Vanliere, Donna 1966-
Vanliere, Donna 1966-
PERSONAL: Born 1966, in OH; married; husband’s name Troy; children: Grace, Kate.
ADDRESSES: Home— Franklin, TN.
AWARDS, HONORS: Retailers’s Choice Award; Dove Award; Silver Angel Award, for Sheltering Trees: The Power, Promise, and Refuge of Friendship.
The Christmas Shoes, St. Martin’s Press (New York, NY), 2001.
The Christmas Blessing, St. Martin’s Press (New York, NY), 2003.
The Christmas Hope, St. Martin’s Press (New York, NY), 2005.
They Walked with Him: Stories of Those Who Knew Him Best, Howard Publishing (West Monroe, LA), 2001.
(With Eddie Carswell) Sheltering Trees: The Power, Promise, and Refuge of Friendship, Howard Publishing (West Monroe, LA), 2001.
(With Evelyn Husband) High Calling: The Courageous Life and Faith of Space Shuttle Columbia Commander Rick Husband, Thomas Nelson (Nashville, TN), 2003.
The Angels of Morgan Hill, St. Martin’s Press (New York, NY), 2006.
ADAPTATIONS: The Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Blessing were adapted for television by Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS).
SIDELIGHTS: Donna VanLiere’s first book, They Walked with Him: Stories of Those Who Knew Him Best, contains stories about the apostles. Her second, written with Eddie Carswell, is Sheltering Trees: The Power, Promise, and Refuge of Friendship. It is a collection of contributions on friendship by a variety of people who include singer Randy Travis and motivational speaker and writer Zig Ziglar.
VanLiere began a series of Christmas-themed books with her debut novel, The Christmas Shoes, a story of two families. Bankruptcy lawyer Robert Layton and his wife, Kate, are about to divorce because of his absence from their family life. Mechanic Jack Andrews will soon lose his wife, Maggie, to ovarian cancer. The attorney comes to the rescue of Nathan, the boy who is about to lose his mother, when the child is unable to pay for the shoes he wants to buy her. A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that the author “writes some affecting family scenes that contrast the material poverty of the Andrewses with the spiritual poverty of the Laytons.” The book was made into a television movie featuring Rob Lowe and Kimberly Williams. The idea of the story came from the author’s friend Carswell of the group NewSong, which recorded the hit song.
The Christmas Blessing finds Nathan in medical school and torn about whether or not he wants to become a doctor. He is also distressed because the young woman he loves is ill. The story includes a reunion between Nathan and Robert Layton. In The Christmas Hope, Nathan is a minor character, now a doctor and expecting his first child. The plot centers on the Addisons, Patti and Mark, whose son, Sean, died in a car accident and whose marriage is troubled because Patti, a social worker, finds it impossible to be close to her husband or happy about anything in her life. This changes when five-year-old Emily, an orphan in foster care, is left without a place to stay when her foster parents face an emergency. “VanLiere serves up another heart-tugging holiday tale,” concluded a Publishers Weekly contributor.
VanLiere wrote, with Evelyn Husband, High Calling: The Courageous Life and Faith of Space Shuttle Columbia Commander Rick Husband. The book contains entries from Rick’s journal, interviews with people who knew him, and Evelyn’s memories of their life before his death in 2003. A Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote that “scenes of Evelyn and her children . . . learning of Rick’s death, and relying on God to help them cope with it, radiate honesty, and power.”
The narrator of The Angels of Morgan Hill is Jane Gable, who lives in Morgan Hill, Tennessee. She tells of seeing black people for the first time when she was nine, on the day of the funeral of her alcoholic father. The Turners, who work on a tobacco farm, are treated badly, and when their house is burned down, Jane’s pregnant mother, Fran, who had becomes friends with Mrs. Turner, takes in their surviving son, Milo. School Library Journal contributor Teri Titus wrote: “Teens looking for a warm, gentle story that also provides food for thought will find it here.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES
Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2005, review of The Christmas Hope, p. 814.
Publishers Weekly, October 8, 2001, review of The Christmas Shoes, p. 43; September 22, 2003, review of The Christmas Blessing, p. 77; December 22, 2003, review of High Calling: The Courageous Life and Faith of Space Shuttle Columbia Commander Rick Husband, p. 58; September 19, 2005, review of The Christmas Hope, p. 45; September 18, 2006, review of The Angels of Morgan Hill, p. 35.
School Library Journal, October, 2006, Teri Titus, review of The Angels of Morgan Hill, p. 188.
The Angels of Morgan Hill Home Page, http://www.angelsofmorganhill.com (February 12, 2007).
Donna VanLiere Home Page, http://www.donnavanliere.com (January 10, 2007).