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Interview: Donita K. Paul (Day 1)

Donita K. Paul lives in Colorado Springs. Her two children are grown and married. “My son is pursuing his dream of teaching as a college professor of English. That means a lot of grad school. My daughter proofs my work and offers suggestions. Usually on what my heroines should wear! She doesn’t think much of my fashion sense.”

Her dog is a good companion while she writes. “Gimli is named after a dwarf in LORD OF THE RINGS. He’s a Pug/Lhaso Apso mix with weird whiskers and tufts of hair sticking out all over his bug-eyed face.”

Mrs. Paul leads weekly adult fiction writing workshops and occasional groups for teens. “Mentoring is important to me. I want to share what I have learned and pass on the encouragement.”

Check out her website at www.dragonspell.us.

Q. Tell us a little about your latest book.

DragonQuest is the second in the Dragon Keeper Chronicles. Kale continues to discover her weaknesses and strengths. As in our Christian walk, she encounters different people who would have her go on diverging paths. And from where she stands, the choices are not clear cut.

Q. Until recently, fantasy books were seldom seen on the shelves of Christian bookstores. It was notable that recently the Christy awards for Christian novels added a Fantasy category. What has changed? Why the sudden growth in Christian fantasy novels?

Actually, the Christy Awards combined two previous categories and named them Visionary. They combined fantasy/allegory and futuristic/science fiction.

As to why fantasy has suddenly become a hot genre, I’ve heard all sorts of theories. The popularity of the Lord of the Rings movies is a predominant rationale. The amount of science fiction/fantasy in television and movies in general promotes an interest in finding books that follow the same path.

I personally think that things cycle, even reading tastes.

Q. Who are some of your favorite authors of fantasy? How do they inspire you?

Well, I’m expected to say Tolkein and Lewis, right? Thankfully, I can make that claim. I don’t know what would happen to someone who under-appreciated those two authors.  Somehow I imagine it might not be pretty.

In the secular world of modern literature, I like some of Salvatore and Weis/Hickman. But my very favorites come from children’s literature of more than 50 years ago - Edgar Eager, E. Nesbit, and L. Frank Baum. These authors enchanted me with their stories of children set in fantastical situations.

Q. Was writing fantasy a childhood dream or something that came on later in your life?

Oh my, no! Growing up, I wanted to be a wife and mother. But part of being a mother is telling stories, teaching through tales. My father was a good oral storyteller and one brother in particular took after him. My mother was a Sunday school teacher and gifted in telling Bible stories. Through various venues, God impressed upon me the power of storytelling.

Q. What first drew you to the fantasy genre?

I have a stupid leg. The other leg seems to get what being a leg is all about, but this one just messes up from time to time. An infection flared up in the stupid leg, and I was sentenced to six weeks with my foot elevated above my heart. My son brought me Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series to keep me in the recliner. I hadn’t read much fantasy as an adult. When I finished the series and got out of the chair, I thought, “Well, that was interesting.” (The fantasy and the time spent incarcerated in a chair.)

Eight months later, I had the urge to write something different from the Christian Romance I had been writing. Fantasy was “different.”

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