Paul, Donita K. (Donita Kathleen Paul, Kate Paul)
Paul, Donita K. (Donita Kathleen Paul, Kate Paul)
Married; children: two.
Writer, novelist, and educator. Former schoolteacher. Writing instructor and mentor. Conducts writing workshops for teenagers and adults.
"DRAGONKEEPER CHRONICLES" SERIES; CHRISTIAN FANTASY NOVELS
DragonSpell, WaterBrook Press (Colorado Springs, CO), 2004.
DragonQuest, WaterBrook Press (Colorado Springs, CO), 2005.
DragonKnight, WaterBrook Press (Colorado Springs, CO), 2006.
DragonFire, WaterBrook Press (Colorado Springs, CO), 2007.
DragonLight, WaterBrook Press (Colorado Springs, CO), 2008.
Donita K. Paul is a novelist and educator. A former schoolteacher who retired early, she regularly serves as a writing instructor and mentor, and conducts regular fiction-writing workshops for teenagers and adults. Paul has also worked in private schools, and homeschooled her two children. "God must have imprinted ‘teacher’ on me clear down to the bone," she said in an profile on her home page.
Paul's work as a novelist falls into the genre of Christian romance and fantasy. She is the author of the "DragonKeeper Chronicles," a series of fantasy novels that combines iconic fantasy with Christian concepts and messages. The first book of the series is Dragon-Spell. Paul introduces recurring series character Kale, a young orphan girl who has spent fourteen years as a slave in the village of River Away. When Kale discovers a dragon's egg, she soon finds herself coping with a new life and nurturing powers within herself that she never knew existed. After finding the egg, Kale is freed from slavery; the village elders have concluded that she must go with the egg to the great walled city of Vendela. There, she will be taken into the Hall for training and will become the servant of the benevolent but powerful Paladin, the earthly representative of Wulder, the supreme being of the world of Amara. Her journey to Vendela is dangerous, however; she is attacked by ogres, then takes a detour into a cave where she discovers seven more precious dragon eggs. Soon, she is rescued and befriended by a group of dragon-riders, servants of Paladin who become her guides and mentors on her travels. During her trip, two of the dragon eggs in her possession hatch, and the two dragons Gymn and Metta, become her inseparable companions, sensing in her a great destiny. Her uncanny ability to locate dragon eggs becomes her greatest asset when she receives an important mission from Paladin: she must find and recover a dragon egg that has been stolen by an evil wizard who plans to use the creature for dire ends. School Library Journal critic Susan L. Rogers observed that "Christian allegories and messages are clearly presented and easily found" in a "clever and inventive story." Romantic Times Online critic Jill Nelson remarked that the novel is "superbly plotted, keenly inventive, and peopled with delightful characters."
In DragonQuest, Kale accompanies Bardon, a dour apprentice knight to the castle of elderly wizard Fenworth, who has a newly hatched dragon, Regidor, he can't fully control. Counting on Kale's abilities with dragons to help, Fenworth also intends to take her on as his apprentice. Bardon is supposed to evaluate Kale's performance and report back to her instructors at the Hall; worse for Kale, she finds Bardon to be barely tolerable as a person, though handy with a sword. Elsewhere, the evil wizard Risto has managed to claim another dragon for his own. This one is willing to do Risto's bidding and work to sow unrest and revolt among the dragons that live in Amara. Soon, Kale finds that it is her responsibility to reclaim this rebellious dragon and prevent Risto from spreading his diabolical influence. "Again, Paul wows with the creativity and depth of her characters," Nelson commented in another Romantic Times Book Review Web site assessment.
DragonKnight shifts focus from Kale to the maturing squire Bardon, on the verge of pledging his allegiance to Wulder and becoming a full-fledged knight. Hoping for a quiet vacation far from Vendela and dragons, Bardon and his dragon head off to a remote lakeside cabin. There, however, he meets Granny Kye and her granddaughter N'Rae, two emerlindian women in need of a knight to help them search for a father and his son, trapped in the mysterious Chamber of Sleep. Knowing that Wulder wants him to help the two women, he offers them his aid. In his quest, he discovers more than expected: other of Paladin's knights are also imprisoned in the Chamber of Sleep, and he believes one of them may be Kale's long-lost father.
DragonFire open three years after the end of DragonKnight and brings changes to the lives of Paul's series characters, with Kale and Bardon now husband and wife, and her father recovered. Now living in the troubled Bogs, the two are busy trying to rid the area of unwanted creatures such as mordakleeps. When a quest takes them outside the area of the Bogs, they realize that terrible changes have occurred throughout the rest of Amara in the wake of a bitter feud among the land's wizards. Kale and Bardon realize they must organize the Amarans to fight back. However, their plans are hampered when they find out that Paladin has fallen ill and cannot lead the Amaran armies. It falls to Kale and Bardon to organize and lead the military, and to gather up a powerful army of dragons, in their new quest to save Amara from destruction from within. "Paul is a talented writer who keeps her writing clean, yet she doesn't avoid battles and conflicts that make the story suspenseful," commented Jill Hart on Blogcritics Web site. A Publishers Weekly critic remarked that the "writing is crisp and the setting imaginative" in this novel.
With Amara still recovering from the war, Kale and her father have become successful dragon keepers for Paladin in DragonLight. With the dragon population rapidly expanding, many of the helpful creatures are now available to serve as assistants to individual Amarans. For her part, Kale has time to also explore her wizardly talents and skills. Bardon, though himself ill, retains his reputation and respect among the people, serving as one of their leaders and sitting on Paladin's governing board. When Kale and Bardon are approached by two of the more prominent dragons, Regidor and Gilda, they immediately agree to join their friends in a quest to locate a hidden dragon colony. As their quest unfolds, they become aware of a dire threat to Amara, hidden just out of sight in the realm's peaceful-looking countryside. To thwart the steadily expanding evil, they must locate carefully hidden truths, but answers are painfully difficult to locate as they struggle to tell truth from falsehood and friend from foe.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Library Journal, June 1, 2004, Tamara Butler, review of DragonSpell, p. 116.
Magpies, March, 2005, Bronwyn Fox, review of DragonSpell, p. 6.
Publishers Weekly, May 21, 2007, review of DragonFire, p. 13.
School Library Journal, November, 2004, Susan L. Rogers, review of DragonSpell, p. 152.
Teacher Librarian, December, 2005, "Fantastic Adventures," review of DragonSpell, p. 44.
Blogcritics,http://blogcritics.org/ (May 30, 2007), Jill Hart, review of DragonFire.
Cats Web Designs,http://www.catswebdesigns.com/ (March 27, 2008), Mary Connealy, review of DragonSpell.
Donita K. Paul Home Page,http://www.donitakpaul.com (March 27, 2008).
DragonKeeper Chronicles Web site,http://www.dragonkeeper.us (March 27, 2008).
Edgy Inspirational Author Web log,http://edgyinspirationalauthor.blogspot.com/ (March 27, 2008), review of DragonKnight.
FantasyThyme Web log,http://fantasythyme.blogspot.com/ (January 16, 2008), review of Dragon Knight.
Novel Journey Web log,http://noveljourney.blogspot.com/ (April 11, 2006), Gina Holmes, author interview.
Teen Lit Review,http://teenlitreview.blogspot.com/ (January 5, 2008), review of DragonSpell.