When a former journalist and communications professional started writing fiction and poetry, she had no idea how her work would be received.
“In journalism, events and players exist, and you need to get to the truth to write it up,” said Doni Eve, who writes as DK Eve. “With fiction, you start from scratch, inventing characters, plots, and stories. Then you shape it with words that go beyond just the facts.”
Eve studied journalism at Carleton University and covered politics on Parliament Hill in Ottawa before returning to her hometown of Sooke and editor of Sooke News Mirror. That led to work in communications, policy, and management with the B.C. government and a 28-year career in public service. She also provided volunteer writing and communications for many local organizations.
Joining the Sooke Writers Collective in 2014 got her started exploring fiction, and workshops in Juan de Fuca poet laureate Wendy Morton’s living room and backwoods opened the door to poetry.
“I didn’t write consistently until after I retired in early 2020,” Eve said. “When everything shut down, writing was a way to escape the emotional toll of the pandemic.”
By December, she had a small collection of short stories and poetry and started looking for contests and journals to submit.
“There were rejections at first, so I reworked the stories and found new places to submit.”
The first win was for poetry – the Vancouver Island Regional Library’s first Poem in Your Pocket contest. Eve’s The Produce Aisle in January was one of 15 winners selected from Vancouver Island, Haida Gwaii, Bella Coola, and the Gulf Islands and was the only winning entry from Sooke.
Next, she heard of a magazine in Victoria accepting submissions from Capital Region authors. Her short memoir Lilacs was rejected but was later accepted for publication in Subjetiv Journal, featuring authors and artists from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and B.C.
By mid-April, she’d won prizes in three more contests: Pomodoro Vesuvio won first in the Word on the Lake contest, Neighbourhood Watch won second in the North Shore Authors Association contest, and Green Apples won first in the Islands Short Fiction contest sponsored by the Nanaimo Arts Council.
“I was shocked and overwhelmed by the response,” Eve said. “Mostly, I am incredibly grateful to all of these organizations for all they do to promote opportunities for writers.”
Eve hasn’t submitted to any more contests so far and is back at writing, working on a manuscript.