Short Bio:

Donna Meredith’s  award-winning novels include The Glass Madonna, The Color of Lies, Wet Work, and Fraccidental Death. She also wrote Magic in the Mountains: Kelsey Murphy, Robert Bomkamp, and the West Virginia Cameo Glass Revolution. Her work has appeared in Tallahassee magazine, Goldenseal, the Seven Hills Review and various newspapers. The retired English and journalism teacher is regular contributor to Southern Literary Review. A graduate of Fairmont State College, West Virginia University, and Nova Southeastern University, she also studied creative writing at Florida State. For the past thirty years, the Clarksburg native has called Tallahassee, Florida, home. 

 

Hi! I’m Donna Meredith.

I grew up in Clarksburg, a small town in central West Virginia. While my great aunt ironed, she spun fanciful stories about elves and fairies; and every evening my mother would read stories to my brother and me until we were old enough to read by ourselves. With those two wonderful women in my life, no wonder I fastened onto books. They became bridges into other people’s lives and even into other worlds. My mom used to joke that if I couldn’t find anything else to read, I’d grab the dictionary.

No surprise, then, when I majored in English and journalism at Fairmont State College in West Virginia. I also got a degree in education, at my father’s insistence, because “Women can always get jobs teaching, and you can’t earn a living writing.” Sure enough, when I graduated I found a job teaching high school English and journalism, first at Grafton High school and later returned to my alma mater, Washington Irving. They were great kids and I'm still in touch with some of them. Would love to hear from more—I'm on Facebook, so please "friend" me and tell me what you are doing now. While teaching, I earned a Masters in Journalism from West Virginia University. 

Southbound

One winter my husband, daughter, and I woke up sick of shoveling snow and thawing frozen pipes with a hairdryer. We moved south and I started to crank out a crime prevention newsletter for the Florida Attorney General’s Office. It was fun to interview and write stories again. But then it was back to teaching—better pay. (Don’t you hate it when a parent is right?) I taught English and started newspaper and TV production programs at Thomasville High School in South Georgia. I also taught other teachers to use technology during the summer. I had no time to call my own and had less time than I would have liked to devote to my family. My life consisted of grading essays and proofing copy for the paper. I enjoyed watching my students grow as writers and as human beings. My newspaper staff won Best in State four years out of 16—not too shabby. They were a great bunch of kids and many went on to careers in communications. I was at THS 19 years. During that time, I earned an Education Specialist degree by taking classes at Florida State and NOVA University. 

The Writing Life

In midlife, we often re-examine our life goals and measure our progress, sensing new urgency to finish unfinished business. When I learned I could apply my unused sick leave toward retirement, I bolted out the school’s front door to start my long-delayed career as a writer.

Immediately I signed up for a couple of graduate fiction writing workshops at FSU and stocked my bookshelves with how-to writing books. I struggle daily to perfect my craft.  Critique groups I found through the Tallahassee Writers Association have been invaluable sources of feedbackas well as close friendswho may the only people who know whichparts of my stories are true and which parts are completely invented.

Because I want other writers to have the same opportunity to connect with a writing community, I became an officer in TWA. I have taught various workshops for writers throughout the region.

Family

My husband is now retired from the Department of Revenue, where he designed tax collection software. He makes me laugh, is a technology whiz, and does the dishes besides. What more could I ask for? Well, now that he is retired, we plan to travel more, so life continues to offer new challenges and opportunities.

My daughter (Coca Cola management) and son-in-law (classical guitarist) live in Atlanta. They have blessed me with an incredible grandson who is changing so rapidly if I tried to tell you what he is up to, it would be different by the time I got the words onto paper. Today it's Minecraft, Pokemon, and Skylanders; tomorrow--who knows?

TAMARACK 2013: Donna's cousin, Jane Heitz staged a surprise visit to Tamarack to chat--and meet Kelsey Murphy and Bob Bomkamp. You can see a few pieces of their gorgeous glass in the background.