Monday, August 6, 2012

Donita K. Paul & Evangeline Denmark Interview (with Mary Nichelson)

Recently, author Donita K Paul spoke candidly with me regarding her new book, Taming the Wild Wind. This month, I wanted to introduce another project Paul has successfully completed with her daughter, Evangeline Denmark.  The Dragon and the Turtle was a collaboration between family members written for the strengthening of Christian families everywhere. With the help of animated and memorable characters, central truths regarding friendship emerge to teach your children that adventure can be found even when some things are lost. As if a tempting storyline isn’t motivation enough, Paul and Denmark seal the deal with a recipe for Chocolate Chip Snappers, something no child can resist.

MN-Collaborating with a family member on this book made the process-
ED-More pajama friendly! You don’t have to dress professionally for the woman who changed your diapers.
DP-More fun and it wasn’t just one family member. We have two boys who contributed advice and enthusiasm.

MN-We decided to write a children's book because-
ED-Roger got lost! No, really. We had a character who had a problem. The obvious solution was to give him a story and another character, a friendly dragon, to help him solve his problem.
DP-I’ve always wanted to write a picture book. I made them when I was in elementary school. I took an excellent correspondence course from Institute for Children’s Literature as a young mom. I think picture books are special and am designing a blog called “Anatomy of a Picture Book.”

MN-I believe readers will love Roger because he-
ED-has the heart of an adventurer. Turtles are often portrayed in children’s literature as cautious and fearful because of their ability to withdraw into their shells. No, no, no. Turtles are nature’s tanks, and tanks are meant for rough and tumble, off-road activities.
DP-His imagination is vivid, and he throws himself into his make-believe. In the first book, he plays being a pirate to the hilt. In the second, he and Padraig even talk like British explorers.

Readers will enjoy identifying with a small red dragon with a big heart. Padraig knows friendship includes putting aside his own wants. The dragon is hungry, and he interrupts his scavenging for buggy snacks in order to help his new friend. Friends help us try new things like strawberries.

MN-Proverbs 17:17 represents our story perfectly because-
ED-Hard times are the true test of friendship. Even though they’ve just met, Padraig sticks with Roger like a brother. He refuses to give up on helping his friend even when the task of finding Roger’s home becomes increasingly difficult.
DP-It’s easy to be a friend when your friend has a party, and there are cookies and games. It is harder to be a friend when an onerous task, like packing and moving, is the activity for the day. A good friend helps in both circumstances.

MN-After reading The Dragon and the Turtle, we would like the dialogue between parents and children to be-
ED-focused on the friendship-building skills even young children can learn. How to talk to a new friend. How to ask them questions and share your own likes and dislikes. How to take those first baby steps into a “Putting Others First” mentality.
DP-spontaneous and guided. The parent should zero in on what interests the child, but also, take advantage of the teachable moment. No matter what the child latches onto in the story, there is always something to say about patience, kindness, perseverance, and relationships.

MN-The best part of Chocolate Chip Snappers is-
ED-not telling people about the ginger flavor and watching them try to figure out what that extra “snap” is.
DP-making them together. We are about to have a new contest at (where) parent and child will submit a dump cake recipe that they make up. The prize will be a safari hat.

Author bio: Donita K. Paul retired early from teaching school, but soon got bored! The result: a determination to start a new career. Now she is an award-winning novelist writing Christian Romance and Fantasy. She says, “I feel blessed to be doing what I like best.”

She mentors all ages, teaching teenagers and weekly adult writing workshops.

“God must have imprinted 'teacher' on me clear down to the bone. I taught in public school, then home schooled my children, and worked in private schools. Now my writing week isn’t very productive unless I include some time with kids.”

Her two grown children make her proud, and her two grandsons make her laugh.

Author bio-Evangeline Denmark is a children’s book author, novelist, blogger, and pajama enthusiast. She co-wrote The Dragon and the Turtle (Waterbrook Press, 2010) and The Dragon and the Turtle Go on Safari with her mom, CBA best-selling author Donita K. Paul.

Evangeline’s Blog, Breathe In Breathe Out, is filled with sympathetic humor for women who don’t have time to breathe in and breathe out. If you’re breathless and overwhelmed, this is the place for you!

Although she spends most of her time in PJs, Evangeline doesn’t have a single picture of her pink paisleys, electric blue jaguar print, stripes, solids, butterflies, moons and stars, or XOX tic-tac-toes. That’s probably for the best.

You can learn more about the authors of
The Dragon and the Turtle by visiting,
and their blog at

About Mary Nichelson: 

Other interviews features in the August issue of The Wordsmith Journal: Alvetta Rolle, Courtney Davis And Julianne Donaldson

This interview is courtesy of The Wordsmith Journal Magazine.

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