Blog Tour—Donita K. Paul, Day 2

Just a quick reminder that the fantasy ride will continue here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction, even after the June blog tour ends. On Monday and Tuesday next week, I will post a two-part guest blog by NavPress fiction acquisitions editor Jeff Gerke. You won’t want to miss his comments about Christian fantasy.

We had some excellent posts yesterday, featuring the Christian SF/Fantasy Blog Tour Group’s author of the month, Donita K. Paul. If you haven’t had time to check out all the sites yet (understandable), I’d suggest the following:

  • For reviews, starting with DragonSpell Sally Apokedak’s web site
  • For an overview of Donita’s web site and books – Mirtika Schultz’s blog or Beth Goddard’s blog
  • For a discussion of the validity of Christian fantasy – Rebecca Grabill’s blog
  • Well, I could go on and on, but those are some fine sites to start with. I’m looking forward to what else our excellent bloggers have to say today about The Dragon Keeper Chronicles, and specifically about Donita’s new release, DragonKnight.


    And now, Part II of the interview with Mrs. Paul.

    RLM: Of course, as a fantasy writer myself, I can’t help wondering about a number of the behind-the-scene things you deal with, so I have to ask the writers’ version of the chicken or the egg question: Which came first for you, the characters or the plot?

    DKP: The characters. I have a tendency to create characters and watch what happens to them. The only thing I truly had planned for the first book was the starting and ending point. It seemed funny to me, and those who have read DragonSpell might pick up on the irony of the first and last scenes.

    RLM: I wish I could say I had picked up on it! Now I have to go back and see what you’re referring to.

    What’s been the hardest thing about writing the Dragon Keeper books and why?


  • Writing on a deadline is stifling to my creative percolator.
  • I have trouble engaging in simple enjoyment of the story when I let myself think about the technical aspects of the writing craft.
  • I must allow my characters to have a rollicking good time or I don’t have a good time either.
  • So, my own desire to turn in the manuscript on time in a professional writing style with a rousing storyline kind of piles up on my head and makes me crazy. Then I remember that God has pulled me through this process before and He isn’t going to desert me now.

    RLM: What about the converse — what’s the most satisfactory part of your writing and why?

    DKP: The readers. Definitely, the readers. I meet them in various ways, and they communicate through the website. The readers are stupendous! They cheer me on, they relate stories of how the books affected them and give me courage to keep writing, and once in a while, a reader will tell me that God acted in his or her life because of what they read in my fantasy. Wow! Is that humbling!

    RLM: What’s your favorite part of the writing process – planning, rough draft writing, rewriting, revising? What makes that particularly enjoyable?

    DKP: I notice you didn’t say anything about receiving the check.

    [RLM: Might that be a clue to the fact that I am yet unpublished? ;-)]

    I suppose that it would not be spiritual to say that receiving the check is the high point. But, you know, there is something very gratifying about that piece of paper that says well done! It is tangible evidence that the hard work didn’t just dig a hole in the ground.

    Writing is one of the few professions where you put in hours of labor, learning your craft, executing your craft, marketing your craft, and then waiting for returns both emotional and physical. I enjoy it when a reader says I love your stories, but I don’t meet many of them face to face. The check is something that says monetarily that people out there are reading the books.

    It also feels good to pay bills.

    RLM: Undoubtedly! 🙂

    I recently read you went to a Donald Maass writing seminar. What’s the most important thing you as a published, experienced writer learned?

    DKP: Two things. First and most importantly writing for God is different than writing for the New York Times Bestseller list. All the tricks of the trade are meaningless if you hit the “big time,” but make no difference in your readers’ Christian lives.

    The second thing was a mantra Donald Maass teaches. “Tension on every page.” Even the descriptions need a tension that keeps a reader awake and reading.

    After all, how can you achieve touching people’s lives if you put them to sleep with boring fiction?

    RLM: That sure makes a lot of sense. What a good rationale for continuing to work on craft. You really are setting a great example for the rest of us writers.

    What are you working on next?

    DKP: DragonFire, due out in 2007. It is the last of this series, but not the last of Wulder, Paladin, and Amara. I have a contract for three more fantasy books with WaterBrook.

    RLM: I know there are a lot of us who will be waiting with excitement for DragonFire. And what great news about the contract for three more! Keeping the fantasy coming, I say!

    And thank you for your time, Donita, for sharing your thoughts, your wisdom, your work.

    Tomorrow, my review of DragonKnight.

    For more posts, visit the other Christian SF/Fantasy tour bloggers:

    Sally Apokedak
    Valerie Comer
    Johne Cook
    Janey DeMeo
    Mary E. DeMuth
    Beth Goddard
    Rebecca Grabill
    Leathel Grody
    Katie Hart
    Sherrie Hibbs
    Marcia Laycock
    Shannon McNear
    Matt Mikalatos
    Mirtika Schultz
    Stuart Stockton
    Steve Trower

    Published in: on June 21, 2006 at 5:00 am  Comments (7)  


    1. “tension on every page” That’s good stuff. I’m learning there are subtle ways to do that as well as the in your face style. Like Donita said, even descriptions need tension. good reminder!


    2. I was fascinated by your interview with Donita. I feel like I know her now.

      I look forward to the review.


    3. Julie,

      I agree, that tension tip is key. I came home after Mt. Hermon 2004 and rewrote the opening 6 or 7 chapters for that very reason, but it’s easy to fall back into old habits.

      I also would love to hear what Maass would say about pacing and tension. I mean, you can’t have the engine run with the throttle open full the whole way.

      Anyway, it’s good to think about these things.



    4. David,

      I thought Donita was very personable. I loved the stories—about reading all the Jordan books when she was laid up, about going to the store with her dad and getting a book every week.Those really put the interview on a personal level I think.

      Gulp! Now I have someone else’s EXPECTATIONS haunting me as I write the review. So this is what published authors face—times a few tens of thousands. 😉



    5. Becky, the tension is not full throttle at all times. But there has to be some tension in the little things too. Suppose someone is making a cake while talking to her mom. You can throw in things about her mother’s expectations of her cleaning the kitchen as she goes, or whether there are two eggs, which she needs, or only one in the fridge. Just don’t have her stand there stirring the batter.
      Does that make sense?


    6. Donita, yes, that makes sense. In reference to pacing, before I’d studied the craft, I modeled my stories after LotR, where there was high tension built on suspense, followed by some sort of rest or safe zone (sort of reminded me of playing tag with places that participants could go and not get tagged. 😉 ) It is in those places that I have to work the hardest to keep tension in the story. I usually switch to the internal conflict at those times but never know if it’s enough/too much/covering already covered ground … that sort of thing.

      BTW, Donita, Sally left a question for you in the Day 1 section.



    7. […] has been writing fantasy since 2004, she has given a number of interviews, one posted here (and here) at A Christian Worldview of Fiction back in 2006 during the first CSFF book blog tour. In […]


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