About Donna Kaulkin

Donna KaulkinI was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pa, then moved to the Washington, DC area, where I raised my two sons, attended Georgetown University and had a great  career as a managing editor at U.S. Pharmacopoeia, then as an editorial director in McGraw-Hill’s aviation group. Since 2002, I’ve lived in California. I have an editorial services business, specializing in aviation and the arts.

I’d written plays and stories and always knew that one day I would write a novel. I suppose my quiet California life provided the space to allow it to happen. And this particular story had been gestating for a good long time. So, on Super Bowl Sunday 2009, after returning from a walk on a lonely trail, I typed a title: Brenda Corrigan Went Downtown. I wrote a first chapter. I imagined a psychopath and wrote his story. I worked at creating a spirited, brave and warm group of women friends, and familial relationships that were realistic—loving and quarrelsome. On Super Bowl Sunday 2013, while doing my millionth “final proof,” I was struck by this passage:

“There’s a big adjustment ahead,” thought Brenda. “My children and I will have to free each other again.”

I had been fiddling with my manuscript for months, agonizing over every comma and semi-colon, seeking the odd dangling participle, as editors do. But in that moment, I realized I had to let go. My characters had lived in my imagination for four years. Now they wanted out. The story was finished.

People ask what I will write about next time. Many readers want a kind of sequel that would feature a return of Brenda’s friends and family. I am noodling such an idea now. Meanwhile I post my ramblings here on my blog, and on Donna Tells Stories, where I find that humor has become my strong suit. Who can say where this will lead?