Monday, October 26, 2020

Donna Murray Interview - Wolf Den Hollow


Photo credit: Frank Gutierrez Photography

After living in Bali, Indonesia, where she designed and manufacturing garments, Donna Murray relocated back to San Francisco. She worked with the San Francisco Ballet on their Opening Night Gala in 2010, and when she left the event that rainy evening, she stepped into a deep pothole—and broke both her feet. With months of recuperation ahead, she embraced the opportunity to write her first novel; Wolf Den Hollow. Donna has a passion for the arts and culture, travel, nature, food and wine, and living the good life in the beautiful Napa Valley.

      
  


Tell us your latest news. 
My book launched on October 6 and it is receiving five-star reviews. I am so excited and thrilled that people are enjoying my story. 

Where were you born and where do you call home? 
I was born in Portland and raised in a small historical town on the Colombia River. In the 1850s it was the land of the Native American Chinook Tribe, and in the 1860s, my maternal family settled there, which became a mill town called Rainier. 

I now live in the heart of the beautiful Napa Valley, in a renovated barn on a vineyard overlooking Sugarloaf Mountain . . . and surrounded by nature where I find peace of mind and inspiration. 

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
I have been deeply touched by people that I have known over the years, who have reached out to congratulate me and purchase my book. The reconnections have been incredibly heartwarming. 

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel? 
To be routing for Sila and that it is inspired by a true story. 

In your new book; WOLF DEN HOLLOW, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it. 
Wolf Den Hollow is set in the early 1900s, during the peak of the great logging boom in the Southern Missouri Ozarks. The story begins when a young, bewitching Cherokee finds herself knocking on the door of a mill office, destitute and looking for work. There, she meets the handsome owner, Charley Barkley. Despite the fact that they have virtually nothing in common—and thirty years between them—a spark ignites. For Charley, once their passionate love affair intensifies, there is no going back to his loveless marriage—especially after Sila is with child. They marry and his empire expands, as does their family. Just as their lives seem perfect, Charley falls victim to cancer. Sila’s devastation at the loss of her husband is compounded by the onset of The Great Depression. With her inheritance gone and faced with losing her home, she is forced to do the unthinkable to protect herself and her children in a final act of survival. 

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book? 
Finding the time, but breaking both my feet gave me nothing but time. 

What part of Sila and Charley did you enjoy writing the most? 
When they first met and the unconventional love story that followed. 

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why? 
I would introduce Sila to the protagonist in Bonesetters Daughter. Both stories were set in the Ozarks, and about two women faced with hardship and loss, and then losing their homes, and what they had to do in order to survive. 

TEN REASONS TO READ WOLF DEN HOLLOW 
  • If you are looking for a heartfelt love story. 
  • If you are a fan of unconventional romance. 
  • If you are a history of logging enthusiast. 
  • If you enjoy books written in the early 1900s. 
  • If you are a nature lover. 
  • If you have an interest in natural healing. 
  • If you are spiritual. 
  • If you connect to the spirit world. 
  • If you are drawn to women of strength and wisdom. 
  • If you want a glimpse of Native American Cherokee culture. 
What’s the most ridiculous fact you know? 
The mind-blowing numbers of people that do not believe in climate change, and what little our government is doing about it. 

Where did you go on your first airplane ride? 
My first airplane ride was in 1962 when I took my young son to Disneyland in Southern California. 

Best date you've ever had? 
It was when a photographer and I met in a small neighborhood park to photograph my one-year-old grandson. I had always felt a strong chemistry between us. After the shoot, I invited him back to my apartment for a glass of wine. On that night, a flame ignited, and still burns to this day. 

Last Halloween Costume you wore and when? 
Every year my friends have a Halloween party that is not to be missed. It is always something that I look forward to with over one hundred people attending in full-costume. They go all out with the decorations and entertainment, from drummers and belly dancers to a live band. Last year the theme was Rising Phoenix. I wore wings and black feathers. 

What event in your life would make a good movie? 
When I traveled to Nepal, the airport had been closed due to a terrorist threat and just reopened. The streets of Katmandu were virtually empty of tourists. We hired a driver to take us to Chitwan, a tiger reserve. It was also a research refuge for elephants. When we arrived, we had to cross a river in a small boat. On our first day, we went for an elephant ride on Shanoli. Because there were no other guests, the guide walking beside us asked if I would like to drive the elephant. After some instruction, I was on my own. It was such a thrill! And after that day, a routine had begun. When approaching she would put her trunk down and lift me up to the top of her head. When time to dismount, she would lift her front leg and I would slide down for her to lower me to the ground. If we were walking through thick brush, she would break branches with her truck so that I would not be touched. One day the guide asked me to drop my sunglasses, and when I did, she picked them up with her trunk and handed them to me. We encountered many rhinos during our walks and she knew instinctively just how close she could get. I walked with her and her master to the river in the late afternoon, and she would playfully splash me with water. Toward the end of our trip I began going to the stable early morning to sit with her master to prepare 250 blocks of food. We would put grain and vitamins into large leaves and fold and tie them. I learned so much about elephants during our stay, and when time to leave it broke my heart, I had gotten so attached to Shanoli. I would have stayed if I could have. If my time with her had been filmed, it would have made a touching short film or documentary . . . but then, it would not have been the same experience. 

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today? 
Living in Bali, Indonesia. I loved the Balinese people and their culture. I learned to speak Indonesian and followed their Hindu traditions. They are the most humble, kind, respectful, beautiful people I have ever known. I like to think that my experience in living there made me more aware of the cycles of the moon and being surrounded by natural beauty. 

What is one unique thing are you afraid of? 
I would have to say unwanted spirits. We had them in our house when living in Los Angeles. 

What was the best memory you ever had as a writer? 
The day that I received my book, when the reality really hit me that I was a published author. 

DELETED SCENE FROM WOLF DEN HOLLOW 
My closing chapter began with the scene of Sila’s Cherokee burial, and the impact that her death had on her close-knit shaman circle, her best loved friend, the children that she had taken under her wing, and the community deep in mourning. A letter was found that she had written to her children . . . it was her confession to a secret she had held for many years. 

I decided to delete the chapter and end the story with her last breath, when she flies like the Tawodi toward the morning sun. Tawodi is the hawk in the Cherokee language, the messenger of the sky, and is used as a symbol and guide throughout Sila’s journey.


Sila, a young, bewitching Cherokee, flees a marriage to a brutal drunk in the dead of winter and finds herself knocking on the door of a mill office, destitute and looking for work. There, she meets the handsome Charley Barkley, the owner and a married father of ten. Despite the fact that they have virtually nothing in common—and thirty years between them—a spark ignites.

For Charley, once their passionate love affair intensifies, there is no going back to his loveless marriage—especially after Sila is with child. They marry and his logging empire expands, as does their family. Though they face tragedy and treachery along the way, they thrive until, just when their lives seems perfect, Charley falls victim to cancer. Sila’s devastation at the loss of her husband is compounded by the onset of the Great Depression. With her inheritance gone and faced with losing her home, she is forced to do the unthinkable to protect herself and her children in a final act of survival.

Inspired by a true story, and replete with natural healing, glimpses of the logging boom, and heartbreaking drama, Wolf Den Hollow brings to life this unlikely, captivating romance of the early 1900s. 

You can purchase Wolf Den Hollow at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you DONNA MURRAY for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Wolf Den Hollow by Donna Murray.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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4 comments:

  1. My favorite thing to do alone is reading

    ReplyDelete
  2. My favourite thing to do by myself is to look for beach glass on Seacliff Beach, Lake Erie.
    lindacfast@hotmail.com

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