Donna O’Meara - Author
The United States Naval Submarine Base Hospital in New London, Connecticut. My dad was away in the army when I was born and I was six months old before he returned to meet me for the first time.
Where do you live?
Volcano Village, Hawaii. This is in a rainforest atop Kilauea, the most active volcano in the world.
What is your favorite book?
Anais Nin's Diary series. She began writing them as a young child and wrote in them all through her entire life.
What are your hobbies?
Scuba diving, hiking around Kilauea Volcano, reading, cooking, gardening, traveling the world, and playing with my dog, Daisy.
When did you start writing?
I have been writing my whole life. It seems like something I have always done. I started writing for a living, though, when I was about 30 years old.
What was your schooling or training?
I have studied fine arts, which helps with my photo illustrations in my books and magazine articles. Then I studied writing and science --- including geology.
How did you get involved with children's books?
I have been the contributing editor at Faces: People, Places and Cultures for about eight years now. It is a magazine for children between the ages of nine and twelve. I love writing to the children's audience. I had already written a volcano book for adults, so it seemed natural to write one for younger readers. Also I'd like to see more girls study science. Science is so much fun!
What is the thing that you like the most about creating children's books?
I can have fun and be a kid again when I write children's books. I think I am a child at heart. I have never really grown up. I have been known to have a hot fudge ice cream sundae for my dinner.
Where do you work?
I am my own boss and I work for myself. My husband, Steve, and I founded our research company, Volcano Watch International. We travel all over the world documenting volcanoes that are erupting with video and cameras and then write about what we see and find. We hope that someday all of our research and data may help predict how and when volcanoes erupt and save people's lives.
How do you create your stories?
Have you ever heard of the phrase “art imitates life”? Well, in my case, my life at active volcanoes is a sometimes scary, always exciting, inspiring and even funny. So I have a lot of experiences that I can then turn into stories. I have always had a very active creative imagination and it comes out in my writing.
Do you have any tips for young creators?
Follow your passion. Whatever it is that you enjoy doing then DO THAT! Don't worry about what other people say or think or do. Just do what you enjoy and all the rest will fall into place. Also, don't be afraid to take risks and chances (but not at volcanoes!!) I mean in your life. Every time I have taken a chance on something, it has always brought me more happiness. The worst thing I could think of is that if I looked over my entire life and there was something that I wished I had done but never did. As they say, Just Do It! Now, don't wait!
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was always interested in art and very artistic, so I knew that something creative was in the future. I fulfill that now with my photography. I do remember thinking of being an opera singer once but thank goodness I did not do that, because I can't sing very well. Nature always fascinated me so volcanoes are a good match.
Do you have any special secrets or insights about one of your books or characters?
I know I sound pretty daring in my volcano books, but the truth is that there have been times at active volcanoes when I have been terrified and glad to have escaped with my life.
What is the weirdest or most interesting job you have ever had?
I took a job as a store cashier when I was a teenager. I only lasted two days before I quit. I knew right then and there that I could never work indoors. A job out in nature was where I wanted to be. I'd rather deal with erupting volcanoes than grumpy customers complaining.