Delivering the morning keynote address at the West Virginia Writers Conference in June 2017 was a dream come true.
Rhett DeVane, Donna, and Ginny Stibolt at the Tallahassee Writers Conference.
I grew up in Clarksburg, a small town in central West Virginia. While my great aunt ironed, she spun fanciful stories about elves and fairies so beautifully I believed in their magic. And every evening my mother would read stories to my brother and me until we were old enough to read by ourselves. With those two wonderful women in my life, no wonder I fastened onto books. They became bridges into other people’s lives and even into other worlds. My mom used to joke that if I couldn’t find anything else to read, I’d grab the dictionary.
Recently a friend reminded me I wrote detective stories even in grade school, something I'd forgotten. Guess I've always been hooked by stories, either reading or creating them. While other kids were partying, I was a nerd who worked on my high school and college newspapers and literary magazines.
I graduated from Fairmont State College, West Virginia University, and Nova Southeastern University, and also studied creative writing at Florida State. For the past thirty years, I have called Tallahassee, Florida, home.
After decades of teaching high school English and journalism in West Virginia and Florida, I retired and started writing again furiously. I became active in the Tallahassee Writers Association, serving as president, vice president, newsletter editor, website manager, conference chair, and Seven Hills Review coordinator. I also joined the West Virginia and Florida Writers Associations.
Five books and hundreds of book reviews later, I am still reading and writing. In 2017, I put on a new hat: associate editor of Southern Literary Review.
Editor Paula Kiger with Donna at The Glass Madonna book launch party.