Interview with Donita K. Paul

(Sixth in a series of a interviews with the Motiv8 Fantasy Fiction Tour authors.)


Donita K. Paul ( is a retired school teacher and grandma from Colorado. Her passion for literacy compels her to speak in schools and libraries about the importance of story. She has written seven books, including the five-book DragonKeeper Chronicles series. Mrs. Paul took some time out of her busy schedule to do an e-mail interview with Incredibooks.

Incredibooks: Have you always liked writing, or was it an acquired taste? 

Donita  K. Paul: I always loved reading. I was always good at writing. It took me awhile to realize I could write what I love to read.

IB: What were some of your favorite books growing up?

DKP: I read Nancy Drew. There was a discount store down the street and every Friday night after dinner, my father would take me there. He shot a roll of film every week. He’d drop off this week’s shots and pick up last week’s, and get me a Nancy Drew hardback. They were $1.25. And some weeks they were a dollar and he’d buy me two.

IB: When you were younger, did you ever imagine that you would become an author?

DKP: 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. 

IB: What inspired you to become a writer?

DKP: Necessity. I couldn’t teach any more and I had to occupy my time. I never thought I’d make a living by writing. But I did hope to pay some bills.

IB: Why did you choose fantasy to work with instead of some other genre?

DKP: 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.”

IB: How do you make your characters seem like real people instead of just figures who move the plot along?

DKP: I can’t imagine having figures who just move the plot along. I create the characters first, and they create the plot. Creating characters is the easy part. Learning to depict them on a page is harder. Make sure you observe more than just their actions. Kind of like including the five senses in your descriptions, you need to touch on more dimensions of the character: looks, feelings, motivation, goals, movements, speech patterns, habits, etc. Be careful to include more than one aspect and keep the camera moving to pick up more than one side of your character.

IB: Where do you get your characters’ names?

DKP: Here is how I come up with names: I use my friends’ names or name from the phone book, and I take them apart syllable by syllable, then I put them back together in a different order. For example, my secretary’s name is Rebecca, and I named a dragon Becca-ree.

IB: Who is your favorite character from all of your books so far, and why?

DKP: This is like asking which one of your children is your favorite. Some I appreciate because they taught me something about myself. Some are just fun to be with. Wizard Fenworth, for instance, is a hoot, but I wouldn’t want to live with him.

IB: Have you ever incorporated yourself or anyone you know into one of your books?

DKP: All the time, but I’m not going to get myself in trouble by telling you who and when.

IB: How do you work allegory or Christian themes into your books without it being blatantly obvious or sounding preachy or clichéd?

DKP: I don’t “work” at putting it in. I recognize it when it shows up and fine tune it a bit, but my main objective is to tell a great story. I concentrate on that and the more pithy elements sneak in.

IB: Do you ever write something that you love, only to look at it later and discover it’s not as good as you thought?

DKP: Oh my! Yes! The worst is when you wrote something that was really funny and the next day you read it and think, “huh?”

IB: What is a typical writing day like for you? For example, where do you write? Do you always write at the same time of day? Do you listen to music when writing? If so, what?

DKP: When I am actively pursuing the production of a story, I eat, walk, think, dream the story. I leave a sinkful of dishes and run to the computer to record what the main character just said to the villain. I burn what’s on the stove, because I went back to the office for “just a minute” to add a paragraph. Instead of counting sheep at night, I plot the next scene. Usually when I get some time to sit in front of the computer, the story has been percolating and I write down what I have been musing about. Sometimes, however, I sit down and think, well the characters are here and I want them there, so “here goes.”

IB: You just finished a series. Are you enjoying starting afresh, or has it been difficult getting started on something completely new?

DKP: I did a novella in between the last project and starting the next. 35,000 words for fun and not related to anything in the Dragon Keeper Chronicles. Now I am digging in to do book two of the current series that takes place in the same world as Amara but on a different continent and at a different time.

IB: What are you currently working on?

DKP: A series of books that will be set in the same world as Amara, but on a different continent and in a different time period. 

IB: In round numbers, how many books do you think you’ll sign during the Motiv8 Fantasy Fiction Tour?

DKP: I have no idea, and really, I don’t think that is the focus of the trip.  One of our catch phrases is “to motiv8 young readers to choose positive fiction.” I want to meet the readers who already enjoy our books and encourage them. I also want to introduce new readers to books that will nourish their souls. There is way too much negative media that tears down instead of builds up our youth.  But Christian Fantasy Fiction is out there, too. Let’s draw some attention to it, and give it a chance to grow.

Next time, we’ll be interviewing Eric Reinhold, so stick around!

2 Responses to “Interview with Donita K. Paul”

  1. Thanks for the interview, Jordan. I hope we meet some of your readers on the Fantasy Fiction Book Tour. Tour Dates can be found on

  2. Jordan, this is a great idea, to do interviews with each of these authors. I just learned that one of the events–Friday, Oct. 10 in Huntington Beach, CA, will be broadcast on the internet, so that’s maybe something you’ll want to get more information on, too.


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