There is an interview of me published in the Mokihana Club December newsletter. The Mokihana Club is the oldest women's club in Hawaii, founded in 1905. The club has a broad range of female talent from astronauts to winners of the Pillsbury cook-off. We raise money for scholarships for nurses and music students. They are some of the best women I've ever met, and would do anything for each other and the community. I'm Treasurer and have been for the past four years as well as serving on several committees. I love the women and every minute we spend together. As a historical note, it was founded by a woman by the name of Wilcox, not a relative though.
MOKIHANA MEMBER/AUTHOR -Donna Dunham Wilcox
Mokihana sister, Donna Dunham Wilcox, has published her first book, Beth Rising. Below is an interview with Donna about how she arrived at this exciting moment in her writing career. Beth Rising is a great read full of interesting characters and intrigue. It is available from AMazon in paperback and on Kindle.
What inspired you to become a writer?
I come from a family of truly great storytellers. My father was especially good at it. He was one of those people who could tell the same story time after time and each time is was great. I always admired that and wished I could do it, too. I have no trouble coming up with ideas for stories. Sometimes I dream them. Putting them on paper is also fun for me, In high school and college, I found composition enjoyable and did well.
Also, I’m an ravenous reader, three to five books a week. Most of the time I find reading as relaxing as sleeping.
Where did you get your information or ideas for your book?
Beth Rising is very loosely based on my daughter-in-law. She is a very private person and has never talked about her upbringing. But sometimes when I made a trip to California. I would stay with them. Several times, both of us had the exact same nightmare. Some of those were in the book. After reading the book she told me the scenes were very similar to what she remembered. She even had a neighbor named Mrs. Jensen.
She is a beautiful person and I wrote an ending for her that I wished she could have experienced. Unfortunately, there was no rescue for her until she left on her own at the age of eighteen. Her early life certainly left its scars, but she did emerge as a heroine. She came from a large family with several brothers and sisters. Most of them were given college educations, but she was pulled out of school to care for her mentally ill mother (as Beth was in the book). The siblings went off, leaving her, the youngest daughter, to handle the house and parents. She has every reason to resent her family, yet she rushed to the side of a sister when she had a stroke and took care of her family for over a year. She gave one of her brothers a kidney, which allowed him to live a normal life. She hurries to those that she loves any time they need it. She an my son are deeply in love. We are so lucky to have her.
Regarding the research, thank goodness for the web. It’s easy to do research and check facts.
What do you think makes a good story?
Interesting characters and a good plot.
How long did it take you to write this book?
I wrote the first version several years ago. Then rewrote it four more times. The first time it took three months. The last time it took ten months. I have been told by other authors that it’s not unusual to have several re-writes of a book. I don’t mind the time it takes to write because I find the process itself enjoyable.
What is your writing schedule like?
I wish I had a schedule. I want to write at least a thousand words a day when I’m involved in a book. I also prefer to immerse myself in the process and not do anything until I get the story right. Then I don’t mind interruptions for a game of golf or gardening or some other hobby. As I do the re-writes, I usually try to give myself a time limit. But as we all find out when we have visitors, life gets in the way.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating this book?
I found out that I can’t write a book without a happy ending. I guess I like to fix things. I’ve written about four books and each is about achieving that happy ending. Two of the books are about disasters (my secret vice is disaster movies) and how my group of survivors manages to make it and improve things along the way.It’s possible I’m a do-gooder in spirit, because the bad guys always lose and the good guys are almost too good to be true. I haven’t published the disaster books because my husband told me they are in need of more research. But I’ll get back to them sometime.
How did you publish your book?
My good friend, Mike Grumley, author of the Breakthrough series, was my coach. He introduced me to editors, formatters, cover designers, and walked me through the whole publishing process, It was quite complicated, and I know I must have driven him nuts with all my phone calls, but he was wonderful. I couldn’t have done it without him. I’m nearly finished with the sequel to Beth Rising and I’m actually looking forward to the process of publishing that one. I used KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and once you learn the jargon it’s fairly easy to follow. I hope to have the sequel to Beth Rising (yet untitled) ready to go to an editor in a few weeks. But we have two groups of visitors heading our way and might not make it. It’s another thriller that involves a very bad guy and Beth and her team battling them.