Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Meet the Woman Who Writes the Dragon Books
Donita K. Paul

Donita's giving away not one, but THREE books.
Please make sure to leave a comment AND your email address for a chance to win one.

How long have you known that you were a writer? Did you receive a clear “call?” Or have you just loved writing all your life?

I always loved reading. I was always good at writing. I toyed with the idea of writing professionally since I was 13, but never saw the opportunity to learn the craft and all the other things that are a part of professional writing. They were there, but my focus was elsewhere. I was a teacher. I became disabled in 1996 and retired early. Then I had plenty of time to do something new and I began to really look for the help I needed to move from being a wannabe to an actual writer! I went to conferences and joined American Christian Fiction Writers.

What is the genre you write in? Would you explain what it is?

After reading Robert Jordan’s, “Wheel of Time” Adult Fantasy series, I had the urge to write something different from the Christian Romance I had been writing. Young Adult Fantasy is different! Afterwards, someone pointed out that it is fantasy to believe that men can really be as sensitive and unselfish as heroes in a romance. I laughed but realized that there is a modicum of truth in that.

I have always enjoyed a good story. A good story lifts the reader, makes him or her more aware of a truth. Hopefully the fiction also leads the reader to desire to follow through in life what was learned from a book.

In our society today good has become relative and evil has lost its repugnance. But our young people want clearly defined concepts of good and evil. In our world, we are losing the confidence that good will triumph over evil. The fantasy books that clarify God’s message to His people restore hope, literally affirm the strength of good and the futility of evil, and inspire a desire to seek righteousness. Not only that, but these books say it is all right to be the knight in shining armor. It is not dorky or old-fashioned. Females are encouraged to develop the characteristics that make a lady in God’s eyes. These virtues include that attributes revealed in Proverbs 31. The heroines personify a Godly woman.

How do you spend your writing days? Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day? Can you give us a general idea of how long it takes you to write a novel?

When I am actively pursuing the production of a story, I eat, walk, think, and dream the story. I leave a sink full of dishes and run to the computer to record what the main character just said to the villain. I burn what’s on the stove, because I went back to the office for “just a minute” to add a paragraph. Instead of counting sheep at night, I plot the next scene. Usually when I get some time to sit in front of the computer, the story has been percolating and I write down what I have been musing about.

As far as a writing routine goes, I have too many routines to count. I try one regimen for a while, then abandon it for another. I long to be systematic and I am chronically not. DragonSpell took 9 months to write. The more I write, the longer it takes. I raise my own standard, wanting each book to be better. And I have a very complex world to maintain, lots of details. And as I write, I see things that need to be expounded on in a subtle way. Being subtle is harder than preaching.
You recently had a book published. Would you take this time to describe it to us? How and where can readers buy your books?

This fall, we actually released three books. The Dragon and the Turtle, a picture book, came out in August. The Valley of the Dragons, the second in the Chiril Chronicles, came out in September. And Two Tickets came out in October.
My latest book is Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball. This book is about matchmaking wizards, who make sure that tickets to the annual Christmas Ball fall into the right hands each year. This year’s unlikely couple is a pair of single people who work together but have no awareness of each other. You must read it to find out if Simon and Cora discover a perfect chemistry in their opposite personalities and shared faith!
My books are sold at both Christian and secular bookstores and over the internet through CBD.com, Amazon.com, and Barnes and Nobles.com.

What is the spiritual message in your book? What can readers expect to get from reading it?

The message is that even the hard, disagreeable things in life prepare us to be better servants of God.

Do you ever feel like giving up? Most people don’t understand the stress, the work, and the joy of being a writer. How tenuous becoming a writer is. Do you care to share how it feels, what discouraging/encouraging times you’ve gone through?

Life interrupts writing. I think if a writer plied his trade in an ivory tower, he or she would soon run out of material. Taking life and translating it to paper makes the best fiction. However, it would be nice to have someone else pay the bills, take out the garbage, babysit, write thank you notes, etc.

Who’s inspired you the most?

  • Max Lucado, whose everyday application of faith clears out the rubbish of worldly entanglements.
  • Linda Windsor, whose strong faith and sense of humor reveal the pleasure of being a Christian.
  • Patricia Veryan, for the art of storytelling in novel form. Her characterization and plots are exemplary.
Would you explain how you “chose” (or were chosen by) a publisher? Do you just go “inny, minny, miny, moe?” Now, that you’re published, can you sit back and relax from the success you’ve experienced?

