Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Five Questions for Donita K. Paul

Chawna: I've really enjoyed reading the Dragon Keeper series, and they have taken a permanent position on my keeper shelf, mainly because I love all your characters. How did you come up with such an amazing array and how did you keep them straight?

Donita K. Paul: Every time I go out in public I see characters that are dying to be put in a book. The challenge is limiting the number of characters to write about. Keeping them straight is tricky. I usually check back in the books, and I just started using a notebook, which is doomed to failure. Organization is not my strongpoint.

Of course, dragons of all kinds make up a large part of this colorful cast. Is there a specific reason you settled on dragons out of all the traditional mythological creatures?

I like dragons. My dragons are cute or stunningly beautiful. Other mythological creatures didn't capture my attention in the same way. And I realized certain standard fantasy types had a strong tradition I could not break.

Another large part of this story is magic and wizardry, which can make some Christians a little leery. Why did you choose to include that and did anything specifically guide your decisions on how you used it?

First, I don't think of my books as delving into the magical arts. The word "wizard" comes from "wizened," and in its original use, way back in the days people spoke Anglo-Saxon, it was a respectful term for an older person who had great knowledge gained by experience and study.

My wizards command the elements of nature that God has created. They do without equipment what a scientist would do with lasers and electromagnetic generators, or even what a housewife might do with a washing machine or a microwave. The reason they are wizards is that they understand, down to the molecular structure, God's creation.

Secondly, this is fiction, and I don't expect people to take my fiction literally. Talking bears, such as Paddington and Pooh, don't bring down scathing rebukes of magic. If a parent is concerned about the child's perception of what is real and what is not, then that parent ought to seize the opportunity to teach. Parents, read books with your children.

I noticed the Dragon Keeper Chronicles have many strong Christian themes weaving through it. How has writing this series impacted your faith?

Any time you write you have to explore the basis and foundation of your faith. It is very strengthening.

Sadly, DragonLight is the final.book in the Dragon Keeper Chronicles, but as the end note indicates, you have a new series in works. Can you tell me a little more about that?

I am in the middle of writing my next book. It takes place in the same world as Amara, although on a different continent. The protagonist is an emerlindian girl named Tipper. The plot focuses on a quest for lost treasures. There are many new characters, but I had the privilege of bringing back some old friends.

Finally, what is one question you've never been asked but wished you had been, and what is the answer?

How many Ballpark pickles can you eat at one time? Two. Someday someone is actually going to ask me that question and I'll have to come up with another.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. Any final comments you'd like to add?

God has blessed me with the best job in the world.

I couldn’t agree more!

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