It's my pleasure to bring you Donna Wichelman and
Book 2 of The Waldensian Series, Undaunted Valor
Thanks, L.A. for hosting me again, it's a pleasure to be on your blog.
I discovered my true passion for writing novels at the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales, where I focused on English Literature. I loved all the classics, reading books by Jane Austin, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Ellie Wiesel and Victor Hugo. They awakened a desire in me to write books that touched the human spirit.
While I was at Atlantic College, I wrote a thesis on Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and visited the Brontë parsonage in Haworth, England. Walking the heather-dressed moors on a drizzly day is forever etched in my mind, because I happened upon an old man with a cap and a cane whose ancestors knew the Brontës. Not only was he the quintessential British gent, but he fascinated me with stories about the family. I felt like I was actually living a storybook tale.
When I returned to the States, I majored in sociology and political science at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, but writing was still in my blood. Several years later, I mastered in Mass Communication/Journalism and worked as a communications professional before writing full-time.
Since writing as a full-time career, I’ve authored short stories, essays and articles in various inspirational publications and live my dream writing novels and screenplays.
Hi Donna, please tell us Five Secrets we may not know about Undaunted Valor, Book 2 The Waldensian Series or you, but will after today!
1) Undaunted Valor went through three stages before the book found its rightful story. In the original plotline, after Jamie found a letter from her ancient cousin Anne Charbonnier, she felt a desire to go on a pilgrimage to understand the heart and soul of her ancestors. Though such a soul searching story had its merits, the plotline didn’t feel compelling enough. So I added the element of the mob coming back to avenge the death of their mob boss from Book 1 Light Out of Darkness. Still, the book needed something more sinister that Jamie and Alessandro cared deeply enough about to fight for. That’s when the plot took a turn and Alessandro’s grandmother was kidnapped and a ransom demanded for her return. Now they had a cogent reason to hike a part of the trail of the Glorious Return with all its danger and pitfalls.
2) As the plotline for Undaunted Valor evolved, so did the working titles for the book. The first working title was The Glorious Return based on the original plotline when Jamie wanted to go on a pilgrimage. Against All Odds, suggested by a good writer friend, became the working title when the mob element developed and could have worked as a permanent title. However, given the Waldensians’ historical reputation for valor and enduring faith during centuries of persecution from the Church in Europe, Undaunted Valor, also suggested by a writer friend, seemed fitting as Jamie and Alessandro traveled the same roads as their ancient ancestors and fought against formidable foes for their beloved grandmother’s life.
3) I fell in love with the idea of Jamie and Alessandro’s love story paralleling the story of one of Anne’s ancient ancestors. I thought the notion was so compelling that I wrote Anne Charbonnier’s letter in one sitting. Anne’s love affair with the son of her people’s enemy is a universal love story, pitting family members against one another. Since Anne’s story is also based on a historical period of time, I am currently turning the story into a screenplay with a little bit of twist at the end. I’m also contemplating turning the letter into a full-length novel. Stay tuned for further developments.
4) I’ve always loved the name Anne. I had intended to give Anne to my daughter as a middle name, but half drugged in the delivery room, she received my middle name Lynn. If my husband and I had been able to have another daughter, we would have named her Anne. As fate will have it, after Anne Charbonnier became a character in my book, I found the name in the actual genealogical records of the Waldensian Church in Italy.
5) I am a history buff. Always have been. American History and Geography were my two favorite subjects in junior high school, and I did well in those subjects. That’s why, though I’m writing contemporary stories, something related to history will probably always appear in my books.
For nature lovers, ski aficionados, travel enthusiasts and history scholars, the French Alps offer some of the most spectacular scenery and outdoor recreation in all Europe with its majestic mountain peaks, cascading waterfalls, unspoiled forests and quaint mountain villages. People come to get away from the daily grind and rejuvenate their spirits.
But when Alessandro Marianni’s grandmother Luciana is kidnapped during a church conference in Chamonix, the same landscape becomes an ominous height to scale, and Jamie Holbrooke and her fiancé Alessandro have difficulty distinguishing between friend and foe on the race to find her. They will have to weather a rainstorm on a mountain trail, negotiate a dangerous waterfall, outmaneuver a car chase, and defy an assassin’s gun in their search.
Will they find their beloved Luciana before it’s too late? Who will die on the way to the finish line? Who can they trust? And where will Jamie find the courage to confront her adversaries?
In this sequel to Light Out of Darkness, the answers will lie in unanticipated places and with unexpected allies and require Jamie to discover what it means to trust God with undaunted valor.