I am an exception to the rule. My first Christian romance was accepted by the first publisher I sent it to, and DragonSpell was accepted by the first publisher my agent took it to. I have had other manuscripts in between that have bounced around the industry and a few have never found a home.

I don’t think you can be successful in the sit back and relax mode. I have deadlines and commitments to address, but more importantly, I want to connect with my readers and I want to keep honing my skills. Both take effort.

Do you mind telling us some of your likes and dislikes? Hobbies, interests? Where would you like to travel if you could?

I dislike mac and cheese and most pasta dishes. I can sew, but really, really dislike sewing. I am disgusted by coarse language and profanity. Why choose a cuss word when there are so many good words available. Mostly it is laziness.

Likes? Oh so many! I like mentoring young writers of all ages. I like beading, stamping, jewelry-making. Knitting is my favorite indoor sport. I would go to England, Scotland, and Ireland, then the Mediterranean, Italy and Greece.

Would you give us your blog or webpage so everyone can check it out? Anything else you’d like to share? Promotional information?

You can find my blogs and websites at my main website: http://www.donitakpaul.com/. I have a separate website for the children’s books which my daughter, Evangeline Denmark and I are writing. It’s called http://www.dragonandturtle.com/. If you click on Mrs. Paul you will see the blogs that I write.

I like to do school visits and booksignings. When I’m in a QandA with readers, I often get asked, “What is your favorite part of being a writer?” I answer, “This.” I am a people person, and readers are the best people in the world.

Thanks so much for taking the time to visit today! I know how busy life can be.
Don't forget to leave your comments and email address, readers!
 
Blessings!

16 comments:

Arlene said...

I hope to one of the lucky ones to win a book. They sound like some good reading. She seemes to be a great writer. Arlene

Kathryn Page Camp said...

I can identify with interupting life to run to the computer. My husband has learned that I really will finish the dishes after I get the thought or the scene written down. And sometimes he finishes them for me anyway.

kcamp1951@aol.com

Esther said...

Ooo, I love fantasy, especially fantasy with dragons in it! I would love to have a chance to win Dragons of the Valley. It sounds like one that all my brothers and my sister would love reading also.

I enjoyed the interview very much. Thank you for the chance to win!

faith4u7(at)gmail(dot)com

Rhonda Schrock said...

So much fun to hear from a published writer! Thanks! Here's my addy: rschrockmt@yahoo.com

Ann Lee Miller said...

I'd love to win!
Ann_Lee_Miller@msn.com

Great Lakes Romances said...

Very interesting interview. I see so much of myself as a writer in what Donita has revealed. I'm particularly curious about the wizards who make sure the right people get tickets to the Christmas ball. Who would have thought?:)
Donna Winters
bigwaterpub [at] gmail [dot] com
http://www.greatlakesromances.com

Shellie said...

Hi Donita,

I love that you are writing dynamic children's fiction that keeps the imagination running. Thank you!

Shellie

neumeier(dot)shellie(at)gmail(dot)com

Mozi Esme said...

Haven't read much of the dragon genre - this sounds interesting! I like the spiritual message...

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

We posted about this giveaway at Winning Readings: http://winningreadings.blogspot.com/2010/10/donita-k-paul-books.html

Casey said...

I saw this book reviewed with stellar rating and then at a Borders in Idaho and just about fell in love with the cover. It is such a lovely little novella! I would love to be entered for Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball. Thank you!

caseymh18(@)gmail.com

Inspired Kathy said...

Sounds like some fabulous books!
bkhabel at gmail dot com

Danelle said...

My daughter would love to read this. She just loves reading things like this.

danellejohns at gmail dot com

Maureen said...

What a gift you have, and I am so glad you are sharing them with us!



alekee02[at]yahoo[dot]com

apple blossom said...

I'd love to be included in this giveaway. thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

misskallie2000 said...

I love Christmas books. I try to read 2-4 new ones each yr then go back and re-read my favorites.
I enjoyed the interview and thanks for stopping by to chat with us Donita. I just started reading your Dragons of the Valley and I am enjoying it.
Thanks for the opportunity to enter this giveaway Caroline.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

wmmahaney said...

Christmas books are wonderful, and this one sounds like a fun ready
wmmahaney(at)att(dot)net

Merry said...

Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball sounds like a festive read, I'd love a chance to win it.
worthy2bpraised[at]gmail[dot]com