I recently requested an interview with Donita K. Paul who is well respected for her Dragon Keeper Chronicles books. She has announced a new series and the concept was so unique that I just had to pose some questions to her.
Note: After you read the interview, please post a comment to be entered for the Christmas Giveaway!
Q: Lately the Christian fiction market has announced a couple new fantasy novels that are original in their concepts and well-written. Can you tell us what prompted you to write "One Realm Beyond" and what most excites you about this story?
Mrs. Paul: I’m always excited when I get to let my imagination loose. I’ve incorporated images from fantasy movies that I love. You want to know what they are? Stardust, Ella Enchanted. Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, Return to Oz, and Enchanted. Not that a reader would be able to pick something out of the book and trace it back to a movie, but when I watch something like those wonderful movies, sparks fly in my head. I’m visual so Pinterest is very good for me. I see pictures that make ideal portals, or stunning backdrops, or hint at character and personality. I think the thing that most excites me about this book is the changing relationship between Cantor and his dragon and between Cantor and Bixby.
As to what prompts me to write a particular story, it’s usually characters chattering inside my skull and never leaving me in peace.
Q: How long did it take you to write "One Realm Beyond"?
A: About a year. It usually takes me a year to write a fantasy. I can write a romance in two months and a picture book in about six weeks. But fantasies need time to brew in the pot. More interesting things bubble to the top if I allow time for the mixture to age. Also the sharp flavor of Christian fantasy needs to mellow. I hope my work is not didactic, and I think the time element has something to do with not coming across as proselytizing.
Q: Because you target the Christian fiction market, what is your response when people ask why you write fantasy?
A: I’ll let the greats say it for me.
G. K. Chesterton:
• Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.
• Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.
• Reason is the natural order of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning.
Chesterton tells us that stories allow our imagination to conceive what we cannot physically see. In that abstract determination, we can also see how to remain upright in fighting of overwhelming obstacles.
Lewis tells us that through story we experience more than our everyday world and while engaging this literary world we discover attributes which are needed, such as courage, integrity, persistence, hope, compassion, and a host of other noble traits. Having plowed the field and planted these seeds, the story encourages our desert soul to bring forth a triumphant character.
And, Lewis also reminds us that truth can be represented in facts, (one plus one equals two) meaning is rooted in imagination (if I have one apple and you give me another, I have two apples to make an apple tart).
Q: You have become a household name with many readers. What components do you feel have made your writing career successful?
A: Well for one thing, I didn’t have anything to do but invest time in my career. The old adage“Don’t quit your day job.” is sound advice. However, my day job kind of quit me. I had a crippling infection in my leg and couldn’t teach full time anymore, and then I couldn’t teach at all. So I was at home, driving my mother batty. (She lived with me and my two teens, or we lived with her.) She was used to having the house to herself all day. In order to protect her sanity, she ordered me to my room to write a book. I had always wanted to and now was my chance. Bless mothers! So years of being a Christian, years of reading, and obeying my mom opened the door to being an author.
Q: So many readers have loved your Dragon Keeper Chronicles. Are you finished with that storyworld, or is there a possibility you will revisit it in new books?
A: I’m afraid so. There are a couple of short stories on the website under Librettowit’s Library.
I may write more of those, but I’ve met these other characters and we’re exploring a different world together.
Many thanks to Mrs. Paul for answering the questions! You can learn much more about her and her books on her website www.DonitaKPaul.com
Now, on to the Christmas giveaway. Two random comments will be selected by a random generator on the internet, and those two individuals will win one of these two items from Mrs. Paul:
1st Prize: a copy of "Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball"
2nd Prize: a fairytale necklace (if a guy wins he can give it to a girl as a Christmas gift!)