Ask the Author: Donita K. Paul
"How did you come up with Amara, and the races, and different kinds of dragons and their abilities? And how many more books will you be writing?"—Hannah Blessing Breckenridge
I’ll answer the last question first. I will continue writing as long as God gives me ideas and a clear brain to process them into stories. A lot of the process involves “what if?” One minute my mind is kind of drifting through a treasure trove of unrelated entities, then boom—several cluster together and become the germ of a novel. Something strikes me as interesting and I add or subtract from it.
The kid getting on the school bus is cute. Behind her a taller, older student has to give her a boost up to the first step.
(What if I added a snapping dog to this scene? What if I took away the helpful kid? What if the little girl is from a small race of people? What if they are getting on a boat instead of a bus? What if instead of a snappy dog, there is a warrior type snapping orders at the children?)
Her name should be simple. The boy’s should be something that changes according to the time of day—in the morning he is Ohimeo, at noon he is Himeo, at night he is Oemiho. It has to do with his with his worship of the sun.
"How would you answer critics who say Christians should not read science fiction books? Is there a scriptural inspiration for each of your books?"—Teri-Lynn Hook
I usually don’t answer those critics. It depends on his or her tone of voice. Some of them reveal they only asked the question so they can enter a debate and “prove” their case. If the questioner is legit, I will probably ask on what they base their views. Then I can usually say that I look at it differently and am confident God has blessed my ministry.
"Have you always had an interest in dragons?"— Kimberli Campbell
Not at all. I was more interested in fairies as a little girl. We had a hollyhock stand in the backyard. My Grandma and I would pick hollyhocks and make them into fairy dolls. I don’t like nasty, sharptoothed, destructive dragons at all. But I do like dragons representing the different gifts that God gives people.
"How difficult is it to mix in the faith that is real (of our world) with the fantasy worlds you create in your novels, and make the perfect blend of truth amid fantasy?"— Deena Ward Peterson
I started teaching Sunday school when I was 13, so I have had a lot of practice in taking bits of doctrine down to the simplest terms for young people to understand. The funny thing is that when a teacher has to crystallize a concept to present it, that concept is deeply learned by the teacher. I like to tell stories, so the Bible beliefs integrated themselves into the fantasy tales. I sometimes have someone check a concept to make sure I didn’t miss the mark. Usually a pastor or Bible class leader. I’d hate to put a faulty twist on something that is meant to bless the reader and therefore confuse him or her.
"I heard once you wanted to write a time travel book. Any plans for that soon?"— CJ Darlington
It sits very comfortably on the shelf in a half-done status. To tell you the truth, I don’t have time right now. I am busy being the dragon lady. Perhaps when I am making a living at writing I’ll feel more comfortable writing something just because I want to write it. Don’t get me wrong—I love my dragon stories. But last year after I finished The Vanishing Sculptor, I took six weeks off and just wrote what I wanted. That turned out to be Two Tickets to a Christmas Ball, a Christmas fantasy novella. FF