves in more than one
language. Some of these include: Mario Frangoulis bilingual version of “Nights in White Satin” (Italian title “Notte di luce”), originally by The Moody Blues; “The Prayer”; and Andrea Bocelli’s “Vivere” (English title “Dare to Live”). His other non-English repertoire includes Aqustin Lara’s “Rosa” (Spanish), Mario Frangoulis’s “VincerĂ², perderĂ²” (Italian) and the Neapolitan standard “O sole mio”. Some of his many compositions can be heard on his recent album We Fall and We Rise Again. 


  1. Hey Nicole:)

    Hope you're having a quiet day (or a happy shopping day!) and thanks again for having me over :)

  2. I suspect bringing your son with you convinced Donald that you shared some of his values. Which can't have hurt. Your initial phone call must have been great too.

    1. Ha-ha, maybe, at least Donald could see I could multi-task :) That initial phone call was only supposed to last as long as a 20-minute interview, but we spoke for an extra 45 minutes!