1. Who is the real Donna Wichelman behind the books?
I’ve been happily married for 39 years. We have one married daughter and two grandchildren who are the joy of our lives. There is nothing better in this world than spending time with our family.
2. What are three unique or fun things about you?
a. For my last two years of high school, I attended the United World College of the Atlantic, an international college that now has 16 satellite schools across the world. While most of the students lived in dormitories on the “hill,” I lived in a two-room, ten-girl dorm housed inside St. Donat’s Castle, outside Llantwit Major, Wales on the Bristol Channel. Though it was nothing like Hogwart’s, I truly lived the fairy-tale dream. I’m still in contact with many of my classmates and attend reunions.
b. Anything Italian satisfies my palate, especially my own homemade tiramisu and gelato.
c. I start my workdays with a strong cup of French press coffee in a cup, no cream or sugar, and usually, I have a second one mid-morning.
3. What types of books do you like to read for pleasure; what genre, books, or authors do you read?
While I’ve been known to read a wide range of genres, from legal thrillers to historical fiction to cozy mysteries, I’ve recently discovered a genre in recent months (2023) that has completely captivated me–time-slip or split-time fiction. This genre usually consists of two or more storylines in two or more time periods that are woven together with a thread that connects them. Usually, one timeline is contemporary, and another one is historical. In 2023, my current favorite authors of time-slip fiction are Melanie Dobson, Susan Meisner, Kristy Cambron, Leslie Gould, and Rachel McMillian.
4. Why write for the Christian market?
My Christian faith informs everything about who I am and how I choose to live my life. Because it is such an intrinsic part of me, it will also inform who my characters are and how they act and live their lives.
5. What are some ways we can support and encourage you, both personally and as an author?
It’s always a huge encouragement to hear from you. Please send me an email or comment on my blog or Facebook page. Your encouragement and prayers mean the world to me.
6. What’s the biggest challenge a writer faces when writing a book?
Where to start? The first page is always the hardest to write. It must grab your attention immediately or you will choose not to turn the page. That’s my job—to make the first page so compelling that you want to read the next one.
7. Where do you get your inspiration for writing?
I credit my faith and a love of history and culture for my inspiration. Oftentimes, it’s while traveling and getting to know a place that an idea will come to mind, and I ask the question, “What if…?” That’s how the first book in my Singing Silver Mine Trilogy came about. I was standing on an overlook on the Dingle Peninsula, Ireland and envisioned a woman of poverty destined to emigrate to America. My current time-slip project came to mind while traveling in France on vacation and discovering a World War Two story that captured my heart.
8. What does an average workday look like for you?
During the weekdays, my alarm goes off at 6 a.m. I make a cup of French press coffee and spend an hour in devotion and prayer. Afterward eating breakfast, I work out, then get to my computer at 8:30 a.m. At noon, I join my husband for lunch, then it’s back to work until 4:30 p.m. when I put dinner together.
9. What was your first novel?
My first attempt at a full-length novel was a romance set at a Bed & Breakfast in the Lake District of England in the early 1990s. A publisher at the Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference had some interest in it, but they decided to pass. The manuscript still sits on my computer, and I hope to rewrite it one day.
10. Do you read all your reader mail?
Absolutely. I love to hear from my readers and always try to do my best to respond as soon as possible.
11. What should I do if I want to write a book?
If you have had a book in the back of your mind—fiction or nonfiction—and/or you believe God has called you to write a book, don’t let fear or intimidation stop you from making it happen. There are a multitude of books, courses, and organizations that can help you hone your craft. Take advantage of them. Every successful writer I’ve encountered needs to read books in the genre they write and attend workshops and writers’ conferences for ongoing development in their writing skills.
12. Will you read my manuscript?
I wish I could help every novice writer that comes to my doorstep accomplish their goals. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to read every manuscript that comes my way. But I do recommend you take advantage of the Writer’s Resources on the link For Writers and get connected with American Christian Fiction Writers and/or a local writers’ group that can give you feedback on your work.
13. What do you hope to leave with readers after they read your books?
I hope that through the journeys my characters take, readers’ hearts will be affected by seeing how God’s love abounds, even in the profoundly difficult seasons of our lives. In that way, they will find the courage to face their hardest challenges, encounter joy in the midst of life’s deepest sorrows, and give thanks in all things—big or small and in all circumstances—by God’s grace and mercy.
14. Will you write a third book in your Waldensian Series?
In time I hope to write the third book in the series. I’ve also written a short story prequel, The Last Will and Testament of Anne Charbonnier, that you can find on the Giveaways and Downloadable link. If time also permits in the future, I plan to write the longer version of the short story.
15. Do you travel much?
I love to visit the places where my books are set at least once or twice while I’m conducting research and getting a feel for the surroundings. It’s particularly helpful to speak in person to people who understand the historical setting of a place. I’m also a world traveler at heart and often get my inspiration from the places I visit.
16. What are some of your favorite places that you’ve traveled to?
My husband and I have traveled extensively and have visited five continents for work and vacation. The world is filled with so many beautiful and unique places, cultures, and people that it’s hard to say which are my favorites. Still, Colorado, Great Britain, Italy, France, and Ireland hold special places in my heart because I’ve developed stories and characters in each of those places.
17. Are there things you still would like to accomplish?
Absolutely yes. I mentioned the prequel and sequel of my Waldensian series. In December of 2020 when this website was first developed, I said I’d like to write a World War II historical, which looks like it may now come to fruition. In addition, I think it would be fun to set a story during the period of the Nabateans around the time of the birth of Christ.
18. What motivates you?
I love wordsmithing, especially when I can give the reader a sense of story that compels them to become engaged with the place and characters. A well-written scene gives me a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.