FAQ’s

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who is the real Donna Wichelman behind the books?

DONNA WICHELMAN – TOP OF EUROPE, JUNGFRAUJOCH, SWITZERLAND

As an only child and an introvert, I tend to like my alone time. I’m independent to a fault, knowing how to keep myself occupied, (i.e. reading), and I’ve always enjoyed academic pursuits. This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy my friends and family. They are my lifeline to a fulfilling life, and I delight in gathering with them often. I’ve been married for forty years to my husband Jim, and 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?

ST. DONAT’S CASTLE, LLANTWIT MAJOR, WALES, WHICH IS LOCATED OUTSIDE, BETWEEN ST. DONAT'S CASTLE AND LLANTWIT MAJOR.

a. For my last two years of high school, I had the unique opportunity to attend the United World College of the Atlantic, an international college that now has sixteen 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 inside St. Donat’s Castle, Llantwit Major, Wales on the Bristol Channel. Though the castle has none of Hogwart’s magic, it does have a legendary ghost, Lady Anne, who roams the halls. I’m still in touch with many of my classmates and attend reunions.

b. My husband and I love ice cream, and we like gelato in particular. We have a grand dream to visit all fifty states, taste-testing homemade ice cream, and then wriing a book recommending the best mom-and-pop ice cream shops and creameries throughout the United States. And yes, we envision a severe diet after returning home from our labors.

c. I start my workdays with a strong cup of French press coffee—no cream, sugar, or flavored coffee—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?

I read a wide range of genres, from legal thrillers to historical fiction to cozy mysteries. Over the last several years, I’ve also discovered a genre that has completely captivated me–time-slip or slip-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. My current favorite authors of time-slip fiction are Melanie Dobson, Susan Meisner, and Kristy Cambron.

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 also informs 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 is the biggest challenge a writer faces when writing a book?

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. Also, traveling to fascinating places and getting to know lovely people is often a springboard for an idea. Then I ask, “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 in Ireland, and I envisioned a woman of poverty destined to emigrate to America. My current time-slip project developed while traveling in France on vacation and discovering a World War Two story that captured my heart. I returned several months later to connect with the people who told me their stories and welcomed me into their lives.

8. What does an average workday look like for you?

On weekdays, my alarm goes off at 6 a.m. I make a cup of French press coffee and spend an hour in quiet time and prayer. After eating breakfast, I work out, and then get to my computer at 8:30 a.m. I take a short break for lunch around noon, and 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 and 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 later decided to pass. The manuscript still sits on my computer. Every now and then, I think about a rewrite.

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 an inkling for a book—fiction or nonfiction—and/or you believe God has called you to write it, don’t let fear or intimidation stop you from making it happen. Take advantage of the multitude of books, courses, and organizations that can help you hone your craft. Every successful writer I know reads books in their genre and attends workshops and writers’ conferences for ongoing development in their writing skills. The American Christian Fiction Writers (www.acfw.com) offers a multitude of educational resources to help you develop your career. See my page For Writers.

12. Will you read my manuscript?

I wish I could help every writer who crosses my path. 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 Extras link, For Writers, and connect with American Christian Fiction Writers (www.acfw.com) 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?

Eventually, I hope to write the third book in the Waldensian Series. I have written a short story prequel, The Last Will and Testament of Anne Charbonnier, which you can find on the Giveaways and Downloadable link. I may expand on the short story in the future.

15. Do you travel much?

I’m a world traveler at heart and often get my inspiration from the places I visit. I usually revisit the places where my books are set at least once or twice to conduct research and get a feel for the surroundings. It’s also particularly helpful to speak in person to people who understand a place’s historical setting. I’ve met some lovely people and have made great friends along the way.

16. What are your favorite places you’ve visited?

My husband and I have traveled extensively, visiting six 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 beloved 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. I also want to complete my slip-time World War Two project. In addition, I think it would be fun to write a mid-twentieth-century historical romantic suspense set on an archaeological dig in Israel.

18. What motivates you?

First, since I believe God has called me to write throughout my life, I do it to satisfy His good pleasure. But in terms of my day-to-day writing, it’s the 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.