Scotts Valley author Donna Payne is an example of what happens when imagination and inspiration come together after she self-published her first book, Seeds of Strength, earlier this year. The novel chronicles the personal growth of Emma, the 17-year old protagonist, as she deals with the untimely death of her father from a car accident.
While sorting through her father’s belongings in the attic, Emma finds the titular flower seeds of strength, which she then resolves to plant in her father’s memory.
“This spring, I actually went to visit our family farm just before it was being demolished, our family had been there for 92 years, they were leveling all of the buildings and I went out and took a bunch of pictures, and it was just a kind of an inspiration for the book,” Payne said.
The author is clear in pointing out the emotional themes in the novel are what drove the writing rather than the events themselves.
According to Payne, writing the book was a much needed therapeutic exercise after her uncle had died and his farm and house were being torn down. Payne had no professional writing experience when she began work on Seeds of Strength, and being a mother of three children, the hardest part for her was finding the time to sit down and write.
“Part of my inspiration is my daughter, who is an English major. She encouraged me to write. It was just a personal goal to see if I could write a book,” Payne said. She adds that Seeds of Strength is “rated E for Everyone” or that her book is accessible to a wide audience, even her 10-year old great nephew is reading it.
The process of getting the book written and published was relatively straightforward: after she came up with the idea of Seeds of Strength in the spring, it took three months for her to write book and one month to get it published through CreateSpace, Amazon’s self-publishing arm.
Payne was born in Normal, Illinois and grew up in the other midwestern states of Wisconsin and Iowa as well.
“Growing up, my aspirations were music–I played cornet–being a teacher, and becoming a mom,” Payne said “I took creative writing in high school, and I wrote poetry, but I never thought about becoming a writer during my youth.”
Payne, who is already working on her second book about an art teacher who moves across the country, says she doesn’t consciously plan out the direction of her stories, but that they’re driven by her imagination.
Donna Payne’s book can be bought on Amazon by clicking here.