SALT LAKE CITY, UT October 7, 2013
For author Donelle Dreese, an event in her past was the inspiration for a book recently bought by WiDo Publishing.™ Her story loosely fictionalizes the devastating mine fire that turned Centralia, Pennsylvania into a ghost town, and explores how a community reacts in times of extended stress and environmental trauma.
“I grew up in a small Pennsylvania town very close to Centralia and remember quite well the media coverage of the mine fire,” says Dreese. “An environmental disaster not only impacts ecology and health, but also has the power to destroy relationships. Instead of uniting to save their home town, the people of Adena (like Centralia) turned against one another, compounding the stress of the situation and ensuring Adena’s doom.”
The novel caught the attention of WiDo’s submissions editor, Allie Maldonado, who says, “Donelle has captured a true event and turned it into compelling fiction with a strong female protagonist. Her timely story is about survival in a time of crisis, and how a tragedy of home and place inevitably becomes a personal tragedy.”
Donelle Dreese, an avid reader as well as a teacher of literature and writing, began writing at a young age. “As a young girl, I used to fill journals with poetry. When I was ten years old, I started writing a novel, but I wrote at night and hid it under my bed because I didn’t want anyone to know. I thought others would laugh at me. I hear stories or poems or a character’s voice, and I have to write it down. It’s always been that way.”
Dreese submitted her manuscript to WiDo because– “I love the publishing mission statement. It mirrors many of my own considerations as I was writing and revising my novel. How to be literary and yet clear, how to write about an environmental issue without being preachy, and how to be realistic and yet uplifting. When I read the WiDo mission, I felt as if the editors were reading my mind, so I knew I had to submit.”
Maldonado says, “So many people have mentioned our mission statement was key in their decision to submit to WiDo. It has served us well, and we have no plans of ever changing it. Especially when an excellent writer like Donelle expresses how the mission statement spoke to them in such a way that she felt like we were the right publisher for her work.”
Donelle Dreese is an author and Associate Professor of English at Northern Kentucky University. Her books include two poetry chapbooks, A Wild Turn (Finishing Line Press), Looking for a Sunday Afternoon (Pudding House Publications), and a book of nature writing, America’s Natural Places: East and Northeast (ABC-CLIO). Her most recent work, the novel Deep River Burning, is forthcoming from WiDo Publishing, and her YA novella, Dragonflies in the Cowburbs, is forthcoming from Anaphora Literary Press. Donelle currently serves as the Assistant Editor of the Journal of Kentucky Studies and was recently selected as a semi-finalist for the 2013 Louise Bogan Award for Artistic Merit and Excellence by Trio House Press. Learn more about her at her website donelledreese.com.