Chat with Donna Lee Schillinger

Donna Schilling

Donna Schilling

It is my privilege to present Donna to you. Her non fiction Christian book, On My Own Now, is a must read! Find out more about her book, or her virtual tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotions here:
Pump Up Your Book
or at her website here: Donna’s site

A nonfiction Christian Living book, On My Own Now: Straight Talk from the Proverbs for Young Christian Women who Want to Remain Pure, Debt-free and Regret-free (Quilldriver, April 2009)

nonfiction Christian Living book, On My Own Now: Straight Talk from the Proverbs for Young Christian Women who Want to Remain Pure, Debt-free and Regret-free (Quilldriver, April 2009)

I asked Donna to share some things with you, her readers and fans. Here is what she said:

First of all, you should know that what I do is a surprise to me. Although I have always kept travel journals, when it came to writing for school – I sucked! I had an internship my senior year in college – a pass/fail class. Other than working 15 hours a week, the only requirement was a final paper. I failed the class. My prof, Leedom Lefferts, commented on my paper that it was pathetic and to come see him. He made a deal with me: Go to the writing center and have them help me fix that paper and he would change my grade to “pass.”

The tutor who worked with me at the writing center was a friend of mine, Stephanie DeVance, and she did a wonderful job – better than any teacher or professor ever had – at explaining to me what was wrong with the way I communicated.

Add to my poor writing the fact that I hated to read before I was 24 and who would have ever thought I would be a wordsmith? Not me.

My degree was in behavioral science and I worked in social work for about the next decade. I did some newsletter writing and grant writing and became a decent written communicator.

Then in 2000, I decided to “retire” from professional social work to do some social work at home – my elderly grandparents needed a full-time caregiver in order to stay in their home, which was their desire. That was a challenging and rewarding experience, but it didn’t pay the bills! I needed some income and I was in a pickle about how to get any. I couldn’t get a job that required me to be away from home any length of time because of my grandparents.
I found a job at a local weekly paper writing feature stories. I just had to leave home about three hours a week to conduct interviews and the rest I could do from home at my convenience. From there, I got another journalism gig and then started freelance writing and editing for a magazine. That’s how The Quilldriver started.

I was really enjoying this new venture and I realized I had a sort of talent for editing. A lot of people were asking me to edit their writing. One day while I was on the potty, I thought, “I’d like to be a publisher in five years.” I have a lot of thoughts on the potty, but most of them are flushed away. But not that one.

I didn’t do anything deliberate to advance that goal, but just kept working with words. Then one day, a manuscript landed in my hands and the light went on: I should publish this. That was Walking Man: A Modern Missions Experience in Latin America by Narciso Zamora.

Two years later, my wordsmith business, The Quilldriver, had added publishing to its services. Now I have decided to focus on the niche of inspirational/devotional books for young adults, and On My Own Now is the first book in that direction.



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6 responses to “Chat with Donna Lee Schillinger

  1. JM

    Inspiration comes in strange shapes and sizes and sometimes to the people you would never expect it to come to. Excellent post.

  2. ccmal

    Great article Donna. I have your book sitting in my chair and I’ll be reviewing it for the tour. It is definitely a timely book. I can’t wait to dig in.

    Best of luck with your tour.


  3. This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

  4. Your book sounds like what this world needs. What drove you to write it? Good luck on your book tour. ~Betty

    • When I was a teenager, I used to read Proverbs religiously (no pun intended). I latched on to some key verses, but to be honest, I didn’t really believe that most of the Proverbs applied to me and my life. King Solomon spends a lot of time telling young men to stay away from prostitutes and I was pretty sure that would never apply to me. And in the literal sense, I was right. It wasn’t until I read Proverbs again for the first time in a long while, when I was 40 years old, that I realized all those warnings to stay away from prostitutes had been for me, specifically for me in my youth, even though I’ve never visited a prostitute and can safely say I never will.

      I desperately needed the Proverbs in my young adult years – from the time I left for college through Peace Corps service, and 15 years of “single and loving it!” But I didn’t realize it because I didn’t have the time or make the effort or whatever was needed to extrapolate the lessons behind all those “stay away from prostitute” warnings. Consequently, I’ve had my share of heartache – mostly of the self-inflicted variety. Through a series of bozo moves in my youth, I screwed up big time creating all kinds of problems for myself. Though I’m not proud of my jaded past, I decided to get some mileage out of my mistakes by helping young Christian women.

      In retrospect, when I realized how much I could have benefited from some straight talk from the Proverbs, the first thing that occurred to me was that I needed to find a way to convey the importance of the Proverbs for a regret-free life to my own daughter, who at the time was 10. So I started to pick out some verses for her and illustrate them with some stories from my life that were a bit more mature than she could handle at her age. As I wrote on a daily basis, the Holy Spirit started to challenge me with the idea of sharing these lessons with a larger audience. I set out a few fleeces before actually deciding to come out from behind the byline and be the writer instead of editor on a project.

      Forgive me if that was more than you wanted to know…

  5. unwriter1

    For what it’s worth, writing is addictive. Like you, I never expected to be a writer, but I are. I know, that is mixing singular and plural, but what would you expect from someone who writes humor?

    You found your niche which is something rather rare since all too many in this world do not do. Writing is just talking with your fingers. I haven’t read what you wrote, book wise, but I get the impression it is very well done. Congratulations.

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