My guest today is Donita K. Paul, author of Taming the Wild Wind. I’m delighted to have her here to talk about this latest book and also others she has written.
Lillie: Welcome to A Writer’s Words, An Editor’s Eye, Donita. I enjoyed Taming the Wild Wind. The faith element is well-woven into the story, as is the history. The characters are well-developed and are easy to identify with. Tell us a little about the book.
Donita: Taming the Wild Wind is set during the mid 1800’s in what is now Northeast Oklahoma. My protagonist, Ida Meade, journeys from her wealthy, ordered life in Pennsylvania to teach at a rustic school in the Indian Territory. Ida has an intense passion to serve God, which is revealed by her commitment to teach and her spontaneous worship. Ida means well, but she has a lot to learn about assumptions she has made about her own walk with God.
Things are not always as they appear on the prairie, and she is challenged by much of her new life. Ida falls in love with the Indian children she is to teach and the wild prairie that surrounds her. She must deal with an absent fiancé’, a prejudiced community, ghost children, and a handsome Indian agent.
Lillie: You have been published by several different Christian publishers. It seems that Taming the Wind is self-published as an ebook. Are you joining the many authors who find self-publishing ebooks is more advantageous than signing with a traditional publisher, or is this just another publishing option for you?
Donita: There are advantages to both types of publishing. I like self publishing because I can choose what I want to release without worrying over whether or not my manuscript will be accepted. However, I appreciate working with a publishing company which has a vast array of resources for marketing, editing, and printing. I hope to have another fantasy book published soon by a standard publisher, and I am polishing an older Christian romance manuscript to put out as an e-book.
The future of e-books has not been decided yet, and it is exciting to be in on the first wave.
Lillie: I know you weren’t published until after you retired as a schoolteacher. Did you always like writing or was this a brand-new interest after retirement? How long have you been writing?
Donita: I have loved to write ever since I was in elementary school. Getting published was simply a wonderful God’s gift to me when my health took a downturn and I could no longer work outside the home. Principals frown upon teachers who can not catch first graders. They weren’t getting faster; I was getting slower. I find that I reach many more people through writing and have the opportunity to share how important God has been to me.
Lillie: Many writers tend to stick with a favorite genre. What genres do you write and what led you to write in so many different genres?
Donita: I began writing Christian romance novels and novellas under the name Kathleen Paul. The first was written from my daughter when she became interested in reading romance. I wanted to make certain there were good, clean books available.
About ten years ago, my mother challenged me to write a young adult fantasy novel. It was an experiment, and it turned out to be a lot of fun. That book was DragonSpell, and it did well enough that I was given the opportunity to write The DragonKeeper Chronicles and the Chronicles of Chiril.
Since then, I wrote a Christmas novella, Two Tickets to a Christmas Ball, which is a modern romance with a hint of magic. Combining my two favorite genres gave me great satisfaction
My daughter and I co-wrote two children’s books, The Dragon and the Turtle, and The Dragon and the Turtle on Safari. I love children’s books. I have shelves full of them. I am a bit of a literacy nut. I envision children curled up in their comfy spot with a good book and a light shining on the books and their hearts. If I could draw, I’d draw that picture.
Lillie: Why do you write Christian fiction?
Donita: If I ignored all the stories playing in my head, I would probably go mad. I write Christian fiction because my beliefs are a part of the way I think. I don’t ever start a tale with the thought, “I think I will convey a profound thought today.” I focus on the characters and their problems. As C. S. Lewis demonstrated, fiction is a perfect medium for exposing readers to God’s Truth. Many of the emails I receive are from readers who caught the allegorical message of my books, and discovered something to encourage their faith.
Lillie: Please tell us about some of your other books.
Donita: My newest published book is Dragons of the Watch. It is the third and last book in the Chronicles of Chiril. It is a bit more romantic than my other fantasies, but also contains adventure, mystery, and humor.
The Chronicles of Chiril are a spinoff of The DragonKeeper Chronicles. The DragonKeeper books follow the story of Kale, who learns she has a talent for finding dragon eggs. These tales are full of quests, adventures, and deep friendships. The turned out to be an allegory for the phases of a Christian walk.
Lillie: Writers like to say that “everyone” should read their book, but we know that the more closely authors define their target audience, the more successful they are. Describe your ideal reader for Taming the Wild. If you like, you can also tell us who your ideal readers are for the other genres you write.
Donita: Taming the Wild Wind is for people who enjoy historical romances with a little bit of fun mystery mixed in.
My fantasy books are found in the young adult section of the bookstore, but they are for anyone who enjoys Christian fantasy. I receive enthusiastic emails from children, teens, parents, and grandparents.
The Dragon and the Turtle books are children’s books for parents to read to their kids. The stories are designed to stimulate conversations about friendship. We often tell a child to go make friends, but Padraig and Roger model the behavior that cements a relationship.
Lillie: Where can readers learn more about you and your books?
Donita: My website is: www.donitakpaul.com
The website for our picture books is: www.dragonandturtle.com. We often run fun contests and give out prizes.
Friend me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/don.k.p
Find me on Shoutlife and Twitter under Donita K. Paul.
Lillie: Is there anything I’ve failed to ask that you would like to share with my readers?
Donita: One of the things that people overlook when evaluating the worth of reading a good tale is that the reader is experiencing a set of circumstances and is given the opportunity to determine right and wrong and appropriate reactions to the scenario. We all learn more about ourselves in the safe environment where we read of someone else’s trials. Classics address a universal truth and lift the reader to a nobler mindset. In a society where morality is deteriorating, it is important to raise our children in the way they should go. Lectures often fall short of achieving changed behavior. Stories are more beneficial.
Lillie: Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing about your book and your writing and your faith with my readers. They will probably have more questions for you. Will you check in during the day to respond to comments and answer questions?
Donita: Lillie, I am so grateful to have the opportunity to talk with you. I would be more than happy to answer questions your readers might have.
Lillie: If you have questions for Donita, leave a comment below.
Donita K. Paul retired early from teaching school, but soon got bored! The result: a determination to start a new career. Now she is an award-winning novelist writing Christian Romance and Fantasy. She says, “I feel blessed to be doing what I like best.”
She mentors all ages, teaching teenagers and weekly adult writing workshops.
“God must have imprinted ‘teacher’ on me clear down to the bone. I taught in public school, then home schooled my children, and worked in private schools. Now my writing week isn’t very productive unless I include some time with kids.”
Her two grown children make her proud, and her two grandsons make her laugh.