King County employee by day and published author by evening, Donna Miscolta writes novels and short stories inspired by anecdotes that she has witnessed or heard about in her family or within her community.
“I take that tiny, true piece and turn it into fiction,” Miscolta said. “From there, it takes on a life of its own, and it’s not really about any specific person, and yet many people recognize a part of themselves in these stories.”
Her latest work, “Hola and Goodbye,” is a collection of stories inspired by her grandmother’s journey as an immigrant in the United States; Miscolta explores the effects of assimilation common to immigrant families, which she hopes attracts readers from all walks of life.
“My grandmother came from Mexico in the 1920’s and she never learned to speak English, so I explored the dynamic of Spanish disappearing by the third generation,” Miscolta said, whose heritage is Mexican and Filipino. “It raises the question: what kind of things are lost in the process of moving to a new country and establishing a new life with new language, culture and traditions.”
As a result of Miscolta winning the Doris Bakwin Award for Writing by a Woman, the sponsor, Carolina Wren Press, published Miscolta’s “Hola and Goodbye,” which has generated more attention than she could have imagined possible. The book is a finalist for an International Latino Book Award.
Recently, Miscolta was nominated for 2017 Best of Seattle Reader Poll in the Best Author category, which came as a surprise to her.
“It was quite a surprise and an honor to be on the list with some famous authors, among them Sherman Alexie, Lindy West, Maria Semple, and Domingo Martinez, who was a finalist for the National Book Award several years ago,” Miscolta said.
For Miscolta, this will be an event-packed summer, including speaking appearances in Port Townsend, San Diego, Los Angeles and Missoula MT. More information about these events can be found at donnamiscolta.com.
“It will be nice to see my book in a different geographical environment,” Miscolta said. “Much of the promotion so far has been done in WA and CA.”
Her awards and accolades include the Gold Medal at the Independent Publishers Book Award in New York City, a presenter at the Women’s Museum in San Diego, and readings in Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Awards like these validate Miscolta’s hard work and dedication to her craft. She is even more determined now to finish her next novel, which is currently in the works. Her first novel, “When the de la Cruz Family Danced,” was published in 2011.
“What it does, is it makes me feel like people out there are listening and it makes me want to get more work out in the world,” Miscolta said. “I’m working on another manuscript, which is based on a story titled “Strong Girls” that appears in the collection.
Nearing thirty years with King County, Miscolta conducts outreach programming for students at King County schools about waste reduction, recycling and resource conservation in the Recycling and Environmental Services section in the Solid Waste Division. Through the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program, she is also working on a project with the Latino community on hazardous products education.
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Best of luck of with your newest manuscript, Donna!