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Author Donita K. Paul

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The name Donita K. Paul should be synonymous with Christian fantasy. With series such as The DragonKeeper Chronicles and The Chronicles of Chiril, she is the mastermind of some of the best Christian fantasy of our generation. If you are a fan of the genre, and have yet to read any of Mrs. Paul's work, you are missing out.

I was recently given the opportunity to interview Mrs. Paul for Teen Ink.

Rachel- Tell us about yourself.

Donita K. Paul- I retired early from teaching school, but soon got bored! The result: a determination to start a new career.

{But} 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.

RH- How did you become interested in writing?

DKP- I wrote when I was in elementary school. My friends and I loved to sit around, make up stories, and write. I began to write professionally when I retired from teaching.

RH- Please share with us your personal testimony of Salvation.

DKP- I thought I was a Christian. I’m definitely not Jewish. Not Muslim or Hindu. I’m an American. I was raised in the church. I started teaching Sunday school when I was thirteen. That’s right. Thirteen! So when I reached twenty-five, and someone asked me if I was a Christian, I said, “Of course.”

But it irked me that he had asked.
So I decided to show him. I left my Bible open so he would see it in my living room. See? I had a Bible. That means I’m a Christian, right?

So we discussed. I read. We discussed some more. I read some more. BINGO! Sometime during my attempts to convince this guy I was a Christian, the message sunk in, and I became one.

RH- What was the inspiration behind The Dragonkeeper Chronicles?

DKP- I hate to tell you this, but at first, I was just having fun with a different genre. I’d been writing Christian romance before. Then I discovered how easily one can reveal God and God’s plan through fantasy. That became the challenge and delight of weaving The DragonKeeper Chronicles.

RH- Are you yourself a fan of fantasy?

DKP- I love fantasy. I have an entire bookshelf dedicated to dragon books.

RH- Which do you prefer writing: Youth fiction or children's books?

DKP- I prefer to write youth fiction. Picture books are hard! They require a great deal of coordination between the author, the illustrator, the editor, and the publisher. With a young adult book, I write on my own and have more control over the end product. But I have to admit, I love picture books. I have a huge collection.

RH- How much does an author collaborate with an illustrator on a children's book or novel cover?

DKP- For the DragonKeeper Chronicles and the Chronicles of Chiril I do not have much input on cover design. It is always a surprise when I see it for the first time. I had a little bit more input with The Dragon and the Turtle and Padraig and Roger go on Safari because we were working more closely with the illustrator.

RH- What is your favorite book you have written?

DKP- Two things: Asking an author which book is her favorite is like asking a mother which is her favorite child. AND I tend to love the book I’m working on. I love DragonSpell. It was fun to discover the world of Amara and the characters who live there. I am also excited about my newest book, Dragons of the Watch. It is such a good finish to the series. Also, I just tried something new to me and fun. I published an e-book, a prairie romance. That book is dear to me on several levels. You can find out more on the front page of our website. There are no dragons in the book, but there are two “ghost children” and a “troll.”

RH- Who/what are your favorite authors/books?

DKP- Too many to name, but you can find a list of some of my favorites on my website. http://www.donitakpaul.com/resources/favebooks/index.html

RH- Who do you count as your inspiration?

DKP- Everyone and everything around me. I love life. God has created so much for our enjoyment. There are so many tiny details and huge splashes of excitement in vistas everywhere. God teaches through incidentals and monumental means. If you meant authors, that would be Patricia Veryan, who is a master of characterization, setting, and plot. And Max Lucado, who is a storyteller with a heart for God.

RH- What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

DKP- Read! Find out what makes a good book good and a bad book bad. Practice. The more you write, the better you will get. I always recommend joining a writer's group. My favorite one is American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). I also participate in writers' group at my home. There are some writing tips and links on my website: http://www.donitakpaul.com/index.html.





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