Local author inspires others with her story
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- “I love creating characters and inhabiting other people’s worlds, or I guess inventing other people’s worlds, " says Dawn Burns, author. "I have been somebody who has not always understood people very well, so writing fiction gives me the opportunity to get into other people’s heads and think, "'Well, what is that like for that person?'"
For Dawn Burns, comfort is found between the pages.
“When writing clicks for me, I let go of my ego, and I am usually led by an image, or an idea, or a character voice, and then I just play.”
The LaPorte county native has taken her career and travels across the U.S. only to come back home to Indiana. It is there that her own story began.
“The book started out with just one story titled Evangelina Prays for Downton Abbey, and it is about a woman who's laying in bed next to her snoring, farting husband and cannot sleep, and so she resorts to praying. And after exhausting her mother and a couple other people in her life, she starts praying for the characters in Downton Abbey.”
Burns has released her first ever published book, Evangelina Everyday.
“You get to be inside Evangelina’s overthinking mind, and her emotions and anxieties. All the stories put together make a complete story arc.”
But what is most unique? Well, these tales tie to Burns' upbringing here in Michiana. Evangelina is a woman from Elkhart, a midwestern housewife living in the woods tucked away from its nearby barren fields.
It is a novel constructed out of short stories, whether she is thinking about teeth in the Elkhart tooth brick, watching cockroaches, or reflecting on Downton Abbey. No matter how simple the thought, it reveals the inside of Evangelina’s overthinking mind.
“The power of storytelling is it gets beyond those boundaries and categories and politics and divisions we create, and it has that potential to connect people and increase understanding and empathy.”
For Dawn, coming back to Indiana, sparked her passion. Her passion for life here and the stories here, and even inspired her next book: showcasing the midwestern sunrises that grace the world every morning.
“I love sunrises because they remind me that whatever has happened the day before, the world has not ended. I think everyone goes through some periods of life where they're like, 'the world is going to end if X, Y, or Z happens,' so for me it is just a daily affirmation to go out and be like, "'the world hasn't ended again.'”
Now, her advice for young writers. "Let go of your expectations. Write for yourself. Don't worry about an audience, an audience can always come later. But really, the most important thing is to say your voice matters, your story matters, whether it's fiction, whether it's poetry, whether it's creative nonfiction, whether it's something else entirely. But your voice matters and will make a difference in the world."