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The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano

In every woman there are many stories . . . Rose Napolitano is fighting with her husband, Luke, about prenatal vitamins. She promised she’d take them, but didn’t. He promised before they got married that he’d never want children, but now he’s changed his mind. Their marriage has come to rest on this one question: Can Rose find it in herself to become a mother? The fight ends, and with it their marriage.

But then, Rose has a fight with Luke about the vitamins–again. This time the fight goes differently, and so does Rose’s future. Can she reimagine her life in a completely new way? That reimagining plays out again and again in each of Rose’s nine lives, just as it does for each of us as we grow into adulthood. What are the consequences of our biggest choices? How would life change if we let go of our preconceived ideas of ourselves and became someone completely new?

A novel about love, loss, betrayal, divorce, death, a woman’s career and her identity, The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano is about finding one’s way into a future that wasn’t the future one planned, and the ways that fate intercedes when we least expect it.



Fiction, Non-Fiction, Memoir, Young Adult, and Middle Grade.
Take a peek inside my world.


My fiction debut is coming April 2021. A novel about a woman who thought she never wanted to be a mother—and the many ways that life can surprise us.


My account of being stalked by a professor for over two years, using my experience to examine the ways in which we stigmatize, debate, and attempt to understand consent today.


Based on research that includes candid interviews with students, my non-fiction books focus on some of the biggest challenges today's college students face.


My novels for young readers are about (and for!) smart, brave young adults and kids who are using their extraordinary gifts to change the world.


I'm Donna

Writer. Professor. Scholar. Speaker. Author of Fiction, Nonfiction, Young Adult and Middle Grade novels. Those are my titles. But what I’d really like to tell you is that I write with urgency: to give my protagonists all the experience and knowledge that I wished I had but didn’t. To work through grief and loss and rage toward a place of hope and possibility, to speak the unspeakable. My scholarship is decidedly feminist and practical: What are the voices we most need to hear, and what do they want us to know? How can we transform our world so that it will be more just, more inclusive, less violent? In my non-fiction work, I document the concerns of the people I interview: what conversations do people desperately need to have? What are they searching for that we’re ignoring? This urgency and hope, for you, for myself, and for our shared world—this is what fuels my writing, no matter who my audience is.


Meet the Book Doctor

If you’ve been telling yourself you’ll finish your book “someday,” whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, a memoir or even a dissertation, I’m here to tell you…someday is here.

write like your life depends on it

If you need something from the story you are telling, then it will have natural momentum and tension. We won’t be able to put it down.

But how do you write from that place of need? How do you feel a sense of primal urgency at 5:00am on a Wednesday when you’ve only got an hour before your kids wake up? Or at 11:00pm when the day’s demands have left you wrung out and even making a cup of tea feels like too much?

And once you finally manage to finish a draft, how do you rewrite and polish it until your intention shines through with clarity? How on earth do you get it published?! I’ve been right where you’re standing, and I’ll help you answer all these questions and the questions you don’t even know to ask yet.

Writing Tips You'll Actually Use

Even if you’re “not a writer.” Once a month in your inbox. Personal letters with my very best advice on how to get your writing out of your head and onto the page. And my most recent, favorite reads to inspire you along the way.

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